Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Curating A Cohesive Wardrobe Interview with Sharon

Hello Stashbusters,
Today I have a  lovely interview from Sharon who blogs at Petite and Sewing. She's sharing how she builds a cohesive wardrobe and I think you'll agree with me that she always looks well put together. Let's hear her story.

How long have you been sewing?
I have been sewing for 37 years, first taught by my darling Mum and her very good friend, my sister and I then went to evening classes at TAFE and then when I moved to Sydney I had lessons with a fantastic sewing and fitting teacher for 8 years.

Why did you start?
I started to sew as my Mum had sewn for me as a child and I was used to having garments fit me. When I got older I continued to sew as any RTW garments, particularly skirts and pants fitted me in the waist, but assumed I had hips!

During my lessons with my sewing teacher, I soon realised that I much preferred the fit I could achieve through sewing my own garments than I could in almost any RTW garment.  It also meant that I could make a top in the colours I liked and the style that suited me.

How do you get such nice looking outfits all the time? 
This is two fold.  I had my colours and style analysed back in 1989 and had them reviewed recently.  Both of these things have helped me choose styles that reflect my taste, classic with a bit of a twist and my Personal Colour Swatch colours have let me have a very cohesive fabric collection.

Do you have a specific style you gravitate towards? How do you decide what to sew?
I do tend to gravitate towards separates, and this also lets me have a small wardrobe with a lot of different outfit combinations.  Again using my Personal Colour Swatch it means that nearly everything I put in my wardrobe coordinates with another piece even though it might have been designed as a top to go with a particular skirt.  

My sewing decisions at the moment are based on what holes I need to fill in my wardrobe as all of a sudden my garments have started to fail through too much wear!  Another thing I do is Sew with a Plan (SWAP).  I have been doing this for a couple of years now and there is a very active group at Artisan Square where you sew 11 garments  that work together – e.g. 6 tops, 3 bottoms and a layer piece or a dress and this is the combination I sewed last year.

To read more about the individual pieces see here.

When you decide to sew a garment what factors do you consider? 
First up is the pattern. Can I use one of my TNT patterns to get the fit and look I want? How much work do I need to put into a pattern to get the fit I want? 

Then the fabric, what is the look I am after and how does it wear?

Once the fabric is chosen then it is working out how to handle it during construction, pinked seams, serged/overlocked or French seams and if I want to add any additional structure.
I try and have all my notions for any project together before I start, putting them all together in a zip lock bag!

Do you shop for fabric with a plan for use, or buy whatever speaks to you?
The majority of my fabric has spoken to me and I usually have a very good idea what it will be, however some pieces that have been in the stash for quite some time, do have a change of direction, like this navy top. 

Planned dress changed to top.
Even though my fabric speaks to me, unless it works with my Personal Colour Swatch it does not come home with me.

Here is a blog post from 2011 after I had completed my first Me-Made month hosted by So Zo, that explains how I purchase my fabrics.

 Wow! Thanks for sharing your process with us Sharon. I've learned several new things and will have to check out SWAP now that I understand what it is. Now it's back to you stash busters, can you pinpoint your style? How would you define your clothes?


Heather Bee said...

Now that's some cohesive sewing. I'm in awe of her planning.

beajay said...

Very interesting. I have recently taken on (aka stolen) Sharon's ziplock bag per project idea. Very organised.

Carolyn Norman said...

This is a great interview and it's wonderful to read about your process Sharon! Thanks Em for some great questions!

Andrea Firth said...

I would love to put together some kind of plan for what I sew for myself. My fabric stash isn't that cohesive though, so I'll just have to use it all up with things that don't match! I've been dreaming for quite a few years of putting together my own little 'collection' for my wardrobe. Thanks for sharing Em!

EmSewCrazy said...

I know! Me Too.

EmSewCrazy said...

Yeah, I like the idea too. Glad to hear it works so well. I usually use random boxes so this would be neater.

EmSewCrazy said...

Glad you enjoyed it Carolyn.

EmSewCrazy said...

I'm in the same boat, Andrea! I'm working on culling my fabrics and anything new I buy I try to think through color wise.