Wardrobe Architect 2015 Challenge – March Round-up


Image source: Coletterie

A bit late for the monthly round-up (we’re already four days into April), but I have a good excuse: I’m sitting in the sun as I write, in a very unexpected place, Denmark (visiting my family for Easter). As I left the UK, I had zero expectations on the weather front, but I’m sitting on the sun deck and it’s so gorgeously warm and sunny, it makes up for all my vitamin D deficiency accumulated throughout the winter. So, what better setting to think about the spring/summer wardrobe?

But first, a bit of a recap. I am happy to note that March has been the most successful month of this year so far, I felt very happy and productive on the sewing front.

So, on the plus side:

The retail fast: Still going strong, I have not bought anything for myself in March either and I can’t say I missed it. However, I did buy a few things for my mum and auntie (I was coming to visit them in Denmark) and they always put in requests. I was feeling a bit guilty about this, but they live very frugally (clothing wise) and hardly ever buy anything new for themselves, so it was a treat that I would not have had time to make myself.

March also meant a big conundrum: I really need a pair of jack-of-all-trades spring/summer shoes, that are a bit dressy, but very comfy, to walk to work in and also to wear out at the weekends. My old favourites have literally fallen apart (had them for 4 years) and they really are beyond repair (lost shape and holes in the sole). Plus I think I need to rethink my size, I’m really suffering from too tight shoes recently. Anyhoo, I can’t seem to be able to find a pair that is reasonably sustainable (or from a company which makes at least some sustainability efforts), that look decent and don’t cost the world. I plan to wear these shoes for a long time, so they need to be good quality and durable, so I would really want them to be leather (sorry, vegan friends, I have a deeply ingrained belief in the longevity of leather vs pleather), not frumpy and up to a max of £100-£150. Any suggestions most welcome!

Sewing stats:

Garments completed: 2 dresses – the drapey dress from Fashion with Fabric (see pics from Olympia below to get an idea) and a made from scrap Burda patch dress; 3 tops (the blue sleeveless one, the Mimi, a sari top yet to be blogged), 1 trial Nettie bodysuit (which is not very presentable, as it was made out of scraps, but it brought a heap of learnings and I wear it around the house all the time).

Refashions:  the zippy jumper

Accessories: 3 infinity scarves refashions from old pashminas, a mini tutorial on the blog soon.

Utility projects: 2 –  the yoga mat cary case (see Instagram) and a laptop case for my work laptop (vey unremarkable, but sorely needed).

Unselfish sewing: 1- one skirt for my friend’s birthday.

Total: 13 completed items! I’m even surprised myself!

I also wanted to give myself a little pat on the back for the amount of stash busting and scrap scrapping I’ve been achieving this month. I’ve added 4m of scuba (as a result of the Olympia Knit and Stitch show), which I could not resist, but appart from that, it the above number was all achieved with stash yardage and repurposing of pieces in my left-over pile in various combinations. Still, stash numbers are too high for my liking (as well as for my storage capacity) – aprox 75m, so I’m planning a lot more stash busting in April, especially since I have loads of spring/summer lightweight fabrics more suitable for the season.

In other (good) news

Sew it with love

Teaching sewing: I was asked to be a sewing tutor by the lovely Elena from Sew it with Love sewing studio. This is a dream come true, as I have always wanted to share the love of sewing and my (modest) skills with a many people as possible. So here’s hoping that this is the beginning of many many more classes. If you know anyone that would be interested in a sewing tutor, please point them my way.

The Knit and Stitch Show at the Olympia: This was a great opportunity to get the Sewing Bee gang together, here are a few pics of what we got up to (thanks Nee Bee and Amanda for taking them). We also meet some truly famous sewing people and I did not miss the opportunity to have my pic taken with CL (Sewing Bee sewing expert and author of Fashion with Fabrics book) and Lauren Guthrie, from Guthrie and Ghani and of course from Sewing Bee series 1.

This is the gang crashing CL’s book signing:

#GBSB Fashion with Fabric - CL signing at the Olympia

And last but not least, THE FINAL!!

We all watched in trepidation as Matt pulled it out of the avantgarde bag and won the crown of Britain’s Best Amateur Sewist and the first man to receive the golden mannequin. Congratulations to our King Bee and a hearty well done to the extremely worthy finalists, Lorna and Neil.

On the minus side:

The actual WA challenge has taken a bit of a back seat lately. I still haven’t completed the clear-out I missed in February and the planning for the capsule wardrobe have not advanced either. While reading through the comments on Colleterie, I found this blog that I think it’s exactly what I needed to do in terms of capsulising (if this is even a word…) my wardrobe. So I’m sharing it here, in case other people have an interest.

So, although I know April will be very busy with travelling (in Denmark as we speak and then a long awaited gang reunion with my friends in Romania towards the end of the month) and I will have less time for sewing, I am hoping to at least make some progress on the planning side.

So, here’s what I’m hoping to achieve:

– have the clear-out and put away what I no longer wear, but don’t want to get rid of just yet, emerging with a nice, lean wardrobe at the other end.

Coloured trousers are the main gap I’ve identified in my wardrobe (more probably to emerge from the purge). So the plan is to sew at least one pair of side zipper ones and one pair of front fly ones. I have already traced a Burda pattern ready to cut in a red cotton stretch fabric from the stash. And I think the front fly ones are very likely to end up being Gingers. I have some scrap lightweight denim from my friend’s skirt, let’s see if I can make that work. I would have loved some green options, but since I’m trying to stash-bust, and my skills are probably not up to scratch yet, I’ll live with red and orange for now. This is the inspiration:


Jumpsuits have always been an obsession of mine, so I am planning on refashioning/up-cycling an old strapless dress into one, by adding the bodice of the dress onto a pair of Elisa M vintage high-waist trousers. Sounds a bit frankenpatterny, but here’s hoping…

The final result should be something like this:

– And last, although out of season, I want to at least start my first coat. I bought some lovely mid-weight red woollen fabric from Oxfam online shop (check it out if you haven’t yet, they have awesome great value fabrics, and you help a good cause too). I’ve already ordered the pattern, inspired by Mimi G, so let’s see how that goes.

So that’s how my March went, dear sewing friends, and feeling very excited about April (and hopefully some real spring).

Happy sewing!



    1. The pattern is great, I loved it! However, not very keen on my first attempt. I need to make some tweaks. You can have a quick look in the pics from the Knit and Stitch Show, the one with the purple pattern. But it’s coming on the blog soon too. But definitely recommend the book, very well written, clear instructions and great illustrations. CL rocks!


    1. He he, my living room is looking like a war zone, but the sewjo is definitely back on :). I did have a look at them, but will probably need to find a store to see if they are as comfy as they say :). Thanks for the recommendation though.


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