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Build a Not-So-Basic Capsule Wardrobe

Plan as you go, and enjoy dressing every day
Threads #220, Winter 2022
Separates with stylish details and fabrics combine into ensembles with panache. Patterns and fabrics: Sewing Workshop.com, Left: Sterling Jacket in cotton/linen-blend jacquard; Crane Street Tee in cotton jersey; Hudson pants (modified) in linen. Center: Ikina II Jacket in rayon challis; Swing Tee in rayon/spandex jersey; West End Pants in rayon/polyester knit. Right: Maison Joggers in cotton jersey.

It has been interesting to observe how people have addressed their clothing situation during a two-year hiatus from standard routines. Some didn’t break stride and wore exactly what they have always worn. Others got into the sweats-and-running-shoe mode. Whatever your dress code is now, there has definitely been a shift in how we dress and what we sew, and I bet you have a new viewpoint, too. I know I do.

When the pandemic broke out, I ended up working by myself in a studio that four of us normally shared. Jeans and sweaters were my daily staples. Jokes about wearing nothing but sweats became the standard line. Sales of joggers exploded with online retailers. Major newspapers ran articles on the “10 Best Sweatpants.” It’s all we could think about, and then it got old. We missed the wider range of clothes in our closet—and we had time to do something about it.

I developed a plan that brings sewers together (virtually) and leads them through the creation of a fun, versatile wardrobe of separates. You can create your own yearlong wardrobe-building plan, too. Based on engagement with our customers and photos of garments on our social media platforms, I’ll share what I have observed about what people want to sew and wear now.

Read on to learn how to choose patterns that work together and fabrics and colors that you’ll enjoy sewing and wearing. Devote time to sewing one new piece a month, and you’ll soon have a range of outfit options that are more than the sum of their parts.

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