But it’s really only recently that I feel like I’m actually using my planning properly – to hone in on my style, spot gaps, and identify makes that I’ll wear again and again.
So buckle up tight and make yourself comfortable, because I’ve got all sorts of tips coming at ya!
1. Using Pinterest with purpose
I know it’s not original, but Pinterest is such an easy way to gather inspiration. And I have a bit of a twist in how I use it for planning.
I like to start with a giant general style board. On this board I pin all the style pics that take my fancy, not really worrying about seasons or actual fit with my life (a giant elaborate skirt with heels? Great idea! Pin it!)
I then have a separate board – my handmade wardrobe board – that I use to whittle down and define my style. On this board I pin styles that fit with my life and I know will work for my shape.
Some other things I think about for my handmade style board:
- Keeping it seasonal
- Aiming to keep the number of pins low (around 40 pins)
- Editing like crazy so the only pins are things I know will work for me and my body shape
I think of it like an exclusive, members only club. But for clothes 🙂
2. Diving in
Once I’ve set up a board I’m happy with I look over it, trying to find any repeating shapes, patterns, and items.
Like maybe I’ve pinned a black shift dress a few times. Or a chambray button down. Or chunky clogs. Whatever it is, if I’ve pinned it a few times, it’s pretty likely that it’s something that would work well for me.
I’ve only started doing this recently but I think it’s a really key step. It helps keep me focused on things that I will wear and that will fit with my life, rather than one-offs (bye bye oversized skirt and heels!)
These become my unofficial hit list of makes. And I try to jot it down somewhere.
I’ve kinda fallen in love with bullet journalling at the moment and have found it a really helpful way of keeping notes (this is a great intro post if you’re interested). You can see in the photo above that I jot down some notes of some of the things that were repeating for me.
3. Taking stock
Once I’ve got a general idea of items I’d like to add to my wardrobe I take a break and let myself do a quick stock check.
I used to run out and start planning my next round of makes right after I’d identified gaps, but I’ve learned how important it is to take a step back. It helps me make sure I’m really focusing on what I need.
It may be that I already have one of those items in my closet (chambray button down I’m looking at you). Or maybe it just isn’t something I need in my life right now (bye bye chunky clogs).
I’ve also started to take this time to see if I can find a few key looks (you can see me writing and sketching this out above)
4. Making a plan
Now that I’ve got a solid idea for what I need and what’s missing I make a plan, including pattern and fabric choices. Basically the key pieces.
I love a good plan and have used all sorts of different approaches – lists, spreadsheets (I know, sad, right?), sketches. Right now, I really love sketching out my ideas. It’s nice to see everything together and work out if it will fit with my vision.
I don’t think it really matters how you plan, just getting your thoughts down somewhere helps.
5. SLowing down
So this last step is a new one, but I think it’ll hold. 🙂
I used to feel like I had to make every. single. thing. immediately. Like there was literally no way I could live without a handmade pair of jeans.
But here’s the thing.
Life goes on. Even without that handmade pair of jeans.
So I’ve been teaching myself to slow down. Enjoy the process of planning and making. To use sewing as a hobby I enjoy rather than a crazy, self-imposed battery of things I must make (which make me feel bad – either because I didn’t end up making everything, or because I made them but ended up feeling stressed by the whole thing).
Phew. pretty extensive, right?
I know it seems much, but everything I’ve made using this planning process has really stayed with me. Probably because the makes are actually filling a real need in my life/wardrobe and are a realistic reflection of me (which is, sadly, not giant, voluminous skirts with heels).
And I can dig that 🙂
What about you, how do you plan your makes? Is it a pencil and paper job? Or have you used one of those planners that are so popular?