Sew Your Kibbe Challenge Wrap Up and Looking Forward

Well, I started this year off with grand plans…. And I’m pretty sure my blog followers know that they’ve pretty much fizzled out due to the crazy busy year I’ve had in all other aspects of my life. But, does that mean this challenge was a total bust? I don’t think so. I mean, sure, I’m still working on achieving that mythical “wardrobe of dreams” but I think there were lots of other things that we’ve learned from this year-long journey, so let’s take a look back at it all.

Last year I put forth the massive effort of writing up the Sew Your Kibbe blog series, and I took that inspiration to the next logical conclusion – starting the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge! While I got fairly far with planning – I’d done a decent self-analysis, settled on a color palette, and, after considering many options, settled on my final plans for the year. I started out strong in March, making the New Look cardigan from my list, but completely fell off the sewing wagon at that point. I mean, not completely; I was finishing up the last of my commissions, but I didn’t have any time to sew for myself. I got back to it with a pattern that was new this year – McCall’s 7975 – which would have totally fit in with my Kibbe plans had the pattern existed when I was making them. It was a nice addition, but ultimately the last really “Kibbe” planned garment I sewed this year. I instead have been focusing on finishing up my Forever UFO – a teal Burda trench coat I started in 2016, and have been feeling the desire to complete as this decade rolls to a close. With any luck, I’ve had time to work on it over the holiday week and might have something to post soon…

So, for myself, I’d have to consider this Sew Your Kibbe challenge a fail on the execution front. But I will consider it a success in terms of learning to identify patterns that will work for me, which has helped considerably with my pattern buying habits. I no longer feel the need to buy it just because I like it. I now really have a much stronger sense of “will it work for me?” I also feel like I’ve learned to use the tools at my disposal to make better sewing plans. So, in a sense, this was a year of learning for me. I think that means next year I have to focus on making it a year of doing?

This was also an interesting year to examine the online Kibbe sewing community – Kibbe himself started a blog but didn’t really follow through with it as much as we had all hoped. There was also a bit of a dust up in the community between the Facebook Kibbe adherents who are learning directly from the man himself, and the rest of us internet peons who were reduced to learning from a decades old book and several YouTubers’ interpretations of his writings. I’ve discussed this at length in some of my monthly wrap ups (August and September), and ultimately culminated in my expressing my exasperation in my 95 Style Theses post. In hindsight I’m a bit ashamed of how flustered I got, but it’s a bit difficult when all of the resources you’ve gathered start going to war with one another. This all ultimately resulted in Merriam Style (one of the more prominent YouTubers who has grown a typing business out of her channel) breaking off and starting her own “Body Geometry” system, which she pairs with her “Artistic License” color system. To me she has really modernized the systems Kibbe was writing about in the 1980s, and has tailored this system to the sensibilities of the Millennial and post-Millennial generations. She also focuses much more on the pure physical presence of things and removes a lot of the poeticism from Kibbe’s work. In a very odd way, this really is a microcosm of larger trends of the world becoming more scientific and analytical over time. In a weird way, Merriam Style’s approach to Kibbe and now her own system is much more in line with how I’ve approached the topic, and her adherents seem to be much more welcoming than the community of Kibbe followers on Facebook. It makes it very tempting to simply shift over to the new system and ignore all of the chaos in the Kibbe sphere, and the sense that there is constant judgement over how one comes to understand the system. However, when I look at everything I’ve written, it also feels a bit daunting to completely shift over from the Kibbe system to a new naming convention. So, I’m a bit undecided where to go from here.

I’m also a bit undecided how much Kibbe writing I will be doing from here on out as well. I’ve really enjoyed exploring this style system, and I think doing the monthly wrap ups has been really insightful in seeing how, despite all over trends, there’s always something that would be acceptable for each Kibbe type. Granted, some months it’s easier than others, and I can honestly say that 2019 was a bit of a rough year for Romantic types as far as fashion trends go, but I think there was a lot to be gained from having that sort of monthly insight. I did rather like having the monthly recaps, though choosing the patterns for all 13 types was pretty labor intensive.

I guess what all this leads to is me trying to figure out how much time I have to dedicate to things moving forward. I’ve kept up with the blogging, but to some extent this was time that I didn’t spend sewing. And I’ve enjoyed writing the Kibbe series, but I’m not sure that I want to have another year-long project dedicated to it. I will say that I’ve got at least one more Kibbe related post/series in the works, but I’m not sure when I will have the time to get it posted. So I think Kibbe might be one of those topics I post about when the interest strikes, but I can’t say I plan to dedicate as much time to writing about it in the coming year. I feel like I might pull back from the blog a bit (not completely, but a bit) to see if I can’t find more time to spend on sewing moving forward.

I’m not planning any grand challenges or schemes for the next year, and instead really want to focus on finishing things that I’ve started. I want to sew fabrics I bought for specific projects, make things that have been on my “to sew” list for forever, and just generally give myself time to wander and explore my stash and fabrics and sew where the mood takes me. I’ve been thinking a lot about the projects I’ve really wanted to make but haven’t gotten around to over the past decade, so I may post a Make 9 to Instagram, but I’m not going to officially announce anything here on the blog. And, if I don’t get around to them, that’ll be ok! I’m going to be confident in the fact that I’ve spent the past 10 years learning and honing my eye and my skills, and be confident in the knowledge that this will help me make better choices moving forward!

And, finally, dear blog readers – please leave a comment and let me know what you enjoyed most about this year of Sew Your Kibbe! What do you feel you learned? What do you think you will take forward? If you had one request for a future Kibbe related post, what would it be? Does having a stated challenge work for you or does it just spell doom and disaster in terms of sewing productivity? Please discuss your year of Kibbe in the comments!

27 thoughts on “Sew Your Kibbe Challenge Wrap Up and Looking Forward

  1. I really want to thank you for all the work you did in pulling the Kibbe types together and sorted. It was a great help. Also, the reference to Merriam was most helpful as I finally sorted out that I am a Theatrical Romantic first and then a Soft Classic with very few points (1) left for anything else.
    Reconciling the combination will be my next challenge. Along the way, I discovered I like discordant color schemes so that will be another challenge to sort through.
    I do appreciate the pattern associations with the Kibbe types and will look forward to any you do in the future. I will also keep an eye on Merriam’s writing in the future.
    I think it would be fun and informative to watch as you reconcile your colors and style type(s) in the future – instructive to your audience but focused on you.


  2. I learned a lot from you and your Kibbe posts! A big Thank You!!!
    Although I am still confused about my body type, I know now more or less what NOT to sew….


  3. I have enjoyed reading about the kibbe types very much and have found that I am a dramatic classic. It has been helpful in deciding what to sew and what to leave behind. Thank you for investing so much time in this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found your blog this last and your Kibbe blogs were a great addition to my years of style studies. I was quite disgusted by the wars online in the sewing world. Kibbe, inclusive sizing , and any others, they got ugly really quick. I wouldn’t dwell to much on the negativity that came your way. The way I see it, Kibbe wrote a book and system in the 80’s, saw his book go up in price and tried to reclaim it. He has not followed thru so IMO he doesn’t really care that much. It’s not a system that I find that helpful, more confusing. It has been fun to watch you dissect the styles and highlight the patterns. Too poetic is a good description, not practical for us peons. 🙄. I appreciate the intelligence you bring to your blogging but do find time to sew more. I choose not to blog because so many die off or get weighed down by to pressure to produce content. I’d rather just live life and use my sewing to bring joy to my life.

    I’d like to see you post new creations for yourself, hear about the joy that process brought to you. Challenges strived for and accomplished , good or bad. Take what you’ve learned from all your research and put it practical use for yourself.
    Happy New Year! 🥳

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have several answers to your questions…

    I used to do challenges about 10 – 15 years ago when I had more time and money. Things like SWAP were exciting because I could buy yards and yards of coordinating fabrics and dedicate entire weeks to sewing so I could complete it in a month or two. Now I don’t have much of either (time or money), and challenges are pretty low on my list of things to do.

    I’m not an active social media participant so I didn’t show up in any Sew Your Kibbe hashtags and I didn’t blog about it. However, I was very much influenced by your massive, detailed, informative Kibbe exposition from last year, and this year all my sewing plans were aligned with my Kibbe type. So in that sense I definitely Sewed My Kibbe. The benefits go far beyond sewing – I was finally able to merge my color “season” and my Kibbe type and get an idea of what I need and don’t need in my closet and my fabric stash. I have gotten rid of so much clothing and fabric this year! And patterns!

    Other than that, my favorite Kibbe thing this year was the monthly pattern lists by Kibbe type. This helped cement my understanding* of the lines and shapes, as well as gave me more ideas of how the Kibbe descriptions could be interpreted. I don’t know how you managed to do so many posts with everything else going on, but it was very much appreciated. (*Keeping in mind that this is my understanding of your understanding of the old book. 😆 I certainly don’t claim to have a real understanding of whatever the “real” Kibbe types are.)

    I think the best Kibbe related post in the future would be anything that strikes YOUR interest. For example you might see another trend like the Romantic types not getting many choices, or you might pick up on another exciting schism in the community.

    Have a Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the time and effort you put into putting out so much content, and especially for tying it back into sewing patterns rather than rtw/runway fashion. I’m actually happy to hear that you also thought 2019 wasn’t a year for romantic fashion. Being a romantic type myself, most patterns and especially rtw were unappealing to me most of the year. Keeping in mind my Kibbe type kept me from going down the path of trying something I didn’t really want just for the sake of trying it or fitting in with trends.

    I’d love to see you keep doing some of the sewing pattern/type matching posts, even if you change the naming conventions you use, or can’t write that type of post often. Thanks again for being one of my favorite sewing blogs of 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really enjoyed your Kibbe posts. They gave me some new style ideas to try out which were a success. I also discovered a few interesting new blogs from your link roundups which I appreciate!

    It must be a lot of work putting together the monthly Kibbe pattern posts but they are certainly a lot of fun to read so many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for a great year blogging! I really enjoyed it and I started typing friends and family, harder to pinpoint myself. One of the things I’ve learned is to really look at the lines of the patterns instead of the interesting details that I want to try, and the flowery Kibbe-language combined with your pattern matching was really good resource! For the coming year I will rearrange my burda magazines and in the beginning of the month choose one pattern from the corresponding magazine and pick fabric from the stash, without caring if I get a big scrap or if it is precious, “just cut it” will be my motto!

    Looking forward to read your coming posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I really enjoyed your Kibbe posts and learned so much from them. Your attention to detail and ability to tie this information together in a meaningful – user friendly way is really quite a gift. I am someone who knew what I looked better in – or at least what I was drawn to but never worked to translate that to my wardrobe. It was always a hodgepodge of different styles, and frankly things that I just wore anyway knowing that I felt ‘blah’ when I wore them. Your posts have helped me to gain real clarity in this area, to take the time to look at my lines and really start to weed out the clothes that just weren’t right for me. In terms of sewing patterns – I had way too many that I was never going to sew at least in terms of time, but now I’m so glad I didn’t try to sew them because they wouldn’t have looked right on me. I can honestly say that learning about this style system has given me a systems thinking approach to not only dealing with my wardrobe and the immense stash of sewing paraphernalia that was starting to feel overwhelming to me, but I find I am starting to apply this thinking to other areas of my life too – which is long overdue. I know it may sound strange to say that these posts have impacted my life in such a big way, but it’s true and I’m happy to tell you that because of all the hard work you put into this series. I also believe I can see from other sewing bloggers who have employed this (and who credit you for providing such detailed information) that they too are re-thinking how they approach things sewing and otherwise. I’m not someone who is active on social media, so I wouldn’t be able to ping back to this info, but as I’ve said before it’s had a massive influence on me and also the gifts I choose to give to other people.
    Happy New Year to you, I wish you the very best in health and happiness! And I look forward to seeing and reading your blog in whatever direction you choose to take it. 

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your Kibbe posts were the most interesting and unique in the sewing blogosphere, and I truly enjoyed and moreover learned so much from them. Your thorough analyses gave me a better understanding of what and why I love certain styles and cut. Even if I don’t have an online presence I’ve “sewn my Kibbe” with great success. Your blog posts are always a treat! Whatever you choose to tackle in 2020 will certainly give to all of us, your readers, enjoyment but also “food for thought”. Thank you for this impressive work that you’ve done in 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just echoing everyone else’s thanks – the kibbe series was something I looked forward to reading every post and must have taken a lot of time to do. It came at a time when I was feeling a bit lost in my clothing choices and it was nice to see a category (soft natural) that actually felt so clearly like me to help guide me with my plans.

      As for challenges – I love challenges but I very rarely participate or complete them if I do – and that’s ok. Sewing is a hobby not a chore. I don’t need stress or deadlines, for me it is just for fun (well except for mending- that really is a chore).

      So happy new year, and good luck finishing off the trench coat!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Doctort, I sew and live in Melbourne, Australia. I love sewing patterns and don’t seem to be able to stop collecting them. I sew for myself and various family members including two daughters, two sisters, my Mum and, on occasion, nieces and children. I am really interested in why some styles suit some people and not others…. I have been aware of Kibbe for several years and had always considered myself a dramatic Classic (I think I chose dramatic just to make the classic part a bit more interesting). I was working in the corporate world and Classic suited my employment dress requirements. I have now been retired for over 5 years and I was still dressing and sewing Classic until late in 2018 when I stumbled on your blog.

    What a revelation! I read some of the Kibbe posts with your huge selection of patterns. I read the gamine post and loved LOVED everything there. I was hanging out to see your post for dramatic Classic, and, when it came out it all seemed so boring to me! So I decided there and then that even if I was physically a Classic I was going to wear gamine anyway!! Since then I have gone down the Kibbe rabbit hole. I now believe that I am a gamine and it has given me permission to play with my clothes. I am now adding texture, mixing prints, the more detail the better, hats, neck scarves, colours and proportions. I am having lots of fun.

    I enjoy Aly Art’s youtubes, she is very articulate and clever, she allows you to see things you wouldn’t have noticed. I go through the world looking at people saying ‘that outfit looks a little separate on her’… Also I watch Merriam Style and totally support the idea of removing those heavily laden terms such as ‘romantic’. I can’t get enough Kibbe. I have quietly typed all my family….

    I understand that many people would not ‘fit’ into Kibbe’s boxes and trying to squeeze yourself
    into one is not the answer. But for me it has been so so helpful, easy and fun. I am glad I found you. Thank you for all the work that you do in putting together your posts. It really is appreciated by the silent majority out here. The links you have provided have always been a great source of interest for me.

    Thanks again and Happy New Year

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have really enjoyed your Kibbe posts too!
    My style is gamine, but I didn’t know it until I found your blog! I chose gamine as one of my three words while doing The Curated Closet book this past year – modern, casual gamine. I’m still working on developing my wardrobe, handmade and RTW, and I’ve gone back to refer to the gamine post several times! Thanks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve mentioned a few times that I loved the Kibbe series. I also love the new pattern roundups you do.

    I’ve learnt (from your Kibbe series) that I’m a classic when it comes to personal style (and character). It explains why I prefer solid colours over prints and clean lines over ruffles, flounces, gathers and wraps. I have stepped away by experimenting with some prints for tshirts, but only casual ones. If I’m working then I inevitably choose the collared shirts in solid colours.

    Consequently the plan for 2020 is to up my game in shirt making and create some pretty shirts in knit fabrics too. And lots of trousers.

    All the best for 2020 to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love the time and effort you put on your blog and how it is so informative. As someone who has had a clear sense of what I like and what I don’t like and what (I think) looks good on me, the Kibbe part has been an interesting read but at the same time not as relevant. I feel it has been a big part of your journey finding your style and analyzing it and as such it has been interesting to follow. However, at times it has sounded a bit as if the negativity and discord in the community has exasperated you and keeping up with the reading and research has taken a toll on sewing. I think 2020 should be the year of what you feel motivated to do! (Though do keep up the burda and new pattern reviews 🙂!) I love seeing your makes and their reviews, but I also like reading your analysis. And I loved the geeky wardrobes you made!!! It really was an inspiration to me to sew things I need in my closet but with a secret “me” coherence that won’t necessarily open to others. It tied in with choosing color schemes in sewing mini collections in the style of Emily Hallman. I can’t but wonder in amazement at how you have been able to keep up with the huge task of the blog posts you set yourself for this year! Maybe now is time to do whatever strikes your fancy? And if setting goals helps, set them so that you can surpass them? For example by setting a goal of 3-4 garments that you have had your eye on and making those, or that for each 1 non-stach garment you sew a minimum of 2 from stach if you want to diminish that 🙂. It’s doable, won’t force you to buy new fabric but won’t limit if you see something you absolutely want/need. I’m looking forward to following your journey where it takes you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I just want to add to the chorus of support! I truly enjoyed your Kibbe posts and the way you bring a different side to other style bloggers by incorporating sewing. More importantly, I discovered Kibbe and your series around the same time I had a sudden death in the family, and thinking about clothes and style was an antidote to shock and grief. Looking forward to any more Kibbe content or roundups you decide to do in 2020! Maybe others can submit their own stories for a blogger/IG “sewing my Kibbe” series. It’s fun to hear other people’s perspectives! (And you can spend more time sewing your stash!)


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for all your hard work. I really loved your Kibbe content a d it was really intriguing to see it modernized with current styles and less stereotypical styles for each type.. ditto what other commentors said. Have fun this year! I wouldn’t mind at all if you still throw in some Kibbe commentary but definitely get some stuff done for you! Preaching to the choir here 😉 as I finish ufo christmas gifts and start costumes for our community Willie Wonka play. I’d always thought I’d like to blog but commeting alone takes so much time I can’t imagine! Love your reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Just wanted to add to all the comments thanking you for your “Sew Your Kibbe” series – I appreciate the massive amount of work that went into this resource and it is something I refer to regularly! Please never take it down!

    Also, you have already given so much and I really don’t think you should feel as though you need to add any more unless inspiration takes you!

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Doctor T,

    I loved your “Sew Your Kibbe” so much!! I was thinking about a sewing blog about Kibbe when I stumbled upon yours. You did such an excellent job with everything!! I was able to go thru my patterns and clear out many that I decided not to make. I am a soft dramatic what is funny my sister is a dramatic classic so most of my finished garments and patterns fit her better. She got a new wardrobe.

    I still am hoping when you review new patterns you still do them with a Kibbe twist. You have been so helpful to my sewing projects. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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