To be honest I am writing this as much for my sake as for any other reason. I do hope though, as always, you might find some ideas. And please I would really appreciate hearing your ideas!
For someone whose quintessential style is “summer” - see “SOME LIKE IT HOT” - winter sewing rarely takes place in my annual calendar. Since seeing #memademay2020 and the sudden cold weather change in Australia I am confronted by the fact that I would have to cover up my homemade clothes with a jacket to make them wearable. I am a total cold frog and I quite frankly despise the cold and wind!
With such an apparent problem, it is only practical for me to face it head on and determine what I need to find the inspiration to complete some winter sewing in 2020 and the years to follow.
Investing in Suitable Cold-Weather Fabrics
The first (and most appealing) change to make is to invest in fabrics appropriate for winter clothes.
Soft cottons and luscious silks typically catch my eye upon entering a fabric shop and consequently I skip over the winter woolies.
From sorting out my fabrics (link to YouTube video to see) I realised I have managed to invest in some heavier weight fabrics and I am excited to work with them.
For future reference though I’ve made a list of fabrics to keep an eye out for with some ideas to start thinking on how they can be added to your wardrobe.
Some ideas are:
Cotton Velvet - perfect for formal dresses, work attire.
Not 100% natural but viscose/silk blend velvets- work beautifully cut on the bias for mid-length skirts. Also beautiful for long cardigans, blousy tops.
Wool Crepe - beautiful as skirts, dresses and coats. Thankfully wool crepes can come in beautiful jewel tones.
Cotton Corduroy - think jackets, skirts, pinafores, dresses which can be worn with cardigans.
Denim - jeans, skirts, jackets
Merino Wool - t-shirts, skivvies, casual, drapey dresses, sweaters.
Flannelette - PJs, over-shirts, makes a for an extra warm lining in a coat or cape.
I do try to avoid polyester fabrics in my day to day wear for the sake of comfort and breathability and there are plenty of natural fibres appropriate for cold weather.
Unfortunately though I do wear polyester and nylon tights so that will be another area I will consider how to adapt.
Considering Winter Styles by Adapting my old favourites
My winter uniform usually consists of skinny jeans and my favourite sweaters. Jeans and sweaters are not something I’ve ever been interested in making because I am happy with what is already available for sale. I figure how many years of research have brands invested in making the perfect pair of jeans?
In saying that though, jeans and sweater combos year in and year out have become a fairly boring uniform and adds another reason why I feel the need to wise-up to sewing my own winter weather wardrobe.
Last year I purchased an A-line skirt in gorgeous deep green corduroy from Sportsgirl and it is one of my favourite items in my wardrobe. With tights, boots and soft knits, I can feel stylish and warm while wearing it. Proving the point that even an A-Line skirt, so long as it’s made from a wind-shielding fabric, can be an easy and effective addition to the wardrobe. As for sweaters, keep to a boat or turtle neck and simple sleeve, these can also be easily made and added in your favourite colour of Merino knit. Moreover for dresses, I’d recommend adding a full lining for that extra warmth as well as a longer hem length and making a style which a cardigan can easily be thrown over so opt for simple sleeves with no gathers to prevent bulging biceps.
Perhaps the most intimidating reason for not making a winter wardrobe is the complicated styles.
I for one am only just starting my experiences with sleeves - both drafting and setting in. I next plan to gear up to collars - wish me luck!
However, faced with the task of sewing a whole winter coat is something I had never even considered making for myself.
What I have realised though is that it is valuable to research and purchase the most suitable pattern for what you desire. Unless you feel confident drafting then I believe the investment in a good pattern is totally worth it. In the same vein, purchasing a beautiful, top quality wool fabric is so important to ensure you invest your time on a quality garment. It would be a shame to spend so many days making a coat which only half blocks the cold air. I’m in no rush to be making my own coat anytime soon, I know I still have much to learn before I feel competent to make that cut.
In the meantime though I would love to try my hand at a Chanel-esque jacket and perhaps a corduroy over-shirt - depending on how I go with collars.
Some styles I feel would add value to my winter wardrobe:
Mock cowl neck sweater
Velvet bias slip midi skirt
Lined fit & flare dress from a winter weight fabric
Exploring Winter Colours
Colder weather doesn’t mean forsaking bright colours! -Say it louder for the people in the back.
My winter palette normally sticks with the deeper tones. Navy, browns, red accessories, way too much black and in recent years deep greens.
Thankfully I started to branch out and I’ve purchased some pieces with beautiful pinks and oranges. How happy these brighter colours make me feel!
I realised that I wear so much white in Summer and I absolutely love it. I know white probably looks much better in summer due to my natural tan skin but it doesn’t mean that I should forsake white altogether as soon as the 1st of June arrives in Australia.
I’m considering rather than pure white, to add creams/ivories to the mix. I feel it pairs so beautifully with navy and can be accented with brown leather and gold jewellery for perfect styling.
I also want to play with the deep greens already established in my wardrobe and rather than using those as my ‘pop of colour’ with all my black, to instead add vibrant pink tones for more wow factor.
I also think fabrics with interesting patterns add a lovely interest to winter outfits. Plaids are very typical but I’d love to play with florals or miniature all-over-prints to add in smaller details to garments.
Tumblr and Instagram have made Autumnal colours about as groundbreaking as florals for Spring so I think it’s high time we brighten it up. A vivacious yellow ensemble may just be what we need to feel a little warmer on a dreary day.
Who knows if this year of 2020 whether our Australian winter may have us all staying home and promoting no other feeling than longing to stay in sweat pants all day? I do believe in the incentive of looking good and feeling better so I hope through sewing some new and uplifting winter wardrobe specialties I will find myself fighting off the winter blues and broadening my sewing abilities by the season’s end.
Let me know your winter ideas down below!
All the best on you sewing adventures.