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Sewing a Winter Capsule Wardrobe Part 1: The Planning

Occasionally I get overwhelmed just thinking about what to sew NEXT.  There are so many options available to me at any given moment that I am most productive when I have a specific plan for a short period of time.  That is why I prefer seasonal sewing plans over year long sewing plans or resolutions.  

To kick of 2018, I am posting a three part series on my seasonal sewing for Winter 2018.  I have already started sewing up my winter wardrobe plans so by the time I finish posting this series, I should have a whole new set of clothes in my closet!  I hope this will give you some ideas and inspiration for planning your own seasonal sewing.  

For so many sewists, the most fun part of sewing is the PLANNING.  We can spend hours upon hours browsing fabric sites, going through our pattern collections, and reading blogs or Instagram posts by our sewing friends.  This is not wasted time--not as long as you are enjoying yourself--but I am very focused on accomplishing this plan and not getting stuck on this phase of the process.

Want to join me?  Here is where I am starting:

1.  Consider your wardrobe needs first.

There are so many wardrobe planning guides available these days that I hardly feel I need to point you in their direction, but I will give you just a few look into if you are unfamiliar with the concept.  The extremely popular Curated Closet is an obvious choice, if you have time to read.  There is also a blog series' from Colette Patterns called the Wardrobe Architect that is extremely helpful and thorough.  The Self Sewn Wardrobe Facebook group is currently running a Wardrobe Planning series (January 2018) so if you want an interactive experience, check that one out.  

I'm planning a winter wardrobe so I'm in need of warm layers, cozy fabrics, and casual #momlife style.  After thinking it over, I concluded that I wanted to make a small capsule wardrobe that I could mix and match several pieces to create a very wearable collection of items.  I will talk some more about capsule wardrobe research and ideas further down the post.

2.  Start with what you have and go from there.

This doesn't apply to everyone, but if you do have a collection of fabric and patterns already in your possession, wouldn't NOW be a great time to sew some of them up?  I'm firmly IN FAVOR OF a stash of fabrics of any size if it makes you happy, but I also get extreme satisfaction in taking that fabric that I really admired when I purchased it and turning it into something I can wear on my body.  

When I decided to sew a winter wardrobe, I went to my fabric collection and started pulling out some of the fabrics that jumped out to me.  Sweater knits, rayon, a floral poly blend woven, some stripes (obviously), and a few other fabrics ended up in a pile and then I started visualizing how they could be paired together.  Some fabrics went back on my shelves, and a few other fabrics came down into the pile. 

Because I decided not to order any new fabrics this month, I am only sewing from my own fabric.  But you could certainly order fabrics if you do not have many on hand or do not have the types of fabrics you need to match the season.  

3.  Match fabrics with patterns or silhouettes.  

This is where you need to start making real decisions and having some method for your planning will be very helpful.  I look through my personal pattern collection first and am sure to check some things like fabric requirements and substrate suggestions.  Then I usually research the pattern hashtag on Instagram and check out Pattern Review for any feedback.  If I haven't found anyone that seems to be near my body type who has made this pattern, I expand my search, looking over the pattern's tester pool, a Pinterest search for the pattern, and good old Google searching. 

Also helpful when matching patterns and fabrics is to consider what a capsule wardrobe means to you.  Do you want to incorporate clothing you already have in your wardrobe?  How will they fit together?  For any and all capsule wardrobe ideas, I encourage you to read the Curvy Sewing Collective's series on capsule wardrobes from May 2017.  My personal favorite was Jennifer's sudoku method for creating her capsule wardrobe.  I was totally inspired and haven't stopped thinking about it for MONTHS.  Really, I have her to thank for her contribution to that series for inspiring me to do this now.  Seriously--go read that, even if you don't consider yourself a curvy sewist.  Everything shared on that community site is so useful!

I don't have to have a final pattern chosen for every fabric before I start sewing my seasonal wardrobe.  I might just assign a style such as "cardigan" or "gathered skirt."  If I wait until I'm completely settled on anything, I might never START.  As for my seasonal wardrobe, I think I have patterns selected for 4 of my 6 fabrics, and I'm still finalizing exactly what I'm going to make for the other 2.  I will share my fabric selections and pattern choices in my next post.  

4.  Have an achievable timeline for completion.

Too much time (an entire year!) and you may lose interest and motivation.  Too little time (one weekend!) and you may burn out and lose steam.  I am aiming to spend 30 days sewing up my winter capsule wardrobe.  Maybe this is ambitious, but with it being an extremely cold winter with not much else on my schedule these days, I believe I can use my available free time to complete this goal.  

Some sewists like to use a planner to keep track and organize their upcoming projects.  

There are several options available for purchase such as the Colette Sewing Planner and the Simplicity Vintage Sewing Planner.   If you are across the pond or prefer something slightly different, the Makers Workbook seems like a really great option at a lower price.  Similarly, many sewists enjoy Erin Condren planners and even bullet journals for their sewing plans. I personally own the Colette Sewing Planner, and while I believe it's extremely useful, especially for seasonal wardrobe plans, I'm not sure I'm a planner person.   

The Sew DIY Free Printable 2018 Sewing calendar is completely free to you to download and so is the new Seamwork Wardrobe Planner.  While I haven't used either of these, I think they might be a better fit for my seasonal planning preference.  I have downloaded the free calendar and intend to try it out to keep track of my sewing this month.  

What do you use to organize or track your sewing?  Are there any other sewing planners or apps that are helpful that I could look into that might be helpful in seasonal wardrobe sewing?

Thanks for following along this month and if you are sewing a seasonal or capsule wardrobe, leave me a note about it or a link in the comments so we can discuss.  



Sewing a Winter Capsule Wardrobe Part 2:  Fabrics and Patterns

Sewing a Winter Capsule Wardrobe Part 2: Fabrics and Patterns

Sewn:  Leschi Blouse in Windowpane Crepe

Sewn: Leschi Blouse in Windowpane Crepe