Planning a Handmade Capsule Wardrobe

My 5 Piece Handmade Holiday Wardrobe

You know how it is: you’ve booked in a holiday over the new year with your friends and the countdown has begun. Plans are made. Excitement grows.

Then you suddenly realise you have nothing to wear.

Well, no worries there! I’ll just dive into my fabric stash and pull out all of my patterns and spend a million years deciding what to make. Easy, right?

A wardrobe crisis isn’t too much of a problem when you can just hit the shops and wander around until your holiday suitcase is overflowing with outfit combinations. I just have a few problems with that:

  1. It requires going to the shops, which happens to be an activity I place on a level with eating a bucketful of snails.
  2. I can guarantee I will find nothing I do want and a whole bunch of things that I don’t.
  3. It will do nothing to reduce the stash of fabric I’m trying to keep under control.

Plus, when you make your own clothes you can perfectly coordinate everything and get your hands on the exact items you have in your imagination. Sure, you might have to wait several weeks and work quite hard until you’ve made them all, but that’s a small price to pay for your ideal holiday wardrobe.

Luckily, I have almost two months before I’m due to go away and I’m hoping that will give me enough time to complete my brand-new holiday wardrobe. In fact, I’m even hoping I’ll finish everything before time and be able to make up some extra pieces to go with everything. There’s nothing like a bit of optimism at this time of year!

Planning my Capsule Wardrobe

But what am I making? Well, I brainstormed all of the things I’d be likely to wear and seem to have come up with an accidental capsule wardrobe. Here’s what it looks like in brief:

  • Chambray skirt with contrast panels (Simplicity 1369)
  • T-shirt with grey fabric and glasses fabric for sleeves (McCall’s 6964)
  • Sheer polka dot pussy-bow blouse (Simple Sew ‘Lottie’)
  • Floral top (Butterick 4685)
  • 1970s dress in key print fabric (Vintage Simplicity)

Watch the video!

Chambray Skirt – Simplicity 1369

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - Simplicity 1369

I gave up wearing jeans ages ago. They never really suited me and I just found them uncomfortable to wear. Plus, nothing says elegance like standing up and having to hoist your waistband up so it covers up things best left unseen.

The great thing about jeans, however, is that denim goes with almost anything. Hence my compromise: a chambray skirt. I originally bought these two chambrays to make a different skirt but I’ve decided it makes more sense to use them to test Simplicity 1369. The skirt has pockets and I’m planning to hack it a little so it has panels, which means I can use the different chambrays to great effect.

Eventually, I’m planning to use this pattern make a sparkly black skirt for when I’m performing with my concert band, so this will be a great way to test the pattern. That’s two wins in one!

T-shirt with Contrast Sleeves – McCall’s 6964

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - McCall's 6964

This is my favourite t-shirt pattern ever. Seriously. I love it. It has three sleeve length options and I’ve made all except the short-sleeve version, so that’s what I’m going to do for my capsule wardrobe. It’s going to be made from some grey knit fabric for the body and a glasses print fabric for the sleeves and probably the neckband. So it should go with many of my printed skirts while adding a little quirky pop from the sleeves.

Polka Dot Blouse – Simple Sew ‘Lottie’

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - Simple Sew Lottie

Confession time: I’ve had this cut out for ages. I’ve even marked and pinned the darts, ready to be sewn. It’s time I got it done! The fabric I’m using is super sheer, so I’ll need to use French seams but that will be a great learning opportunity as I’ve never done enclosed seams before.

This should be a lovely, breezy top – perfect for Summer evenings.

But yes, I will be wearing a camisole or tank underneath, because this see-through fabric leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

Floral Top – Butterick 4685

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - Butterick 4685

This one has insinuated itself into the list, thanks to a photo book I was making. I happened to see a photo from a previous trip with my friends where I was wearing a cute little top in a floral print. And now I need one to replace it.

I have the perfect fabic for it: a lovely ditsy floral print that I intercepted from my mum as she was about to re-donate it to an op shop. It turns out there’s even a perfect pattern to go with my perfect fabric: Butterick 4685 is so close to the style of my original top… but patterns in Australia cost around $A20 when they’re not on sale! I was hoping I might be able to wait for a sale but in the end, I decided it was just too perfect and I paid full price for it. I know. But sometimes you just have to do these silly things.

1970s Dress – Vintage Simplicity

Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - Vintage Simplicity 9579

I made this dress earlier this year in a cheap brushed cotton and I love it to bits. (You can see it on my instagram here and here.) Why had I resisted sewing with princess seams for so long? They’re perfect for my shape!

This is a vintage pattern from the 1970s and it suggests you can sew it with almost any fabric, so I’m going to pull a gorgeous key print cotton from my stash as I know I pre-washed it months ago and I think it’s a bit of fun. It was also quite cheap as it came from the furnishing section at Spotlight.

I love making patterns I’ve made before – it’s great to feel that you know what’s going on and you can always see improvements on your previous effort. This time around, I’m thinking of making the collar that doesn’t cross over, just to try something different.

That’s the plan

And that’s it: my capsule holiday wardrobe. I will be adding in some existing pieces as well but I think these five pieces will complement each other and fit in with clothes I’ve already made. Here’s hoping I get them all made before it’s time to pack!

Are you making something special for the New Year or Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

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