Wardrobe Planning With Sharlene

How do you plan your future makes? Do you wing it or make a plan and stick with it? Everyone will have a different way of planning. In 2020 I was lacking inspiration for my spring summer sewing. Previously I was winging it, if I loved a fabric I bought it and didn’t worry if it worked with my existing wardrobe (although thankfully it usually did). 
So when I was lacking inspiration I thought back to my university days and how we would start to design and plan. I looked at my fabric stash and discovered I had some colour palettes that would work and went from there, and I turned to fashion magazines and Pinterest for inspiration. I have continued to work with colour palettes to build a collection since this and really enjoy the process, nearly as much as the actual sewing!


How do I start?
First thing I would start with is building a collection of fabric swatches/samples. I have a small shoebox full of samples I have ordered online or kept from fabrics I have bought. The big benefit of keeping a swatch of fabric you have bought and used is that you can see what is in your wardrobe already and build around that. 
I love pulling these out when I am starting to plan. It’s tactile and almost feels like you are in a fabric shop but on a much smaller (and less overwhelming) scale. I start placing different colours together and see what catches my eye. Before I know it colour palettes have formed and I have an idea of what fabrics I will be looking for over the coming season.
Once I have decided on my colour palettes I put the fabrics together on a large safety pin and hang them on my peg board. I like to have them somewhere I can see them as a little reminder. If I need to get any haberdashery to match it is easy to grab them when I am heading to the fabric shop. 
And we have some great news, you can now order fabric swatches online here. You can order up to 4 samples for free with postage only £1 (or free with any other order you place). Just add the samples to you basket and leave a note at the checkout with which samples you would like. 
What’s next?
From here I will start looking for fabrics that I like. I try my best to stick within these colour palettes but I will admit that sometimes I fall for a fabric and buy it even if it doesn’t “fit”. And I am okay with that. When I start looking for fabrics online I like to see how they look together in my basket at the end. It is easy to see at this point if it’s going to work with my plans. Check out my recent order below from The Rag Shop. All these fabrics can be found in our Autumn Capsule Collection. I was so excited when I saw these fabrics all together as I could clearly see how they would work together as a mini capsule collection. 
From top- Irregular Olive Floral Viscose, Organic Cotton Jersey Navy Blue, 8oz Washed Cotton Denim in Medium Blue, 6oz Kobe Cotton Twill in Mocha, Daisy Print Viscose Challis, Black, White and Brown Check Coating (this is sold out but similar fabrics are available in the collection). 
I was able to pull out some Bamboo Jersey’s from my stash that will work perfectly with these colours too. 
(From top- Daisy Print Viscose Challis, White Bamboo Jersey, 8oz Organic Cotton Denim in Medium Blue, Blush Bamboo Jersey, 6oz Kobe Cotton Twill in Mocha and Black, White and Brown Check Coating.) 
From here I started to think about patterns and styles that I am excited to make. I use Pinterest to help with this and get inspiration from everyone on Instagram. Make sure you check out the Weekend Inspiration over on Instagram if you want some ideas of what you can make with our fabrics! You can check out some of my pattern ideas over YouTube, or head to the Autumn Collection to see what we suggest there. 
Don’t Forget the Basics
You can see from my collection of swatches above that there are a lot of neutral colours included. For me, having these basic, core colours and items in my wardrobe are essential. These won’t be for everyone but can really help pull a look together. Our collection of Organic Cotton And Bamboo jerseys are perfect for basic tops, while our Cotton Twills and Denim are great for plain bottoms and jackets. 
I would love to know how you plan your future makes. Have you ever tried sewing a “collection”? Or will you give it a go? Leave a comment or get in touch over on Instagram.
Happy sewing,
Sharlene xx


  • Hi Sharlene once again great advice and inspiration. I need to do more planning into want I need and want to wear . So far am thinking skirts so am needing more plain fabrics for tops. Thanks 🙏.

    Marjorie Mogano
  • Hi Sharlene once again great ideas , I need to put more planning into what I need and want too wear . Am thinking more skirts therefore need some plain fabric for tops . Thanks 🙏

  • Thanks Sharlene. This is just what I need to do right now. I realise that I have lots of lovely makes but I am not planning enough. I tend to buy a lot of prints and coloured fabrics because I love them but don’t think what they will go with. Thanks for this inspiration!!


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