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How many things in your life are non-negotiable? We could all list several character items that ultimately define who we are as a person – trustworthiness, loyalty, being loved and valued, living in the moment,  making a contribution, etc. Whatever thing you might think of, we know instinctively they are important to us, as we come back to them over and over again when we are looking for friends, a partner, or even a new endeavor.

“Must-have” or  “I need it now” things are probably negotiable, in truth.  But when we see something we like, it feels non-negotiable. We are drawn to it like honey and we know in hearts that “It is Right.”  Our garments reflect choices that make us feel better about ourselves and express our creativity and uniqueness. Most sewists would tell you that’s why they make their own garments…to have that freedom of expression.  So “must haves” become non-negotiables – a particular hemline, a belted waistline or a certain sleeve design. Our choices revolve around those things that fulfill that image of ourselves in our brains—until the next big thing comes along.

Wardrobes constantly change, and therefore so does our list of must-haves. Maybe there are certain colors or shapes you don’t usually gravitate towards, but it only takes someone saying “Dang, girl! You look amazing in that!” to inspire you to branch out.

One of the pluses (huge plus!) of my owning a fabric store is that new patterns and fabrics are a daily experience, so what used to be on my must-have list is in a constant state of flux.  I could almost have a new list of must-haves every season. So technically, all these looks below are not necessarily “non-negotiable,” per se, but they are among the garments that to me are timeless and will always be a integral wardrobe staple of my wardrobe. I just change the fabric, perhaps do a small pattern hack and Voila! Something new!

So what is on my list of “must-haves?

1.) A good, lightweight coat…
The Pilvi Coat by Lotta Jansdotter is so simple to make
and just by changing up the color, the fabric, the length, you can make it your own.



Fabrics to make your PilviBoiled Wool, Linen, Denim,
Indian Kantha Cloth


2.) A great tee-shirt…The Scout Tee!



Who says you can’t make a tee-shirt in crushed velvet?



The Scout Tee is designed for woven fabrics.

The Lark Tee by Grainline is a close fitting knit tee, in either short sleeves, 3/4, or long.




3.) A pair of “you were born for those” jeans…


Love these pockets on the Safran Pants by Deer and Doe


The Morgan Jeans by Closet Case patterns are designed for non-stretch fabrics.



Probably the most popular ever pair of jeans – the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns.


4.) An ever-versatile casual dress…



Dress No.1 by 100 Acts of Sewing – we’ve made this pattern so often in many different fabrics!


I highly recommend the E.S.P. Dress by Decades of Style in a fun fabric you have been stashing!

5.) A pair of go-to pants…


Pant’s No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing – sew simple!!
Shown with my all time favorite

Tea House Dress or Top, by Sew House Seven – just amazing, right?!


My new favorite – Lander Pants by True Bias


and 6.) Something that reflects your inner soul…


The Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated. Her patterns are amazing!


And since our wardrobes change with the seasons and with new patterns and fabrics, we can update our “must-have” list any time we are moved to do so. So many patterns, so little time! Of course I keep a list of must-have fabrics—you can pretty much see what they are the minute you walk into the store.

One of my favorites – Cinema Dress by Leisl + Co

What are your Must-Haves in your wardrobe?  Do you change it up very often or do you stick with TNT (Tried and True) patterns and fabrics?  I have learned that my tastes have changed over the years, mostly because I am surrounded by a knock-your-socks-off staff, a whole cache of cyber-sewist friends, and a willingness to put myself out there. Whatever your particular “destiny” or life-calling, you were made to do this:  to be a wardrobe trendsetter, to let your me-makes speak your own personal truth. And by all means, keep that mental list flexible and be open to new designs and new fabrics.
Love always,