{Fall Capsule Wardrobe} The Plan after the Purge

I spent the entirety of last week purging. Purging my wardrobe, purging my fabric, purging my patterns... I embraced the mantra "If I haven't [worn it, made it, considered sewing with it] in the last 12 months, it had no place cluttering up my closet-less turn of the century row home. 

With every bag donated or recycled, I felt more and more sure that what I'd kept, I would use. 

Until I went to put it back on the shelf. 

Remaining was a hodge-podge of prints with no underlying color scheme to unite them. Or lovely light weight solids... in Summer and Spring colors that nowhere touched my existing Fall 2017 plans. Even if they had, they'd be all the wrong weight for Fall/Winter use. Best I keep those stashed for next year! 

To pull off a seasonal capsule I would need to get creative with the fabrics I had - and I'd need to go shopping. (Darn!)

But shopping means I'd need to know what - and how much - to buy. And for THAT, I'd need to pick my patterns... which happens to be where my recent purge gave me unexpected and spectacular insight. I pitched the patterns I would never sew again, considered the ones I kept, and noticed :

  • repeats/trends in the patterns that had lasted in my stash this long.
  • which patterns I actually wear, and which I had made for fun.
  • I could use my existing stash to build a Fall wardrobe without printing a single pattern, and without needing to muslin most. Doesn't get more successful than that!

Let the planning begin!

If you're planning along with me, here's what you'll need:

  1. Your season-appropriate, tried and true (separates) patterns. We'll discuss the fun!! the new!! and the impulsive!! sews in a later post. There's room for them, too. Just not here. 
  2. Your color scheme, and your season-appropriate fabrics that fit it.
  3. 4-8 of your favorite pairs of shoes.
  4. Your existing, season-appropriate garments. RTW, old sews, whichever. 
  5. Your Sudoku sheet (and/or a significant amount of floor space to throw your fabrics around)

Step 1: Shoes

Consulting your sudoku sheet for placement, lay out four pairs of shoes. Each item in a Wardrobe Sudoku fits into two or three outfits (depending whether or not it falls in a box along either diagnonal.) Start with your most-loved or most-worn shoes in a box that gets used 3 times. You're not committed to this placement, so don't stress too much about it.


Step 2: Add your Existing Garments

For me, this is mostly jeans. (I'm on what will likely be a year long journey to stabilizing my thyroid (and thus, my weight/shape) - so I refuse to spend the time and materials on fitting and sewing up my own jeans.) But I have a handful of makes from last Fall/Winter that I will be carrying over as well! Again, I'll put my most-worn/loved items in the diagonal boxes to be paired 3 times.


Step 3: Consider your Must-Makes

Sewing a capsule won't be any fun if we don't make space for a few passion projects! This season, I have a few - that I'm going to need more than one sudoku to work in. First: I'm desperate to add a tartan cape to my wardrobe. I've been carrying a cut from Cali Fabric's bricks and mortar store - Fabric Outlet - since Downton Abbey sent the fashion world on a 20's style caplet trend YEARS ago. Here's the inspiration pin I just can't quit:

Knowing this is my priority passion project, I'll add that first. But, since it's a large scale, multi-color print, I'll scoot it into one of the 2-outfit boxes so I won't need to find many coordinates for it. 

Additionally, I developed a love of body suits during my summer shorts sewing series. I didn't think I'd like them as much as I do, but I know now I will wear them at lot. So I'll plug in two to my sudoku:


I have one must-fill box left - the bottoms box in my top row. I'll go with the Chi-Town Chino skirt, one of those already-printed-and-muslined patterns on my short list. The remaining boxes COULD be layering pieces, if I wanted more of those. But I don't wear many layers, so I'll find accessories to stick in there instead.


Step 4: Go Shopping!

It's time to fill the gaps! First, I'll shop my stash. Here's my Tartan, and a kitschy print I've held on to for more than a year now and really want to use!


That means, when I'm shopping to complete a whopping TEN DIFFERENT OUTFITS, I only need to buy two cuts of fabric. A mustard corduroy, and a floral knit. (Jewelry optional, but strongly encouraged! I've never been able to resist a good Stella and Dot splurge. Shop your own bling here >>>)


Now, in past seasons using one example sudoku has given the impression that I only wear these 10 outfits for 3 straight months. That is not so. Using the same method illustrated above, I fill out 2-3 per season. Here are some more from this season's plans:

In all, there are 11 new garments to make. Only 8 require fabric purchase. None require new patterns or printing.

I'll prioritize my sewing-order based on a combination of factors: Interest level (those passion projects!) and weather-dependent. You'll see those velvet Flint shorts, the Chi-Town mini skirt, and the cotton lawn Kalle tunic sooner, so I can wear them September/October when it's still quite warm in Virginia. Layers, heavier fabric projects, and time-sucks will fall down the priority list.

Now I'm officially full of sew-jo and can't wait to get started! What are you excited to sew for Fall? Are you sewing to a plan? Tell me about it!