Get inspired by Louis Vuitton's ladylike looks and make your own pretty frock. Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images

Fall fashions are starting to hit stores so the time is right for some inspirational window shopping. You can easily update your wardrobe by sewing a few key pieces from the season. Perhaps a vest to befit the menswear trend? Or a long ladylike skirt (that we've been seeing so much of)? Here are some tips to help you hone in on the right piece.
  • Get Inspired: You'll want to hit the stores to ogle the key trends for the season and how they'll fit in with your style and closet. Grab your sketchbook and head to the mall for a little snoop shopping. Or sit down with a pile of fashion magazines and rip out the pages with fashions that you admire. I have a big bulletin board in my sewing room filled with inspirational tear sheets.
  • Keep It Simple: Dresses, skirts, and pants are garments that can be made in a weekend and still be quite cool and trendy. On the other hand, jackets and coats can be quite time-consuming and are better store bought. (If I'm going to put the Herculean effort required to create a tailored jacket or coat, I opt for more timeless pieces, like a double-breasted camel-colored coat or blazer.)
  • Get Busy: Once you've identified your desired look, it's time to hit the pattern books or research online. Zero in on simpler pieces, like a retro ladylike dress or classic skinny pants. You may wants to opt for a romantic ruffle blouse. The pattern book collections follow same seasons as designers, with new collections out in the fall and the spring.
  • No Shopping Required: Who says you even have to go near a store to get a new look for fall? Little Green Dresses, a new book out by former DIY Network Stylelicious host Tina Sparkles, shows how to transform the clothes that are sitting in your closet. Even simple sewing tricks like turning bootleg jeans into skinny jeans can give you a big fashion bang for your buck, along with the pleasure of expressing your creativity.
For more DIY Design columns, click here. Next week, simple sewing repairs that anyone can do.