In the past on this blog, I’ve created a lot of seasonal capsule wardrobes including mainly items that you can buy in stores. But lately I’ve become really intrigued by the idea of making my own custom capsule wardrobe. Not only is sewing a great hobby of mine, but I feel that there are so many benefits to being able to create your own capsule wardrobe instead of purchasing separate items and piecing it together.
Firstly, when you make your own clothes you’re able to completely customize them to your preferences – think size, tailoring, shape, colours, textures. So instead of having to go on the hunt for the perfect pair of trousers that has all of the features you like, you can just make them exactly how you want instead.
Another benefit to sewing a capsule wardrobe is that it would be very easy to choose a limited colour palette and have everything go together. You could purchase a few yards of a couple fabrics and make one or more items from them, so your capsule would end up being really cohesive and interchangeable. And you could also tailor your fabric choices to the climate where you live so that you could wear your wardrobe year-round.
And of course, a key benefit to sewing a capsule wardrobe is sustainability. A lot of people who are invested in capsules and a more minimalist wardrobe are also very environmentally conscious and concerned with the ethics (or lack thereof) of fast fashion. Sewing your own wardrobe is a great way to ensure your clothing is both sustainably and ethically made.
The one downside I have to admit is that sewing is a skill and it takes practice to be able to make things exactly how you want. Plus, unless you’re a pattern designer (which most of us aren’t) you’ll need to find patterns that fit the style you’re looking for. A more skilled sewist can make alterations that will get them where they want to go, but a beginner might not be able to stray too far from the pattern.
Luckily, there are some amazing patterns out there that I think would be great to use for creating an entire basic capsule wardrobe. And that’s what I wanted to share with you today! Many of these patterns are all really versatile so you can tailor the style to your preferences. Most are also beginner-friendly, so even if you’re not already a sewer this could maybe inspire you to try it out. And if you are already an experienced sewist, maybe this will give you some ideas for sewing your own basic and minimal capsule wardrobe.
All Well Box Top
In my opinion, a good boxy t-shirt is a staple in any basic capsule wardrobe. What I love about the Box Top pattern by All Well Workshop is that it comes with four variations and a hacking guide, so you can either make the basic pattern or really customize it however you want. The basic pattern has four views: a short sleeve and long sleeve version, a ruffled top, and even a dress. This pattern is super beginner friendly so if you’ve never sewn your own clothes before and wanted to try your hand at it, this is a great entry-level project.
Size range: Bust 32″-62″
Tessuti Athina Top
The Athina Top by Tessuti is an easy, flowy tunic-style top with longer sleeves and two length options. I’ve made this one a couple times and it’s the perfect thing to throw on with pants, denim, or shorts. It’s meant for woven fabrics (I love it in linen) and it’s a super easy one to sew! It’s also free, which is great if you’re a beginner and not looking to invest a ton of money upfront before trying a few things out.
Level: Advanced Beginner
Size range: Bust 34″-42″
Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee
The Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studio is a great option for a top in knit fabric instead of woven. I personally find woven easier to work with especially as a beginner, but knits really aren’t that difficult. And a basic knit top is definitely an essential capsule wardrobe piece in my books. The Hemlock Tee comes with three body lengths and three sleeve lengths so you can customize it however you like.
Size range: Bust 32″-56″
Paper Theory Olya Shirt + Dress
If you’re looking for a more challenging project, the Olya Shirt by Paper Theory is a lovely modern take on the traditional Oxford shirt. This pattern can either be made as a shirt or as a dress, so it makes a great versatile option for a capsule wardrobe. I think this is a really classic piece and something that will stand the test of time in any wardrobe.
Size range: Bust 31.5″-45″ (extended sizing coming Sept 2021)
True Bias Marlo Sweater
The Marlo Sweater by True Bias is a v-neck, button up cardigan meant for medium weight knit fabrics. There is a cropped length version as well as a longer version that includes pockets. This is a great layering piece that could range from a lighter summer sweater to a cozy winter piece depending on the fabric you choose.
Level: Advanced beginner
Size range: Bust 32″-57.5″
Sew House Seven Free-Range Slacks
The Free-Range Slacks by Sew House Seven are an easy, comfortable pair of trousers with a tapered or wide-leg option. I’m a huge fan of elastic waist pants just for general comfort, but in terms of sewing they’re also the easiest to make and fit. This pattern would also be an easy one to hack into shorts as well.
Level: Advanced beginner
Size range: Hip 34″-65″
Anna Allen Pomona Pants
I’m a huge fan of the Pomona Pants by Anna Allen – I’ve made a couple pairs of the wide-leg pants and a pair of the shorts! They’re super comfortable and it’s a really easy pattern to put together as well. The pattern comes with a tapered leg, wide leg, and shorts version so you can customize it however you like!
Size range: Hip 34″-51″
Wiksten Shift Dress + Top
The Wiksten Shift is a loose-fitting dress and top meant for comfort and ease. There are three different versions: a cropped top, a knee-length dress, and a longer dress with side slits. The dress versions have back gathers that add fullness, and there are also optional patch pockets. It’s a very easy pattern and the resulting garment is both simple and minimal yet undeniably beautiful! Unfortunately it looks like the pattern is currently unavailable on Wiksten’s website, however you may still be able to find paper versions of the pattern from retailers or on Etsy.
Size range: Bust 32″-48″, Hip 36″-52″
Closet Core Elodie Wrap Dress
A wrap dress is a really versatile piece for any capsule wardrobe. It’s easy to wear, and depending on the fabric you choose you could make anything from the perfect summer or vacation dress, to something more suitable for fall, to even your own wedding dress! The Elodie Wrap Dress by Closet Core Patterns has multiple sleeve and skirt length options, so again it can be customized to your preferences.
Level: Advanced Beginner
Size range: Bust 31″-60″, Waist 24″-53″, Hip 33″-63″
Fabrics Store Cora Linen Dress
The Cora Half-Sleeve Linen Dress is a free-to-download pattern from FabricsStore.com. I love the versatility of a gathered dress like this one. In a lightweight linen, it’s perfect for summer. In a heavier weight fabric or even wool, it can be worn for cooler temperatures. And in something like a silk, it makes a fantastic evening or party dress! This pattern comes with only one view, but I think it could be easily altered to change the sleeve length (or go sleeveless) as well as adjust the skirt length and fullness.
Size range: Bust 34″-53″
Helen’s Closet Pona Jacket
Outerwear can be a difficult thing to sew yourself, especially if you live in a climate that has more extreme winter months and therefore you need specific gear like rain coats or parkas. But I did think it was worthwhile to include one coat: the Pona Jacket by Helen’s Closet. This is a modern-style open jacket with two length options that makes a great, lightweight layer for cooler to warmer seasons. The shorter version would also make a great blazer for workwear or more formal occasions as well! It has no closures or anything fancy, which is nice as some jacket patterns can be quite complex.
Level: Advanced Beginner
Size range: Bust 31″-56″, Hip 33″-58″
At the end of the day, both sewing and capsule wardrobes are about the same thing: wearing clothing that you love and that suits your style. While the patterns above are suggestions based on what I love and my personal style, what you like might be totally different and that’s okay! In any case I hope this article has maybe piqued your interest into either sewing, capsule wardrobes, or both. The possibilities are endless, so get out there, sew some fantastic garments, and love your wardrobe!
It’s also worth noting that while these patterns are just what I selected, there are many more great independent pattern companies out there that make amazing patterns and who are not included here. I’d love to hear your suggestions for capsule wardrobe sewing patterns from other designers in the comments below. And as always, thanks for reading!