Have you fallen down the Kibbe style ID rabbit hole yet? Guest blogger and Sew Your Kibbe Challenge organizer, Doctor T shares how she used her custom croquis from MyBodyModel to plan a cohesive capsule wardrobe following the Kibbe style system.
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It may seem odd for a sewing blogger to say, but I’ve never been particularly good at dressing myself. Finding individual items that I like to wear has gotten much easier since I’ve started sewing, but I still struggle with putting together a cohesive outfit, let alone a cohesive wardrobe. I’ve made several attempts at putting together wardrobe collections in the past, but they’ve never really come together the way I imagined, and I still somehow end up with a bunch of disparate pieces and a strong sense that I haven’t figured out the perfect mix of garments, or even my own sense of style quite yet.
This, I think, is what led me to learning more about the works of David Kibbe. Kibbe is a celebrity stylist who wrote a self-help style book titled Metamorphosis in the 1980s. While I think it is clear that no style system can be perfect, I do like the generally body-positive method of Kibbe’s approach, and the idea that our clothes should be complementary to our natural body lines, and not be used to camouflage or disguise some aspect of ourselves that we don’t like. Kibbe’s system has 13 different “Style IDs” that all have unique recommendations tailored to their own body types, with each recommendation intended to compliment the body lines that already exist.
The book that started it all! The works of David Kibbe have heavily influenced my sewing plans for the year.
Personally, figuring out my own Kibbe type was a year-long journey of experimentation and self-discovery. The problem with Kibbe’s writings is that they are somewhat dated, and very conceptual. Most visuals that exist are generated by people who are interpreting his writings, and often rely on the “style stereotypes” that can easily be generated from his recommendations. I knew I was struggling to incorporate Kibbe’s recommendations in my own wardrobe after seeing the same, small set of images being used over and over to illustrate his style IDs. Long story short, I ended up writing a lengthy blog series about Kibbe’s style system, using sewing patterns to illustrate the different recommendations he has for each of his style IDs. Overall, the series focuses on Big 4 and Burda patterns. I also wrote a post dedicated to Indie Patterns for the Kibbe Types.
While the words of David Kibbe are general and can be applied to any style era, the images… leave something to be desired in the modern day and age.
Having clarified my own style ID (I’m a Soft Natural in Kibbe’s system) and narrowed down my pattern collection to those designs that fit this ID, I thought it might be time to take another stab at creating a cohesive wardrobe sewing plan, using MyBodyModel to help me create my year-long sewing plans. I initiated the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge on my blog at the start of the year, but I’ve taken my time deciding exactly which garments I want to include. I want to make intentional, informed choices about the projects I start on, and the personalized croquis from MyBodyModel has been a great help in visualizing exactly how these pieces will (or won’t) work together.
I’ve been enjoying using digital tools to work on my wardrobe plans. I’ve used the Concepts app along with Apple’s iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to create sketches of the tops and bottoms I would like to incorporate into the wardrobe.
I sketched out the three tops and bottoms I want to try for my Kibbe collection:
The patterns I’ve selected from left to right: BurdaStyle Magazine 08/2011 #136, Vogue 8751 (OOP), and Simplicity 1560 (OOP) in the top row. In the second row I’ve drawn Burda 6632, Simplicity 3536 (OOP), and Butterick 5526. Part of my goal is using my large pattern stash, which means I’ve chosen a lot of older or out of print patterns to use for my Sew Your Kibbe Challenge.
Being able to draw a garment once then copy and paste it multiple times is a great, time-efficient way to see how outfit combinations will work together. Using digital tools easily allows me to copy the individual garments…
…And create a mix and match grid to see how these garments will work with each other to create a versatile wardrobe:
My first look at how these pieces will work together.
I really like everything with the Vogue pants and the Simplicity skirt. The Burda trousers are going to be a bit of a “fashion risk” for me, but I want to try and push myself out of my comfort zone with at least one garment in the collection. One of Kibbe’s recommendations for Soft Naturals is a tapered leg pant – not something I’ve ever worn before! Using the My Body Model croquis has convinced me it might be worth experimenting with this silhouette though; I think it could work with the tops I want to try.
Once the silhouettes were decided, I played around with different color combinations, to see which fabrics I should be shopping my stash for in the next phase of my planning:
I like having notes in their own layer – that way I can turn them off if I just want to see the garments, but I can easily remember which color combos I liked the best.
Ultimately, I’ve decided on making a professional wardrobe inspired collection using Kibbe’s Soft Natural recommendations. Below is my full plan for my year-long Kibbe collection. Aside from the patterns mentioned above I’m also planning to include BurdaStyle Magazine 07/2011 #119 Blazer, New Look 6330 Cardigan (OOP), BurdaStyle 04/2018 #103 Trench Coat, BurdaStyle 02/2017 #103 Trench Coat, McCall’s 7430 Dress, and Burda 6941 Dress (OOP).
My Kibbe Soft Natural Capsule Wardrobe
It finally feels as though my days of struggling to dress myself are a thing of the past; I feel much more confident pursuing these plans because I can see how good these styles look on the My Body Model drawings, and I can’t wait to having these clothes jump off the page and into my closet!
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Doctor T works in education creating digital classroom spaces, but tries to find the time to put into her hobbies of sewing, blogging, lightspeed saber fencing, and judging competitive roller skating. She started sewing because of a desire to cosplay and make skating costumes, but has become enamored with the idea of sewing her own wardrobe. You can find her on Instagram @doctortdesigns or on her blog.