Last year, Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns created a series of blog posts called the Wardrobe Architect. The purpose of the series is to help you hone in what your core style is and what silhouettes you like to wear, so that you can create a handmade wardrobe that truly suits you and works well in your daily life. This series seemed interesting to me last year, but I didn’t feel ready to take something like it on. For me, the past few years have just been about learning to sew garments. As a result of that, I went for the bright and shiny fabrics, crazy prints and made primarily dresses with varying degrees of successful fit. The Wardrobe Architect really spoke to me this year though, because I feel like I have finally reached a point in my sewing where I am making things that fit and that I’ll actually wear. Lucky for me, there is another chance to follow along this year, as Kristen of Colette Patterns has decided to revisit the Wardrobe Architect with the goal of designing and creating seasonal capsule wardrobes. So this is perfect timing for me and just the sort of structure I need to take me to the next level.
Kristen has divided the series into monthly chunks, with January being about defining your core style and exploring shapes. There are worksheets that accompany the posts and at first I felt kind of silly filling them out. I mean, it’s not like I was going to turn them in or that anyone was ever going to see them, but having completed the first four worksheets, I have realized what a great exercise it really was. It forced me to think about and refine my answers before I wrote them down or just focus on whatever came to mind first. I realized I knew more and had more thoughts about my personal style than I thought!
In creating seasonal sets of the types of silhouettes I like to wear, I learned that I wear the same types of things over and over again and it’s kind of a relief to realize that. It makes it easier for me. Plus, I have read that wearing the same thing over and over again is good for creative people as it frees us up to think about other things. My “uniform” is informed by living in the Pacific Northwest, so in the Fall and Winter it’s all about layers: button up shirts, hoodies, sweaters, scarves and boots.
Just as comfortable for me to wear, in the Fall and Winter, are dresses with sweater tights, a cardigan and boots. This set also should have included a scarf, as one is pretty much a part of every outfit this time of year.
I am not a shorts person, so in lieu of shorts I go for capri pants paired with either a tee-shirt or a tank and Converse/Keds or sandals, depending on the weather. A short sleeve button up can also be good. It can still get chilly at night, so a hoodie is still in order around here, even in Spring and Summer.
My favorite get-up in the Summer is just a sun dress and sandals and a cardigan for the evening when it gets chilly. I know it’s a good Summer when I get to wear my sun dresses a lot, so this is always the goal.
What this has told me about my sewing-
Going through these motions was very informative for me. I put together a notebook with the worksheets and then made list of patterns that I already had that I would like to make up to add to my handmade wardrobe. I mostly sew indie designers, because the designs are current and unique, they tend to have easy to understand directions and I feel good about supporting them. At some point I may want to explore some of the bigger pattern companies, for the experience and to have more of a selection, but for now I have been able to find a lot of what I need from patterns I already have. For some of these patterns I already have fabric and for some I will need to get fabric. If I had fabric already, I used my Fuji Instax to take a quick Polaroid of it. I also noted what version I want to make.
Here is what’s on my list so far, from patterns I already have-
Grainline Studio Archer Button Up
Fabric- Plaid cotton shirting
Make View A
Colette Patterns Hawthorne
Fabric- Plaid cotton shirting
Make Version 2
Fabric- Striped Knit
Make version B with scoop neck
Colette Patterns Hazel
Fabric- I can’t remember what this fabric is, it’s some sort of lightweight cotton.
Make version 1
Patterns I have, but don’t have fabric for yet-
Colette Patterns Moneta– Designed for knit fabrics, this dress definitely has to be on this list because it’s the silhouette I love, has a lot of possible variations (good for different seasons) and would be a great staple. I should probably make multiples of this dress, so I have no idea what version I will sew first yet. I know I would like to make several variations though.
Grainline Studios Linden Sweatshirt– Another pattern designed for knits. This sweatshirt would be a great layering piece in any season, but would look especially great with some skinny jeans and tall boots.
Gaps that leaves in my wardrobe-
Skirts– I need to find a good full/flared skirt pattern. Anyone have any suggestions? Maybe make more Jennifer Lauren Vintage Cressida Skirts?
Pants– Maybe make the Colette Patterns Clover and shorten it into more of a capri? Anyone know of a good capri pattern? I don’t plan on tackling jeans yet, so for now, I plan to continue to purchase my tried and true Levis.
Sweaters– I plan on filling this need by knitting sweaters. I have yarn for the Owl Sweater by Kate Davies and plan on starting that after I finish a pair of cable mitts that I have almost completed.
Whoa Nelly. This list is getting kind of long. The knit garments should be faster to sew and I trace my patterns and save them, so for things I have already fit and sewn, like the Renfrew and the Cressida skirt, that will make it go faster. Realistically, this project may go into next year and that’s okay, but I love that this has me thinking in terms of what I need, what fits my lifestyle, works well together and is my style. I think this is a great start and I’m excited to keep working on all this!