I spent a good deal of time considering the idea of a trousseau as well as contemplating the practical aspects of building an entire wardrobe. In the end, I decided to break this project down into two categories: the fall/winter wardrobe and the spring/summer wardrobe. While both categories will have items that will work for any season, each should stand alone if needed. The huge investment of time that will go into this project means that trendy items that go quickly in and out of style are completely impractical. Styles and colors will need to be classic and conservative so that they’ll stand the test of time.

And speaking of time, that’s another important consideration. I, like many people work best under a time line rather than starting an open ended project. My general time line as of right now is to collect patterns and purchase fabric as opportunities present themselves, with all patterns purchased by December 2010. From January 2011 through July 2011 I’ll finish purchasing fabric and have at least 50% of the planned items constructed (though in my head I’d prefer to have 75% done by that point). Then August 2011 through December 2011 I will complete construction of my trousseau. I think it’s important to note that I do work full time and so all of my work on this project (the sewing as well as the writing) has to happen in my copious (ha!) spare time.

When it comes to purchasing fabric and supplies, I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand the sale cycles at fabric stores. Fabric stores are purposely several months ahead of the current season, because it takes time to create clothing. So in mid July, don’t be surprised to see fall fashion fabrics coming out. This is important for two reasons: one, you don’t want to find yourself looking for out of season fabrics because you’re too late and two, when that switch is about to take place you can get really great deals on quality fabric. More on that in an upcoming post. The point is this: I’ve been watching the sales at my local fabric store for the last year and becoming familiar with the types of sales and frequency of sales so that I know when things are at their rock bottom prices.

Where do I shop? Well, to be honest, I won’t ever mention the stores I purchase fabric, patterns, or notions at by name. Why? Because while I feel that what I’m doing would simply be free advertising for the retailers in question, they may not feel the same way.  I’ve chosen to omit names of retailers who supply fabric, notions, or patterns. I will, however, mention the names of retailers or brands that offer comparable items to the things I’ve sewn. I’m merely stating my opinion that the garments I refer to are comparable to the items that I’ve made, and I’m not actually purchasing anything from the clothing retailers.

A word about quality: because I plan to invest so much time and effort into the construction of these garments, I firmly believe in using quality, natural fibers. Sure, it’s cheaper to buy polyester fabric to make a suit (called a suiting) and call it good, but polyester doesn’t wear the same way that linen does and certainly doesn’t breathe like linen does. My aim is to make quality clothing that you would expect to find in a high end shop. I’ll keep track of the hours spent constructing the garments as well as the cost of materials, and when possible do a comparison to something available to purchase. No, I can’t compete with a $3 t-shirt from Wal-Mart, but I can compete with a $600 coat from Saks Fifth Avenue.

One last practical note… I am choosing styles that are both classic and flattering to my figure. I am a plus sized woman, and that will likely not change in the immediate future. I believe that many of the styles I choose will be flattering to many body types, simply because they are classic, clean lines