New Year Wardrobe Goals: Sewing a Capsule Wardrobe

Special guest blogger Jacqui Blakemore, fabulous host of the Sew Mindful Podcast, shares her wardrobe goals for the new year: sewing a capsule wardrobe that is comfortable, smart, and colorful, while also being weather appropriate for winter in the UK.

I was delighted when Erica offered me the opportunity to write a guest blog for MyBodyModel. I love my custom croquis from MyBodyModel, as I am only 5ft 2in and it makes such a difference to be able to design for my height and body shape.

It also gave me a goal to get a head start on the designs for my New Year 2021 mini collection and further hone the skills that I started with the #mybodymodel3x3 challenge: sewing a capsule wardrobe by creating outfits, as opposed to individual garments.

Jacqui's sketch to finish of two outfits from her #mybodymodel3x3 Autumn collection designed on her MyBodyModel fashion croquis.
From sketch to finish – two of the outfits from my #mybodymodel3x3 Autumn collection

I am not great at sketching by hand so my comfort zone is using digital designs. I learnt to use Adobe Illustrator when I went back to college as a (very!) mature student a couple of years ago. To draw my garments digitally, I take a copy of the technical drawing from the pattern and scale it roughly to my size. I make it a bit transparent and then create my outline using the Illustrator pen tool and finally I move the points in the outline to more closely fit my croquis. This gives me flexibility to change the length and things like waist position to suit my shape.

My planning process for sewing a capsule wardrobe, step by step

The first step was to pick a starting colour palette and some style inspiration from Pinterest and my stash of sewing patterns and assemble them in my digital moodboard. In the UK the start of the year can be quite chilly so I wanted some warming colours. I work a lot from home but also do a lot of videos and Facebook lives so wanted to create outfits that are smart but comfortable. I also wanted outfits that I could mix and match with jeans/jeggings while still feeling dressed up.

Jacqui's digitally designed moodboard of colors, style inspiration, patterns, and clothing sketches.
My digital moodboard of colours, style inspiration and pattern ideas

To help me decide on the combination of garments to create, I used a formula from Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style. In this YouTube video she shows how to put together a mini holiday collection with 72 outfits from 12 garments (thank you Erica for sharing!). I love a good formula so I decided to give it a try for my New Year collection.

The formula combines 4 bottoms (2 trousers and 2 skirts), 6 tops and 2 jackets or cardigans. I am still learning the best way to combine colours so I paid particular attention to her use of neutrals and accent colours.  There are 5 colours in the formula and they include combining neutrals with colours inspired by our own body features such as eye, skin and lip colours.

Color palette for Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe designs: Navy, Light Clear Gold, Emerald Turquoise, Coral, Teal, Tomato Red
My colour palette following Imogen Lamport’s formula adding some artistic license!

In putting together my plans, I did make some changes along the way. Whilst brown is my favourite neutral I have been wearing my jeans and jeggings and wanted items that would dress those up. The brown felt less dressy so I swapped it for the navy and that brought the collection together and also meant I didn’t have to make brown trousers! 

To help me decide which tops, bottoms and layers to make I used 5 pinterest outfits for inspiration. I then mix and matched the pieces to create outfits similar to those I had found. I recently discovered the indie pattern brand Itch to Stitch and wanted an excuse to try out their patterns as they come with a variety of cup sizes which means it will save me the job of doing a full bust adjustment.

Outfit 1 of Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe, sketched on her custom fashion croquis from MyBodyModel: Itch to Stitch Crystal Cove Cami in Navy, shortened Seamwork Margo Pencil Skirt in Navy, lengthened Itch to Stitch Hvar Jacket in Teal
Outfit 1 – Creating single column of colour with Crystal Cove Cami and short version of Seamwork Margo Pencil Skirt with a lengthened Hvar Jacket

I am really loving wearing longer jackets and this image of the long jacket and shorter dress has been on my inspiration board for a while. As I am trying to create more separates I decided to use the colour to tie the top and skirt together for my first outfit. 

The skirt is a hack of one of my tried and tested makes – the Margo pencil skirt from Seamwork. The top is a new pattern for me from Itch to Stitch (ITS) – the Crystal Cove Cami – which has a lovely cross over back. To keep me warm my layer option is a hack of the Itch to Stitch Hvar jacket which is normally hip length. I love the small waterfall collar so plan to add length to make it work with this outfit.

Outfit 2 of Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe, sketched on her custom fashion croquis from MyBodyModel: vintage inspired full length Seamwork Margo pencil skirt in Teal, Itch to Stitch Dana Point Top in Coral, Itch to Stitch Aveiro bolero cardigan in Coral, and a scarf in Light Gold
Outfit 2 – Vintage inspired full length Seamwork Margo pencil skirt with Dana Point top and Aviero bolero cardigan finished off with a light gold coloured scarf

My second outfit has more of a vintage feel. I love the use of a cropped jacket from the same fabric as the top and skirt in this image. For my version I am making the original length version of the Seamwork Margo pencil skirt and adding to it another two ITS patterns – the Dana Point Top and the Aveiro cardigan which comes with a huge number of style variations including this bolero option.

Outfit 3 of Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe, sketched on her custom fashion croquis from MyBodyModel: Megan Markle inspired full length Seamwork Margo pencil skirt and Itch to Stitch Chai Shirt in Teal, long Itch to Stitch Aveiro cardigan in Coral
Outfit 3 – Channelling my inner Megan Markle with this Margo pencil skirt, same colour Chai Shirt and long version Aviero Cardigan

Outfit 3 is inspired by the stylish Megan Markle. Again to create the feeling of a dress but use separates I have paired the Seamwork Margo skirt with the ITS Chai Shirt and the longer version of the ITS Aveiro Cardigan. I like the waterfall coat in the photo but as the shirt has a collar I wanted a cardigan option with no collar.

Outfit 4 of Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe, sketched on her custom fashion croquis from MyBodyModel: relaxed yet stylish Itch to Stitch Hvar Jacket in Teal, Itch to Stitch Lago Tank in Emerald Turquoise, and blue Next Jeggings
Outfit 4 – Stylish relaxation layering the Hvar jacket hack with the simple Lago tank top and some comfortable RTW Jeggings

Outfit 4 is a more relaxed combo combining the Hvar jacket hack with my Ready-to-wear Next jeggings. I love jewel colours and so can’t wait to make the ITS Lago tank in the emerald turquoise to compliment the teal of the jacket. I think this will be a staple when I am not filming and I may even get me some of those animal print shoes!

Outfit 5 of Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe, sketched on her custom fashion croquis from MyBodyModel: a winter interpretation of a casual summer look with Itch to Stitch Bellavista Top in Tomato Red and blue Next Jeggings
Outfit 5 – A winter interpretation of a casual summer look. Using the cowl of the Bellavista top instead of a scarf and my go-to jeggings

My fifth outfit is my interpretation of this lovely summery image translated to the UK winter!  As can see from some of the previous outfits I love a scarf but sometimes it can get in the way so I figured that this cowl neck jumper would be a fab alternative. This is the ITS Bellavista top which has options for a cowl neck and bell sleeves. I have some jacquard cable jersey from Sew Wardrobe that I have been dying to put to good use and I can’t wait to try it with this pattern.

Outfit 6 of Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe, sketched on her custom fashion croquis from MyBodyModel:  Itch to Stitch Antrim Dress in Teal with shortened or lengthened Itch to Stitch Aveiro Jacket in Coral or scarf in Light Gold
Bonus Outfit 6 – It wouldn’t be a collection for me without one dress – I love this Antrim dress which goes beautifully with the two version of the Aveiro jacket

And just for good measure I had to include just one dress – this is the gorgeous ITS Antrim dress bringing both style and comfort. The original pattern for the dress is knee length but I want to wear it with boots and so wanted it to be a bit longer, so using my outline I was able to experiment with changing the length until I found one that I liked.  

Jacqui's New Year capsule wardrobe Collection Planner, displaying color palette, four bottoms, six tops, two layers, and the possibility of over 50 outfit combinations.
Final Collection – In addition to making up the 6 outfits each of the pieces works with one another to create over 50 outfits!

It took me a few iterations to get to my final collection. Using MyBodyModel makes it so easy to test out and change ideas and I love how it has turned out. Sewing a capsule wardrobe feels so achievable after going through my planning and visualisation process. I already have some fabrics in my stash to get started so I know what I’ll be doing over the holidays!

Want to learn digital fashion drawing on your iPad or Android tablet, and design your own mix & match capsule wardrobe? Check out MyBodyModel’s step-by-step video course for beginners, “Digital Paper Dolls” at Illustrated Style School!

For more capsule wardrobe planning inspiration, check out these posts:

Sources for  Inspiration Photos: Inspiration 1: Knit dress, long jacket and thigh boots (from Pinterest, original source unknown); Inspiration 2: Jeans, t-shirt and long cardigan (from Pinterest, original source unknown); Inspiration 3: Megan Markle (from Hello Magazine); Inspiration 4: Claudia Schiffer vintage outfit (from Pinterest, original source unknown); Inspiration 5: Linen pants outfit (from Soft Surroundings).

6 thoughts on “New Year Wardrobe Goals: Sewing a Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. Really enjoyed this post! Learning to think in “outfits” rather than garments is a great tip. Thanks so much for the inspiration🤩 Now – how to use Illustrator?

    1. Yes that was a real shift in mindset for me and since I started making these mini collections I am starting to really enjoy getting dressed in the mornings! Illustrator is a great tool but if you want a free alternative try Inkscape. I’m going to be doing a bootcamp in the new year for anyone wanting to get started so maybe I’ll see you there!

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