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Taking baby steps: Identifying my “style”

High on my success with holiday pillow covers, I decided to tackle something a bit more challenging. I settled on a skirt. I figured it can’t be that tough- no arm holes or crotch area to worry about. It all seemed pretty straightforward.

I decided my next step was to figure out what specific skirt to make and how to do it. I have one major concern regarding the creation of clothing- I want to really wear what I make without looking like a weirdo. Most of the patterns I see in the fabric stores freak me out. The apparel looks dated and the proportions often seem off. I refuse to look like a bag lady or someone who just stepped off of the Little House on the Praire set.

I cruised around online to see what other sewing bloggers are creating. Holy, Prada ladies- cool it with the huge patch pockets. They are universally unflattering (there are some exceptions, but not many). I also discovered that sewing bloggers are a small group who tend to get excited about and create clothing using the same patterns. Coletterie’s patterns seem really popular. I can’t tell you how many beignet skirts, peony dresses, and sorbetto tops I found featured on sewing blogs. Obviously, the people at Coletterie are doing something right. Since I figured she’s an expert, I bought the owner and founder of Coletterie’s book, The Colette Sewing Handbook to officially get me started down the road to apparel making.


My copy of the Colette handbook

Chapter 2 suggests coming up with a “thoughtful plan” for your sewing. In other words, figure out your personal style and stick to it as you sew new pieces for your wardrobe. Although I am still pretty clueless, I do know that creating apparel from scratch takes a significant amount of time and effort. I can’t image dedicating time and resources to something you don’t plan on wearing regularly. I decided to take the book’s advice and define my style before I made any creation decisions. This was tougher than I’d anticipated. When I go shopping, I know what I like. I think I’m pretty good at selecting things that look good on me, and I haven’t made a what-was-I-thinking clothing purchase since 2009 (an unfortunate lavender top with puffy sleeves and an empire waist that makes me look pregnant- oops). It’s one thing to select one item from several in a store, but to start from scratch.. I needed to figure out what exactly made my clothing work for me, so I started taking a pictorial record. Below are some of my favorites. (I didn’t intend to share these images publicly, so please excuse the funky angle and my lopped off head.)


Lunch and shopping with girlfriends. shirt- Gap, skirt- Loft, sandals- Nine West

I think these pants are great! Pants and shirt- Old Navy, sandals- Nine West

I think these pants are great! Pants and shirt- Old Navy, sandals- Nine West

A recent acquisition- the "Bridget" dress from Banana Republic, shoes- Nine West, necklace- Francesca's

A recent acquisition- the “Bridget” dress from Banana Republic, shoes- Nine West, necklace- Francesca’s


Finally, a picture with my head! My university instructor look- jacket- Gap, turtleneck- Banana Republic, skirt- Loft, tights- Target, booties- White House Black Market, necklace- Francesca’s

The images helped me come to a few conclusions. First, I favor vibrant pops of color. Second, I wear a lot of slim fitting skirts and loose fitting tops. Third, I wear lots of long necklaces and scarves (no scarves pictured here, but quite a few showed up in my photo collection). I wear a lot of navy, black, and red. I realized I own only two garments with ruffles, none with puffy sleeves (except for the aforementioned shopping mistake which I never wear), and only one pastel colored top. If I were to label my style, I guess preppy and classic are terms that fit.

Armed with a better understanding of my style, I started searching again for a skirt project. I fell in love with this cutie in the window of J. Crew a while ago (click to see the city mini in Dublin tartan). Unfortunately, at $98 it’s out of my graduate student budget. Then I found this tutorial by Elisabeth over at Growing Home. It’s inspired by the J. Crew skirt! Obviously, this was the skirt sewing project for me!


3 thoughts on “Taking baby steps: Identifying my “style”

  1. Good luck with your new sewing endeavours, that skirt look do-able for a novice and if you do up a mock (muslin) first you’ll be more confident working with your main fabric. I look forward to seeing the finished garment.

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