My Top Wardrobe-Sewing Tip (Without sewing a single stitch!)

If you’ve ever sewn for yourself, chances are this scenario has played out a time or two:

You fabric shop willy-nilly. Any color, any print, any weight – anything goes! Never mind the season, your coloring, or the rest of your wardrobe.

You impulse buy that pattern because – duh! – it’s on sale. 

You put two and two together – OOOH THIS’LL BE GREAT! – until it’s not. That color right against your face totally washes you out. Or that printed bottom would be great… but your wardrobe of printed tops means you have nothing to wear it with. That swingy style top is fabulous! But the fabric is so heavy it hangs off you like a tent. 

Wouldn’t it be great if all these scenarios could be avoided?? With a little bit of research, they absolutely can!

Which is why my top wardrobe-sewing tip is… go clothes shopping.  Grab your keys and head for the shops, friends. There’s much to be learned!

  1. Dream Big. Make like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and peruse those shops you’d never be able to afford. (Or never want to.) We’re building your dream wardrobe, no price tag can restrict us!
  2. Try on Everything. Everything. Yes, even that color you swore you’d never wear. Or that trend you’ve been resisting. It costs you nothing, now.  So let’s take the extra time in the dressing room to rule out garments that don’t suit, and confirm garments on your to-sew list before you commit a single inch of fabric or hour of stitching.
  3. Take Notes. It could be a photo-record full of dressing room selfies, or a chicken-scratch list on the back of whatever school flyer you have in your purse. Review each outfit based on the color, style, and print. What is emphasized? What sort of fabric is used? Is it practical for your life? How could you improve upon it? You’ll carry this list with you next time you’re scrolling through Cali Fabric’s new fabric stock.

Without this process, I’d have never bought the Closet Case Patterns’ Nettie Bodysuit, and I’d never made it in this lovely DBP:dbp-horz

I was firmly in the “I’m not an infant, why would a grown woman ever wear a onesie!?” camp. Also, I hate snaps (too many diaper shells in my past!) and would have sworn off bodysuits just to avoid them.

Nettie-1-5But I walked into a fancy shop, tried on a $100+ bodysuit, and learned things like…

  • “In the right fabric, these are like sneaky pajamas!”
  • “The tucked-in look is a million times more flattering when I don’t have to shove a fabric-spare-tire in the top of my pants.” And,
  • “Some bodysuits are closed with bra hooks? WHO KNEW?!” Seriously – this is bodysuit knowledge GOLD.


My $100+ inspiration piece cost me $12 in fabric and 1.5 hours of assembly. All the while I knew the end result would work out because my research told me so! Nettie-4Nettie-2

That’s a wrap folks – Here’s to a season of sewing successes! But before you go – share your planning tips in the comments below 🙂


Free Notion

Hey there, friend! I'm Becca - Lifestyle Photographer, Wanna-be Fashionista, & Sew-blogger Enthusiast behind Free Notion, Sewing Stadium, and Sew the Show. I'm always whipping up fun clothes between yoga class and preschool pickup - so subscribe below to keep up with my latest work!

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7 thoughts on “My Top Wardrobe-Sewing Tip (Without sewing a single stitch!)”

  1. You’ve given some great advice here – the part I like the best is go to the really expensive shops where you just know you couldn’t afford the price tag! That’s brilliant on so many levels – great ideas and inspiration, you won’t be sorely tempted to buy something (because it’s just not affordable!) and you can sneaky peak their sewing methodologies in the change room. Thank you for this!

  2. First things first, your bodysuit is adorable and I love this fabric! I wish it wasn’t sold out, the red color is just beautiful. =(

    Trying things on is such a great idea when it’s feasible! (I know some people don’t live as close to a store, or to one that has things that will fit, etc., etc.) That’s how I worked out what kind of jeans I really wanted to make. And as you learned (and Kathleen also noted), it’s a great way to see how RTW puts things together in case there’s a better way than we realize at first glance. I’m glad you found a new garment type that works for you–it turned out great!

  3. Great idea.
    I also think shopping your own wardrobe and making yourself spend some time trying on new makes with EVERYTHING you own can yield good results. As can making a note for yourself when you think “I need a ” and then putting a tick beside it every time you think it again. After say, 3, ticks, then think what colour should it be? What fabric? Print/solid?

  4. Your bodysuit is divine. I have been eyeing that fabric for a bit now. It looks great on you.

    I love this tip! I have been doing this for nearly a decade now. I call it ‘sneaky shopping.’ I haven’t done it in a while though. Maybe it’s time to take a trip to the mall this weekend for some new inspiration.

  5. Your body suit in this fabric is gorgeous. Loved the post and probably should get over my reluctance to body suit sewining.

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