How Sunday - How to plan your (handmade) wardrobe

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Coming back from our summer holiday always seems to be a cornerstone for my wardrobe. This is even truer this year because 1. we experienced a drop of 10° as soon as we arrived home (yes I even considered putting the heating on), 2. heatwaves have been replaced by rain (hello frizzy hair), 3. In 2 months I will going back to work and that reality seemed to have sank in..

To be perfectly honest I have never planned my wardrobe before – only because I never used to make my own clothes in earnest. I made accessories (scarves, beanie hats) but not 'real' clothes I would actually wear.

But I want to carry on making my own clothes whilst going to work – and obviously take care of Baby MiH – and there is only one way to do this: O-R-G-A-N-I-S-A-T-I-O-N. And the first step is planning. I have loads of clothes – but never the right one (of course!) – but also I want to try to separate each area of my life better – work clothes for work, loungewear for when I come back and run after Baby MiH around the house, going out clothes when (if) we go on date night etc.
Here is how I went into planning my wardrobe
  •      Tidy up your existing wardrobe – whatever you are not wearing is space wastage, give them to your local charity shop, sell them on Ebay. I love getting rid of things, it is like a detox for me, but I know it is harder for others. If you have not worn something for 3 years, are you actually going to wear in the next 6 months?
  •      Make your wardrobe fit you today – do you fit in all your clothes (could you vacuum pack some because they are too small?), summer is over here and it is time for me to get rid of the tropical prints and other linen tops (some fabrics just say summer).

My small wardrobe is now looking like it needs more clothes.
  • Identify the different areas of your life – what do you need clothes for? I ended up with 5 main areas: sleep time, work time, mummy time, creative time and going out time. Of course some areas will have similar clothes: Mummy time and creative time for instance, but I would like them to be separated nonetheless.
  • Go through your existing patterns and books/magazine, and separate Autumn/Winter from Spring/Summer. For me having too many patterns to choose from is the obstacle to making any of them. I have the Spring/Summer pattern pile ready to go to the attic. I will probably store my summer fabrics away as well.
  • Identify the gaps in your wardrobe – I found 4 pairs of black trousers for work, I am guessing I will probably not need another pair for a while. However I seem to have gotten rid of my grey ones (my pregnant hormonal self probably did not fit in them anymore and could not see the sight of them).

  • Choose quality over quantity and invest time in your projects: What pattern to choose – I think I will try to match them better to my shape, same as the colours that suit me better. With Ravelry and BurdaStyle I am also able to see how others have interpreted a pattern and learning from their experiences is always an important step in my making process.
  • Create a flexible plan and be realistic: How many garments can I actually make in one month? How long does it actually take me to knit a jumper? The last thing I want is to get too stressed because I have planned badly, because I know I will, so I need flexibility as well. And there may be some stuff I just don’t want to make because what I can get in shops is just so cheap or so amazing.

I suppose this checklist could apply to any crafts – so how do you plan your projects? What are your tips? Or you may have never thought of planning ahead, is it something you would consider?

          *Just in case you want to grab yourself a free shawl pattern for your new Autumn wardrobe, enter my giveaway here*


  1. I love this post Nat! As it happens i was going through my wardrobe this morning (and my laundry basket!) because i want to wear things that make me feel good - i was also thinking about what is practical to wear while Im nursing, but definitely having items that reflect who i am and make me feel pretty!

  2. Some very good advice here. Very logical and organized thinking - like it! I could do well following your great advice on tidying and making it fit me today. I think I just have too many...most of which are not quite 'right' which leads me back to the same favourited time and again. haha. I would do better to shop more wisely I think!

  3. Good ideas here. I know I only wear a certain % of my wardrobe. I need to clean out my closet.

  4. Can you come and clean MY wardrobe? Please?

  5. this is really good advice. I'm trying to make more of my own clothes - I'm enjoying having things that are properly made (hahaha - everything is relative, right?) and am getting the hang of making adjustments. I think I could really use a tailor's dummy though - that would really help!

  6. Great post and advice! I try to do seasonal (summer stuff goes in the loft) and then organise by colour in my closet. But when it comes to sewing I usually impulse buy fabric I love and then design something around it....which has a high risk factor, as you can see!

  7. brilliant advice. I have done a plan of sorts, looked at what was missing in my autumnal wardrobe, found patterns I love and shapes that I know will look good on. Then a trip to fabrics Galore and home with a pile of delicious fabrics I love.

  8. Great tips, Nat. I think a clear out from time to time is a great idea but I do think we have to be careful of sending all our Summer clothes to charity in the Winter and vice versa. I often think I'll never wear something again but the next year I end up living in it! Good luck with all your clothes making :)

  9. This was aptly timed! I need to do a season shift in my closet and this gives me some energy to just Do It! Glad to know I'm not the only one dealing with these things!

  10. Wardrobe planning is something I've been trying to master. I, intelligently, know where the gaps in my closet are, but I have a hard time focusing on those gaps when I sit down to start sewing. You've highlighted some wonderful pointers and given great suggestions on how to approach the task.

  11. That is some serious organisation Nat! My wardrobe could do with a major overhaul too.

  12. Very good points and tips, thanks for sharing!