Wardrobe Architect: 5 steps to plan your fall sewing
All I’ve been wearing for the last month is strappy dresses, sandals, shorts, and t-shirts. That’s my idea of summer – lazy, breezy, no-fuss.
In the midst of another 90 degree day, it’s hard to even imagine the crisp sweater weather ahead. I mean, ugh, who wants to think about layers in the middle of July?
In fact, let’s be honest, most of us don’t even think about sewing that much when it’s hot. We’d rather be outside, or eating ice cream, or… anything other than standing next to a hot iron.
But planning ahead for the next season is probably the number one thing I can do to get my sewing organized. It helps me think more strategically about my wardrobe as a whole. With a little distance, I’ve found that I can develop a better game plan for what I really want to make and wear, not just what feels good in the moment.
It also helps me to evolve my style over time, and gives me a chance to look back at the previous seasons. Each season, my mood shifts, but I also feel like I understand my tastes and where they come from just a little bit more.
I decided July would be the perfect time to get a head start on my own wardrobe plans for the coming season. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you can do the same for spring.
Here’s what I did to get a jump start on fall. Feel free to follow along, or adapt these ideas for yourself.
1) Review your style
If you’re new to the idea of wardrobe planning, take a look back at year one of the Wardrobe Architect series. We went over ideas for creating a core style, developing a palette for yourself, and finding the shapes and silhouettes that suit you.
With that information in hand, it becomes much easier to create your seasonal plan, because your style is already focused on what works for you and makes you feel happy. Here’s mine (from my Pinterest board):
I’ve found the most helpful thing is reviewing the words that describe my core style, and looking over my style moodboard. From there, it’s a matter of reinterpreting those words and moods into the present moment.
2) Make a fall moodboard
I like to create a moodboard for each new sewing season.
I use my existing core style moodboard as a starting point, adding and subtracting images that fit my life and the season. I see this as a way to evolve my style over time and bring in fresh ideas, while remaining true to who I am aesthetically.
You can use Pinterest for your seasonal moodboard, of course. This season, I decided to create a physical moodboard. I was inspired by some of the physical boards Christine has been creating for our photo shoots here in the studio (more on that in a later post).
I found that creating something physical was a very different process, and helped me to make some interesting choices. I found myself gravitating more towards images that were about mood, environment, and context rather than straight-up fashion inspiration. My board is a bit of a snapshot of how I see the next season unfolding, more than anything else.
I also found the end result much more inspiring to look at and take in at a glance. The fact that it was pared down to 20 or so images helped me to create more of a story.
I especially like that I can add swatches to it, pulling from the fabric that I already have to inspire me.
##3) Choose your fall silhouettes
Next, I picked out a few silhouettes I know I’d love to wear a lot this fall.
These silhouettes are basically outfit templates. They’re the shapes and combinations that I’m certain I’d get a lot of mileage out of. While I can add in a few bonus pieces that are a little more experimental later, these are the kinds of shapes I want to absolutely live in 90% of the time.
The silhouettes were inspired by the moodboard I created, and also what I’ve worn and loved in the past. For example, I know that I love to wear short shift dresses and tights, fitted knit dresses with a big warm sweater coat, and cropped sweaters with pencil skirts.
##4) Form your fall palette
Using a combination of my moodboard and the core palette I created last year, I pulled out the colors for this fall.
I picked out a combination of neutrals, semi-neutrals, and statement colors. My wardrobe heavily skews towards the first two categories, which allows me to have less clothing but lots of versatility. I like to get variety in terms of accessories and textures, but I do try to pick out neutrals and semi-neutrals that are still really pretty to me.
That’s just my own preference. If you prefer plenty of color and pattern, go for it! Some people make do with hardly any neutral clothing at all.
At this point, I added a few more swatches to help me start forming a plan.
5) Make a project list
Now that you have your outfit templates and your colors, you can start making a list of the project you want to tackle this fall.
I try to be realistic about this. How many pieces could I reasonably sew in the next 2 or 3 months? I decided to try sewing 10 pieces, including some quick-and-easy weekend projects. You might be able to sew 20 things, you might want only 3.
I’ll talk a little more about this next month, as I start narrowing my choices and coming up with specific projects with patterns and fabric. For now, I have an inspiring visual to put up in my sewing space, and lots of ideas that have me ready to start hunting for wool in July.
Discussion + What I’ve Learned
Looking over my plans for last fall (2014) and comparing them to this season was really interesting. My tastes haven’t changed much, but each time I run through these exercises, I seem to understand them a little differently, or discover something about myself.
For example, I’m increasingly drawn to soft and comforting textures, things that are touchable and warm. I like moodiness and dark florals and natural colors. I like gold and bronze jewelry that looks ancient and modern (I call them “cleopatra jewels”). I like touches of lace.
Each of these says something about who I am, my personality, my history, where I live, even my family. Sewing really can be a window into how you see yourself as you grow and change.
Have you started planning your fall sewing yet (or spring for those in the southern hemisphere)? When is your ideal time to start thinking about the upcoming season?
And if you post about these exercises on your own blog, feel free to leave a comment and share that here! It’s fun and edifying to see how others plan their sewing.