Fashion Forecast for Spring Sewing 2023The season promises joyful colors and a twist on classic separates
It is always a good sign for fashion when there is plenty to absorb. Spring 2023 ushers in a fresh array of style choices. We have truly eased out of loungewear and basics, and now it’s time for fashion that is fun, full of life, and a showcase for individuality.
Fresh silhouettes were notable in the spring runway shows. Look for loose jeans and ’80s-inspired oversized blazers. Low-rise replaces high-rise, and floor-grazing maxi skirts join the lineup alongside the micro-miniskirts that carry over from last year. Sleek column dresses complete the exciting juxtaposition of shapes. Other trends reflect lifestyle themes. Practical details such as padding, roomy pockets, and parachute straps appear on cargo pants and field jackets, for wardrobe staples with a ready-for-action look. Ballet-core styles bring a fun way to add a soft and romantic feel to your wardrobe, with off-the-shoulder tops, flowing skirts, tights—and actual satin ballet slippers. Workwear and suiting are clean and classic for a wear-now-wear-always vibe, and updated variations on the white button-up blouse made the list of trends. Look for this classic with widened collars, exaggerated sleeves, and in mixed-material versions.
The season’s fabrics also appeal to a mood of joy and exploration, with cheerful colors and exciting textures—including high-octane sequins. The wonderful options for spring add up to opportunities for every sewist to shine in their own way.
Bold brights such as fuchsia, acid green—is it 1986 again?—and tangelo speak to the fearlessness that characterizes the season’s runway presentations. Meanwhile, calm classics, like eggshell or gray with lavender undertones, provide balance and contrast. The 2023 spring/summer palette from the Pantone Color Institute reflects the season’s color mood.
Floral prints are perhaps to be expected, but this year they are larger in scale and bolder in color, with some in watercolor-style prints. Polka dots made an appearance in the Burberry and Saint Laurent spring runway shows. In various sizes, they add whimsy and charm to the textile mix. Transparent fabrics, such as mesh, carry over from previous seasons for a strong presence again this year. Leather and faux leather are strong for Spring 2023. These are made seasonally appropriate by ditching a head-to-toe leather look for outfits with contrasting pieces, such as a leather blazer with wide-leg linen trousers. Fringe is on the move, and was seen on the Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander runways. This trend calls for piling it on: We’re talking dresses covered in fringe, long sleeves with fringe, and floor-grazing skirts with fringe.
Practical pieces that combine military aesthetics and streetwear influences are freshened up this season. Expect plenty of roomy pockets or fanny-pack-style pouches for an early aughts-inspired trend. Garments feel elevated in high-shine satin fabrics, or of-the-moment lower rises and wide-leg silhouettes. Cynthia Rowley presented silk cargo skirts that had a ballroom vibe, and Bally made a glam statement with metallic gold cargo jackets with matching knee-high boots. With mini bags having a moment again, good-sized pockets are a must.
Pants are the item of the season with cargo styles at or near the top of the list. These pants aren’t your typical hiking pants, either; whip up a pair in silk twill, and pair them with a crisp white blouse for a new office look. Or, go the travel-ready route with a ponte di Roma jogger-style pant loaded with pockets. Complete the look with a classic, Barbour-style quilted jacket.
Patterns to try
- New Look 6745: gender-neutral designs with bellows pockets and drawstring waist
- McCall’s 7907: loose-fitting styles with fly fronts and leg silhouette variations
- Deryll Trousers from VikiSews: semifitted, with topstitching and elasticized, gathered hems
- McCall’s 8206: carpenter or cargo views with color blocking suggested
- Blanca Flight Suit from Closet Core Patterns: zip-front boiler suit with sizing to 60-inch bust and 63-inch hips
Light jackets for the transition to spring are always a good idea, and designers presented lots of new interpretations in waxed cotton, unlined cotton twill, and denim. As is often the case with fashion, trends reflected the current state of the world and concerns about conflict and the environment. The utilitarian trend has a sense of preparedness, while avoiding an overdone, costumey look. Field jackets are in line with a ready-for-anything attitude.
Patterns to try
- Grainline Studios Thayer Jacket: roomy style inspired by men’s workwear, with topstitched patch pockets
- Wardrobe by Me Utility Jacket: men’s pattern, but a gender-neutral design with military inspired details
- Simplicity 9687: designed by Mimi G, a loose-fitting anorak look, plus poncho and pants coordinates
- McCall’s 7729: trucker style jackets or a vest with a generous fit and color blocking potential
- Kelly Anorak Jacket from Closet Core Patterns: a cozy hooded option with sizing for busts up to 60 inches
For the romantic, ballet-core offers a way to infuse some softness into the rotation this season with a delicate tulle skirt (keep it light and airy with just two or three layers or opt for some drama with even more layers) and a cozy knit top. Or, go easy on the trend with a surplice-style top, jeans, and ballet flats. Delicate bralette tops, lace or mesh bodysuits, and visible, layered undergarments also borrow from the ballet-core trend. Dancewear styles pair easily with evergreen closet essentials like denim jackets and blazers. Texture is key here; have fun combining elements, such as rosette appliqués, sweet bows, and lace for a look loaded with tactile interest.
This trend is all about a fitted silhouette that contrasts well with a more voluminous skirt or even wide-leg pants. Wrap-style tops are flattering and timeless, and off-the-shoulder styles are a chic option for a night out with black trousers.
Patterns to try
- McCall’s 8344: knit tops with surplice and ruching details and a narrow fit
- Vogue 1923: close-fitting knit bodysuits with off-the-shoulder tops
- McCall’s 8348: turtleneck shrug similar to dancers’ warm-up and rehearsal wear, plus slip-style dress
- Elysian bodysuit from Friday Pattern Company: scoop neckline, long sleeves, and sizes to fit a 60-inch bust
- Orage Top & Skirt from Deer & Doe Patterns: soft layering pieces designed for fluid knits
- Simplicity 9679: sleek knit tops, long-sleeved or sleeveless, with asymmetrical cutouts
Ballet-core skirts can be mini, midi, or maxi in length. The idea is to showcase texture and a voluminous silhouette or something delicate and fluid, like a silk charmeuse wrap skirt. To play up the look, style the skirt with a wrap top or a fitted, cropped tee. This trend brings a sweet, feminine aesthetic to the rotation, which feels contemporary and new on its own as a head-to-toe look or paired with something utilitarian or sleek for a new mix of styles.
Patterns to try
- Vogue 1872: a wrap skirt with an asymmetrical handkerchief hem
- Ginny Skirt from Fibre Mood: wrap-tie circle skirt with length variations
- ‘Draft-it-Yourself’ Ruffle Wrap Skirt from By Hand London: instructions to draft a half-circle wrap skirt with hem frill to your body measurements
- McCall’s 8259: graceful wrap skirt with flounced overlay edge and hem
- Tierra Wrap Skirt from Named Clothing: asymmetrical hemline on this wrap style; for hips up to
- Shepherd Skirt from Merchant & Mills: classic pleated A-line that works in many fabric types
Oversized everything has been on the radar for a couple of seasons now, and it’s cemented as the top trend this season. This trend can be interpreted as a complete look (think oversized blazer with super-wide-leg trousers) or styled with a fitted top or jacket for a more timeless look that brings the trend to the rotation in a subtle way.
Go for a nonchalant and comfortable, yet powerful, look in blazers with exaggerated shoulders and jackets that seem one size too big.
Patterns to try
- Vogue 1870: an ensemble; the lined, semifitted blazer falls to below-hip length; pants are flared
- Loren Blazer from Style Arc: unlined layering piece with narrow shawl collar; for up
to 58-1/4-inch busts
- Heather Chandler Blazer from Friday Pattern Company: for busts up to 60 inches; slightly oversized fit with a notched collar
- Ariadna Jacket from VikiSews: double-breasted, oversized style with a straight silhouette
Feel free with wide-leg silhouettes. Play up the volume trend with lantern sleeves on a blouse or a big collar on a button-up shirt. Fabrics with drape better showcase movement in wide-legged pants styles.
Patterns to try
- Vogue 1910: wide-leg pants with layered front pleats
- McCall’s 8292: full legs are gathered into a deep waist yoke
- Closet Core Patterns Mitchell Trousers: high-waisted trousers with full or tapered legs
- McCall’s 7876: loose-fitting suit ensemble with jacket and pant length variations
- Willow Overalls from Pipe Dream Patterns: bib overalls, one view offers flowing wide legs
- Daphna Trousers from VikiSews: menswear-inspired pleated trousers
The new white blouse
With a few carryover trends from last fall—we’re looking at you, maxi skirts and sleek suiting—designers offered a new white blouse to mix in with old favorites and new pieces for a no-waste, timeless option. The classic white blouse is a timeless choice with just about anything, and this season it takes on new shapes with widened collars, off-the-shoulder styles. This is your hyper-elevated style, so let the creativity flow with colorful buttons, 3D appliqué, or patches of sequin embellishment for a custom, personalized option.
Valentino showed an off-the-shoulder option that makes for a head-turning look, while Junya Wantanabe made pleats feel new with a white blouse in an oversized silhouette that combines the best of two trends—and interesting fabric. Ann Demeulemeester presented a maxi-length white blouse which proves that the classic shirtdress has mega staying power. Of all the trends for 2023, this is the one to make your own.
Patterns to try
- Vogue 1845: close fit in the waist and bust, contrasted with full sleeves and peplum
- Vogue 1899: loose-fitting, with underarm gussets and interesting folded cuffs
- Simplicity 9646: views include a voluminous balloon sleeve
- Olya shirt from Paper Theory: unexpected style lines make it a great choice for striped fabrics
- Wide blouses from sisterMAG Patterns: a selection of oversized shirts with fun details
- Adrienne Blouse from Friday Pattern Company: designed for knits; statement full sleeves; fits busts to 54 inches
Pair an unforgettable white shirt with other garments that reflect a simple aesthetic. Refined separates make sprinkling in a trend like an exaggerated blouse a breeze. Keep things sophisticated with a neutral, monochrome look in eggshell or light gray. Alternatively, choose a bottom in one of the season’s joyful brights.
Patterns to try
- Simplicity 8056: pants from the Amazing Fit line, with separate pattern pieces for three body types
- Butterick 6901 and 6902: ensemble with vest, pants, and shorts; extended sizing to 65-inch finished hipline
- Butterick 6915: suit including tapered and wide-leg pant options
- Simplicity 9675: vintage ensemble, a tapered waist jacket and narrow calf-length skirt
- McCall’s 8350: classic hip-length, button-front blazer or vest
Emily Hallman is a designer, stylist, and avid sewist based in Georgetown, Texas. EmilyHallman.com
Illustrations: Steven Fleck. Color samples: courtesy of Pantone Color Institute.View PDF