Archive for the ‘wardrobe planning’ category

The Vivienne Files wardrobe plan : ’Starting from Scratch’

July 17, 2014

Janice of The Vivienne Files has been running a wardrobe building series which is simple, clear and step-by-step.

I brought the links together for my own use, and am posting them here in case anyone finds it helpful.
There has been an active discussion at Stitchers’ Guild.

The main sections here :
– list of links to the Scratch wardrobe plan.
– other wardrobe building plans from Janice.
– grouping the steps into capsules.
– some suggestions on personalising the plan.
– a few tips on co-ordinates,
– some designers and styles.

So many situations where building a wardrobe can be an inspiring idea :
– choosing a travel capsule,
– revising your wardrobe when you have a change in job/ lifestyle/ size/ climate or want to explore a different personal style,
– ‘shopping your wardrobe’ to check if you have any big wardrobe gaps.
– when you feel you have “nothing to wear”, your closet is full of clothes that don’t go together.
– when you feel your clothes are just tired out, or you’re tired of them.

– –

Build up a wardrobe

It’s good to take at least a day on each step, as Janice did with her posts. Every time you add a step, explore the outfits you can make by combining these with your previously chosen items.
I think this is especially important early on, when you’re establishing your own best colours, styles and clothing needs.
Imogen Lamport’s mantra at Inside-Out Style blog is “Love what you buy, and only buy what you love and what loves you back.” Take the time to find these items, if need be.

Choose colours that flatter you and that you love, not just colours that go together.
Pick styles which make you feel and look your best.
Don’t try to mimic Janice’s choices exactly unless they are what makes you happy.
Think about what clothes you need for your climate and how you spend your time.
(A little more about these decisions in later sections.)

Step 0. choose 5 colours – 2 neutrals, ‘white’/ best light neutral, 2 accents
click here

Janice has a colour planner available for purchase, showing a huge range of possible combinations, see here.

Step 1. pants – main neutral
click here

Step 2. shoes – same neutral
click here

Step 3. cardigan; tee – same neutral
click here

Step 4. jeans – same neutral; shirt – ‘white’
click here

Step 5. accessories I – bag, watch, bracelet, earrings, scarf – same neutral
click here
(other suggestions – belt, necklace, hat, vest)

Step 6. 2 tops – 1 in each accent colour; mixed colour scarf
click here

Step 7. layer; pants; shoes – 2nd neutral
click here

Pause for review
click here

Clarifying preferences
click here

Step 8. 2 tops – any of colours, may be print; necklace – accent
click here

Step 9. dressy [winter] outfit : skirt; top; shoes – all in main neutral
click here

Step 10. casuals : jacket – neutral; top – mixed colour print; casual shoes – neutral or accent
click here

Step 11. personal style outfit : layer; top; bottom, to fill in your needs – both neutrals
click here

Step 12. winter outerwear : coat; boots; scarf – mainly neutrals but your choice
click here

Step 13. accessories 2 : bag, watch, earrings, necklace, brooch/ pin – mainly neutrals
click here

Step 14. leisure wear : 2 tops – any of the 5 colours or prints; 2 bottoms – mainly neutral
click here

Step 15. dressy summer outfit : dress – neutral; layer – may be accent; sandals – neutral or ‘flesh’
click here

Step 16. evaluating and balancing neutrals (complete core groups of both neutrals)
click here
Sort your wardrobe by colour, plus ‘bridging’ garments which combine colours. Too many or too few of one of your colours ?

Step 17. finishing touches
click here
Many examples of things you might feel are missing.

Step 18. simple neutral tops as background for accessories
click here

Final summary, no new items
click here

Worksheets available
click here

Supplement : Summer wardrobe, all the steps in one post
click here

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Janice has previously posted several wardrobe building schemes with different perspectives.
Some of them add some other considerations, which can be confusing. On the other hand, if they‘re more like your style, they may make things simpler !
Just pick one to start from, as a way of building up a basic group of clothes. You can branch out from it later.

Alternate 1 : a 15-piece wardrobe for Agnes
– 5 layers, 5 tops, 5 bottoms.
click here
Buy all 15 items from the same department at the beginning of the season, and no need to think about clothes again. . .

Alternate 2 : Four by Four casual wardrobe
– four groups of four
click here
Janice has many versions of this – click on Four by Four in the labels section of her menu.

I wrote a couple of posts about this at the time :
Wardrobe of relaxed basics
Variations of the relaxed wardrobe

Alternate 3 : the common wardrobe
– 12 neutral casuals
click here
This is rather different from the Scratch wardrobe. Here a small group of neutral casuals is used as the background for interesting accent colour accessories.
In the Scratch wardrobe most of the accessories are neutral in colour.

Again I wrote some posts about this at the time :
Common wardrobe
Accessory styles
Where do you like your outfit variety ?
I gave up on listing all the colours Janice explored, but you can find them if you click on ‘A Common Wardrobe’ in the Labels in her menu. An amazing example of Janice’s wardrobe gifts in action !

Alternate 4 : building a working wardrobe after college
click here
Another simple group of classics built up a few items at a time.

Alternate 5 : a two-suit wardrobe
– 24 items
click here
More basics using 2 key colours.

For someone else’s recent suggestions on wardrobe planning, there’s the Wardrobe Architect series from Colette Patterns.

– – –

Sewing this wardrobe a capsule at a time

Elizabeth (ejvc) has grouped the Scratch Wardrobe items into 6PACs for ease of sewing. Each 6PAC has its own reduced colour focus.
In a ideal world you sew a 6PAC each season. 6PACs are groups of items which make a capsule, so you have plenty of wearable outfits even if you only make these 6 items. There are active discussions each season at Stitchers’ Guild.
Elizabeth calls the main colours ‘base’ colours rather than neutrals, as some people aren’t happy in neutrals. She counts a colour as a base/neutral if you’d enjoy wearing a pair of pants in it. So if you love shocking pink pants, shocking pink is a ‘neutral’ for you 😀
click here for ejvc’s post

Some people are happy to follow Janice’s Steps. Others feel they have a clearer overview of the process if they group the Steps in Capsules and then the Capsules into a Wardrobe.
I’m a ‘one step at a time’ person, so long as I know there is a flexible overall plan which works out in the end. But some people instantly relax when they see Elizabeth’s scheme.
So do whichever works best for you.

– – –

Personalising the plan

Love dresses and skirts ? lace and frills ? studs and skulls ? Need many layers for warmth ? Have greyed warm colouring ? Many reasons why the items Janice picks may not be ideal for you, so try not to get stuck on specifics. If you’re not a city-dwelling working classic with clear cool colouring, it may take a bit of thought and experimenting to adapt this wardrobe to your own needs, but the basic ideas are very simple to deal with.

My e-book has some suggestions on identifying your own wardrobe needs.
click here

And there’s this post with some questions to get you thinking about your personal style.
click here

It’s also important to dress for your colouring.
Which describes you ?
light – dark
cool (blue based) – warm (yellow based),
clear – muted
low contrast – high contrast

The approach to colouring which works best for me is ‘signature colours’ – colours from your hair, skin, eyes, blush, veins.
I enjoy Imogen Lamport’s posts on this ’signature colours’ approach.
click here (search for signature colour)
But some people don’t look good in their personal colouring, and prefer the ‘seasonal’ approach. So try both.

For choosing clothes which enhance the details of your body shape, there’s the excellent and fascinating workbook ‘Flatter your Figure’ by Jan Larkey.
click here.

– – –


And then there’s the art and skill of choosing clothes that co-ordinate.
Several of my posts with suggestions on co-ordination linked to from this page.

Basically – you’ve simplified co-ordination by using only a few colours and a few prints.
Also just use a few silhouettes and a few style elements.
It’s easiest to have collars on tops and not on jackets, or collars on jackets and not on tops.
Make sure your layers are big enough, especially at the armholes and sleeves. Many fitted jacket patterns have sleeves that only work over a sleeveless top or camisole. Raglan and dolman sleeves fit over most other sleeve styles, but not vice versa.

– – –

Designers and styles

One way of making it more likely your clothes co-ordinate is to use patterns from only one designer.
Of course I can’t resist having fun with patterns and styles, so here are some of the possibilities.
(Instructions hugely varied in quality.)

simple classics with advice on easy pattern alterations :
Angela Wolf : patterns plus Threads videos on how to alter them : One Pattern Many Ways One, and Two.
Nancy Ericson : patterns with newsletters, booklets about variations.
Silhouette Patterns : patterns for several cup sizes, with DVD on pattern making,
Sure-Fit Designs : basic fitted slopers with booklets and videos about style alterations.
See also my posts on wardrobe pattern books linked to from this page.

modern classics :
Burda Style,

chic couture :
Claire Shaeffer
Ralph Rucci

dramatic, high fashion :
Bootstrap Fashion

softer :
Hot Patterns,
Loes Hinse

dresses/ ‘vintage’ :
Eliza M

loose and frilly :
Tina Givens

knits and active :
Christine Jonson

crafter/ artisan :
Indygo Junction
Merchant & Mills

arty :
Cutting Line (under shop tab),
Marcy Tilton
Sewing Workshop

– – –

After all the thinking involved in writing Sewingplums, I have a fairly clear idea of my wardrobe needs and my personal style, my colouring and body shape, but I still learn something new from most wardrobe plans. I much enjoyed exploring this one. And am looking forward to using it as a guide for what to sew.

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Favourite books – style and wardrobe

May 18, 2013

A commenter asked me to bring together the books I’ve mentioned here and there.

I didn’t go through my posts to develop this list – wrote down the ones that I remembered and are easy to access on my shelves – the best test !

There are many other excellent books available. I just mention ones I’ve seen myself, and which stay in my mind and get referred to again rather than forgotten.
I have of course also seen many books which range from uninspiring through inadequate to terrible – but I’m not going to use space explaining why I don’t like them. And once I’ve found a book that satisfies my needs in that area, I tend to stop looking at more. So, sorry, you won’t be able to tell, if I don’t mention something, whether I think it’s bad, or I like something else better, or I simply haven’t seen it.

Even though this is only a small selection of what’s available, I’m a book person so this spread to great length.
This is about books on personal style and wardrobing.
Then couple of posts for books on pattern making and fit.
Final post with books about sewing.

Books I not only enjoyed reading a first time, but also look at again.
And of course I haven’t been able to resist making lengthy comments.

– – –

Personal Style

There are many books on up-grading your style. They often have vertiginous heels on the cover and advise wearing black, so I keep well clear. I became less interested in style books once I got clearer about my own style – and was able to tell that most books aren’t relevant to me. . . So if you love your LBD and stiletto heels there are many style books you will enjoy, but I’m not the person to give advice 😀

Style books always say they want to help you look your best. But they don’t all mean flattering your personal special features. They often mean trying to make you look more like a model. Or they assume you want to look rich and powerful. Those I try to avoid – I get upset about both their values and their advice.

In fact people disagree passionately about style books – perhaps because of their personal style, or because of how much they already know about what suits them and how to build good outfits. Always worth reading the low-star reviews at Amazon.

Most of the books I like have very out-of date illustrations, but the general advice is still excellent. Most important – they cover a wide range of personal colourings, body shapes, and style preferences, not just fashion mag big city chic.

Nancy Nix-Rice Looking Good
A good short introduction on the best clothes for you.

Mathis & Connor The Triumph of Individual Style
Beautiful, fascinating, detailed. Artists love every body shape.

Judith Rasband Wardrobe Strategies for women
College textbook with assignments. Ignore the awful cover photo. Every page is bursting with good ideas. (Her company Conselle sells modernised versions of the chapters – very expensive.)

David Kibbe Metamorphosis
Rich with interesting comments on personal style. Though his specific suggestions show he’s not so good at helping people who like to dress quietly!

Jan Larkey Flatter your Figure
Another older book with dated examples but marvellous advice about the best styles to wear given your body shape features. Unlike much such advice, she manages to avoid the problem that some suggestions are right for one of your body features but wrong for another.

Mary Spillane Color Me Beautiful’s Looking Your Best
The European off-shoot of Color Me Beautiful, with more colour types and personal styles. (I like this book, but strongly disagree with recent books by UK CMB.)

– – –

Fashion Design

For some sewers, the ultimate expression of personal style is to design our own clothes.
If you’d like explore the design process, here are some possible starters.

Grandon et al 200 projects to get you into fashion design
A sequence of guided exercises. You may need other books for guidance on the techniques used, but working through this is like doing a fashion design foundation course.

Stephanie Corfee Fashion Design Workshop
Introductory fashion drawing advice.

– – –

Wardrobe planning

Re-thinking your style, and need to know you have a basic wardrobe so you always have ‘something to wear’ ?

Juudith Rasband Wardrobe strategies for women
I mentioned this before, on personal style.

out-of-print :

Janet Wallach Working Wardrobe
The original wardrobe planning book and still interesting. She does assume you wear a skirt to work, but it’s easy to swap pants for skirts.

Kate Mathews Sewing a Travel Wardrobe
Minimal sewing instructions, but many ideas for travel capsules. Nothing on personal colouring or style. (Here’s my post on the plans in this book.)

– – –

Fashion entertainment

Robert Pante Dressing to Win (oop)
Just one personal style – assumes you want to dress for the top. Prestige wardrobing, I enjoy this for a good laugh.

His One-Star Wardrobe (6-garment capsule plus accessories) cost about US$1900 when the book was published nearly 30 years ago (1984).
The UK Retail Price Index has gone up more than 2.5 times since then.
That means investing about $5000/ £3300 on a basic RTW designer starter capsule at today’s (2013) prices.
Looking at Net-a-Porter for current designer RTW prices, that is actually in the low price range for top designers.

From that Pante works up to a Five-Star Plan which includes furs, big diamonds, and red-carpet dresses (he doesn’t cost out that one 😀 ).

In contrast, Imogen Lamport manages to come up with a RTW starter wardrobe of 12 items for aus$196, not including accessories. Yes impressive if you’re starting from a modest point. But people in the know will recognise the low quality fabrics and make. So work up from there if you want to impress 😀

Making your own clothes could work out at a fraction of the designer RTW price (see my post comparing hobby sewing and designer RTW clothes prices). But do choose quality fabrics and accessories if you want to look like you buy from designers.
Say $700+ for materials for clothes (pant suit, blazer, 2 blouses, dress), and $1300 for accessories (2 pairs shoes, bag, belt, preferably leather).
Gets it down to about $2000 for your starter capsule.

For more amazed laughs about the real-life fashion business, I enjoy :

Bringing home the Birkin by Michael Tonello – on the world supported by luxury fashionistas.

Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones – fictional life of a designer.

The September Issue movie about the editor of US Vogue – on the making of a fashion magazine. (Do you want to be told what to wear by these people ?)

– – –

Happy hobby sewers – we can admire and enjoy inspired design and technique, the creativity of clothes making, without getting enmeshed in all the ‘keeping up’ and staying ‘in’ side of ‘being fashionable’.

I hope you know your own best styles, colours, shapes, and your sewing gives you what you love 😀

– – –

Originally written May 2013, links checked August 2019

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‘Dressmaking’ book – classic styles

March 9, 2013

I’ve had many thoughts about this book, ‘Dressmaking’ by Alison Smith. A wardrobe pattern book with a focus on clearly explained technique.

This post reviews the classic style patterns in this book, with suggested alternatives. With comments on building a classic wardrobe.

Each wardrobe pattern book has it’s own style (see my posts.) Most are on casual or pretty styles. This is the first book on classic style, so it won’t be for everyone but fills an important gap.

– – –

The basic patterns

The ‘Dressmaking’ patterns are pure classics based on fitted blocks with fitted armholes, most with zip opening.

There are 12 basic scaleable/ download patterns :
(The second top actually buttons up to the neck.)





Plus instructions for simple pattern changes to make 19 variations. A good range within one personal style and ease level.

As my body shape is far from average, I’m not the right person to test these patterns to find how well they work. These patterns are such simple basic styles it’s easier to adapt my personal fitting blocks, rather than going through the fitting process with these patterns.

– – –

Fitted classics only

These patterns won’t warm your heart if you like casual slouchy/ body-con, frilly/ drapey/ vintage, or trendy styles.
No dartless styles with dropped shoulders. No raglan or cut-on sleeves.
No slimmer pants, or tops with generous or negative ease.
No notched or band collars (though sufficient instructions are there).
No dresses in dartless shift, wrap, or draped styles, and those can be more flattering for many body shapes.
Nothing on sewing knits, fleece, denim.

The late Shannon Gifford thought you need 5 basic pattern blocks : pants, a-line skirt, classic shirt, fitted tee, jacket. All but the tee are here.
I like to have basic blocks for drop-shoulder, raglan, and cut-on sleeves as well as fitted armholes. And I use a casual dartless block a lot. Some people like a separate block for slim fit pants like jeans. None of those are here.

If you follow designer fashion these patterns will look a bit dull. Nothing here if you want to mimic this season’s high fashion (see my review of seasonal trends). Or a tees-sweats-jeans or tunic-leggings look. Or a cascade cardigan or notch collar blazer.

The patterns are best suited to ultra classic personal style in woven fabrics.
For ‘modern classics’ including knits, see styleARC patterns.

Other personal styles

Using these patterns, you couldn’t copy the basic wardrobes from Janice of The Vivienne Files. Here’s her casual wardrobe , and here on a wardrobe as a background to accessories.
My posts on patterns for these are on a wardrobe of relaxed basics and a common wardrobe.

Staying with wardrobe pattern books which claim to teach you to sew :

If you like casual styles, you could combine the sewing instructions in this ‘Dressmaking’ book with Wendy Mullin’s pattern books. Her patterns have a wider range of style elements and basic blocks but sometimes poor sewing instructions (and beware the fit. See my wardrobe pattern book reviews – Index page 3).

What about flouncy or vintage styles for skirt and dress lovers ? Those can easily use the Steampunk clothing company production. The Colette Patterns or Burda Style pattern books might be a better choice, too. I haven’t seen the Colette Patterns book. I have seen the first Burda Style book, which isn’t right for me as it has brief written instructions with few illustrations.

Also Gertie’s new book for better sewing, which I haven’t seen as it isn’t my style or body shape. Here’s a helpful review.

For draped styles there are the ‘Drape, Drape‘ Japanese pattern books. I haven’t seen these books, but Japanese pattern books are usually very visual – many diagrams and few words. See Simply Pretty for extended images from Japanese pattern books, to see the instruction style (or get the Japanese editions of the ‘Drape, drape’ books 😀 ).

A Wardrobe of Classics

If you work through all the projects in ‘Dressmaking’, you’ll have a variety of standard fitted classic tops (5), skirts (6), pants (4), dresses (12), and jackets (4). (No classic casuals like tees, jeans, cascade cardigan.)

Co-ordinate fabrics and colours to make a wardrobe.

Using the patterns in ‘Dressmaking’ you can make clothes similar in style spirit to Nancy Nix-Rice’s basic starter wardrobe. Here’s the first of my posts on it. Better to read her complete set of newsletters.

Nancy suggests you use 3 colours : dark neutral, light neutral, accent colour.
And have a foundation wardrobe of 12 garments :
– top, layer, pants, skirt – one group in dark neutral and another in light neutral,
– top and layer in accent colour,
– top and skirt in mixed colour print.

You couldn’t copy Nancy’s suggested styles exactly using the ‘Dressmaking’ book, as there isn’t a pattern for notched collar or knits.
And Nancy doesn’t include any one-piece dresses.

Perhaps use Butterick 5760 wardrobe pattern for the further classic styles needed, once you’re familiar with the techniques in the ‘Dressmaking’ book. Add making a band collar, a more structured jacket, and a knit cardigan to your skill set.


Or just make the 12 dresses in the ‘Dressmaking’ book – plenty enough for a classic ‘dresses only’ wardrobe !
Once you’re happy with a bit of pattern altering, you’ll be able to combine patterns to add collars and different sleeves to these dresses. Though with only a narrow range of shapes.

– – –

My first posts inspired by this book were on sewing guidance for complete beginners and advanced beginners.

The technique instructions in this book – for intermediate level skills – are very good (I plan to write on this later). And they apply to any style. But the patterns won’t be to everyone’s taste.

I don’t wear such extreme classics, so need to adapt the patterns a bit. Lengthen the skirts and jackets, make sleeveless vests from the jacket patterns, taper the pants, make tunic versions of some dresses. . . (examples of all these pattern changes are in the book). Shortened versions of the waist seam dresses can be used for tops while peplums are so popular. With my personal style, body shape, and local climate, I’m unlikely to make any bare-shouldered styles, unless I just made them to try the skills involved.

I’ll go elsewhere for my favourite loose fitting layering top and jacket patterns. The same pattern altering and sewing techniques apply to the casual dartless block, but there’s no pattern here to use as a starting point. Other guides also needed for sewing a wider range of fabrics.

Even if ‘classic’ isn’t your style, they can be good to use as background basics. Here’s YouLookFab on using a few classic items with others.

The cover of this book claims it’s a ‘one step resource’. It isn’t that, but it is very good on the styles and techniques it does include.

– – –

Patterns and links available March 2013

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Some sources suggesting basic capsules

March 2, 2013

Having at last made my final Index page 5 which lists posts on co-ordinates and capsules, here are some other capsules which could be the starting point for a basic wardrobe.

There must be thousands of attractive inspiring outfits on the web. Apart from all the style blogs, Polyvore is set up to devise them, and there are multiple Pinterest pages.

A capsule is more than an outfit – a small group of co-ordinated clothes which can be interchanged to make several outfits.
Perhaps (2 tops, 2 bottoms) to make 4 outfits.
Or (jacket, shirt, 2 tees, pants, jeans) which together make 12 outfits to cover many situations.

Here’s my post on basic capsule options : building your wardrobe in small groups. Start with one capsule and simply add another similar.

There’s so much advice available on capsules and wardrobes, I’m amazed how many people aren’t aware of the idea 😀

Judith Rasband’s college textbook Wardrobe Strategies for Women bases wardrobe building on capsules.

Once you set up the basic pieces, every time you add a co-ordinating item it can double the number of possible outfits. See my post on the power of the boring.

There’s a discussion on minimalist wardrobes at You Look Fab.

Project 333 allows a free choice of what to include in your wardrobe, but to a limit of 33 items including : clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes. As many wardrobe planners suggest a basic group of 5 – 12 garments, that’s quite a generous allowance really 😀

If you find it easier to take inspiration from specific capsules or to react against them, rather than devising your own starting point, here are some of the many possibilities.

Some are specific enough to show a particular style. Some are just numbers of garments. Though even numbers have style implications. Most for example include 0 or 1 dress – no use if you love dresses.

Some of these groups just count clothes, some count both clothes and accessories. If you’re allowed infinite numbers of accessories, you can make infinite numbers of outfits with very few clothes, see the Uniform Project.

– – –

Here’s an 8-item weekend travel capsule consisting of 4 garments, 4 accessories.

Or here’s a group of 6 garments – jacket, 3 tops, skirt, choice of 2 pants : The Kit (click on the photo for more detail about each style).

In style contrast, Perfectly Packed has a classic business wardrobe of 8 garments, which can be copied easily using two wardrobe patterns, see my post on classic style.

Tim Gunn’s 10 essential elements
His 10 items are clothes only, add accessories.
For example variants of this, see the middle of my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
And Imogen Lamport’s thoughts on this list and her own version.

Imogen has several suggested capsules for different lifestyles, mostly about a dozen items. Here’s her post on a capsule wardrobe of 12 items. And here’s her post on combining colours and combining prints, very ‘this season’ co-ordination.

Stylist Angie Cox also has a few posts on capsules at YouLookFab, and now has a section called Ensembles. (She uses the word ‘outfit’ for groups of clothes on a specific person.)

Elizabeth (ejvc) suggests a 12-item group, and prices it (about $225) for sewing. If you want natural fabrics, you need to use just one pattern magazine, and mainly black fabric, to get the cost that low. Much cheaper if you’re comfortable in polyester. I would probably use a wardrobe pattern book (see Index page 3), about twice the price of a pattern magazine.

This list from the Nate Berkus Show
has 12 basic items including accessories, plus 8 add-ons : 20 in all.

Wardrobe Oxygen list updated
23 items including underwear and accessories.
I still disagree with nearly very word of this, see my post, but many people working in a very classic environment love it.

Nancy Nix-Rice builds up from 12 basic garments to 23 garments in all, plus suggestions for minimum accessories. She claims to get nearly 100 different outfits from her 12 garments. See Index page 4 for my posts on her scheme, with links to her lessons, and suggested patterns.

Seasonal 6PACs : 24 garments in all, organised in 4 seasonal groups of 6. Here’s a list of relevant posts from ejvc, who started the idea. There’s always a sewalong for the current season at Stitcher’s Guild.

Oprah Winfrey’s dream closet checklist
32 items including shoes.
(Useful tips there too on clothes that flatter different body shapes.)

Many of Janice’s posts at The Vivienne Files are suggestions for capsules, showing the different outfit combinations you can make. And most of her other posts show how to take a single garment or outfit and make many different looks by using accessories.

And here’s a whole pinterest page of capsule suggestions.

For real-life inspiration, see :
Sewing With A Plan 2013
Sewing With A Plan 2012

– – –

What about some patterns ? Most of the capsules don’t suggest specific styles. So here are my current personal easy sewing ‘Key 3’ patterns. Sewing Workshop Hudson top and pants, Indygo Junction Origami wrap.


Add intermediate sewing skills, and make the Sewing Workshop Tribeca shirt and Indygo Junction Silhouette vest (close the vest up to the neck). My current ‘Vital 5’. In quality fabrics for Relaxed Luxe style.


Very different in spirit from many wardrobe plans. My needs are most like the Sewing Workshop wardrobe, see my post on Linda Lee’s layering wardrobe.

– – –

I groaned recently about some wardrobe styling advice which suggested what were supposed to be different style capsules, but were actually all variants of blazer, knit top, jeans. As I don’t wear any of those. I’m glad I’ve done all the work on identifying my own style and wardrobe needs, so I can just move on from unhelpful advice. People who love dresses probably feel equally ignored by most wardrobe suggestions.

If your personal style is ‘modern classic’ and you feel happy in blazer, tee, jeans, then good luck to you. Prefer different types of top, bottom, layer, or dresses ? Best Wishes to all the people who have to find their own capsule scheme.

Is it because I don’t match any of the simple advice on fit, colouring, style, body shape, that my blog is helpful 😀

I think most wardrobe lists need to be adapted to your own personal style, colouring, body shape, lifestyle.
(All that black and classic shapes – aargh. . .)

Hence my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
See Index page 4 on wardrobe plans in general.
Also your personal style preferences.
And Index page 1 on personal style.
There are some links on the other ways to look your best, in my post on So many choices.

If you haven’t got a good starting point for your own wardrobe group, have a look at patterns that are supposed to take less than 2 hours sewing time – Index page 8.

See Index page 5 for comments on co-ordination, and posts which include specific capsules.

Starting with a small capsule and building on it isn’t the only way to get a basic wardrobe. There are many books and websites with wardrobe plans with other approaches – see wardrobe and capsule planning references thread at Stitchers Guild. Each writer has their own scheme.

If you still think planning a wardrobe is frivolous, here’s an excellent piece by The Dashing Eccentric.

As usual, have fun with it all 😀

– – –

P.S. Several people have commented that we haven’t got to develop capsules and wardrobes. Just have good outfits, if that’s what works well for you. No need to worry about co-ordination if you don’t want to. Just avoid ‘orphans’ – clothes which don’t go with anything else. You don’t even need to worry about them if you only wear dresses 😀

Or have several different small groups of clothes, which co-ordinate within one capsule but not with others. I should think there are very few people who have a wardrobe in which everything co-ordinates with everything else. Would that only be possible if you led a very limited life ? I haven’t got clothes wearable for both sailing and a black tie evening.

My clothes are in a limited range of colours and shapes so many, though not all, are interchangeable. Not so with accessories – some of my outfits are enhanced by scarves, some by necklaces.

– – –

Links and patterns available March 2013

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