Gray/black suede completes the outfit.
Gray-black suede fabric will be cut into slacks to wear with a knitted sweater, blouse, and a scarf, all three at least 10 years old.

I need new clothes

I need new clothes because I will be teaching the ten-week course, Drafting and Sewing a Skirt to Fit at the Abington Art Center, on Saturdays, January 18 – March 28  (no class Feb 1).  If you are interested, enroll now to take advantage of the discounted price.  Scroll down on the page, linked just above, to the fiber arts heading where you will see the course listing. You will also need to purchase the 268 page $70 textbook, previously written and tested for and with college fashion students. The textbook will be available the first day of class.

All teaching materials are ready. Students will not only learn how to draft and sew a skirt that fits, they will also learn about color analysis and designing a wardrobe.

I am now designing my wardrobe that I will both wear, and use as demonstration clothing in the classroom.

In this post I show how my stash, my swatch book, and the blouses and other tops I’ve made in the past are helping to speed the sewing. Many of my blouses, made over 20 or 25 years ago in timeless classic styles, look brand new because custom-made clothing lasts.

Designing the wardrobe

Pants and skirt complete a blouse and its matching shell. Yarn, purchased from Luv2KnitAndMore will be knitted into a long-sleeved top, using the instructions also purchased from that store, so as to create a monochromatic outfit.

As in industry’s designing departments, first I analyze what I need. Next I see what I have, and then see what I need to add to it to make an outfit.

I’ll be fitting students, leaning over, walking around the classroom. I need comfortable clothing that looks great. Most of the time that means slacks. On occasion I will also need skirts for various personal and business functions. I’m adding patch pockets. They are great for storing my license and various miscellaneous items. And they are fast to sew.

tailored clothing looks best on me
Since I’m a blue winter with sharp facial and body lines, tailored clothing made in winter/summer colors look best on me. Black looks good, but it looks better with vivid blue-based colors from the winter palette. Organizing my wardrobe with those guide lines reduces the clothing I need, simplifying my life. My hair is become grayer since this picture was taken. However, the best color palette for me hasn’t changed.

Laurel’s wardrobe history

As I’ve written my books, taught in college, and developed my program, I’m managed with minimal clothing. Now new clothing is really needed.

Years ago I was analyzed as a blue winter by Color Me Beautiful, with the second best season was summer. My figure analysis was sharp classic. I cleared out clothing, fabrics, and jewelry styles and colors that didn’t work, making sure everything in my closet and fabric stash was in my color palette.

In the past writing and teaching gave me little time to sew. I primarily sewed blouses to give my wardrobe the appearance of more variety than was actually the case. I have plenty of blouses, but I need skirts and slacks to complete my wardrobe.

The stash

Cover of swatch book
Yardages on the front cover of my swatch book ensure that if I should leave the book behind in a fabric store, it will be returned.
My stash book may look a mess, but it has saved far greater messes in my studio. Each swatch is labeled with its location and yardage. It has prevented me from buying fabric that I already have and has helped me buy fabric that matches what I have.










Over the years every so often I would wander into a fabric store where I would see something that was so perfect I would buy it. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately the amount of fabric and notions have added up. I put together a swatch book of fabrics, and fabrics from clothing I had made, to prevent myself from buying what I already had and to make it easier to find fabric when I did have time to sew. Now that I am putting together a wardrobe I have no need to shop for fabric. Everything I need is right in my studio.

Sweater, shirt, skirt ensemble
Skirt with side patch pocket, sewn to match is paired with a knitted navy sweater and purple shirt. Shirt is 24 years old, but looks brand new. It has been washed many, many times. The sweater has just been finished.
three-piece outfit
Indigo 3/4 length cargo pants are made to be worn with a white jeans jacket and blue blouse, both purchased two years ago.



cranberry slacks
Testing the cranberry slacks prove they are good for milder weather. I’ll need warmer pants on cold days.




stripped navy pants
Good for colder weather, these pants are very comfortable.
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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2019.


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