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How to Sew a Wardrobe You’ll Still Love in 10 Years

Episode 185: Practical tips for making garments that stand the test of time.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast, Style & Wardrobe • March 20, 2024 • Episode 185

If you were to make a list of classic garments like the little black dress—garments that people wear across the decades, what else would be on that list?

Now, if you were to make a list of the garments that you wear across the decades, what would be on that list?

In this episode, Sarai and Haley talk about how to sew a wardrobe you'll still love in ten years. They cover what makes a garment long lasting—both stylewise and physically—how to choose styles that you'll love to wear for years, and practical tips for making garments that stand the test of time.

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode, and a brief summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.

10 Tips to Sew Garments that Last 10+ Years

Tip 1. Look at what’s always appealed to you

Think about what’s always appealed to your taste. And go beyond clothing and style. Think about movies, seasons, colors, style icons, and moments in fashion history that have always caught your eye.

What about these appeals to you? Are there elements you can pluck out to add to your wardrobe?

Tips 2. Find the clothes you’ve worn the longest

Go into your closet and look at the pieces you've worn the longest. What do they have in common?

Tip 3. Make a list of your go-to silhouettes

Make a list—or sketch some outfits—of the silhouettes you wear the most. Have these changed over time? Are there any that have persisted throughout your lifestyle and body changes?

Tip 4. Use materials and finishes that will really stand the test of time

To ensure your garment can physically last for as long as you want to wear it, take care to pick high-quality fabrics and notions. Don’t skip the extra minutes it takes to sew a sturdy seam finish or secure closures. It will all pay off in time.

Tip 5. Learn how to care for your garments

Now that you’ve invested the time to pick your materials and seam finishes with care, invest a few more minutes to learn about proper fabric care and storage. If you’re working with wool, learn about cedar. Look up the best ways to launder and store your garments.

Tip 6. Consider sewing more outerwear

Outerwear pieces are often designed to last for years. They have enough ease to wear over your clothes, so they can span a few sizes if your body changes, and they usually are made of quality materials that last longer.

If you want to add some classic pieces to your closet that are intended to be worn for years, sew more outerwear.

Tip 7. Plan for body changes in the future

When choosing patterns to sew, consider how to include a flexible fit. You can leave extra seam allowance at the side seams to let garments in and out, or you can include partial elastic waistbands.

Tip 8. Choose colors that feel safe and have longevity for you

Don’t be afraid of going with the same color choice for many projects. If you’ve loved navy for the last 20 years, you probably won’t get tired of it in the next few.

Tip 9. Examine how your style has changed over time

Take a look at old photos, or think about the outfits you remember from different periods of your life, and look for the things that have remained consistent. These will inform your classic pieces, the ones you know you’ll turn to when trends change.

Tip 10. Don’t be afraid to lean into trends

There’s a difference between following trends and taking advantage of trends. You can sew trendy things, but make sure they align with your core style. If the trends reflect some of the colors, silhouettes, and fabrics that you’ve worn for a long time, they are trends worth taking advantage of.

Bonus tip: Take more pictures!

A bonus tip is to take some pictures of yourself wearing what you make. Create a folder in your phone and document the outfits that make you feel great. Take the time to reflect after a year, and you’ll start to spot the elements of your core style that come out season after season.

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