This is embarrassing to admit, but over the past few years I’ve become quite the fast fashion consumer. When I was younger, I took a forceful ethical stance and swore it all off, but lately it seems that you can find me spending money in a large fast fashion retailer multiple times a month.
Truthfully, as a creative person I feel lousy about purchasing a style that has been designed, manufactured, and marketed specifically for my socio-economic group. It doesn’t feel right for me, and I want to take time to reconnect and rediscover my style, and make it truly personal.
That’s why I’m choosing to devote 2015 to a complete wardrobe overhaul. You might call it style therapy, a closet cure, or a fast fashion diet. Whatever it is, for one year I’m not buying new clothing; everything must be made or purchased secondhand.
I believe that this will get me truly thinking about whether I actually need something, while challenging myself to become a better sewist by tackling projects I had never previously given much thought to.
And I want you to join me! I have designed a year-long program that closely follows the tenets of the Wardrobe Architect, with a strong focus on sewing your own capsule wardrobes for spring/summer and fall/winter.
Don’t worry, you don’t actually need to swear off buying new clothing if you don’t want to! However, following along with this challenge will give you the opportunity to slowly and methodically design and plan to sew your own wardrobe. Below is an outline of everything we’ll cover, month-by-month.
- January – Find your core style and explore shapes
- February – Clean out your closet and take inventory
- March – Review and finalize your spring/summer sewing projects
- April – Plan colors and shop for spring fabric
- May & June – Sew for your spring/summer capsule wardrobe
- July – Review and finalize your autumn/winter sewing projects
- August – Plan colors and shop for autumn fabric
- September & October – Sewing for your autumn/winter capsule wardrobe
- November – Review and refine
- December – Show off your wardrobe!
Of course, this timeline is not gospel! You are free to sew all year long (I know I will be), but I have found that it can be incredibly helpful to have a few weeks at a time to really focus on different aspects of a project before moving onto the next.
Let’s get started: January’s Challenge
This month’s theme is about finding your core style and picking silhouettes that best suit your body.
To get started, read through The Wardrobe Architect Weeks 1-4 on the blog and complete all related projects and worksheets. I recommend getting a sketchbook or binder to keep everything organized as we work through the year.
Then, start browsing for sewing patterns that you think would fit well into your future capsule wardrobe. If you like to design and make your own patterns, sketch up some designs that you think reflect your core style and that you might like to see in your capsule wardrobe. Better yet, you can even do a combination of the two!
Try to come up with at least 20 patterns or designs in different categories of clothing, such as tops, blouses, pants, skirts, or outerwear. Print out photos of the patterns or add your sketches to your notebook.
Important questions to ask yourself about the designs you choose:
- Have you worn similar styles before? How did you feel about them when you wore them?
- Would you need to make any modifications to the designs you choose?
- Are there any designs that don’t quite fit with the others?
- Are these designs cute and trendy, but maybe not quite you?
- Get a notebook, sketchbook, or binder
- Read through the Wardrobe Architect weeks 1-4
- Complete exercises and projects for Wardrobe Architect weeks 1-4
- Design or collect 20 pattern ideas that reflect your core style and preferred silhouettes. We’ll pare these down later.
- Grab a button for your blog!
Share your progress!
Toward the end of the month, we will have a check in where you can share what you’ve come up with.
Here are a few other ways you can share your participation:
- Share this image on social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest) to let people know what you’re doing (and share a link to this post). Click to download:
- Throughout the challenge, you can post about your struggles and breakthroughs on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #WAChallenge2015 (be sure to mention @ColettePatterns too)
If you plan on participating please post in the comments and let me know what your specific goals are. I’m excited to get started and see the wonderful wardrobes everyone creates!