As a lover of prints I’m really great at making clothes that don’t coordinate with any thing else I own. Usually that works out fine when I’m home, but whenever we go away for a weekend or longer I find myself really struggling to pack efficiently. With a family vacation later this summer I’m preparing a mini capsule wardrobe that will be casual enough to chase children but also suitable for my workplace’s casual summer dress code.
It is so tempting to plan a wardrobe and then go shopping for fabrics. Oh yes. But like many sewers I also have a moderate sized stash of fabrics I’ve picked up during my travels and outings. I also have a tub of patterns sitting unloved. Surely there must be the makings of a mini capsule already in my possession!
Let’s dive in and look at how to create a mini capsule from your much loved but sometimes ignored stash.
Step 1: The Coordinates
Before even getting to the fabric stash, take a look at what you’ve already made or own. In my case I need the capsule to coordinate with my shoes and hand knit sweaters. For ease of the process I printed photos of some shoes and brought my sweaters with me to my stash. My patterns are easy to pull out, but you could also save that step for later.
Step 2: The Dive
Go swimming into your stash and pull out anything that suits the situation. In my case, I went looking for summer weight and easy to wash fabrics including lawn, double gauze, linen, rayon, and chambray.
Step 3: Color Theme
Which colors work well together? Capsule wardrobes generally mix and match, so all the colors need to play nice. Check out Patty’s post on choosing a color palette for your capsule wardrobe.
Step 4: Layer in the Coordinates
Do your coordinates work with with the fabrics you selected?
Sadly in my case, no. The lovely yellows and purples did not work nicely with my coordinates so I went back to step 3 and tried again.
Ah, much better!
Step 5: Patterns!
Check the yardage of your selected fabrics and then start looking through your patterns. I had the right amount of fabric to make 1 skirt or pair of shorts, 2 tops, and 3 dresses. Pull out any pattern you think might work. I grabbed a whole variety from indies to the Big 4 to vintage.
Step 6: Match Making!
Start pairing those patterns up with your selected fabrics. If you’re really good you can put one pattern per yardage. I like a little spontaneity in my sewing, so I picked two pattern for each piece of fabric so I still have a little choice. The key is for everything to meld nicely together.
I know the Sewholic skirt fits me well and plays nice with stripes. Perfect fit for the chambray I bought to make my husband a shirt (5 years ago). Plus enough voile for 2 summer tanks that will look great with a red or purple cardigan and either tan or green shoes.
Two dress quantities of fabric. The snails are a cotton lawn that I really want to make into a shirt dress. The striped fabric is a rayon that would be fun to play around with like the cross back dress or the gather bodice. Both work well with my spectator shoes, but also my tan sandals.
Lastly, one more dress in this funky print that needs a pattern with curves and flow. Neither of these patterns are my size, but I’m planning on using them as inspiration to make a pattern from my sloper.
I know lots on mini capsules start with using technical tools, websites, or apps, but sometimes playing with your stash is a fun and effective way to plan a wardrobe. Now I now when I travel this summer I can pick any of the items in my mini capsule and I’ll have a pulled together look each day.
As I sew these next few weeks all I need to do is pull from this stack and right away dive into the project with the decision making made.