In the midst of my excitement for this makeover sewing challenge I realized that I was struggling with the idea of where to start. After all I will be challenging myself over the course of a year to sew myself a new garment every week. In the beginning it may sound exciting and new but over time it could prove to be... well... a challenge. Not only that, I tend to get OCD about my sewing, or I can get super excited about a particular pattern and sew the same thing in a different color or fabric 5 times until I realize that I should probably challenge myself and take my skills to another level with a more complicated project. So I took the time to come up with some pre-steps that not only helped me identify a starting point but also a strategy to building the wardrobe of my dreams.
1) Declutter your closetThe first thing I did was took a trip to my closet and re-evaluate my existing wardrobe. I decided to throw away whatever was too big, too ugly, too out of style and too whatever else to keep. I actually think de-cluttering your drawers and closet on a seasonal basis is a must do in anyone's life. I have this thing about house clutter and life clutter. If your house is filled with clutter then its usually an indicator that your personal life is too ( this is a place I've struggled with over the years by the way. I'm constantly checking myself in about it).
I think it was around September or October of 2014 after I lost 25 pounds that I did my first major closet declutter and took this picture and posted it on Facebook as a testimony of my personal triumph with my battle of the bulge!
Then I invested about $250 buying some basic wardrobe staples (jeans, black slacks, a black blazer, layering tops, etc.). This kept me going throughout the last winter season. Then spring and summer came and I made a few skirts and dresses and bought a few things from the thrift store in order to work through that season. However, in addition to my shrinking closet, I have started to realize that in the process of losing the weight, not only am I changing on the outside but my inside has been transforming as well. Things that I used to like to wear I have begun to see that I was wearing because its what looked best on my body based on my weight situation. Now that I am sporting a smaller waistline I realized that my confidence is up and my courage to be bolder with my wardrobe is too!
2) Create a Vision BoardAfter checking in with my closet I decided to re-visit "My Style" Board on Pinterest. I highly recommend having some kind of vision board whether something you do with magazine images or digitally like keeping a Pinterest Board. This has helped me to discover my personal style which I have discovered is somewhere between boho chic and vintage glamour. Far from the jeans, t-shirt and flats combinations that I have been working. Keeping a Pinterest board has also allowed me to stay focused on my weight loss goals, not overspend in the store and decide between what I will sew vs. what I will buy in the store.
I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my style goals.
I love these pants. They have a 70's vintage vibe and the high waist and slim leg is very flattering. I have a sewing pattern similar to these pants. These are on my I want to sew list.
This is a vintage dress from Biba. I am so into Biba vintage right now. It was all about the shoulders and sleeves with them. I plan on playing with this sleeve style this fall.
Pretty and a great wardrobe staple. It can go from work, church and date night if you use the right fabric
I love the boho chicness of this outfit, especially the arm bling! Its a bit over the top and eye-catching in an earthy organic way.
And no wardrobe would be complete without a pencil skirt and i'm digging this khaki variation.
3) Decide what you will sew vs. what you will buy
I think this is self-explanitory but in life there are somethings that I have no desire to learn how to sew. Jeans, t-shirts and basic button down shirts are but a few of those things on my list. I do however, think that its important to identify what those things are ahead of time.
4) Start with the basicsAfter streamlining my closet and re-visting my style boards I was able to identify that there were quite a few holes in my wardrobe. For example: I didn't have a nice fitting basic black pencil skirt or basic black dress, I didn't have a crisp white button down shirt either, just to name a few. Which led me to the conclusion that it is best to start with the basics. A word of wisdom when you are intending to sew the basics. Invest in a quality fabric and take the time to work out all the fit issues in your pattern. If you do these two things you will end up with a nice fitting wardrobe staple that will last you forever. Also, you can use the pattern to create future garments. I have finally worked out the fit issues on a pencil skirt pattern and I am going to use it as the bottom for dresses that I want to make over the course of the year.
5) Create a list of your sewing projects and schedule them into your calendar
My final step in all of this was to take my list of what I wanted and needed to sew and schedule them into my calendar. Sewing takes time especially if you want to make quality garments. If I don't take the time to do this the opportunity for me to not stay on track becomes a reality for me. Break down everything that you will need to sew the garments including techniques you will use and then schedule what you will do on what day. If you do this you won't be stressed out about getting your garment finished on time.
It seems like a lot but I did all of these things over a period of a couple of weeks figuring things out as I went along. I hope you find this post helpful and I look forward to continuing to share my new wardrobe with you.