Saturday, 18 January 2014

Talking About Real Style For My Life and the Colette 'Wardrobe Architect' Project

A belated Happy New Year everyone!

It's been a while since I posted anything up here. Partly, I've been busy. Partly, I didn't have anything to say. But every once in a while something comes along that fits right in to the kind of thing you've been trying to do yourself...the Colette 'Wardrobe Architect' project is one of those things.

Read more about it on the Colette blog, but in a nutshell it's a wardrobe planning project that aims to help sewers identify what clothes to sew that will be the most personal and most-used for them. I know what I need (see my list here with all the gory details), and true to type I've been working my way faithfully through the list (and will be posting some finished stuff soon I hope!). 

But within that very basic list of needs are a lot of possibilities. Since I started blog reading these possibilities have ballooned, at times to the point of paralysis when it comes to choosing something to make. I like a lot of different styles. I follow sewers who go for cutting edge designs and those who will only sew with vintage patterns, and occasionally these groups disparage one another's taste slightly (why?) only leaving me more conflicted and confused! (I should add this is quite rare - the sewing community as a whole is very non-judgmental and welcoming.) One of the most fun and soothing posts I've read this year is Jessica's on this very subject. There should be no judgment attached to the fashion choices of others, but we do ultimately all have to make a choice or walk around naked, which I think we can agree is not the best option (especially in January)!

By the way, I know it's OK to have wide-ranging tastes and actually it can be fun to juxtapose unexpected elements together. Recently for example, I've been thinking about experimenting with fuller, longer more vintage-y skirts, but pairing them with sleeker modern jersey tops and I think that could work quite well.

Since starting this blog I've actually written a few posts on the topic of choosing and building a wardrobe, but have always deleted them before publishing. They felt kind of messy and I was concerned they might not be interesting to anyone else. However, the 'Wardrobe Architect' project is organised into a series of exercises which I hope will give me some focus that I will be posting here. Looking at the first worksheet I think it will be quite personal, so if you just like to see what I've been making, these posts will be clearly marked and you can skip them. Or you might like to follow my process or even join in yourself!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!


  1. This sounds fun Philippa! And I think it's wonderful you don't narrow yourself down to only a few styles. I was just thinking last night on what I "needed" to make for myself vs. what I "wanted" to make. :D i'm going to hop on over to read about the info on Colette's post. Thanks! (oh and I love the idea of long vintage skirts)

  2. What an awesome sounding project. Our fashion tastes change and blossom over time and we could all do with a bit of wardrobe architecture work every now and then. I sincerely appreciate that you see my recent post on the subject of following your heart when it comes to your fashion choices as inspiration in that regard. That means a lot to me, sweet Philippa.

    Your flowy skirt + fitted jersey top combo sounds beautiful - please share a snap or two here with us if you do put together some lovely outfits with those kinds of pieces.

    Big hugs & tons of thanks for your wonderfully nice (and wise) comment on Annie's birthday post,

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I know what I need. Trousers that fit. And I can't buy them. Making them however is quite an ambitious task. Have got as far as buying a pattern but bit daunted by the thought of trying to fit them. And I know I really should make a muslin, but the thought of all that effort for something that I won't wear is depressing.
    Surely the great thing about making stuff is you can make what you want. Why not vintage and cutting edge. What I struggle with is finding plain fabric. I find plain tops much more useful as wardrobe staples but hard to buy. When buying fabric I'm drawn to patterns, but even when I remember to look for plain there's usually just some cheap looking polycotton. Gah.
    Have fun with your wardrobe architecture. Oh, just remembered I need pants too. Well, I should be able to do something about that....

    1. I too suffer with great trouser making fear. I'm starting with pj bottoms and working my way up! I'm the opposite to you with regard to fabric though. I love plains and would actually benefit from a bit more pattern (the opposite of most sewers, I think).

  4. I think I started this process last year and sewed some basics that
    i have worn lots, I struggle with finding good jersey fabrics though there are more available now in uk stockists than a few years go. I am lookingforward to following your journey :) xx

    1. I agree. Funnily enough I thought of you, with your lovely skinny jeans and tunics, when I read the Colette project post! I hear you on the quality jersey issue. There is quite a bit of good quality plain around (such as the organic ones from and Truro fabrics), it's decent prints/stripes I struggle to get hold of. I sometimes order them from abroad then feel guilty about the environmental consequences :( If you find a good UK source of printed jersey I would love to know it!!