Week Three: Plan

This is the week we’ve all been waiting for! We finally get to plan our makes and start shopping. You’re going to decide what to make and what to buy, pick some patterns, buy a couple things and get this capsule party started!

You first step this week is to start thinking about your base capsule. These are the very first looks and garments you’re going to put together that everything else will be built around. We are going to keep this very small to begin with so we don’t over-extend ourselves and keep things reasonable. I like to start with a 3 x 3 capsule – nine garments (not including outerwear or shoes) that will get me through until I have the time and money to expand on it. I usually start with three bottoms (this sometimes includes dresses, depending on how I’m feeling), three tops, and three layering pieces. If you don’t mind repeating a garment in a week, these nine pieces can get you through en entire work week or short vacation. These nine garments will include pieces you already have and love, some you will sew, and others you will buy. You don’t need to know specifics yet, but try to get an idea if a certain fabric will become a bottom or another will be a cardigan, for example.

The next step is to decide what you will buy, what you will alter or repair from your current wardrobe and what you will sew from scratch. Let’s face it. We can’t make it all. I’ve made this handy flow-chart to help you decide. The main thing here is to think hard about what to spend your valuable sewing time on. Will it be a ton of tanks because that’s what you need? Or a good pair of shorts because you can’t buy bottoms that fit well? Maybe you’re just going to buy leggings because you can’t source fabric as good as what you can buy. Perhaps you’re going to spend all your time making the most amazing blouse you’ve ever owned because you have time and that’s what you love to sew. Just think hard about your needs, wants, wants and what will make you happy.

Now that you’ve figure out what you’re going to buy versus make, we can get down to specifics. Start matching fabrics to patterns that fit your body, style and time constraints. Prioritize which patterns you will make first. Choose what you know you will wear over and over or what you need most immediately. I like to plan for a season a couple months away, but that’s not always possible. Think about what garments are most important for you to have made well or to be complex makes. If you need several blouses, maybe it’s not the time to pick a pattern with several new techniques to learn. If you need multiple pairs of shorts, maybe you opt for drawstrings over a fly. Be realistic so you can give yourself enough time to enjoy the process and do a good enough job that you will be happy with your make. Likewise with your purchases – decide what you are going to splurge on and what you’re going to spend less on. Think about the longevity of your clothes and how likely you are to still love it next year. Think about what is important to you when you buy. Is it fibre? Content? Craftsmanship? Where it’s made? By whom? You’re hopefully only buying a few garments so you will have the time to think and research your purchase.

By now, you should be ready to start sewing the comfortable, stylish capsule wardrobe of your dreams!

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