Wardrobe Architect Week 7: Exploring Solids and Prints

If you explore my closet, you’ll find a lot of solids and very few prints. While I don’t think I’ll ever have Oona’s flair for mixing patterns, I would really like to add more of them to my wardrobe, because wearing an outfit consisting entirely of neutrals always ends up feeling unfinished when I do it. (I know, I know, texture and accessories are the name of the game with neutrals. I don’t have enough of those, either.)

If my current wardrobe is any indication, my favorite pattern is dots. I like small- to medium-sized dots, and prefer even arrangements to random ones. I’m iffy about spots.


Blue with White Dots // Aqua with Gold Pin Dots // Red with White Dots

A close runner-up to dots is stripes. I’m pretty open about them: skinny or wide, balanced or unbalanced, monochrome or multicolored—it’s all good with me.


Navy and White Stripes // Purple and White Stripes // Grey and White Chevron

Behind dots and stripes you’ll find tartans, madras, and checks. I’m pickier about these; I tend to stay away from anything too traditional in favor of brighter and more graphic designs.


Lime Madras // Navy and Purple Plaid // Teal, Black, and Blue Plaid

Trailing behind are geometric and floral prints, which I take on a case-by-case basis. I don’t care for ditsy florals or prints that are too messy or chaotic. Paisley, however, is one pattern I often come back to.


Blue and Green Paisley

I’m not much for novelty prints, although I’m not silly enough to believe there aren’t ones out there that could change my mind and jump into my cart. No reason to tempt fate by claiming I’d never buy them, right?

Eventually I’d like to have something like a 70/30 or 60/40 mix of solids to prints, but for now I’m just looking forward to expanding my horizons beyond a few dotted t-shirts.

What’s your favorite print? Least favorite? What’s the craziest novelty print you’ve ever seen?


For about two decades the start of May heralded, for me, the beginning of the end of the school year, complete with a battery of exams and an obligatory cold. Once I became a regular visitor to Sewing-Blog-Land, however, I came to recognize May as that exciting time of the year when feed readers are full to bursting with photo-filled posts and introspective essays celebrating Me-Made-May. I’ve always thought the name neatly sums up the challenge, but here’s how the creator describes it:

“Me-Made-May’15 is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to actually wear and love them.” — Zoe Edwards, So Zo…What Do You Know?

The rules for the challenge are set by the individual participants; pledging to wear one handmade or vintage garment per day is pretty common. The goal is to identify which handmade garments you wear most often and which continue to languish in the back of your closet; to determine where there are holes in your wardrobe that could be filled with a handmade or refashioned item; and to encourage you wear and accessorize your handmades as clothes rather than as finished projects or artwork. (Amy Herzog has a great post about that last topic, definitely check it out!)

Me-Made-May has exposed me to so many amazing sewing blogs and accomplished sewists; it encouraged me to start sewing more seriously (as in, to fill up my closet with everyday clothes instead of just a costume or a hat once a year); and it dovetails nicely with the goals of the Wardrobe Architect series to build a thoughtful wardrobe.

All of that said, I sadly won’t be participating this year. The reality is that I just don’t have any handmade garments to wear. I have a finished skirt (which I’ll blog about later this week) and a finished sweater, one nearly finished sweater, and a handful of scarves and hats; none of those items are appropriate for the weather here right now. I’m firmly resisting the urge to do any panic-sewing because, in addition to being generally discouraged for its crazy-making potential, I’d rather concentrate on making garments I want to wear over simply making things that would make me legally decent to appear in public. (You’re welcome.)

As someone who has watched several Me-Made-May challenges from the sidelines, I had one thought I wanted to share with anyone who’s participating: there’s no need to feel self-conscious. For some reason many bloggers are embarrassed to share a photo every day, or to wear the same outfit over and over again. Why? As a reader and fan I eat up every post with pictures, even if those pictures don’t come attached to clever sewing tips or step-by-step instructions. I love seeing clothes on actual bodies, out in the wild. And seeing the same clothes more than once? It’s a great way to get ideas about how to style the same piece different ways, or to show how a well-made fabric holds up to multiple wears between washings.

Making deprecating comments about feeling vain is just silly: personal sewing and knitting blogs are inherently self-centered, because they’re focused on one person’s project successes and failures, and that’s okay! That’s what readers come for the other 11 months out of the year, so why would May be any different? I haven’t encountered a sewing blogger yet who posted too much, or one who bored me during Me-Made-May. The challenge has been running for five years and the sewing blog community hasn’t shriveled up and disappeared as a result yet, so I’d wager other non-participants feel much the same. So for everyone who has joined the challenge, give yourself a break in the guilt department and enjoy yourself.

Meanwhile, I’ll be cheering you all from the sidelines and plotting to participate next year. If you’re blogging about your Me-Made-May 2015 journey, send me a link? I’d love to add more blogs to my daily digest.