Friday, 29 March 2013

SWAP and changes in plans

A post about wardrobe planning, purges and sewing lists...

I never came around to blogging this, but past fall I made a big wardrobe clean out. What prompted it was the constant feeling of having nothing to wear while my closets were brimming over with clothes and shoes. I decided to take a new approach to planning my closet, and instead of starting with what I had, I made a list of what I needed.

Different occasions in my life were listed, such as "Work", "Dance", "Work-out", "Town/dinner at friends", "Cozy at home" etc, then each occasion split into types of garments, and seasons where needed.  The types of garments became categories and the occasions/seasons became sub-categories. Then the real planning began, for example: how many winter skirts would I like to have for work? How many would be too few/too many? What is the minimum amout that would give sufficient variation?

I looked through my closet: what did I already have that I actually used for these categories? (Or could use, for example if I had a piece that worked with it). I filled it in, and noted how many I wanted to make.

It looked something like this:

Skirts 16
Winter 5
Blue wool
Brown/plaid vintage
Brown/blue plaid me-made
Green wiggleskirt
Deep red 30s A-line
Spring/Fall 5
Grey plaid
Green halfcircle
Black wiggle
Blue fullcircle
Beige wiggle
Summer 6
Blue pleated x2
Blue A-line/halfcircle
Provencale patterned
White 30s

And this is just one category of the list's total 15 categories...

Armed with this list, I set out to ruthlessly purge both closet and sewing list. In real life, it wasn't that simple. I ended up splitting my closet into 1) On the list-items 2) Throw away 3) Sell/donate 4) Maybe-pile 5) Save for sentimental value. It doesn't really matter if I will never again wear the dress my aunt wore to my parents wedding, I'm saving it anyway. I have a whole bunch of family heirloom pieces, like a mink stole, a traditional folk-dress etc, and both those and my me-made medieval clothes are VIPs in my closet =)

Before and after photos of the three closets for hanging garments:

And no, it does not look this neat now. There were more pieces to add, like the VIPs. Also, it's funny how nice it is to have clear closet floors, and how practical they always seem whenever one has something to store away.

Even armed with the list, it was so hard to remove stuff that fits/I like/I've worn a lot before. In fact, I couldn't, I'm weak when it comes to clothes... Instead, I removed everything (one closet at the time) and didn't have to choose what to remove, but what to add. Much easier. The maybe pile got really big though... It was a good thing the mr helped me look through it all, and actually stopped me from some rash purges. For example this 70s dress from my aunt:

I never wear it out as it just seems too much and isn't really my style. It hadn't even occured to me it's a great housedress! It stays =) Overall, it felt good to make this purge, and even though I liked some of the pieces I've removed, I haven't missed a single one of them.

Like I hinted, this also made a huge impact on my sewing list. Before, it's been more "Yeah, I would like some more jersey dresses" and then I'd plan a bunch of dresses (too many, but that's ok, I'm a slow sewist so I never make everything I plan). Now, I have a list of different categories, and it's actually fun to plan after it! I want to make a little bit of everything, so instead spending the year just sewing the dresses I need, I'll maybe make one dress, two t-shirts, a jacket etc. Some pieces for winter, some for summer. Some for leisure and some for dressing up. Diverse, flexible, keeping me interested and motivated, but with an overall plan. The organizing-nerd in me almost keeled over with glee over this chart (I'm showing just a part of it here, 3 out of the total 15 categories):

3 winter
4 spring/fall (2)
3 summer (1)
5 work/winter (3)
5 dance/summer (3)
5 semi-formal (2)
5 All dressed up (1)
5 winter (2)
5 spring/fall
6 summer (2)

The numbers indicate how many I need, and the (x) how many I'm short, the last column how many there's to sew. So now I'm Sewing With A Plan (SWAP)!

Of course, even the best laid plans can go awry... We're going on a sun trip! In May me and the mr has booked a trip to lovely, sunny Spain. I've never been there, and just the thought of 20+ C and sunshine will make the coming weeks of melting snow and dust-filled air bearable. However... I don't have eunough to wear! Having lived far north and not usually travelling to warm places, my closet for hot days is very limited. And dated. And I don't like most pieces. In fact, I might have purged most of them past fall. Eh... I need to sew for hot summer! And yes, to me anything over 20 C is hot weather. There's a reason I'm going to Spain in May, not July ; )

A little mind map of what I would like to bring along... The garments marked with an X I already have. The rest is 10 pieces (fabrics from the stash, no buying new). Seems like a lot to sew before mid-May? What can I say, I'm an optimist =) I'm also a bit realistic, and pieces that are fast to make and most versitile to wear goes first in the sewing que. The blue silk blouse is last in line, and I'm very doubtful it will get done in time.

The sad side of this is that I won't participate in Mad Men Challende 2, the 60s Joan-inspired dress that was next in the sewing line has been moved to fall. The fun bonus-effect of sewing a travel-wardrobe for Spain is it would mean I'd have a functioning and corresponding me-made summer-wardrobe. Before summer! Wish me luck ; )

First up: finish lining the 30s jacket I made for Amanda's wedding. You know, after I make the last stitches on the wool dress...

Happy holidays!
Love, Erika


Lady D said...

Your wardrobe is bigger than mine. lol
I'm always having plans to sort out my wardrobe. But I usually get as far as putting it on a spare rail to sort through and then get stuck. I've recently made myself use up everything in my fabric stash before I buy any more from the fabric shop as my spending budget has taken a rapid nosedive. I'm finding its a great exercise. Its means I really have to catalogue what I've got to use to decide on what projects I can do.

Foster said...

This is a great idea. Where are you going on your sun trip? I hope somewhere wonderful. I could use one of those right now.

Anthea said...

Wow! you really thought this through! Love the schemes and sketches! Good luck with sewing!

Erika said...

Lady D; I'm very fortunate to have plenty of closets! It's a typical sweidsh 70s flat, mening plenty of storage for clothes, and basically no kitchen cupboards :)
I too have found it really hard to do effective wardrobe cleanouts, this is the first time I've been succesful at it. And I'm certainly also sewing from the stash! Not 100%, but maybe 90% :)

Foster; thank you! We'll be going to Alicante, and I hope it'll be wonderful :) I promise there will be plenty of photos afterwards!

Anthea; I love planning and organizing! I work in administrations and I really like my job :) I even find it hard to be creative or make descision if I don't have things neatly laid out before me, it just becomes a mess in my head otherwise! Thank you, I'll def post updates when I can scratch something from the sewing list!

Zoe said...

Well done for having a good old sort out! Sounds like you did really well and your wardrobe looks so neat and nice! Happy sewing to fill the gaps xx

Isis said...

I've been doing a slow wardrobe purg, but I need to take some serious time for it.

Erika said...

Zoe; thank you so much! It feels so good to not be cluttered down by things I don't need. It's also easier to actually see my options for getting dressed =)

Isis; it can sure take a long time. When it comes to all sorts of cleaning I'm a "everything at once, no breaks, let's get this done!"-kind of person. I set aside an entire weekend and then also used some evenings during the workweek after. But some things are better to take slow, esp if one wants to make well-based descisions. Good luck on your clean out!

Kitten von Kat said...

Wow, så imponerande! Borde nog göra nåt liknande själv...Var ju på en föreläsning om en hållbarare garderob här i veckan, föreläsaren hade räknat alla plagg i garderoben (utom typ underkäder o strumpor) och sedan vägt alltihop. Hon hade 300 plagg som vägde ca 70 kg! Nu är jag sugen på att pröva samma sak och rensa ut lite onödigheter i samma svep, ska bli intressant att se resultatet sedan :S

Erika said...

Kitten; oh det det lät som en spännande ide! Är lite rädd att min garderob även nu efter rensningen skulle väga in på bra mycket mer än så... Fanns det någon riktlinje ang vikten, eller vad skulle man förhålla sig till?
Kul plan! Allt som får en att sålla ordentligt är nog bra :) I mitt fall behövde jag verkligen ett rejält stöd, mina rensningsförsök brukar inte gå så bra. Det var dock en metod som fungerade! Yay! Så skönt att kunna öppna garderoben och veta att allt därinne är saker jag vill ha på mig.