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3 Steps to Edit Like a Designer

Have too many ideas for sewing projects and fabric? Follow this expert advice.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast, Style & Wardrobe • May 13, 2024 • Episode 192

Editing is one of the most underappreciated aspects of any creative journey. This includes picking out a new sewing project.

When planning a sewing project, you often have to narrow down your ideas from hundreds of patterns, fabrics, and different designs.

With so many choices, the process can feel overwhelming. So, how can you simplify it? Ask a designer!

In this episode, Sarai and Haley discuss why editing is vital to any good design process and share an easy three-step process they like to use when creating their sewing plans for the season.


  1. Set your design contexts

  2. Get practical

  3. Build hypothetical outfits

3 Steps To Edit Like a Designer

Step 1: Set Your Design Contexts

The first step is to define where you’ll wear your clothes. What will you be doing?

In Design Your Wardrobe, we call this setting your “design contexts.”

Up until now, all you’ve done is seek inspiration. Setting some contexts is your first step for bringing it back down to reality.

Some examples of contexts are working from home, working in a corporate office (and then possibly going out after work), stay-at-home parenting, traveling, and retirement.

The more specific you can get, the better.

Step 2: Get Practical

Now that you’ve thought about the broader contexts you’d like to design for, dig a little deeper into each one.

For each context, define the specific criteria that your clothes must meet.

Some examples are climate, silhouette, comfort and mobility, and appropriateness for the occasion.

And don’t discount your feelings and mood as criteria! How you feel in your clothes is just as important.

With your contexts and criteria in place, you can start editing down your ideas. Look for patterns and fabrics that meet all of your context and critera.

Step 3: Build Hypothetical Outfits

The final step is to audition any new garments in your current wardrobe.

So, grab your sewing plans and go into your closet. Can you build 3 outfits using this garment and other clothes you already own? Do the colors coordinate?

Think about how to style your new garment. Once you’ve thought of a few ways to style this new garment, does it still meet all your criteria from step 2?

If you can confidently answer yes, you’ve edited your idea into something you’ll love to wear.

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