On long range wardrobe planning

I’m trying out a new method of bringing some more cohesion into my wardrobe, and since I didn’t manage to finish anything in September, I figured I’d write about that instead while I keep working on my projects!

I’ve known for awhile that I’m not a minimalist capsule wardrobe person. I honestly don’t feel like that 30 piece wardrobe is too doable with my climate. Especially since we have very sudden changes– it’s still in the 80s this week, and by the end of the month, we’ll likely be barely hitting the 50s! So I do need a fairly substantial wardrobe for both our sticky hot summers and our cold, damp winters. Plus layers to transition between the two.

I recently heard an inspiring interview on the Clothes Making Mavens podcast with Emily Hallman, about how she sews in mini collections to create pieces that can easily mix and match with each other and other pieces already in her wardrobe. So I started following her on Instagram, and love what I’ve seen! I’ve struggled to find inspiration on places like Pinterest, since all of the capsule wardrobes are full of taupe and other solid neutral blahness. And I have rather strong opinions about the place of neutral blahness in my life. Ahem. But she uses color! And prints! And still manages cohesion! I may have finally found a style icon, even though my mom life necessitates a more casual, washable take on things.

So, I’ve been creating palettes on a Trello board, and combing through my wardrobe to see what I already have that fits these color stories. I’ll need to go through my fabric stash at some point too, and see about what I have that can fill these out. It’s actually been a fun process so far, especially since it’s a way I could bring sewing into things like sitting through Friday night orchestra rehearsals where I don’t play for the first half hour of the piece. (One reason I didn’t finish anything this month, but Hobbit loved the family concert and getting to see what Mommy does when I’m not home on Tuesday nights, so it was worth it.)

Trello(Serious work in progress here, as I’d love to eventually add photos of the things I actually have done.)

The most thought-out one is the one on the left, based on that funky leaf-ish print that I have tagged for a maxiskirt. I already have several things that would work in that color family — a cream top, a plain brown skirt (and the thrifted top I’m wearing with it, actually), my Gabriola skirt, some RTW teal jeans and an olive Blackwood-esque cardigan.  I do have some solid plans for things I can add to it.

  • I have an olive green jersey in my stash that I have tagged for a top, I just need to figure out what pattern to use that won’t bore me since it’s solid.
  • Cute

I’ve had this outfit saved on my Pinterest for awhile, since I like the simple detailing of this button-down with tucks at the waist and the rolled-up tab sleeves. I don’t have fabric for this yet, but I’ve been thinking about hacking the Deer & Doe Bruyere blouse to make this look, since I have the upper part of the blouse fitted well at this point and would just need to figure out how to turn the darts into pleats and morph it into one piece instead of having that waistband in the middle. I think I actually would make this in a solid ivory, because it would go with literally every single pair of pants I currently own.

  • Black Knitted Sleeve Faux Leather Biker Jacket

Another picture I’ve had saved for ages. I even have fabric to make this, in the form of a yardish of a creamy sweater knit and 3 yards some brown faux leather that I picked up to make a costume for DragonCon that I ended up ditching long before I got to the leathery bits. So if I can figure out how to sew that without my machine making me cry (I have not had good fortune with leathery things), I’d love to make something similar to this. Though I also find myself wondering if the jacket would have more style longevity if I just make the sleeves out of the brown too, and use that sweater knit for something else. (Though I’m not sure what, since I only bought a yard. Any opinions?)

I’d also like to throw in a pair of Jalie Vanessa pants, since the one pair I have is very comfortable, but I’m not really sure what color. Maybe brown? Or olive?

So that’s my first one so far, though I have no idea when I’ll actually get to those few projects. I also am trying to figure out a good summery capsule, since I was definitely hurting for things like shorts and sleeveless everything this past summer. And the major capsule hole I’m stuck on is what to wear on my more casual at-home days, especially during the cold season, since I’m not really much of an athleisure girl but I also don’t want to wreck my jeans with a preschool art project or anything, so it would have to be easy wash. Maybe some Hudson pants? And some kind of long-sleeved tees because pretty much all I have are geeky t-shirts and those won’t keep me warm all winter? Mom wardrobes are HARD.

I think I probably will be posting more about wardrobe planning on here between projects, since it’s something that’s become increasingly important to me with my more limited time, and as I learn more about the sustainability aspect of sewing. I’m definitely able to slow down the actual sewing easily enough, but if I want to make the most of my time and fabric, I need a plan to avoid the wardrobe orphans I’ve been struggling with ever since my first post-partum days. And I reeeeeally need to have a plan when it comes to including knitting, because I have literally been working on the same mustard cardigan for over two years now. (Thus the mustard capsule, I need to make sure I have something to wear with it whenever I actually finish that!) So how have you been planning your sewing, or do you plan it?

5 thoughts on “On long range wardrobe planning

    1. That’s a nice silhouette! I’m actually considering trying out the Lane Raglan– my mom has been sewing some clothes again after I introduced her to some indie patterns, she recently made that one, and said I can borrow the pattern.


  1. Love this post, Becky! I totally relate with the challenges of “Mom wardrobe” and closet orphans. Sometimes I’ll even buy fabric to match an “orphan,” only to get sidetracked or lose momentum — and then I just have more unused fabric in my stash. Grrr.

    As for planning, I can’t say I do very much. I’ll whip out an “essential” now and then (usually a black or grey maxi skirt! Though I haven’t been wearing them much lately), but now that my style has trended more toward dresses and long tunics with leggings, having things match hasn’t been quite as much of an issue. I have become much more careful about the fabrics that I buy, though — over time I feel I’ve developed a better sense about which fabrics work best for me and the projects I make, and making fewer overall garments allows me to buy better fabrics than I used to. My current obsession is using the Sewjourners stash shrinker (an excel spreadsheet) to track my stash and help me pare it down. I’d really like to get to a point where I only buy specific fabrics for specific (and better planned) projects, without guilt about how much fabric I already have. My husband is military, so moving a large fabric stash around isn’t really ideal! So far, it’s been a huge help! Just going through my stash to fill out the spreadsheet made me much more aware of what I have on hand — and is a good reminder not to buy too impulsively, because I have fabrics I was SO sure I would use, and now wish I hadn’t bought. I have cheated once or twice, but only in the interest of using up fabric that I already have (i.e., accent fabric).

    I also love to see how other seamstresses work with their closets! I’ve wanted to try a capsule wardrobe, but because I don’t wear pants it’s been really difficult to make that work. What I’ve ended up with is a very small wardrobe that isn’t a capsule, but works for me (usually ;-). That way, the things that I make get worn a LOT (making the time/effort and the money spent on better fabric totally worth it). For some, it would probably feel too limited, and for others not cohesive enough! But I love it. I think it’s good to put your own unique spin on your wardrobe, and I’m enjoying seeing how you’re doing that with yours.

    Haha, didn’t mean to write an essay! Best of luck with your wardrobe projects!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you wrote an essay! I have a stash spreadsheet, too, but it was a total DIY affair and probably needs some updates. I’m considering doing a second destashing, since I have fabrics that have been sitting in there for years–I have at least one remnant of a fabric that I bought and partially used in college! But I have a much clearer sense now of the colors I love to wear and what’s practical, so it may be time to let some things go.


  3. Pingback: Sewing top 5: 2019 goals! – sew adagio

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