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Patterns for a Core Four Wardrobe

Threads #214, Summer 2021

A core four wardrobe is a capsule of wardrobe pieces that mix and match and, when paired with accent pieces, create many outfits from just a few garments. While you can buy the components, sewing your own offers the opportunity to personalize your selection for the greatest versatility.

In Threads #214 (Summer 2021), author Nancy Nix-Rice explains the benefits of a core four wardrobe, and shows how to make the most of the pieces you sew. You’ll learn how to assess garment styles and silhouettes, and to choose the best neutral for your coloring. Nancy shared some of her favorite patterns, and we provide a list below of additional designs that work well as the basis of a stylish and functional capsule wardrobe.

Nancy’s picks

This group of four pieces from Pamela’s Patterns has all the hallmarks of ideal core four garments: sleek, uncluttered lines, easy fitting, and fast construction.

core four pieces

  • #121 Cascade Cardi or Blazer
  • #108 New Versatile Twin Set
  • #109 Magic Pencil Skirt
  • #113 Pants . . . Perfected!


A casual core four

These pieces are a smart choice for less formal work environments, school, or a polished weekend look.
casual style core four



A classic capsule

Pick an upscale bouclé for the jacket and coordinating ponte knit for the underlayer top and the bottoms. For a formal look, seek out matching wool crepe for the skirt, and make a cap-sleeve shell in silk charmeuse.

classic capsule core four


Additional options

Check out these patterns, suited to core four wardrobes ranging from laid-back athleisure to office-appropriate. Start with an ensemble pattern, or put together a capsule of tops, bottoms, and jackets that suit your needs.


Butterick 5719: princess seam jackets, dress, skirt, and pants

Butterick 6495: knit top, dress, jumpsuit, pants, and open jacket

Butterick 6600: athleisure V-neck top, dress, and jumpsuit, drawstring pants, zip-front jacket

Butterick 6738: sleeveless top and dress, straight skirt, slacks, and jacket with fringed detail

Butterick 6795: sleeveless top and dress, straight skirt, slacks, and V-neck jacket

Christine Jonson Travel Trio One 1204: long-sleeve T-shirt, knit pants, and drapey wrap jacket for knits

Christine Jonson Travel Trio Three 226: turtleneck top with optional shirred yoke detail, A-line skirt with deep pockets, and ruana

Kwik Sew 4199: tank top, gored skirt, and draped jacket, for knits; women’s sizes

Kwik Sew 4221: asymmetrical jacket and tapered or wide-leg pants

McCall’s 7635: knit top and dress, tapered pants, and oversized drape-front jacket

McCall’s 7876: pleated pants in two lengths, and double-breasted jacket or coat

McCall’s 7983: turtleneck bodysuit and slim, pegged skirt

New Look 6627: fitted cropped top with straps, pencil skirt, tapered pants

New Look 6645: cap-sleeve top, pants with front ankle slit, and shawl-collar jacket

Vogue 1522: boatneck top and jogger-style pants

Vogue 1663: long-sleeve top, pants, and shawl-collar wrap jacket, for knits

Vogue 1741: princess-seam, raglan-sleeve top and dress; wide-leg, pleated pants; halter-neck jumpsuit; princess-seam jacket with notched collar


Cashmerette Dartmouth Top: surplice-style knit top

In-House Patterns Cool Cowl Tank: sleeveless knit top with front cowl neckline

Islander Sewing Systems Easy V Express: knit top with V front neckline and raised back neckline

Islander Sewing Systems Five Easy Tees: T-shirts with sleeve options, including cold shoulder

Jalie Rachel Front-Tie Dress and Top 3997 : knit tops and dresses with sleeve options and front waist tie detail

Jalie Faux-Wrap Top 2910: surplice-style knit tops with optional collar

Kwik Sew 3658: knit top and dress with front V-neck and raised back neckline

Muna and Broad Nullarbor Cami and Dress: tank-style top and dress for wovens; for busts 44 inches to 64 inches

Muna and Broad Tarlee T-Shirt: crew or turtleneck tops wth sleeve-length options; for busts 39 inches to 63 inches

Pamela’s Patterns Cap Sleeve Shell: a simple shell design for wovens.

SBCC Patterns Nora Tee: princess-seamed knit top with choice of necklines; for petite heights (base height 5 feet, 1 inch)

Pants and skirts

BurdaStyle 6101: trousers with slant pockets; optional cuffs

BurdaStyle 6235: A-line skirt with waist yoke and slant pockets; two lengths

Cashmerette Calder Pants and Shorts: shorts and wide-leg pants in cropped for full length, sizes 12 to 32

Fit for Art Patterns Eureka! Pants that Fit: classic slacks with several fitting options

In-House Patterns Ellen Pants: slim pants with slant front pockets

Jalie Knit Gored Skirts 2681: skirts in various lengths and degrees of flare

Jalie Lisette Pull-On Pencil Skirt 3883: knit skirts in various lengths with seam details

McCall’s 8068: straight or A-line skirts with length options

Muna and Broad Birchgrove Pants: tapered pull-on pants with slash pockets; for hips 41.5 inches to 71.5 inches

Muna and Broad Noice Jeans: high-rise classic jeans with slightly tapered legs; for hips 41.5 inches to 71.5 inches

Papercut Patterns Palisade Pants: casual pull-on pants with interesting side pocket detail

SBCC Patterns Manhattan Trousers: slim-cut trousers with slant pockets, for petite heights (base height 5 feet, 1 inch)

Simplicity 8792: straight skirt variations

True Bias Hudson Pant: jogger pants with slant pockets

Vogue 9374: loose-fitting pull-on pants, tapered or wide-leg, with various style lines and pocket options


Alina Sewing + Design Co. Fulton Sweater Blazer 1222: blazer-like cardigan with pockets, for knits

BurdaStyle 6273: fitted, half-lined blazers for stable knits

BurdaStyle 6334: fitted, princess-seam jackets with jewel necklines

Christine Jonson Patterns Fitted Jacket: classic jacket with notch lapel and princess seams

Christine Jonson Moto Jacket 1006: asymmetrical zip-front jacket with wide lapels; for knits

Closet Core Patterns: Sienna Maker Jacket: casual jacket with length and detail variations

Dana Marie Princess Layer Jacket 1054: zip-front vest or jacket with standing collar

Fit for Art Patterns Tabula Rasa Jacket: hip-length jacket with square armhole and band front and neckline

Itch to Stitch Envigado Vest: casual zip-front vest with collar or hood and utility features

McCall’s 7636: bomber jacket

Muna and Broad Belmore Jacket: unlined, boxy jacket with dropped shoulders and front pockets; for bust sizes 40 inches to 64 inches

Muna and Broad Grainger Coat: quilted V-neck jacket with front patch pockets; for bust sizes 40 inches to 64 inches

SBCC Patterns Rickey Jacket: princess-seam blazer with pocket and lapel option; for petite heights (base height 5 feet 1 inch)

Sewing Workshop Stafford Jacket: loose-fitting jean-style jacket with dropped shoulders

Simplicity 8845: classic jeans-style jacket, sized for men and women



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