If you ever find yourself staring at your closet, thinking there has to be an easier way to put yourself together in the morning, you'll want to read on. And for those of you who can't seem to go on vacation without taking the unnecessarily large suitcase full of individual outfits, you should also stick around. Oh, and let's not forget about those kids of yours who have outgrown everything...again. I guess they are supposed to do that, buuuuut it sure can put a dent in your wallet. Beth Darrah here (Instagram), and I'm telling you, there is a better way and it won't break the bank! 

Over the next week, we're going to walk you through creating your very own mini capsule wardrobe. And you can even start with pieces of your existing wardrobe that you love, and build out from there. You'll end up with tops, bottoms, and even accessories that you can mix and match, to save space, money and time deciding what goes with what.

First, let's talk about fabrics. You'll want a variety, and I'm not just talking stripes, solids and florals here. You will want to have some top weight fabrics as well as some bottom weights. Sometimes bottom weights can also be used in tops and vice versa, so we'll talk through that as well. 

Top weights are typically lighter weight and good for shirts. An example of a top weight is Jersey Knit. They are sometimes (but not always) more delicate and would not make good pants, which require stronger knit and better recovery in your seat and knees. This is not a hard and fast rule, though. I've seen some great gathered maxi skirts in jersey knits, and even the occasional baggy lounge pants in a thicker jersey. Jersey knits can include Modal, Rayon Spandex, Cotton Spandex/Lycra, ITY/DTY, Poly Rayon Spandex, T-shirt Knits and Tri-Blend as well as others. Other top weights include Sweater Knits and Brushed Polyester as well as woven fabrics like Rayon Challis, Crepon and Chiffon


Bottom weights tend to be heavier, to withstand being sat on and stretched all day. Double Knits are a good example of bottom weights. They are just what they say they are, so they're two knits put together. You can sometimes see this in printed double knits if you look at the cut edge and see the two layers. Double knits include Ponte de Roma, Techno Scuba and Liverpool amongst others. These are terrific for pants (just check stretch % in pattern requirements if making leggings), skirts, dresses and even peplum tops, since they tend to have more body and give that shapely peplum silhouette. Denim is another fabric that is definitely great for pants, and quite durable for longevity of your clothing, too. 

But wait! There's one more fabric group that I personally like to call my versatile, all-around fabrics. This group can often be used as both a top or bottom in your wardrobe. These are your Brushed Polyester and French Terry fabrics. The former is often used for both tops and leggings. It's brushed on one (Single Brushed Poly) or both sides (Double Brushed Poly) and feels buttery soft and wonderful! The latter, French Terry, is a popular choice for both hoodies and joggers alike. I personally love using French Terry for cardigans and tops, too. Baby French Terry has these really little loops usually on the wrong side and is a lighter weight than regular French Terry. It's a nice choice for warmer weather. 

When you're ordering your mini capsule fabrics, I recommend grabbing one or two bottom weights and then one or two of each: top weights, Brushed Poly and French Terry fabrics (see example of "Palm Fronds Collection" below). As far as the amount goes, if you're buying for your summer wardrobe, and thinking short sleeved tops, tanks, shorts and skirts, you can often get these out of a yard of fabric. Just be sure to check your pattern requirements. If a pattern is close, for example, if it requires 1.25 yards, I'll often go to the designer's facebook group and ask others who have made it if the designer usually has some wiggle room in his/her fabric requirements. Another way to maximize your fabric, especially while doing a mini capsule, is to use some of your coordinating fabric for cuffs, bands or even to colorblock a top. It really helps to tie your whole collection together, too!  


As you are picking out your fabrics, check out the coordinate pictures listed for every fabric on this website (from your phone, swipe left on the photo to scroll through coordinates). You'll want to pick out colors that go well together, so you can mix and match them with each other. Remember the old color wheel you learned about in art class? That can be helpful when thinking about your wardrobe selections. Here are some color wheel tips if you need a refresher as well (I am always needing refreshers myself!).

"But wait!", you say. "All this is great, but I need some real life inspiration! What patterns do I use, how do I put it all together, etc??" Don't worry, we've got you covered. We've thoughtfully procured seven mini capsule collections to inspire your wardrobe creativity. Several of these collections will be featured by some of the best seamstresses we know in the next four days, and they're excited to tell you all about how they designed their mini capsules. So don't go far, you'll want to check back here each day for some new inspiration and advice, including one collection specifically designed for kids! 


DAY 1, APRIL 23, 2019: "Mini Capsule Wardrobe Challenge" by Chris Shapiro of Sewjourns

DAY 2, APRIL 24, 2019: "Park to Party" by Amy Highsmith of Sew Me

DAY 3, APRIL 25, 2019: "Spring Mini Capsule Wardrobe" by Tasha Jo of 5 out of 4 Patterns

DAY 4, APRIL 26, 2019: "Spring/Summer Mini Capsule for Girls" by Yvonne Johnson of Starry-Eyed Seamstress


Beth Darrah is a self-taught sewist who enjoys strike-off sewing, blogging and photography. Follow Beth on Instagram here!


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