As may be apparent I am pretty much a wardrobe sewer. I was already interested in the concept of a mix and match wardrobe, right back to when I read in Mary Spillane's 'The Complete Style Guide' in 1991 a little section at the back on Wardrobe Planning for Your Season (The US version of this was called 'Color Me Beautiful, Looking Your Best', and is more easily obtained). Then later I cam across SWAP (sewing with a plan) on RustyBobbin's home page at the time, and then moved on to trying to sew wardrobes myself.
I am now completely a wardrobe sewer though on my own terms. I love all the wardrobing books, but am never going to own a knee length sleeveless shift dress in classic black despite their recommendations because its not my style nor flattering to my body shape.
What I like about wardrobe sewing is the sheer practicality of having clothes which were chosen to work together. I always loved the store displays in the department stores showing all the pieces of a particular collection worn in different combinations on 3 mannequins but quite apart from the cost of buying all those pieces at once, the hem lengths, jacket length, combinations of colours and some styles just didn't work for me.
So when I am wardrobe sewing I am doing my own version of one of those department store collections, only in this one all the colours suit me, all the hems are at the right length and all the styles I have chosen. I suppose it the long winded version of being my own personal shopper.
I know some people sew outfits, and that's great if that is what works for them. What I like about the capsules/wardrobes approach is beause the pieces mix and match my outfit is not thwarted by the fact that one item from an outfit is in the laudry waiting for enough items needing the same cycle, or special spot treatment. It doesn't matter becuase I have other bottoms or tops that would do instead.
Joy asked 'I would love to get a glimpse inside your closet! Do you find that you really wear outfits as they have been planned in wardrobes, or do you end of mixing up the assorted pieces?'
Thank you for the complement Joy :-)
I do mix the pieces up a bit between the capsules. My 'Inspired by the Sea' Collection in Navy and Teal overlaps well with last year's SWAP in Brown and Turquoise. But not at all with others. I must admit I generally avoid making something belong explicitly to a collection by having contrast buttonholes or something. For instance the recent waistcoat and top for the Newspaper collection, will work with the red pieces when I sew them, but I have deliberately left off any red accents (buttons/buttonholes/topstitching in red) as I could still wear those pieces with lime or teal from other collections if I wanted to.
I will make the black jeans in the collection with red top stitching though as I have other black jeans with turquoise or orange accents which I can wear with other colours.
I've found that I now have a basic set of colours I use over and over, so after a few seasons the colours start to repeat themselves. This definitely helps with getting dressed. I also have a wide range of fun necklaces and handbags in the various key colours so I can pull outfits together.
I also buy RTW pieces and mix those in as well. These are in the same colours as well. I tend to buy plain tshirts and dark pants, the occasional pantsuit, and RTW jackets. I'm not great at sewing jackets that fit, so RTW lets me be dressed without having to sew every item. I don't see that as cheating in any way. My goal is not to have an entirely homemade wardrobe, but to have one that's completely ME and works for my lifestyle.
I'm still working on that goal but its getting closer all the time :-)