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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Six Yard Wardrobe

In the book 'Sewing A travel Wardrobe' by Kate Mathews there are many interesting ideas for capsule sewing. One which caught my attention when I first bought the book, but which I've not fully put into practice is something called 'The Six Yard Wardrobe' originally conceived by Designer Joyce E Cusick.

from p58
 Joyce realised that if she consistently bought 6 yards (5.5m) of 45"(115cm) or 60" (152cm) solid color fabric, she would always have enough to sew a complete basic wardrobe that includes jacket, slacks, skirt, top* and sometimes a dress.
Today, all her travel wardrobes are created from six-yard wardrobes, plus a few print accent garments and an assortment of accessories.
(*I note the examples actually all have jacket, trousers, skirt and dress but I quite like the top and skirt idea as it can look like a dress or be separates). 

Sewing Plums Blog has discussed this a few times.

Wardrobe in a weekend

Wardrobe Plans

Books for wardrobe planning

I bought a few lengths of fabric in 5-6 metre lengths after this though never managed to make more than 2 garments out of one fabric at the time. I've got more TnT patterns under my belt now so maybe this would be realistic now, as my skills are a bit better.
I have to say that the economic nature of the pattern piece tessellation is very appealing to me.

Whether this works or not depends on
- the size and style of the garments (larger/more complex take more fabric)
- lifestyle and personality (I can make pencil skirts but will I wear them?)
- whether the fabric works for all the different garment types - lightweight suiting or a stable knit seem good candidates.

Before pinterest I used to cut pictures out of magazines and catalogues and gather them in scrap books. I remember one suit I was absolutely fascinated with. It was a 4 piece suit in a dark navy pinstripe. Skirt, waistcoat, jacket and trousers all made in the same fabric, maybe there was a dress as well.
It seems a fairly timeless concept, you could buy a navy pinstripe 4 piece set from Dorothy Perkins today.
 Wide leg trousers
 Mock wrap midi skirt


You could add waistcoat, city shorts, culottes to this list as well, perhaps a top.

Have you ever tried a 6 yard wardrobe, do you think they have a place in wardrobes today?


CAN I said...

I have used this idea, but alas, I need 8 yards of 60 wide... great way to build a wardrobe.

Lisa Laree said...

I've done '3 yard wardrobes'...although I didn't know that's what it was. Back in, oh, 1975, I remember going to Ben Franklin and buying 3 yards of (60") blue crepe poly doubleknit and 3 yards of (60") whte-and-blue houndstooth double knit. I made a jacket and a skirt from the blue, a pair of pants and a skirt from the houndstooth, and a reversible vest from the remnants of each. Bought two 'bodysuits' (if anyone remembers those) from Penny's...one in white and one in navy...and thought I had a smart little wardrobe. Wore that stuff to death...which was hard to do, since it was polyester, lol. I think I finally just gave it to Goodwill when it was dead out of fashion...

Alison said...

While six yards would have been enough for at least three garments when I was smaller, I could probably manage two now, alas... that said, I think that there is a place in the modern world for such a concept (multiple pieces from the same fabric), though I imagine more useful to those who work in places where that level of formality is needed. Although, I will admit that if I somehow came into an entire bolt of midweight dark brown or indigo linen, I could certainly imagine making myself a pinafore, and a jacket, and a pair of overalls, and maybe a dress...