How to Plan a Handmade Wardrobe that Works: Phase 1 Ideation


If you were to hang all your handmade garments on a single clothing rack, how many of those pieces would work together? Is there a garment hanging there that you love but you've never worn because nothing seems to go with it? Do the colors and prints even go together? If you've just realized that this may be a problem for you, keep watching. This video is the first of a series I'm doing on building a handmade wardrobe that works.

First of all, I'm not an expert on wardrobe planning. The questions I asked you earlier were the questions I asked myself, so I did some research and attempted to create a simple summer wardrobe. If you'd like to see the result of that, here's a link

The Summer wardrobe experiment inspired me to try it again for Fall, but I wanted to make more intentional choices this time. In order to do that I did a search and stumbled across a company called Outfit Formulas.   I'll leave a link so you can learn more about their offering, but my choice was to purchase a few of their wardrobe guides. I picked The French Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe and the Body Shape Capsule Wardrobe among a couple others. As a side note, you won't find these for sale on the site any longer, the ones I purchased were older guides that have been moved to the membership to make room for new guides to come.

These guides have given me a good idea of the garment types that would work well in combination with each other, providing me the information I needed to narrow down my sewing plans to patterns resembling the items shown in the guide.

The French Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe called for a short sleeve t-shirt, a striped long sleeve t-shirt, a printed shirt, a neutral sweater, a black skirt, pants and dress, and 3 variations of denim jeans. It also included a moto jacket, a cardigan and a trench coat for layer dressing.

First I decided what I wasn't going to make. Eliminating the garments I already owned or planned to buy. Definitely go through your closet before you go pattern shopping so you don't end up buying patterns you don't need or ignore the garments you've already made. I already own a pair of dark wash relaxed jeans and a few cardigans so I crossed those off the list.

Next I went through my current pattern stash and discovered a few patterns that have been on my list to make or remake. I pulled out the ones that fit into the Outfit Formula guide. These included a Dior wrap coat, the Style Arc Sienna jacket, Sunny Knit Top, Gem T, Dotty Blouse and the Crystal overshirt. I also pulled out a McCall's bag pattern I've wanted to make forever.

Then I went pattern shopping. I suggest you go to your favorite pattern shop first to look for the missing pieces. I chose Style Arc, simply because I like the styles they offer and they have a good selection to choose from. The more you can purchase from one shop the less confusing this part of the process will be. It's easy to get sidetracked by the selection in front of you, so keep your focus on the items you need right now.

I was shopping online, so to keep track of what I "might" buy, I added the patterns to my cart. This gave me the opportunity to see all of my choices in one spot, and allowed me to remove them from the cart if they didn't work well with the other pattern choices. It worked well to compare the patterns before making the final decision to purchase.

I was shopping during a pattern sale so I definitely purchased more than I needed but here's what I purchased that resembled the items in the guide. The Ziggie Biker Jacket, the Debra Zebra Knit Top, the Georgie Stretch Woven Jean, the Miranda Skirt, the Willow and Talia Pants and the Brice dress.

I gathered up all of my pattern choices and laid them out in front of me to assess their suitability against the Outfit Formula guide. Here's where you'll quickly see if you've chosen wisely.

It's clear to me that I've simply got too many items for the time I'll have to devote to the project, so I'll need to eliminate some of these options. I'm going to work through that process and come back to you next week with the criteria I used to eliminate the excess, and show you my final choices.

If you’d like to see a little more behind the scenes footage of my ideation process, follow me on Instagram. You’ll find me @inhousepatterns. I’ve posted some reels there that you might find interesting.

If you're an experienced sewer, you know that choosing what to sew is pretty easy, putting it together in terms of a wardrobe is a little more difficult but the most challenging part of sewing for yourself is understanding how to make a pattern fit you. If you've been struggling with that, I have a free guide that might help you. It's called the Perfect Fit Guide and it walks you through the fitting process one step at a time, from taking your body measurements to assessing your sample for fit. I've even included a body measurement chart so you can get started right away. You'll find a link to the guide on this page.

Thanks for watching, I'll chat with you soon!

All My Best,