Design Your Wardrobe – FW 2020

Most people who learned to sew as autodidacts on the internet are familiar with Seamwork, with their easy-to-follow patterns, monthly magazine, and wealth of resources. What you may not know is that twice a year Seamwork guides you through a three-week course called Design Your Wardrobe (DYW). This is aimed to help you craft a cohesive collection of looks to sew for the season ahead, by seeking and culling inspiration, assessing what you already have in your stash and in your closet, and finally planning makes and looks based on your inspiration and the contexts of your life.

Being a fan of planning and organization, not to mention a Seamwork Ambassador, and also due to the need for some rationalization of what I wanted to wear, I joined. This is my third DYW and by far the most successful to date. Despite having been late with most of the assignments, having to catch up in the weekend, I’ve made a feasible plan of what I intend to sew next.

So, what’s the deal this time?

First, I designed a moodboard based on images I’m attracted to and shapes I want to wear

I called my collection “Tailored Minimalism” because it’s mostly tailored garments – suits and the like – and in the color way you are used to seeing me in, mostly black, with white and charcoal as contrasts. In my palette I also added red, with the aim of incorporating it in the form of socks, accessories such as pocket squares, and lipstick (I know, wishful thinking, but one can always wear it while WFH).

I’m not so sure of how much grey I’ll actually sew. For one, I have no grey in my stash now, though my connection who works in wool manufacturing has vouched to send me some defective samples, which could potentially include some grey. Traditionally, a black suit is anathema, the standard being either navy or a million shades of grey. I already made myself a suit so dark is basically black (thanks, Minerva!), so I’m at least philosophically into the idea. We’ll see!

Having said that, I’ve planned two looks I’m fairly confident I can achieve in time for…well, before next spring. Rather than planning a bunch of standalone pieces to mix and match, this time I completely shifted my focus to looks, in the form of suits. This is because I’m the most confident and comfortable in my gender as well as expression when I wear a suit, and a suit – just like jumpsuits, my next favorite garment – simplify dressing considerably.

In the case of Look 1, I already made the pants, which I made for #menswearforeveryone in Feb 2019 (!!!), a mash-up of a pair from a Japanese pattern book and a beloved Calvin Klein pattern I got from eBay.

The jacket will be from the same book, also in this case completely hacked into a new form. Besides making it so it doesn’t look like I stole a jacket not in my size and made a run for it, I want to try the drape cut to conceal the chest better (I’ll also draft it to wear with a binder). Most likely I’ll have to forgo Italian tailoring, which has no canvas, for a British tailoring, with hard horsehair. Not looking forward to this, but the end justifies the means, I reckon. I had a long discussion with Husband-san’s tailor the other day and, once he got past the confusion (“is it a women’s suit? a men’s suits?” “It’s an Emilia suit, dude!) he did give me several good tips, not to mention the invitation to bring my next jacket to him so we can discuss it.

My second look is a variation on the first one, with the same pants block (if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it) but in longer length to achieve no brake, and a double breasted jacket.

I intend to modify the pants to double pleat instead of single pleat (let me remind y’all this pattern originally had a flat front, haha), change the welt pockets for inseam ones in the style of Neapolitan suits, and maybe a Gurkha pants feature (which I honesty hope didn’t come with a side of British imperialism, and should be renamed, just like all those T-shaped jackets are not a kimono. But I digress!).

The McKenzie blazer from Style Arc is just a place holder for a double breasted blazer, as there are multiple things which are stylistically wrong with this pattern: double breasted blazers call for peak lapels, not notched, the lapel size is not proportionate to the shoulders, the sleeve vents don’t open, and there is an abysmal lack of inside pockets. The overall fit, on the other had, may just work, so I’ll toile it to see if I can shape it into submission. If that doesn’t work, I have a Vogue Pattern which I can use as a base to make my own blazer pattern.

I sincerely hope I can realize my vision with these plans. I’m also still working on my shirt pattern, which progressed quite a bit until I lost the stand collar piece for my latest wearable toile. Having a shirt that fits is my current bottleneck, literally and metaphorically, not to mention what stands in between me and my dream look.

Once I get the ball rolling with these looks, I’ll update y’all with my progress. Fingers crossed I won’t be pad stitching into 2021.

Have a good one


3 thoughts on “Design Your Wardrobe – FW 2020”

    1. You’d never believe it, but I can read it. And my best friend is Russian, so score! I must admit I’m not a fan of side panelled jackets but this pattern seems workable. Thanks a lot for recommending it. Also…peak lapels, FINALLY.

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