Wrap Up: Winter Wardrobe Challenge 2011

Saturday marked the end of my winter wardrobe challenge. I feel really good about what I’ve accomplished and the best part – I enjoyed the entire process. Here’s a look back at the past three months:


  • I entered this challenge with a two very clear themes in mind: mixed prints and texture. Pinterest was a godsend – all of my inspiration photos were in one easy place and this helped to keep myself on track. I will definitely be using this for future challenges (and sewing inspiration in general). The pieces I made were a good mix of both of these themes but if I had it to do over I would break it into two different challenges. I had enough inspiration and ideas for ten great pieces from each theme and I think I would have pushed farther with them individually.


  • I chose black and white as a way to ease myself into prints and it was definitely the right choice. It wasn’t difficult to find fabric in my palette and budget and I’m not struggling to remix the garments into my existing wardrobe because of their color. I have to say, though, I am dying to work with some pigment. You can be assured that the next few pieces I make will be bright, bright, bright!


  • Here’s where I see the biggest hang-up. I started the challenge by pulling out fabrics from my stash and I ordered a few more yards from Gorgeous Fabrics. This was enough for five garments and I had plans to buy the remaining yardage later on. I ended up losing a few weeks here and there waiting for the fabric to arrive or trying to find time to go to the fabric store. This was enough to throw my timing off and I didn’t end up completing all ten garments. Since I didn’t collect all the yardage at once, some of my separates don’t coordinate well with each other and I abused the polka dots a bit. In future challenges, I’m going to collect all the fabric in the beginning.


  • My favorite garments are the blouses. Discovering that my closet was lacking in woven, long-sleeved garments was huge! My closet has always been swimming in dresses which I don’t wear in my day-to-day life. Focusing on separates was key and I may restrict myself to one dress a challenge in the future unless they really embody the theme. I should have seen that my kimono sleeved dress was a bad idea. It was a single print and the shape doesn’t lend itself to layering – not a great garment for pattern mixing! Perhaps with a little more “garment” planning, this could have been avoided. For the next challenge, I’d like to try my hand at sketching the possible garments before hand.

I want to say a huge thank you for reading, commenting, and encouraging me through this challenge and 2011. Friends, you kept me going and motivated and I couldn’t have done it without you! I’m looking forward to everything 2012 brings. It’s going to be a great year – I can feel it!


30 Comments to “Wrap Up: Winter Wardrobe Challenge 2011”

  1. Excellent wrap-up! It’s so nice to see the garments all in one place! My favorite pieces are the pleated skirt, the Liz blouse, and the patterned kimono dress.

    Looking forward to your next challenge!

  2. I think you did a great job with the challenge! My favorite is the sleeveless blouse that’s currently in your blog header. Love the shoulder details.

  3. Cant’s wait to see your ideas for your next seasonal challenge!

    I’m about to start working on a spring/summer challenge for my self. I want a wardrobe tht works together and covers a variety of occasions – mostly casual, but interesting (with a fancy shmacy item thrown here and there.) 🙂

  4. Great work- I love that you have done all this work and I can just sit back and steal ideas- your Burda blouses are my fav!

  5. This has been a real joy to read. Thank you. I hope there’s more to come.

  6. I’ve enjoyed following you through your challenge – I love the collar in the bottom right photo.

  7. I’m completely impressed with your work! I too love the Burda sleeveless blouse. The black polka dot blouse turned out really nice as well. Have you tried it with the batik skirt? I wonder if this could work given the prints are similar but vary in size. Maybe with a contrasting belt to define your waist…? Great job with your mini-wardrobe! You should be proud.

  8. What an awesome looking wardrobe! I’m super into the beading you did on the collar of the white shirt. Can’t wait to see your future challenges, happy 2012!

  9. Great job! Your blouses are my fav too, together with the dress from Pattern Runway.

  10. It’s great seeing all your challenge items together like this, you must be chuffed! Like a lot of the commenters, I love the long-sleeved blouses especially the New Year one. I also like the Art Deco dress with the cool sash. Could you not layer it with a snug cardigan, maybe in a strong jewel colour? Look forward to your next project.

    • I definitely tried to layer it with a cardigan but the arms are just too bulky. In lightweight cardigans you can see the bunches and in heavier weight items (unless the armhole is low) the bulk is rather uncomfortable. It will (hopefully) see more wear once the weather warms up. Thanks for the comment!

  11. It’s all so gorgeous, Lizz! I want to steal every piece. I’ve bookmarked this post for when I’v forgiven my Burda Blouse failure!

    Ps. Your photos are stunning.

    • Although you weren’t happy with the fit, I loved your Burda Blouse. The color was perfect! I think you finished it around the same time that I bought the book and I was definitely inspired to make the blouse because of you. Thanks for coming by!

  12. Congrats, Lizz! I think you did a stellar job on your challenge. You know, your blog is such a thoughtful, pleasing place to visit. I’m so glad to have discovered it! Cheers to more sewing!!!

  13. Congratulations Lizz! I think you did a great job with this challenge. Everything looks so good on you, and you look absolutely beautiful! I love what you did with the Burda Style blouses – so clever and unique.

  14. I love the black and white theme and I love what you’ve made! Well done in the challenge!

  15. Hi Lizz. Your blog and your projects are very inspiring! I love prints and to be honest, my wardrobe contains very few plain garments. What I have to learn from you in how to use plain colors more 🙂 In one of your previous posts you mentioned that you developed a better sense of what suits and what pieces go well together after taking pictures. This is something I want to start doing as well.

    And my favorites from your 2011 challenge are batik skirt and kimono dress (print versino of course). Happy New challenge 😉

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