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Teacher, Photographer, Otaku, Amateur Seamstress, Wifey to B-chan, & Mommy to Monkey Z and Elven M.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shop Like You're Designing a Collection

This post is an adaptation of a podcast by Dr. Julie-Ann of Grandma's Sewing Cabinet and Modern Retro Woman. Her podcast gives guidelines for shopping for sewing projects with a focus on pieces that coordinate.
I chose to apply her information to shopping. While yes, I sew, lately I have been drowning in housework. I cannot seem to get ahead enough to find the time to sew... that, and logistics in my house are, um, awkward to say the least.
Enough excuses. On to the good stuff!

Dr. Julie-Ann suggests the following to create a look book for sewing projects:
  • Start with a story- What do you want to convey with how you look? Decide on a theme, if you will.
  • Create an Inspiration board- Find 5-10 images of styles, places, things etc. that inspire you and help you tell your story.
  • Create a profile of yourself- Define who you are and what position you hold in life. Think about your story. (This step can be done first).  
  1. Name 
  2. Occupation
  3. Income
  4. Education
  5. Residence
  6. Marital Status
  7. Number of Children
  8. Activities/Travel
  9.  Favorite Designer(s) & Places to shop
  • Choose a Color Scheme- Decide on 2-3 solids and 1 print. Neutrals are a great place to start.Again this should fit within telling your story. Note: This should definitely be done before you enter a fabric store to avoid the "Squirrel!" from Up effect, if you know what I mean.
  • Choose your Fabric-Consider the purpose of your piece (casual vs. office vs. formal). This is a hands on exercise and should also help you tell your story.
  • Choose your pattern- Finally, based on your story, fabrics, and purpose of your clothes, you can be more focused on choosing what to make.
So, obviously with some of the suggestions you have to tweak them to apply them to shopping, but there is relevance to the advice.
  • Decide your story/ Profile yourself- Who are you and what do you want to say about yourself?
  • Decide color- While it would be nice to completely start from scratch, that's wildly impractical and expensive. So, take some time to look at what's in your closet and try to find a pattern of color. Coordination is the key. Purge what you don't wear.
  • Create an inspiration board- Fashion is always changing. There are classics and trendy pieces. Save on the trends and splurge on the classics if you can. 
  • Set a budget and time limit and make a list of what you want to get. This will help you save money. If you can't find it right away, or you don't love it and look smashing in it, leave it! On the contrary, if you have the money for it and you'll be kicking yourself later for not buying it, get it. Just be aware of return policies.
  • Shop. Open your mind to where you can find things (thrift, vintage, consignment, discount stores), but make sure it's quality. Don't forget your shopping list, theme, and color palette! Do not buy anything that does not coordinate with at least 3 other pieces.
  • Catalog- Take pictures of your outfits that you create. You can post them in your closet to help you decide what to wear (especially outfits that get compliments), but you can also take them with you shopping to help you coordinate.
As a mommy who needs to focus when she shops, I hope I can put these tips into practice. I, personally, am prone to the "Squirrel!"-length attention span and need a bit of focus.

These tips are based on the Podcast by Dr. Julie-Ann
They are also taken from the March issue of InStyle (page271) "Whip Your Wardrobe Into Shape". You can find the Checklist for Spring online.
The Thrift Store Directory will help you find a thrift store in your area.
Design Seeds can help you find a color palette.
And if you are into sewing and want to create your own unique fabric go to Spoonflower
For pattern ideas and some patterns you can visit the Burda website.
To create an inspiration board, you have to try Pinterest, or just visit it.

Hopefully, you can be more organized when you shop or sew. Happy organizing!

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