How to turn inspiration into the perfect handmade wardrobe (+ my 2017 Spring/Summer sewing plans)

Guys, I think summer is coming. I’m not 100% sure, but I’ve seen some daffodils and easter eggs are out so it must be true 🙂

If you’re anything like me, changing seasons totally signals some part of the brain to start making ALL the pretty things.

But it can be a little tricky to translate all that energy and inspiration into a meaningful wardrobe that brings you happiness. Heck, I don’t know about you but until I managed to find this process my whole approach was one hot, disjointed mess of ideas.

Luckily I managed to find a system that not only lets me use my creative energy (and all the Pinterest inspiration – crucial part of the process, right?) but leaves me with a wardrobe that works for me and makes me super happy.

Pretty awesome, right?

So here’s what I worked out:

1. Get focused

I think it’s really important to first gather together the images that inspire you. These can be off the rack inspiration from your favourite stores or more artistic inspiration. It’s really important to get this bit right (and something I talk about in much more detail in this post).

2. Break down the key elements

It’s a no brainer really, but clothes are basically made up of two major component parts: the fabric and the pattern. I think one of the key things to nailing a me-made that you love is making sure you understand the component elements.

I remember back in my early days I was really excited about making a chambray midi skirt that I was sure was going to be my answer to the perfect summer skirt. But, well, it fell flat. The colour was wrong, the fabric wasn’t quite hefty enough, and the pattern was just so-so. I’d raced into making it without really trying to understand my inspiration (drapier and in a dark taupe).

Now I’m much more savvy. I study the heck out of my inspirational images. I really go into full detective mode: What are the pockets like? Is there a waistband? How does it close? What kind of fabric is it? What shapes are the legs? How much pleating is going on? How much drape is going on with that fabric?

3. Find the best match

Once I’ve got a handle on the key components I really get into it 😄. I start scouring my Pinterest boards, Instagram and Google for patterns and fabric. And once I’ve narrowed those down I stalk other people that have used the same pattern or fabric to try and understand if that’s the right fabric is pattern for my me-made.

I then make a note in my phone, bullet journal, or blog post 🙂 and then just keep referring to that as I decide what projects to work on next.

So what does all that look like in practice? Well, it might be helpful to see how my inspiration translates into practice.

IN practice: My 2017 Spring/Summer sewing plans

Culottes

Right? Summer 2017 in one garment.

I’m quite tempted to use New Look 6459 because of the waistband, pockets and subtle pleats (see that breaking down the elements bit really helped me there), but I also think these, these or True Bias emersons could easily take you to culotte heaven.

In keeping with the relaxed inspiration for this I’m looking at some beautiful striped linen, possibly this from Offset Warehouse.

Boxy top and midi skirt

I’ve scouted out the Bento tee as a really strong choice for boxy shirt perfection. I’ll be aiming to make this up in a soft, striped linen (do you notice a theme appearing here?).

As for the midi skirt, I really do like the vintage pattern I used before and am tempted to use that again (though this is also contender). I’d be tempted to say linen again, but I think my inspiration uses something with a softer drape so I’m aiming for rayon.

No fabric sourced for either of these yet though so they might sit on the back burner a bit.

Overalls

So excited. I have the perfect vintage 70s pattern I want to use (though this is a solid alternative) and now it’s just about getting some mid-blue denim. Possible contenders are here and here.

This is my plan for now (though you do know how I like to change things up). I’ll be posting updates on my progress over on Instagram and Facebook, so do be sure to come find me and hang with me as I work through these projects.

  1. Reply
    Anya

    I love how you break it down! I work the same way as you do – collect inspiration, go into full detective mode and then start making while still second guessing everything. It definitely pays off in the end! So many wearable garments. I also love your inspiration board. I am digging all of them!

  2. Reply
    Lynsey

    From reading this I realise where I am going wrong, I have so many pins and likes on Pinterest and I expect most of them are because they look nice but I know they wouldn’t suit me or they’re not my style. I never knew what I’m making next then make things I don’t wear. My weekend job is to make a new ‘my style’ board and see if I can start to work out my true style

  3. Reply
    Carly

    I have so much trouble figuring out what fabric will be like from their online descriptions that more than once I’ve just bought the same exact fabric people on Instagram/blogs have used for a pattern.

  4. Reply
    Anonymous

    I love your style pics!! Ive also been looking for a perfect boxy top pattern and I think it might be Simplicity 1366…

  5. Reply
    Laura

    Great break down. I had some makes similar to the midi skirt until u got a bit more savvy with component choices. Pinterest is so helpful for identifying what it is I like about a type of clothing. I pin lots and lots until I see the commonality

  6. Reply
    Anna

    This is such a good technique for breaking things down! I find that there is just so much I want to make, so I will definitely try your way. Thank you!

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