Last week I shared some inspiration for my new spring wardrobe. I have some ideas of the style I want and some of the items. Now it's time to get to work and start planning. It's one thing to make a single garment but it's an entirely different endeavor to plan a group of garments that you'll want to mix and match with each other and with the rest of your wardrobe. Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to show you the steps involved in planning a new wardrobe and give you some insight into the design decisions that go into the creation process. Let's get started!
Step 1. Assess your current wardrobe
First, take a good look at your current wardrobe. Assess what you own and what you actually wear. Do you own 30 dresses but only wear pants? Do you have a lot of great skirts but no matching tops? Or maybe you have a lot of fancy dresses but nothing to wear to work? Last but certainly not least, what do you want to wear in the upcoming season?
Looking at my own closet, I have lots of dresses. (Honestly, I have lots of everything but let's not talk about that right now.) So, for dresses I'm pretty much covered. For skirts, I have plenty of full patterned skirts but could use a few more for work. I have a good selection of blouses but not many that I love. I could also use more blouses in solid colors. Living in Los Angeles, I don't worry too much about the seasonality of my clothing. I can wear most things anytime of year just by adjusting the layers. (Yes, it is totally awesome.) In conclusion, I could use solid blouses and pencil skirts for work wear. Adding in a couple more pieces just for fun should then round out the list. I'll keep this in mind throughout the wardrobe planning process.
Step 2. Select silhouettes and patterns
So, now that you know the kinds of pieces you want to make, it's time to hone in on the details. Next, I'll look through my sewing books, magazines, online resources and pattern catalog to find silhouettes that match my needs and my inspiration board. This is one of my favorite things and I could probably do it all day long. I am frequently looking through books and such so if I have a silhouette in mind I often know where to look. If not, I'll do a google search or search my DIY Fashion pinterest board.
I recommend having your sketchbook nearby so you can make notes and drawings. Try to choose a balance of items and while keeping in mind your needs (Step 1) and your inspiration board. My board has lots of drapey tops and I am in need of solid blouses so I'd like to have at least four of those on my list. For skirts, I'm thinking two pencil skirt silhouettes and one longer, fuller skirt. And let's make sure that the skirts work with the tops.
On the list of "I might not wear it often but I want to make it" is a pair of slouchy, pleated pants (note the drape drape books above and Vogue V8657). I'm also wanting to make a dress with cut out slits from the Built By Wendy book Dresses. Definitely more of a want than a need. But, if I don't want it, I certainly won't be spending hours and hours making it.
Sometimes, it will be easy to find just the right pattern. Other times, it seems impossible. In that case, find the closest thing to it and then make adjustments to get exactly what you want. For example, are you looking for a dress with a full skirt and a peter pan collar? If you can find a blouse pattern with said collar and a full skirt pattern, combine the two and you'll have your desired dress.
The only pattern I'm really having trouble finding is the draped front skirt. I just can't seem to find anything exactly how I want it. I might have to draft one myself. Here you can see that along with my sketches, I've also started to make some about fabric (more on that later).
Tune in next week for Spring Wardrobe Planning Part 2.
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