Because a goal without a plan is just a wish…


After a week of weird home Wi-Fi problems that we might as well blame on a poltergeist, I’ve returned to the world of ones and zeros with a pretty solid spring/summer wardrobe sewing plan. Being locked out of the Internet for hours at a time turned out to be the perfect environment for good, old-fashioned list making. Writing down my sewing plans got my head of out of the clouds long enough to realize my original vision needed to be scaled back a bit. Of course, now that I’m back to modern living, my paper and pencil list got a quick Polyvore upgrade.

This month’s Wardrobe Architect 2015 challenge was to nail down the patterns I’ll be sewing for spring and summer. I started with my happy silhouettes from February, made some edits and additions, and organized my final garment/pattern choices into three lists: Sew Now, Sew Soon, and Sew Someday. The Someday list is where my fantasy sewing projects will live – garments that might be a new silhouette for me or just beyond my skills. I’ll share those throughout the season. The Now list is focused on filling in wardrobe gaps with simple, easily sewn pieces, while the Soon list takes things to the next level when I’m ready.

Sew Now

The undisputed frontrunner of my wardrobe is going to be a knit fit and flare dress. The Moneta, to be exact. I’ve recently made some changes to my Moneta (a story for later) that helped me confirm its place as my wardrobe workhorse pattern. My threat of sewing a rainbow of them is slowly coming true.

Untitled #26

With all of the sweat I put into getting the perfect knit dress, it made sense to stay with the groove and have a knit sewing marathon. These are the garments that landed on my Sew Now list.

  1. knit fit and flare dress
  2. fitted t-shirt
  3. long cardigan
  4. bodysuit
  5. knit pencil skirt
  6. leggings
  7. high waist panties

A handful of Moneta dresses, some tees, a pencil skirt in a great color, a cardigan topper, day of the week panties (because saggy drawers ain’t cute and Hanes doesn’t make briefs in petite size), and a bodysuit to wear with full skirts will kick off my warm weather sewing. My serger is threaded with new spools of Wooly Nylon and I already have my first assembly line cut. A few late nights of sweatshop work could get me halfway through the Sew Now list, but knowing me, I’ll opt for beauty sleep and continue to squeeze in my sewing before work and over the weekends.

Sew Soon

If I don’t get sick of sewing knits first, the Sew Soon list is up next. My return to woven fabrics starts with these garments:

  1. pajamas
  2. woven t-shirt
  3. pleated narrow leg pants
  4. gathered or pleated skirt
  5. cropped cardigan
  6. signature dress
  7. cap sleeve blouse
  8. culottes
  9. pleated neck shift dress
  10. woven fit and flare dress

I’m especially excited about this list because it includes another signature silhouette dress (possibly in another Liberty print!) and another self-drafted shift dress, both are TNT patterns that deserve some love and mindful execution. There’s also the set of magnificent pajamas I’ve never owned, a reprise of my first successful pants and woven tee patterns, an attempt at buttonholes on something other than a pillow (cropped cardigan), a trendy pair of culottes, the Sencha blouse I muslined in November, and a new fit and flare dress inspired by Dolce and Gabana’s dreamy $1,300 wisteria print frock (basically, the woven version of my Moneta silhouette).

This list is crazy, right? I’ve never planned out my sewing like this. To make a list of 17 garments and actually sew them feels like planning a walk on the moon without my space camp badge. When I plan projects at work, I set a target date for each milestone or at least forecast when things will be wrapped up. For this project, that would be something like 1 garment a week for 17 weeks, but if I consider the first day of fall (September 23rd) as the official end of summer, then that gives me 24 weeks of warm weather sewing and wearing time. Not bad. A heroic accomplishment if I pull it off.

How’s your seasonal sewing (or shopping) plans going? Anyone else trying out culottes?

WTF Do I Wear in the Meantime?

I’m no stranger to closet purging. I do it religiously every season. But, now that my style standards have been solidified in my mind, I’m feeling ‘meh’ about  98% of my outfitting options and now I have a small NOTHING TO WEAR crisis to solve.

Empty Drawers

The Wardrobe Architect challenge encouraged me to figure out what I like to wear, and for this month’s exercise, we’re all evicting the rejects from our closets…but there’s no guidance for hard to fit, prodigal sewists who are now stuck with a closet of mostly random, lackluster ready-to-wear garments.

I started with these steps to clean out my closet:

  1. Launder. Wash and dry everything in the hamper.
  2. Setup. Clear off the bed, gather baskets and bags for sorting.
  3. Evaluate.  Consider every garment in the closet and dresser and ask myself (with try-ons, if need be):
    1. Does the shape make me happy?
    2. Does it fit?
    3. Is it in wearable condition?
    4. Does it have outfit companions?
  4. Sort. Based on the answers, put garments into one of 4 piles:
    • Donate
    • Mend / Alter / Refashion
    • Keep
    • Maybe

The results were satisfying. Got warm weather stuff tucked in the right corner and current, cold-weather and season-less stuff in the main sections. Lots of empty space and naked hangers. The Maybe pile will get re-sorted in a couple of weeks, the pile of garments to repair or change was moved to my sewing room, and the Donateables are waiting in the trunk of my car for a trip to Goodwill.

I can actually shut the closet doors completely for the first time in weeks and my feng shui is at level 9 (a scale I made up).

Closet after purge

After all of that… I can’t assemble 7 days worth of outfits! Figuring out my Monday through Friday outfitting options has always been a useful part of my quarterly closet clean out. The process doesn’t feel complete unless I have 5 season-less work-ready outfits, and 2 for the weekend. And, yoga pants and hoodies don’t count.

Starting with my Liberty dress (the recent star and pedestal of my wardrobe), I found two long cardigans to pair it with, but struck out on any cropped cardigans that coordinate. The same goes for RTW skirts and pants, most of them are missing tops.

So, before I start sewing all of the happy silhouettes I’ve chosen, I will sew outfit-completing garments to fill the gaps in my wardrobe and hopefully take it from ‘meh’ to functional. Once I have a week of outfit options, then, it will be time to transition things from functional to fabulous.

Do you feel invigorated or overwhelmed when you clean out your closet? What purging methods work best for you?

Wanna Be Sewing: Happy Silhouettes

I’m back with more wardrobe building nonsense. My sewing mind (and scrolling finger) has been consumed with it lately. But, I think I have finally settled on some core shapes and silhouettes to go with my recently articulated core style.

I used the Wardrobe Architect challenge’s Exploring Shapes worksheet to rate the types of garments that I feel happiest wearing. I thought about each garment in terms of the elements that affect it (such as ease, length, waistline, or fullness) and how its shape can change if one of those elements varies.

Discovering which shapes rock my world and combining them into different silhouettes (outfits) was my mission. I used polyvore to assemble several four-season garments, kept the colors neutral, and left out accessories to simplify planning.

One dress, two skirts, 2 pants, four tops, and 2 toppers worth of core shapes. Each of these basics could have 3 or more variations (sleeve length, neckline shape, etc.), but for now I’m focusing on these shapes that I rated a 9 or 10 on the happy scale.

A complete silhouette includes garments and shoes. Like the fit and flare silhouette below of dress (fitted bodice, full skirt) + cropped cardigan + leggings +  riding boots that’s become my uniform this winter.

Winter Silhouette 02

But, sharing all of the shoe combinations would take days. So, I’ll leave the shoes out and just show some of the garment-only silhouettes that I’ll be building with my “happy shapes”.

Silhouette #1

{Dress (fitted bodice, full skirt) + cropped cardigan}

Basic Silhouette 01

Silhouette #2

{Fitted, elbow sleeve t-shirt + full skirt + cropped cardigan}

Basic Silhouette 1

Silhouette #3

{Fitted classic shirt + full skirt}

Basic Silhouette 03

Silhouette #4

{Dolman sleeve peplum top + pencil skirt}

Basic Silhouette 05

Silhouette #5

{Sleeveless peplum tunic + skinny jeans}

Basic Silhouette 4

Silhouette #6

(Loose-fit wrap blouse + skinny jeans)

Basic Silhouette 04

Silhouette #7

{Fitted, elbow sleeve t-shirt + leggings + long cardigan}

Silhouette 06

7 silhouettes from 12 shapes is just scratching the surface. There are a gajillion outfit possibilities for my favorite shapes. I’m still narrowing down the patterns I’ll use to sew all these shapes and silhouettes (except for the jeans, I’ll leave that to Levi’s for now), but getting this far in the process is hugely empowering. I’m even excited for this month’s closet purging task.

What are the favorite outfits or go-to silhouettes in your closet?