More Self-Sewn Wardrobe Plans

For me, fall has always signaled new clothes. Whether it was back-to-school shopping with my mom (and then again with my aunt and gram), or just imagining how I would look walking through the halls in the most stylish outfit I could find at Limited Too, I don’t associate any other change of season with new clothes quite as much as fall. Even when I wore a uniform for four years in Catholic high school, I HAD to have the perfect pair of heather grey tights (yes, tights were required even in the heat of early September in NJ), and the cutest clunky platform shoes for the first day of school.

In my last post, I shared how I was officially done buying new clothing, and I’ve had a lot to reflect on since then. I must admit, I’ve said that before. A couple years ago, I posted a list of patterns I wanted to sew and the fabrics I’d use for each. And… it didn’t pan out.

But this time is different, dammit!

For one, I’m better at sewing now. Making well over 100 masks will definitely advance your technical skills (the ones I make really aren’t all that simple!). I also have a new sewing machine (Brother cs7000i – highly recommend). And, there happens to be a Juki serger on a UPS truck headed for my doorstep as we speak. Most importantly, I’ve really organized a sewing space that really works for quick spurts of sewing when I have time.

I’m ready to really take this seriously. I do look at my yarn shelf shelves and wonder if my knitting mojo will spark back up when the temperature drops. I’m hopeful about that – I can knit and watch Netflix in the evenings; whereas, after a certain hour, I can’t sew or I’ll do something dumb, especially once I have a serger with a legit blade on it! However, I’ve been knitting the same vanilla sock for … almost a year now. I know I could make a killing on a yarn de-stash, but for now, I’m holding out hope that my yarn babies are just incubating before it’s time for them to to become sweaters and cardigans to go with all the self-sewn pants, skirts, blazers, etc that I’ll be making this fall/winter.

Anyway, I decided I needed to get more serious about creating my own wardrobe. Rather than just collecting dozens of patterns, and random yardage of fabric that I think “might be good for a dress or a top” but with no real plans attached, I decided to get spreadsheet-level specific about it.

I would share the 12-tab spreadsheet I created for self-sewn wardrobe planning, but honestly, I worked SO hard on it, that I’m not ready to freely give it up to the public. We’ll see.

I will share that using picmonkey.com’s collage feature for the below images really helped me plan 2 different types of “capsule” wardrobes. I know a capsule wardrobe is supposed to be like 8 items in your whole closet and that gets you through the week. Pshhh! That is so not me! I’m like George Costanza in this sense, I need options! I started my wardrobe planning with work clothes, which is pretty ironic since lately my work clothes are sweats (but like, cute ones).

I have no desire to Marie Kondo my ready-to-wear wardrobe. I do intend to seriously pare it down as I add SSW items to it, but until I make my own, I NEED those 3 navy blue t-shirts because sometimes I want a v-neck, sometimes I want a scoop neck, and then there’s the one that is a slightly lighter shade of navy that just goes better with some things. Same with the white t-shirts, and the black ones, and the blazers I have in 8 different colors. George Costanza, I tell ya.

So it’s no surprise that sewing clothes is going to be a lot of fun for me – I just love clothing! But moreover, I feel so confident and badass walking around in something I made without anyone around me even realizing it. It’s honestly such a thrill for me.

So despite that I may not wear these clothes to work any time soon (except for Tuesdays when I do go in to the office), here are my plans for Fall/Winter 2020:

These are for more casual days at the office. The dress probably won’t get made until the spring. It’s by no means a “winter dress” and it’s a bit beyond my capabilities at the moment (maybe?), but it would look cute in the fall with a pair of tights and boots, so if winter can hold off a bit, maybe I’ll be able to get to it. I just wanted to include a “fun & flirty” dress option.
Some days I need to look a little more formal at work (but it’s still a pretty casual workplace). The illustration for the Mesa dress doesn’t really do it justice. It appears much more fitted in the photos on seamwork.com. The sleeves in the photos are also half-sleeves rather than what appear here as short sleeves, which I think adds more sophistication to the dress. I think Mesa will be a great project for my new serger!

I’ll save the fabric plans I have for another post, but I should note that the palette (which I’m sure by true fashion standards has too many colors or too many variations of the same color or whatever) is really just a guide. I’m not going to be holding up Pantone cards to my fabric to make sure they fit within the palette, but I chose them because these colors are variations on not only what’s supposedly “in” this year but they’re also coincidentally the exact colors I’ve always worn. What can I say, I look great jewel tones.

And yes, I also have plans for “work from home” clothes. I will most likely start there, actually. The pandemic really is the perfect time for me to start this SSW journey (that sounds SO wrong, but I hope you know it’s NOT at all to say that I have gratitude for the pandemic). During this period of “almost never leaving the house,” I can start with my “around the house” clothes and think of those like wearable muslins or practice pieces to build my skills so I can be ready for things that real people might actually see.

I’m by no means skilled enough for that Evans Blazer, but we LOVE a semi-casual blazer. Blazers and cardigans are honestly my “comfort clothes.” I truly never have one layer of clothing on the top. Even in the summer unless it’s really sweltering. It’s definitely a busty-gal-body-image-thing, but I also think layering makes a person look more put together. Because I wear blazers so much, I WILL create an Evans Blazer before the year is done. That is my main goal for 2020. Make an Evans Blazer.

In the meantime, Seamwork has a pattern called “Wembley” that I think will be a good stand-in.

Another note: I also have alternatives for the brunch blouse (although pattern itself has a few different views that I want to take advantage of, too), just so I don’t get bored of it. As much as I do love the way that blouse fits me, I know it will get old making it over and over. Hey June Handmade has a blouse called Lucerne, that is similar but has some fun sleeve details and neckline variations.

Sometimes I worry I sound a bit manic… or that maybe I am. So far I’m not overspending beyond my means, or renting storage to house my fabric, so I think I’m within a healthy range of “feverishly creative” and “going to extremes with my hobbies as a healthy distraction from a global crisis.” Something tells me (both) readers of this blog can relate to these types of feelings.

Okay, I better stop rambling and start sewing! I still have some masks to make (fortunately, orders have slowed down a lot), and I want to add some Halloween and “vote” masks to the shop soon (all new listings are going to be ready-to-wear. I’m scaling back on made-to-order items – I have a self-sewn wardrobe to work on!), AND I’m procrastinating a bias bound neckline on a recent Brunch Blouse because they are always such a pain in my butt. Oh yeah, AND I have a full-time job, where I’m short-staffed and everything is an urgent crisis that for some reason needs MY input. C’est la vie!

Below are links to the patterns in the above images:

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