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Wardrobe Architect – Plan Your Sewing!

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This post is part of the Wardrobe Architect 2015 series, led by Kristen, our patternmaker. Read more about it here and join the fun!

Now that you’ve done the messy work of cleaning out your closet, we’re going to spend March identifying the holes in your capsule wardrobe and planning sewing projects.

In the meantime, if you absolutely know you need a new pair of pants because you finally donated the pair that you wore all the time even though they made you unhappy, don’t be afraid to get a jumpstart on sewing. There are some things you’ll just know you’re missing without making lists and completing exercises.

Find the Holes

To get started, review Wardrobe Architect: Week 11 and start with shopping your closet and finding the holes.

After shopping my closet I zeroed in on the following gaps I would like to fill, not including shoes and accessories:

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  • 1 pair of skinny black pants
  • 2 blazers – black and dark grey
  • 1 black knit pencil skirt
  • 1 full black skirt, below the knee
  • 1 short sleeved button down
  • 2 sleeveless button downs – any color, print
  • 2 Loose fitting knit tanks – black, grey
  • 1 black button down
  • 2 woven shift dresses – any color
  • 1 – 2 woven tees – any color except black
  • 2 hip length chunky cardigans – black, brown
  • 1 day dress with fitted bodice and full skirt
  • 1 shirt dress

Make a Shopping List

If you plan to purchase some new items now is the time to decide what they are! Maybe making a new coat or pants just isn’t in the cards for you this year, or perhaps you want to focus on new challenges and just want to buy the simple items on your list like t-shirts. Make a list of what you want to buy and keep it with you so that you can easily consult it next time you’re in a store.

Play Matchmaker

After you made your shopping list, let’s pair up the remaining garments you listed with some of the patterns you picked in January I used Polyvore to help me bring it all together.

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I found easy matches for most of the garments on my list, though my original set of patterns did not include any sleeveless button downs, woven tees, or knit tanks, so I may draft those patterns myself, or search for some additional patterns. I also noted that a few of my originally selected patterns were sadly left without a match. That doesn’t mean I will never make those garments, but this exercise has shown me they’re a bit lower in priority in my sewing queue than other patterns.

Prioritize

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Now it’s time to figure out what you want to sew and when! Plan your queue through at least July, which is when we will get another chance to take a look at our queues.

Seasonal Sewing

Here in Portland we’re already seeing the first signs of spring! That means all of those remaining cold weather garments in my sewing queue such as jackets and leggings, are quietly being traded out for pretty spring dresses. Seasonality varies so much worldwide; if you are south of the equator summer may be winding down, and if you live in a coastal region what you wear may not change much throughout the year.

Whether summer or winter feels months away, or just right around the corner, make sure your sewing queue reflects that! We’re in flux here in Portland, so I’m focusing on transitional pieces before I segue into summer, but you may still have a few months of winter to get through!

What’s First?

So which item made it to the top of your sewing queue? And what new garment are you most excited to make yourself this year? My top priority is black pants, but I’m most excited about making a blazer!

Like what you read here? Subscribe to our blog via email so you don’t skip a stitch! And sign up for our weekly Snippets email for even more sewing tips and tricks.

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Seamwork Issue 04: Transitions

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The March issue of Seamwork is up and ready for you to read!

This month, we’re celebrating the road to spring with a theme of “transitions.” We’ve created versatile, changeable, multi-season patterns; ideas for ways you can make the same garments in any season; and some brand new columns to round things out.

In this issue:

As always, we provide information to help you create the new Seamwork patterns including Resources and fabric ideas from Swatch Service

Some favorite quotes from this issue:

“Clothing tells your story; if part of that story is your relationship to the current season, you can use color to express that.”

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“The secret to maintaining a small closet without getting bored is to aim for versatility in every piece.”

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“For thousands of years, the story of wool has been entwined with that of humanity’s” – Devon Iott

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And here are the two new quick-to-sew patterns in this issue:

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Aberdeen is a beautiful tunic that is equal parts comfortable and flattering. This top can be sewn in a wide variety of fabrics, making it suitable for all seasons. Sew it up in lightweight jersey for the summer, and try soft sweater knits for the fall and winter.

And check out the lovely clogs our model is wearing! They’re from our friends at Sven Clogs, who are also providing a reader discount this month.

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Osaka is a simple little reversible skirt that is highly functional and fun to wear. In just under 3 hours you can have two brand new skirts in your closet with this workhorse garment. We provide two different cutting layouts for pairing up your fabrics, but we hope you’ll get creative and dream up your own unique combinations!

You can visit Seamworkmag.com to read the issue, download it from the current issue page, or subscribe to get the patterns.

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Wardrobe Architect: Closet clean outs + 7 tips for tackling your mending

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This post is part of the Wardrobe Architect 2015 series, led by Kristen, our patternmaker. Read more about it here and join the fun!

This month, your challenge was to clean out your closet. So how’d it go?

Hopefully, you’re feeling the sense of calm that comes with decluttering and getting rid of the old, unwanted items that have been bogging you down. You could also be feeling a little lost, or nervous about your seemingly sparse closet.

Depending on the state of your closet before you started, you may be left with a head start on creating your capsule wardrobe, or you may be feeling like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into.

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Time to Mend

Once you’ve done a closet clean out, one of the fastest ways to restore order is to tackle your mending and alterations pile as soon as possible.

It can be tempting to dive right into sewing brand new items, but repurposing and mending is a practical approach that will leave you feeling proud of reusing what you already have.

Approaches to the Mending Pile

The mending pile can seem like a boring, forgettable task, but if you take some time to organize first, it can actually be quite painless to get through. Here are some tips I’ve picked up that have helped make mending a little less of a burden:

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  1. Pick a time. Depending on how large your pile is, you can choose to carve out an entire weekend to do mending and alterations, or you can space them out as a palette cleanser between larger sewing projects.
  2. Divide by color. To get started, I like to make a list, divide my pile by color, and assign each garment a thread color.

  3. Divide by sewing method. Next, I decide whether it needs to be mended or altered with a sewing machine, serger, or by hand. You may wind up needing different thread colors for every garment, but it’s nice information to have so you can avoid changing out your thread more often than you need to! For simple fixes, if you already have the color of thread you need on your machine from a larger project, it’s not a big deal quickly fix that tear along the seam of a jacket.

  4. Gather other supplies. You’ll also want to gather all the supplies you need to fix each garment, such as buttons, trims, bias tape, or zippers.

  5. Keep mending at hand. I make sure to put the garments that need hand mending next to the couch so that I can work on them while watching TV or listening to podcasts in the evenings.

  6. Set a goal. You may want to set a goal to fix one garment a day, or a few every weekend. It’s easy to put aside mending and alterations in favor of newer, more exciting projects, so whatever you do, it’s important to have a realistic plan that works for you. When I have a really large mending pile, I like to knock out all garments that require certain thread colors a day at a time.

  7. Invite friends. If you’re really struggling to motivate yourself you might consider hosting a mending clinic with some of your friends. Everyone has a pile of stuff they need to fix, so why not make it more fun for everyone with some food, drinks, and music?

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How Does it Feel?

So now that you’ve cleaned out your closet, how do you feel? Do you feel more organized and in control, or are you already regretting some of your decisions? Did you learn anything new about yourself or your spending or sewing habits? Let me know how your February closet clean out went in the comments!

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Tutorial: Add Corset Inspired Ties to the Cinnamon Slip

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Today, we have one more tutorial from Devon, for a more lingerie-inspired look for your Cinnamon. -Sarai

Add a little bit of ooh-la-la to the back of your Cinnamon slip with these corset-inspired ties! No special skills required – just some bias tape and pretty ribbon. We’ll start out by doing a few pattern alterations, then skip the straps in lieu of pretty satin ties that will crisscross down the back to end in a tied bow.

You can repurpose this method on just about any top – I can imagine some cute strappy summer dresses and tops!

Materials

Here’s what you’ll need in addition to what’s on the pattern envelope:

  • 5 yards of 1/4″ ribbon
  • about 1.5 yards of 1/2″ double fold bias tape [I used metallic gold Wrights]
  • 2 strips of lightweight fusible interfacing, 3/4″ wide and about 20″ long

Continue reading the tutorial

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Join us! Italian Style at the Portland Art Museum

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If you’re in Portland, you’ve probably already seen the billboards for the Portland Art Museum’s exhibit on Italian fashion since 1945.

Fellow Portlander Jessica is organizing a meetup of sewing folks to see the exhibit on Saturday, March 21st at 2:30pm. Simply meet outside the museum beforehand, and if you’d like, stick around for a showing of Antonioni’s Le Amiche in the basement of the museum at 4:30.

I recommend buying tickets in advance for the exhibit (and the film if you’d like to do that too).

You can also RSVP on Jessica’s Eventbrite page to give her an idea of how many people are coming. Note that this is just the RSVP that Jessica set up, it is NOT a ticket for the museum or the film.

We hope to see you there!

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