Sewing a Wardrobe: Part 4 (The Rules)

I know, I know, I know. I’m one of–like–seven people who really appreciates having rules and guidelines. Naturally, when I was dreaming up my brand new wardrobe (that I actually enjoy wearing), I had to give myself some principles to adhere to. It would be very easy for me to give my wardrobe a makeover and then once that was done go right back to my crazy, disconnected methods of clothing acquisition. I need rules to help me keep to the straight and narrow pathway to a functional wardrobe.

As I was thinking about my rules, I did find this series of posts from the blog “Putting Me Together” really inspiring. She talks about building a “remixable” wardrobe which is just exactly what I’m trying to do! The only thing is she shops and I sew. Whatevs! The ideas are still good!

So, here are my Rules to Sew By:

  1. Each new separate piece should be able to be worn with at least three other pieces currently in my closet. I’m giving myself a little bit of leeway here at the beginning because I’m essentially starting from scratch. Right now I’m also counting future makes that I’ve already planned on. For example, I plan to make an A-line skirt with some aqua, red, and cream cotton in my stash. I’ve already figured out that I could wear a red tee (which needs to be made), a chambray shirt (also needs to be made), or a red cardi (which I already have).
  2. Each new dress should be able to be worn as part of three different looks. Dresses can be tricky for me–especially all those crazy floral dresses I spent all of last year sewing. Other than choosing different accessories, there wasn’t much else I could do to change the look of the dresses. Even when I have a simple dress, I tend to wear it the same way every time. But, I’m ready to get out of my rut! Let’s say I make a little navy knit dress. I could wear it with a scarf and boots; throw on a statement necklace and some heels; belt it with a cardi and some flats; or pair it with a button-up tied at the waist and some sandals. See what I mean? I bet that if I got a little creative, I could do the same with some of those bold florals as well.
  3. For every six remixable pieces I make, I can choose to make one statement piece. In my opinion, a lot of the dresses I’ve already made are statement pieces, garments that can stand alone, that don’t always play well with others. A good example would be my Whipstitch dress.Simplicity 2180That dress just is what it is. I could throw on a cardi or different shoes, but there’s not really anything I can do to make the dress look like anything other that what it is. It has loads of personality, and that’s why I love it. And really, I don’t want to cover the personality up, if you know what I mean. This dress is a statement piece. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having some statement pieces. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a wardrobe filled with statement pieces! If that’s what you want, awesome! But, not me. I’m a simple gal with simple tastes. However, I think a few well-placed statement pieces will help liven up my wardrobe. Why every “six” pieces? I don’t know–it sounded good.
  4. For each new piece that gets added to the wardrobe, one piece should be removed. This is a fantastic rule, one that I know several of you probably already follow. At this point in my overhaul, I don’t need to get rid of anything else. I’ve already done that. The question is, at what point will my wardrobe be complete? I’m thinking that once I reach a certain point, it will be time to start removing things. I just don’t know what that point is. It would seem a little silly to come up with a number, but maybe that’s what I need to do so that my wardrobe doesn’t grow too large. Remember, the goal is a small, remixableย wardrobe.
  5. I will always, always sew what I love. But, I will also keep in mind long-term wearability. I don’t want to wear things I don’t love. I love things that I can wear over and over to multiple occasions. The end.

I’m learning a new way to think about my wardrobe, and I hope that by giving myself some fairly concrete rules, I can avoid falling into the dysfunctional wardrobe pit.

Next time, I’ll finally get to reveal my master plan! You’ve probably noticed that I’ve put a LOT of thought into this. I’m very interested to see what you think! And to see what you’ve all got up your fall sewing sleeves ๐Ÿ™‚


18 thoughts on “Sewing a Wardrobe: Part 4 (The Rules)

  1. I think you’ve got a great plan here. I too am trying to sew with more direction than before. Much like with writing, when you have guidelines your creativity doesn’t get stymied by the unlimited possibilities.

    • That’s a perfect analogy. And it’s true–since I’ve given myself a color palette and rules to follow, I’ve been sewing a lot more. I get more excited to start and finish new projects because I’m making things I actually want to wear.

  2. You’re definitely not the only one who needs rules when it comes to reorganising a closet. I find that when there aren’t any rules to follow I tend to ‘cheat’ more than when there are rules ๐Ÿ™‚ Yours are definitely a great place to start. I read the post on the ‘Putting me together’ series and you’re right, they are really inspiring and helpful. I have half a day off tomorrow so I might just get out and take pictures of all my clothes (or the ones that ‘ll actually wear) and try to combine them so I have a ready to go plan when I wake up in the mornings ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m very excited to read about your master plan!

  3. I admire people who are organized, with lists and well laid out plans. I unfortunately am not one of those people, my motto has always been ‘Rules are for sissies and Procrastination is my world’. Perhaps that is why my life is filled with frenzied projects, a entire closet full of fabric but never the right one for the project I want to start, and so many patterns that I could be classified as a hoarder. I envy you and will live vicariously through your blog as I await your master plan.

    • Wow–sounds a lot like I used to be, not so very long ago! ๐Ÿ™‚ I suppose the difference is that I realized I wasn’t very happy with how my sewing was going. I figured out that it was because I wasn’t sewing things I really wanted to wear. As it turns out, practicality is my muse!

  4. Oh, these sound like ‘good’ rules, as opposed to ones where you want to break them just for the sheer fun of it! Good luck and looking forward, as always, to see what you sew.

  5. I’m seriously loving your ‘sewing a wardrobe’ posts. Recently I looked in my closet and had that ‘I have nothing to wear!’ feeling. Then coincidentally both you and Tilly were posting about sewing for personal style and whatnot and I suddenly realised that I am really suckered in by cute fabrics and sewing patterns! So I decided to start cleaning out the closet and i’m just glad that you’re doing it too. I’m not alone!

  6. Thanks–I’m so glad ๐Ÿ™‚
    As it turns out, there’s a huge difference between fabrics that you like to look at and fabrics you actually want to wear. The same goes for patterns. When I finally started learning the difference (and I’m still learning) I finally started making clothes I love to wear!

  7. Yip, one in, one out rule is the way to go, but I would know my wardrobe is complete when I have worn any garment at least a couple of times a year. Collette did a spreadsheet quite a while back on their blog listing the must haves in any wardrobe. I had a purge recently where I threw out anything I hadn’t worn in two years – there was quite a few, mostly shop bought which I didn’t enjoy wearing usually down to poor fit. After that anything I hadn’t worn in the last year I set aside and if I don’t wear it within the next six months off it goes to Goodwill.

  8. Love reading your sewing a wardrobe series! I’m beginning to get better at sewing things that I would wear to death, so it’s fun to read how others do it.

    • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ It was always sort of mystery to me until I made myself sit down and figure out why I was making things I didn’t want to wear. Maybe it’s a phase we all go through when learning to sew. . .

  9. These are such good ideas- I need this pinned over my desk and surrounded in neon- maybe my closet would look less like a clown with multiple personalities sublets it.

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