Seeds of a Wardrobe


At this point, I think everyone who sews has seen or used one wardrobe builder or another…except for me. None of them really spoke to me. Some “required” or were built around garments I don’t wear, like jeans or white button down shirts. Some didn’t account for New England winters and all the gear needed to survive them. Some were guidelines that were too vague to inspire any ideas. So last year May, I tried to sort through all my patterns to find a collection that would work well together. And I did create a pattern lookbook! But then my life flew off the rails and building a wardrobe became a mental exercise I couldn’t handle.

Now I’m in a new state, in a new climate, living a new lifestyle, and my old clothes don’t work as well in these new circumstances as they did in the old. It seems a bit frivolous to worry about clothes at a time like this, but I’ve been really uncomfortable in my old threads! Given that I’m about to embark on another challenging journey in January*, now is the perfect time to get my clothing in order so it’s one less thing to distract me. I started by downsizing my collection of nearly 500 paper patterns, which gave me the chance to look over every single one and determine whether they ‘spark joy’.

In the process of whittling down my collection to a svelte 330 patterns, I thought about what else goes into a wardrobe. My measurements were out of date, for one, and the mirror was telling me my shape had definitely changed from my pre-pregnancy era. But more than that, I thought about what I need, what I do, the weather, how I’ll be getting around, and how I approach life. I realized – rather unsurprisingly – that I needed a wardrobe builder that asked questions, not one that gave edicts. I’m all about the details in sewing and in life, and have never been a fan of being told what to do!

So I went ahead and asked myself those questions, and I’m going to share my answers with you in a casual series of posts over the next few months. Part of me is terrified this will be a bunch of really boring blog posts, but part of me wishes more people shared their actual thought process and not just the end result of their thinking. I am happy to say that these posts are part of my gradual return to garment sewing at my past levels! And that I am doing get-the-rust-off sewing in the background, as well as trying to get some sewing classes off the ground here in my new state. So sewing is/will be happening! Yay!

*I’m not pregnant again! Though I hope there are more children in my future. :)


Seeds of a Wardrobe is a six post series covering my journey from needing a wardrobe to having a plan for making a wardrobe. It’s a thought and question based method of wardrobe building, with the goal of helping create a truly personal wardrobe that meets real needs, and provides an alternative to methods that dictate what you should wear based on an impersonal, general framework. This is the first post, and you can see all the posts in the series here – Seeds of a Wardrobe (category) – in reverse chronological order.

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  1. I live for all wardrobe planning sewing posts! LIVE!!! I can’t wait!

    For YEARS, I’ve expended way too much energy in the search for fashion bloggers who can motivate me through winter dressing. You know what I get? Bloggers in MN and Chicago who OBVIOUSLY are posting old pics. Don’t show me some cute little get up with bare legs when it’s 20 degrees outside! LOL!!!

    I really get bummed out as winter drudges on because I get tired of black, grey and navy but somehow, I keep navigating to those colors. Sigh.

    So I am here for the planning process from someone who sews and who lives in a winter climate!

    1. YAY! I’m so glad! I feel your cold-weather-wardrobe-planning pain – I’d google ‘coat wardrobe’ and get someone from Texas who was chilly when the temperature plummeted to 60. :p Ironically, I have moved to Georgia, so I’ll be one of those people now, but just for you (and future me if I return to a place with winter) I will include REAL cold weather thoughts. And maybe photos of the tank of a winter coat I made, that was horribly bulky but kept me warm on those single degree and colder days. (If I can find some; sadly, my hard drive got damaged in the move and I’ve lost access to 9+ years of photos!!!)

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