How to Plan a Handmade Wardrobe that Works: Phase 2 Selection


If you've got a closet full of "me-mades" that you love but don't seem to be wearing as much as you intended, I've got some insights you can use to change that. This week, I'm sharing the 2nd phase of planning a handmade wardrobe that works.

Phase 2 is all about being realistic about the pattern choices made in Phase 1. If you missed last week's video, watch that one first to get a glimpse of the wardrobe ideation process, then jump back here to discover the criteria I used to narrow down my pattern choices and see my final pattern selections.

Now that I've gathered up the patterns for my handmade wardrobe, it's time to consider if they are the best choices and if I can realistically create the garments in the time I have available. The ideation process is fun and exciting, the selection process is a little more sobering so here are the criteria I use to narrow down my pattern selection to items that will work well together, that I'll actually wear, and that I'll have the time to develop.

First, I set some goals, just general ones that will help to keep me on track. For this wardrobe, I want to focus on comfortable casual clothes in styles that compliment my silhouette and are West Coast weather appropriate. I also want to make sure all the pieces will work for any events I have on my calendar. Another priority for me is to limit the use of black and also consider what accessories and shoes I currently have that would go with the items I choose. While it seems like a tall order, let's start the selection process.

A major criteria I want to consider is time. For this, I take a look at my calendar. I know I've got a pretty busy season lined up so my personal sewing time will be limited but I also want to check if there are any special events coming up that I might want to create a new garment for. 

Since I've got a busy Fall lined up, I already know I won't be able to make every item from the French Minimalist Wardrobe reference I used, so I'm definitely going to eliminate a few of the pieces. As I eliminate each piece, I am going to consider the events I have on my calendar so that I choose the best ones to eliminate.

For the first round of elimination, consider which pieces just don't belong. I can see that the Dotty blouse doesn't really fit into the formula-I just really like the blouse and wanted to make it again. I'm going to set it aside for the moment-I can always shift it to my future plans. I think it might be a perfect quick sew for a holiday outfit.

Next, I look for repetition, what patterns do I have here that look the same or similar? Are any of these pieces here that already exist in my closet?

Considering these questions I can see that the Ziggy Biker Jacket and the Sienna Jacket are similar-they are fulfilling the same purpose as a layering garment. Since I've already done a lot of work on the Sienna Jacket fit, and it's pretty much ready to go, I'm going to set aside the Ziggy Biker jacket for another time. The Sienna Jacket will be a quicker make and I can give it a moto jacket vibe with my fabric choice.

The Gem T is another pattern I think I can set aside for now. I did purchase some looser fitting short sleeve T's that will get me through the Fall season. I'll experiment with this pattern in the Summer when I have more time.

This leaves me with 3 tops and 4 bottoms, so I am going to eliminate the Willow pant for now. These pants just happen to be a great companion to the Dotty blouse, so I'll move them to the Holiday season too.

This is starting to feel more doable now, there's another item I think I'll move to a potential Holiday wardrobe and that's the Brice dress. The planned events on my calendar are pretty casual so the need for this dress isn't immediate and the dress fits in really nicely with the Dotty Blouse and the Willow pant.

Sadly, the Dior coat is another one I'm going to have to delay to another time. I feel like this is going to be a more involved project that I want to spend some quality time on so I'm going to set it aside for now. 

Here's are my final selections.

The Sienna Jacket, the Crystal Overshirt, the Debra Zebra Knit Top, the Sunny knit Top, the Talia Pants, the Miranda Skirt, and the Georgie Jeans. (all from

I still have that McCall's bag pattern on my mind. I've set it aside for now but might just bring it back in if time permits and the mood strikes.

Once you've made your selections, it's important to consider if they are representative of your personal style and whether or not they incorporate any trends that you may want to try. 

When I look at my selections, I feel really good about my choices. Thinking back to the goals I set out earlier for myself, I've chosen comfortable casual clothes in styles that are West Coast weather friendly which also work for the events I currently have on my calendar. I feel they do represent my personal style but I'll fine tune that in the next phase of this project.

While I know that skinny jeans and draped collars are not exactly on trend right now, I know I can adapt them if I choose. The Miranda skirt is a newer trend I want to try, so I feel good about that choice too. I'm not particularly drawn to the asymmetrical hem of the Crystal overshirt so I'll likely change that, but I love the button detailing so it also feels like a good fit. The Sunny top and Talia pants exude comfort so I'm excited about these too. A quick look at the finished measurements tells me the Sunny top is very oversized so I'm already planning some changes there.

I think I'm ready for Phase 3 of this project so next week I'll share how I use my body silhouette to determine the styling changes I want to make to these patterns and how I choose the fabrics and colors that will work well together. Here's a hint, you'll want to take stock of your fabric stash as well as  your accessories and shoes, these are important aspects of planning a wardrobe that works.

If you’d like to see a little more behind the scenes footage of my ideation and selection 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. 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.

Thanks for watching, I'll chat with you soon, bye for now.