Real World Wardrobe Planning

As careful as we plan and as well as we know ourselves and our bodies, the aspirational wardrobe can still be an issue for sewists. Read on for more on wardrobe planning that fits your lifestyle. 

By Eryn Shields of Style Sew Me. Find the full article  in Sew News April/May 2018.

Sewing my own clothes never crossed my mind growing up. I eventually fell into it out of necessity during my pregnancy because I refused to spend a ton of money on frumpy maternity clothes. I never intended to stick with it, but I realized that sewing allowed me to be able to take control of my personal style and create the wardrobe that truly fits my body, budget and lifestyle.


Begin by taking a realistic picture of your lifestyle and clothing needs. I work in a business-casual environment during the week, but I spend the weekends in a pair of boyfriend jeans and a tee or a flowing maxi dress. When I’m in family mode, I have to be comfortable running behind an energetic toddler. As much as I would love to always wear fitted dresses and sexy heels, my real life isn’t set up that way. Your lifestyle should drive your sewing needs. Just think of how much easier it will be to shop for fabric and patterns when you know exactly what you need and what you will actually wear.


A kid in a candy store would be an accurate description of my shopping habits when it comes to sewing patterns. I absolutely love seeing a design or a pattern and imagining creating that piece for myself. And really, the pattern is just the foundation of so many possibilities. Before making a pattern purchase, consider the following:

Are you comfortable sewing the pattern as designed or would you want to make modifications?

Do you have the desire, time or skills to make the modifications you desire?

Does the pattern silhouette accentuate a flattering feature?

Is the style and fabric choice weather-appropriate where you live?

Learn from favorite pieces you already own. A common adjustment I like to make on my skirts and dresses is to change the hem to midi length. I know this because my favorite, most-worn skirts in my closet are this length. Go back to your closet and try on a few of your favorite pieces to help get your wheels turning. Do you look best in crop jeans, traditional blazers, V-neck dresses or maxi dresses? Learn your body, and learn your style.


Fabric shopping is the absolute best part of sewing for me. I love getting fresh fabric and displaying it in my sewing studio with the rest of my collection. I know I’m not the only one who can just sit and stare at my fabric imagining the possibilities!

Most sewing patterns provide fabric suggestions as a starting point. You’re not limited to those fabric suggestions by any means, because there are so many choices, textures and styles available. The options can become overwhelming and expensive. When it comes to shopping for fabric for my own projects, I’ve learned to focus my spending by deciding which colors and fabric types to buy.


Other sewing topics you may enjoy:

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