Wardrobe Overhaul

IMG_1655It has been a while since I wrote the last post on What is MY Style?  We have done a few of the Spring Shows and launched a new pattern, as well as all the workshops that we run.

So now after a bit of time to sew for me I have gone back to trying to figure out “What is my style and what do I want to sew?”.

After looking through Pinterest and creating a My Style Board I decided to try and Spring clean my own wardrobe and see what shapes and styles were repeated and whether they bore any resemblance to what I had ‘liked’ and pinned to my board. So often we can admire things on others and wish we could wear that ourselves, but remain loyal to our ‘safe’ or comfortable way of dressing.

Blax The Cat would not be shifted off my bed and insisted on continuing her morning ablutions!

Looking dispassionately at all of my wardrobe items this was what I concluded:

1 – Everything was pretty loose or even oversized

2 – Most of it was grey or navy in various shades

3 – There were more tunics than anything else

4 – Colour, if any, was usually in the accessories or an ‘accent’ garment.

5 – Although the shapes were simple the garments contained details to create interest.

So it pretty much matched my Pinterest board.

The next thing I asked myself was ‘Were these items what I really wanted to wear or were they ‘just things that I already had lying around?’ I then sorted those out into a pile to donate to a charity shop. If I wasn’t feeling the ‘lurve’ it was time to go!

Next I looked at putting the remaining items together into outfits. My daughter does this on a regular basis so she knows what ‘goes’ and she can style her outfits with accessories and shoes etc, before she goes out with her friends. And to be honest I do remember doing this myself as a teenage when I had more time to spend – on myself.

The upshot of this is that there is a similarity between the outfits.

I mainly wear loose boxy tops with skinny jeans, a long-line, long-sleeved T with wide leg trousers, or tunic dresses with leggings.

Basically these…


As I have gotten older I have fuller bust now and little waist shaping, but my arms and legs are still pretty slim – so basically I’m an apple shape. Looking online at various style blogs and other ‘helpful’ sites that suggest dressing for your shape I should be “wearing V neck tops to draw the eye in and show off my ample bosom and empire line dresses to hide my tummy.”

But frankly I wouldn’t be seen dead in either of those. I just don’t feel comfortable exposing my decollate unless in an evening dress and the last time I wore an empire line dress I was asked if I was ‘expecting’!  Needless to say that person was crossed off my Christmas card list straight away! To be honest I was never one for obeying the rules.

So these are the shapes I feel most comfortable in.


Polyvore is a brilliant resource if you’re trying out different style ideas and looking for design details to add something to a shape you know you’ll like and wear.

So now I am more sure of what shapes I know I will wear. That’s not to say that I won’t deviate and make something that totally contradicts everything I’ve just written about. But it enables me to be more mindful when I’m selecting which patterns to make and how I intend to wear them as outfits with the other elements in my wardrobe.

Have you decided on your preferred shapes and styles? Maybe your wardrobe could do with a Spring overhaul?

Let me know what works for you.

What Is MY Style?


Last week I mulled over the idea that I was in a style rut and whether that was necessarily a bad thing. Thank you so much for your responses it looks like my ponderings have struck a chord so I thought I would start exploring further.

I wanted to have a go at really trying to define “My Style”. What we wear is almost a subconscious decision most of the time, you just grab what’s the easiest thing and go.  And I know that our preferences change with influences from the media and over time, but there must still be some core principles that remain true.

To help I went over the worksheet set by Colette in their Wardrobe Architect series to try and solidify what I think and feel about what I wear.  

And here are some of my answers…


I was always a bit of a Tomboy and had an equal love for a pair of favourite red corduroy dungarees and disdain for dresses and skirts. I also spent quite a few ‘fashion’ years just wearing black!


No longer a slave to fashion, I prefer to acknowledge the trends I like and enjoy but I’d much rather just be relaxed and easygoing about what I wear.


There are no real cultural aesthetics that I can draw on, or that restrict me in what I choose to wear. Or so I thought until I started chatting things over with The Bearded One. He reminded me that I was brought up in a reasonable affluent, mainly white, semi rural environment that wasn’t overly concerned with appearance, so maybe that has had more of an influence than I want to admit? 


I walk or cycle to work everyday and as I can no longer wear heels, practical shoes are the order of the day, usually brogues or trainers.


Stratford upon Avon where I live is a semi rural town in the middle of England. So I am in the middle a bit in terms of Urbane Sleek and Country Chic.


This category more than any other affects how I feel about myself and what influences the decisions I make about what to wear. I am no longer 25 years old or a size 10 and quite frankly, I have no wish to be. I am carrying more weight than I would like and no longer have a waist. Not that I ever really did. Well I had a flat stomach in my youth but I never really went ‘in’ at the waist. Which has led me to become more of an apple shape now in my middling years. However, I am pleased to admit that my arms and legs are still not bad!

I am planning on reviving my running routine this year, as part of an overall strategy to regain some control over aspects of my life and I am hoping that this will help to alter my body image and maybe even my shape as well. So I don’t mind exposing my arms and legs, as long as the rest of me is covered up.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Although this exercise didn’t really tell me anything I wasn’t already aware of I felt it was a good exercise to do to ‘just get it all down on paper’ (which is a strategy I am relying more and more upon to gain clarity on a whole range of things).


Why don’t you try it and see if it gives you some clarity too? You can print off the Worksheet and have a go.

Image taken from my Pinterest board and full credits can be found there. Link below.

Colette also suggested trying to come up with some descriptions of how you feel when you wear things you like and what would make you feel uncomfortable.

I want to feel…

Confident – being confident in what you wear allows you to think about other more important stuff.

Comfortable – comfort is a KEY element for me and directly linked to confidence

Natural – I want to look fresh and healthy

Timeless – Yves Saint Laurent said “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” So although I know my preferences will change over time, I still want to look current.

Quirky – the grown up version of rebellious, I think. I don’t need to shock anymore, but I do like to make people do a double take sometimes with something just a little bit out of the ordinary.


I don’t want to be…

Frumpy – Obviously!

Girly or cute – Frankly I’m too old and it doesn’t suit my cranky nature!

Fussy – Detail is fine, but I much prefer an uncluttered look.

“Done Up” – I like to look like I’ve made an effort but I feel really uncomfortable with too much make-up or styling.

“Shrunk wrapped” – Going back to the Body section previously, anything that is too body hugging, even with the right underwear, is just not me. I love the look of body-con dresses,  but they just make me feel self conscious. Although if I keep up the running who knows?!


I know I have used a couple of made up phrases here, but I hope you get my meaning. Also having a few ‘trigger’ words that you can be aware of when you’re thinking about your core style can help you decide if a shape or style is really you. Again there is a Wardrobe Architect Worksheet to help.

I came up with  5 words that I can use as a sort of filter to sift through pattern or design ideas when trying to define my own Style.


Simple         Cosy        Practical         Natural       Individual

My style blog Wk2 image 1.jpg

What 5 words would you use to describe your own style? I’d love to know so please add your words in the comment below.

I also have a Pinterest board with a few things that I feel define My Style of the moment, and actually I want it all! Have a look and let me know what you think.


Can You Have Too Much Of A Good Thing?



I made myself a dress the other day, not much odd in that you might think. After all I do run a sewing shop and teach all stuff sewing too. I do have to confess to not actually making many things for myself at the moment, but when I do it is usually one of a couple of things.

Either a Helena dress of which I now have 6 or the new soon to be released pocket top of which I also have 6. You might notice a theme here?

In fact I went through the front half of my wardrobe which is basically all of the clothes I have worn over the last 6 months and to be honest nearly 90% of the outfits I wear consist of one or both of these items.

I have been thinking a lot about this. What you wear speaks volumes about you. It screams what ‘tribe’ you belong to, what age bracket you’ve decided to fit into, your cultural background, what part of the country you’re from, all sorts of subtle and not so subtle signals sent out to let the world know who you are.

So why am I wearing the same clothes?

Coming from a ‘fashion background’ and as cliched as it might sound, everyone wore black. It was our uniform. Black went with everything, everything matched and accessorised easily. More crucially it required little thought!

So am I more like Mark Zuckerberg? In this article in the Independent he explains why he wears the exact same T shirt and jeans everyday. EVERY DAY! His point is that he cannot waste headspace debating what to wear each day when he should be thinking about more important issues. So he has a ‘uniform’ of sorts.

Do I have my own ‘uniform’? I must admit that having so many Helena dresses makes it dead easy to get dressed in the morning.

Helena + skinny jeans + long sleeved T + boots + scarf = Job done!


I have enough white long sleeved T shirts to sink a battleship and everything goes with jeans.

But for self confessed creative type, am I being a bit boring? Am I copping out of the creative decision making that identifies me to the rest of the world?

Am I in a STYLE RUT?

Have you made tonnes of the same thing? Do you wear similar clothes all the time? Maybe 2017 is the year to quit the rut.

I want to create and sew a range of different items of clothing that I feel comfortable wearing and that reflect who I am and my own personal style. Rather than randomly making what I want, I feel there needs to be some plan, some cohesion here too, so I am focussing my time and energy in making things I know I will wear and love.

There are numerous tools out there to help you but I really enjoyed reading the Wardrobe Architect that Sarai Mitnick from Colette patterns brought out a couple of years ago.  So I will be loosely following that as I plan out what to wear and make in 2017.

If you’d like to join me on my journey try following the worksheet Colette have produced to help you in Week one – Making Style More Personal and I’ll share some of my responses too.