Sew Your Kibbe: Soft Classic

For an introduction to the Sew Your Kibbe Series, please see this post.  The posts in this series are intended to be a well researched and thorough investigation of the Kibbe style recommendations, along with several example patterns for each “level of dress.”  The posts in this series will be picture heavy and quite lengthy.  As always, you may want some tea.


In last week’s post we learned about about Kibbe’s Dramatic Classic, a style type that has the minimalist Classic lines, but with a hint of Dramatic sharpness.  This week we will look at the other Classic subtype, Soft Classic.  Soft Classic is the result when a majority of the features are Classic, but with a little extra yin added in.  Kibbe’s Soft Classic is described as a “Graceful Lady.”  You can read more about Kibbe’s Soft Classic here.

Body Type Characteristics

The following are Kibbe’s descriptions of a Soft Classic Body Type:


NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Soft Classic. It is the overall combination of the balance between Yin and Yang extremes with a slight Yin leaning (slight soft physicality with a refined and gracious essence) that creates this Image Identity category. Therefore, slight deviation here or there is always possible and should not be worried over if it does not upset your Yin/Yang balance. 
Height: Moderate, up to 5 feet 6 inches. 
Bone structure: Symmetrical, with soft or slightly rounded edges. Straight and slightly delicate. May be small and slightly wide (but with soft edges, not square). Shoulder are tapered or slightly sloped. Facial contours are slightly small and wide (nose, cheekbones, and jawline). Hand and feet tend to be moderate to small and slightly wide. 
Body type: Slightly rounded, tends to slight fleshiness. Soft arms, thighs, and waistline. Evenly proportioned bust, waist, and hips. Possibility of being slightly short-waisted. Arms and legs tend to be moderately short (in proportion to height). 
Facial features: Soft and full, slightly fleshy. Large eyes, soft cheeks, full lips. Symmetrical and evenly spaced. 
Hair: Any texture is possible, but it usually tends to be slightly wispy if straight. 
Coloring: Any coloring is possible(warm or cool), but Soft Classics usually tend toward blended or low-contrast coloring with a delicate skin tone. (Occasionally, a Soft Classic will have high-contrast coloring, but it still tends towards an overall subtlety as opposed to sharpness). 
If overweight: Body becomes very soft; facial features become very fleshy. A “thickish” look is usually the result of excess weight; the waist is the first to lose any definition. 
A Soft Classic will not: 

  • Have a large or angular bone structure 
  • Have exotic or prominent facial characteristics 
  • Have a boyish or muscular body type 
  • Have a true hourglass figure, with a waspish waist 
  • Be tall 
  • Be extremely petite or small boned with extra delicate hands and feet 


The following are Kibbe’s recommendations regarding the clothing and style choices that best suit his Soft Classic image ID.  The following recommendations will be taken into consideration for each garment type listed below:

  • SHAPE: Soft, curved shapes with rounded edges. Smooth, symmetrical shapes that flow gently. Circles, ovals, subdued swirls. 
  • LINE AND SILHOUETTE: Smooth, soft, symmetrical silhouettes with slight shaping. Gently flowing lines that flare or swirl. Clean lines that are unbroken. Smooth, horizontal, or diagonal draping. 
  • AVOID: Hard-edged geometric silhouettes. Overly ornate or intricate lines. Wide, unconstructed silhouettes. Sharp, severely straight lines. Straight lines without flow or shaping. Overly crisp and fitted silhouettes with staccato lines. 
  • FABRIC: Fabrics should be those of light to moderate weight that will drape softly and flow easily without being clingy. Finish should be slight matte or slight sheen, with a soft or plush surface (silks, cashmere, challis, crepe, suede, velvet, handkerchief linen, raw silk, shantung, etc.). Textures should be very light and soft. Fabrics that have a high-quality, imported look are excellent. Knits and wovens should be supple, light and drapable without being clingy. 
  • AVOID: Heavy, stiff fabrics. Rough, thick textures. Bulky knits. Overly sheer fabrics. Extremely shiny fabrics (except for evening). Extremely dull-finished fabrics. 
  • DETAIL: Detail should be smooth and symmetrical, composed of rounded shapes with slightly intricate edges. Detail provides that extra touch of Yin (femininity), so it is meant to further soften and feminize your look. It is used as an afterthought, and should only suggest a Romantic streak. Be careful not to overdo it! 
    Slight definition through the shoulders: small, crisp pads; shoulder tucks; gathers; beading; slightly ornate trim; etc. 
    Clean, soft necklines. Draped necklines, soft cowls, jewel or scooped necks, subdued intricacy (gathers, shirring, soft pleats or folds, etc.). 
    Tapered sleeves and a defined waist. Subdued trim is possible (beautiful and unusual buttons, or small gathers). 
  • AVOID: Sharply tailored detail. Wide, unconstructed detail. Overly ornate or fussy detail Animated, “perky” detail Minimal “no detail” looks. 
  • SEPARATES: Use carefully and sparingly. Separates are effective only if they are part of a well-matched, “ensemble approach” to your head-to-toe appearance. Keep the colors, textures, and fabrics elegantly blended and avoid a staccato look. 
  • COLOR: Your use of color should be soft and luscious within your complimentary palette. Pastels and moderately bright tones are best while light neutrals are quite elegant in luxurious fabrics. Color combinations should be softly monochromatic, with intensities blending together rather than sharply contrasting. 
    NOTE: This does not mean “all one color,” but rather that tones should softly harmonize. Light/bright color combinations are especially effective on you. Dark colors will need softening and brightening; either use them in accents or add a touch of soft texture or sheen to the fabric to dampen their starkness. 
  • AVOID: Multicolored splashes. Head-to-toe dark color schemes. Sharply contrasting color schemes. 
  • PRINTS: Prints should be soft, flowing, and watercolor. Abstract rounded shapes that swirl into each other are excellent. 
  • AVOID: Sharp geometrics. Small symmetrical prints. Animated, “cute” prints. 
  • ACCESSORIES: Should be clean, elegant, tapered in shape with a slightly ornate or intricate trim. (Be careful not to overdo!) 
    • Shoes: Delicate, tapered shapes. Narrow heels and toes. Slightly bare (sling-back, open toe, etc.). Delicate, feminine flats. 
    • AVOID: Angular styles. Chunky styles. Plain pumps. 
    • Belts: Narrow to moderate width. Elegant, slightly ornate buckles. Exquisite leather, skin, or fabric. 
    • AVOID: Wide, stiff styles. Overly ornate styles. Waist-cinchers.
    • Bags: Small to moderate size, Rounded shapes perhaps with slight trim (gathers, shirring, etc.). Clutches or moderate straps. Supple leather. 
    • AVOID: Overly large styles. Angular shapes. 
      Hats: Small and elegant with rounded shapes and clean, crisp brims. Picture frame or garden party styles with soft detail (silk flowers, etc.). 
    • AVOID: Severe, man-tailored hats. Large, unconstructed hats. Small, “perky” caps. 
    • Hosiery: Moderately sheer styles are best. (Slightly opaque styles in light shades are also good.) A “light leg” that blends the stockings and shoe one or two shades lighter than the hemline is your most elegant and sophisticated look. You can also match the shoe and hemline while wearing a lighter stocking for a more casual or fun look. As for going for the “one long line” effect or matching the hemline, stocking and shoe, use it with caution or it can be very dowdy on you! You can use it when your colors are light or medium tones. It is terrible on you when the colors are dark. The only exception is in the evening, when the dark stocking is ultrasheer; then it is a good choice, if you wish. 
    • AVOID: Extremely opaque stockings. One long line of dark color. Three-color looks (stocking/shoe/hemline contrasts). Heavily textured stockings. 
    • Jewelry: Jewelry should be clean, elegant and softly feminine. It adds a touch of sophistication and delicacy to your look. It doesn’t need to be overdone; simply suggesting your glamour with a hint of dangle, a hint of sparkle, and a hint of intricacy is quite effective. 
      Shapes are round, ornate, and flowing while always remaining symmetrical. Circles, slight dangles, swirls, ovals, and clusters are all excellent. 
      A slightly antique approach to your jewelry is best. 
    • AVOID: Sharp geometrics. Heavy, chunky pieces. Rough, ethnic styles. Overly flashy jewelry. Too much jewelry. No jewelry.

For the individual garment types, obviously, I will be focusing on the lines of the garment, as fabric and color choices would easily be controlled by the home sewer. It’s nice that he included a long list of acceptable fabrics though!

Jackets: Jackets should be softly tailored with curvy shaping (subdued, not fussy) that gently shows the waist. Short to moderate lengths are best, although a longer length is possible in a belted jacket or one that has a very understated peplum. They can have slight shoulder definition with crisp pads, and are best with such added detail as shoulder tucks or gathers and tapered sleeves. Again, such detail should be subdued and understated, not fussy or overdone. 

Avoid: Overly tailored, sharp-edged, stiff jackets. Wide, boxy jackets that are unconstructed. Long, straight jackets that hide the waist. Extremely cropped jackets that are crisp and “perky.” Overly fussy or flouncy jackets with excess trim. 

Coats – Level 1: The key to the Soft Classic look is tailored, but softened.  I think the level 1 styes definitely use a more relaxed line to create this softness.

BS-12-2006-120: In a different fabric this would feel very traditionally tailored, but as is I think the soft fabric and rounded collar make this a great Soft Classic look.
Simplicity 8262: Softness from the rounded collar and flared hem.  Some detail, but not overdone.
Simplicity 2812: Another coat that is fairly tailored, but with just a hint of softness in the details.
Simplicity 1540: Subdued, but still curvy shaping.  The ruffled collar may be a bit “fussy” for a Soft Classic, but the other options are great.
BS-09-2010-101: Very simple details, but with just a hint of soft gathers at the waist.
BS-03-2009-120: Tucks/gathers/tapered sleeves.
BS-04-2010-123: Another options with pleat details on the sleeves.
BS-12-2016-102: Softly tailored with curved shaping.
Vogue 9157: Very similar style from Vogue.

Coats – Level 2: The Level 2 options add a bit more tailoring, and a bit more shaping to create the fit.

Butterick 5295: Lots of nice shaping through the waist, and slight shoulder definition.
BS-12-2011-104: Softly tailored and softly fitted.
Kwik Sew 4198: Simple tailoring, with a soft collar shape and minimal detail.
BS-11-2006-130: This coat is very tailored, but the collar has nicely rounded edged and the overall silhouette shows soft curves.  There is also a slightly defined shoulder, which is a great way to make a Soft Classic coat a more elevated level.

Coats – Level 3: These coats would all look great in rich silks and fancy fabrics for a formal event.

BS-03-2006-126: I love the soft shaping and subtle curves on this coat for a Soft Classic.
Butterick 5966: This could be a great option for a formal winter event.
Burda 6772: The slightly rounder collar and slightly sharper shoulder on View B would be fantastic for a Soft Classic.
BS-03-2007-105: Minimal, narrow detail with softly curved shaping.
Vogue 9280: This would be fabulous for a formal event for a Soft Classic.  The shaping is soft and flowing, but not overly flouncy or fussy.

Jackets – Level 1: As with the Level 1 coats, the jackets also have details that read either a bit loose or a bit too cropped to be “formal” on a Classic type.  As with all Classic types, fabric choice will be key in creating an overall look.

BS-06-2006-118: Softly rounded edges, slight shoulder emphasis.
BS-10-2008-116: Soft, subtle shaping, with small tucks on the tapered sleeves.
BS-08-2013-113: This could border on the “fussy” side of things, but I think in a rich, solid fabric the sleeve gathers and tapered sleeves with curvy shaping fit in with Kibbe’s stated recommendations.
McCall’s 7254: This jacket probably fits better in the sweater section, but the overall look is simple, and softly curved.  It would be great for a casual Soft Classic look.
Butterick 5568: Soft tailoring options, and even some subtle sleeve tucks.
Butterick 5647: The overall tailoring reads as Classic, but the soft collar curves would fit in well with the Soft Classic shapes.
BS-01-2007-118: This is perfect – soft sleeve gathers and waist gathers, but an overall streamlined look.
BS-08-2015-106A: Another jacket option with slightly gathered sleeves, and curved seam details.
BS-08-2012-119: This is a perfect length, and the edges are all nicely curved and softly tailored.
BS-09-2012-136: Here is a Burda Plus option with slight sleeve gathers.
BS-04-2017-126B: Here is another Burda Plus option with softly curved silhouette lines and details..
BS-08-2017-127A: This is a great Burda Plus option for a Soft Classic who wants a moto-style option.  The softly curved seamlines keep it from being too yang for a Soft Classic.

Jackets – Level 2: We will see a lot more of the classic tailoring details in the Level 2 and 3 styles.

Burda 7304: The View A jacket is the perfect length, with just a hint of the sleeve gathering detail, tapering to the wrist.  This is quite possibly the ultimate Soft Classic suit jacket.
Burda 7073: This is a more modern feeling jacket, but many of the details around the collar are still quite soft and rounded.
BS-02-2014-115: Softly tailored, curvy shaping, and slightly crisp shoulder padding.
BS-04-2018-101: The waist tie combined with the sleeve buttons might be a bit too much “perky” detail for a Soft Classic, but the overall silhouette and sleeve shaping could be a good starting point for making a nice blazer.
Vogue 8701: Lots of curved shapes on the collar of this blazer.
Butterick 5570: More softly curved collar details on this wardrobe pattern.
BS-09-2005-116: This jacket is a great length, and the seam lines are all nicely curved and soft.
BS-08-2015-106B: Similar to the style from Level 1, this jacket has a tailored feel, but is still curvy and has softly rounded shapes making up the pockets and shoulder caps.
BS-05-2008-102: Slight gathers at the collar, and an overall soft tailoring effect.  While it is cropped, it isn’t crisply “perky” so I think it could work for a Soft Classic, especially over a nice summer dress.  It could work at Level 1 paired with a simple shirt and trousers too.
Burda 7934: View A has the most Classic elements, but it has rounded edges that will work for the Soft Classic type.
BS-10-2005-111B: The fur trim might be a bit much, but the overall shaping and sleeve gathers, along with the slightly curved hem are great for a Soft Classic look.
BS-05-2006-107: This could be a great option for a Soft Classic suit for summer.
BS-09-2011-123: For the Soft Classic who really likes Natural lines.
Burda Classic 2012 #0001D: This probably belongs a bit more in the pure Classic recommendation, but it would still very much work for the Soft Classic subtype.
Patrones 321 #28: I’ve been avoiding using Patrones patterns because they are so hard to get (in the US anyway), but I thought this jacket was the perfect option for a Soft Classic and I really had to include it.
BS-10-2009-136: Here is a nice Burda Plus option with lots of curved shaping detail, but overall it gives the impression of a simple, Classic style.
BS-10-2013-137: Soft tailoring would make this Burda Plus jacket very suitable for a Level 2 look.

Jackets – Level 3: I don’t have a lot of options for Level 3, but I feel that, as with the main Classic type, fabric choice will do a lot to convey the formality of the garment.

Butterick 6105: Softly curved hems, soft lapels, a slightly gathered sleeve, and just a hint of soft detail with the waist shaping and bow all make this a fabulous level 3 jacket option for a Soft Classic.
BS-11-2006-103: We see many of the same elements here – soft, subtle gathers and curved edges and seams.  Nothing overdone or bold, but still softer than a more tailored Classic or Dramatic Classic jacket would be.

Skirts: Skirts should be soft, smooth, and gently flowing. A straight skirt should be lightweight and slightly tapered at the hemline to avoid stiffness. Flared skirts are best, with an uneven hemline that softly flows. Waist detail should be soft and subdued with slight gathers or soft pleats that are stitched down through the hip. Bias-cut pieces that are added to the bottom of the skirt are also possible. Hemlines on a straight skirt should be short-never longer than one inch below the knee. Uneven hemlines will always be longer, gracefully grazing the mid-calf area. Slits should be small and elegant, suggested rather than overstated. 

Avoid: Long, straight skirts. Sharply tailored skirts. Wide, unconstructed styles. Voluminous circles. Extra flouncy skirts-except for smoothly flared styles. Extremely tight or clingy skirts. excess detail that is overdone (draping, shirring, full gathers, ultradeep folds, etc.) 

Level 1: As with so many of our Classic categories, additional details tend to make a style feel more casual, which is clearly evident in the Level 1 styles.

BS-04-2008-111: A slightly tapered skirt, but the gathers help avoid stiffness.  Hemline is fairly short – around knee length.
BS-06-2007-119: Slight gathers, but still flat through the hips, and a slight taper at the hem.
Simplicity 2186: Flared skirt with an uneven hem that gently flows.  All of these styles would be perfect for a Soft Classic.
Burda 6468: Smooth through the hip, softly flowing, and slightly flared.  View B is the better length, but View A could work is cropped to mid-calf length.
Burda 6903: Another softly flowing style.  This skirt could really work at any level, depending on fabric choice and styling.
Burda 7069: View B would be better for a Dramatic Classic (it is a bit long and stiff), but view A has the soft flow that is needed by a Soft Classic. 
BS-09-2005-126: Very simple, slightly flared, with nice flow.
BS-07-2006-125: The bottom of the skirt uses the bias to create the flow and movement.
BS-06-2007-123: Another soft skirt that utilizes a bias cut.  The curved seam line also works for a Soft Classic.
BS-03-2008-122B: Simple styles work well for all the Classic types, and the slight flow makes this especially good for a Soft Classic.
BS-07-2015-126: Bias cut piece added to the bottom of the skirt, creating that uneven, flowing hem.
New Look 6477: Soft, flowing, uneven hem, with an insert that mimics a bias piece.
Simplicity 2451: Narrow skirt with a slight flare and soft waist gathers.  The view on the model is good, but the mint green option would also be great.
BS-09-2005-114: Bias cut pieces give this skirt the movement it needs.
BS-11-2008-104: Shorter, flared skirt.
BS-02-2007-121B: Soft pleats that are stitched down.  The overall look is soft and flowing.
Burda 6491: A softly flowing Burda Plus option.
BS-11-2007-132: A short, slightly flared Burda Plus style that is very smooth through the hips.
BS-04-2008-131: A slightly elongated option; this is one of those styles that will go to mid-calf length.

Level 2: The styles for Level 2 feel slightly more tailored, yet retain the overall feeling of soft, slowing styles.

BS-12-2010-114: Soft gathers at the waist, and a slightly shorter hem line.
Butterick 5859: A flared style that ends just above the knee.
Burda Classic 2013 #0003: A similar look from Burda.
BS-08-2005-102C: Flared, flowing style with rounded, curved seam lines.  This jacket could also work; as pictured, this could be a great Soft Classic suit.
BS-09-2005-118A: A slightly different silhouette here, but the overall effect is still soft and flowing, but not too wide or unconstructed.  Soft tailoring is keep to this style ID.
BS-11-2005-118B: This black skirt is a nice medium between a too fitted trumped and a too full circle skirt.
BS-03-2006-105: Soft, flowing and simple.
BS-10-2006-112B: Another option that has that softly flowing shape, but simple silhouette.
BS-10-2008-103: Soft gathers at the waist are part of Kibbe’s recommendations.
BS-01-2009-111: There are also some small gathers here, but the shape is smooth and narrow, with a slight taper at the hem.
BS-12-2011-105: The could border on too much detail, but I think this skirt pattern would work for a Soft Classic.  The gathers at the waist are pretty minimal, and the shape is pretty streamlined.
BS-08-2012-112: Simple, smoothly fitted skirt with bias cut piece at the hem.
McCall’s 7017: I think this skirt is perfect for a Soft Classic – it flares out, but not in a dramatic or overwhelming way.
Simplicity 1560: The shorter lengths would work well on this pattern; the both flare out with soft flow, but still have a Classic, tailored look.
BS-09-2007-116B: Soft folds, but not too bulky over the hips.
Burda 6714: A Burda Plus option with soft flow.  View B, which ends mid-calf, is in line with Kibbe’s recommendations for hem length.
BS-06-2006-134: This Burda Plus skirt has a slight bias cut insert, which gives it a hint of movement at the hem.  It would look great as part of a Soft Classic suit.
BS-08-2006-132A: Another Burda Plus option with a soft flare at the hemline.
BS-11-2006-137: A similar style, but with even simpler lines.
BS-01-2007-126A: This skirt taps a bit more into the Classic side of things, but the shorter length and detail at the hem gives it a Soft Classic feel.

Level 3: The Level 3 skirts have a bit more drape and flow to emphasize the fancy dress/evening wear aspect for the Soft Classic style ID.

Butterick 5858: Soft, smooth, gently flowing, with an uneven hem that “gracefully grazes the mid-calf.”
BS-02-2004-124: Soft, slightly flowing, slightly flared.
BS-05-2004-133: A similar silhouette, but with more options to mix and match fabrics and add a touch more glam for a Level 3 looks.
BS-12-2005-109A: Another slighlty flared option with some potential for bias cut inserts and softly curved seams.
BS-05-2007-142: Softly flowing skirt with uneven hem.
Simplicity 8597: This is a great longer option, especially View C.
BS-11-2007-108: Slightly flared, softly flowing, and smooth through the hips.
BS-04-2006-127: This Burda Plus option could work well for any level, depending on the fabric used for this design.
BS-07-2006-135: A nice Burda Plus option with a bias-cut inset.
BS-12-2006-138: A longer Burda Plus option that has the slight flare, but general smoothness needed by a Classic type.  A different fabric choice would probably be best for a Soft Classic (this fabric looks too rough and messy for a Classic type I think).
BS-10-2014-138: Slight flare and a smooth shape.  Slightly uneven hem, hitting just around the top of the calf.  This would look great with some of the Level 3 jackets to create a formal look.

Pants: Pants should be softly tailored styles in lightweight fabric. Soft pleats, slight gathers and a slightly tapered leg are nice details. Hemline should be just below the top of the ankle so as to show a touch of foot or shoe. (For extra feminine touch.) 

Avoid: Man-tailored styles with sharp edges. Wide, unconstructed or baggy styles. Overly fussy pants with excess trim or detail. 

Level 1: The Level 1 styles have the soft, slightly tapered silhouettes Kibbe suggests, but not as many classic tailoring elements as the styles in the higher levels.

Burda 6377: View A nicely mixes traditional soft tailoring elements with a modern aesthetic.  The tapered leg and hem that extends just past the ankle is a perfect length according to Kibbe.
BS-05-2013-117B: The tapered silhouette and length are nice; when the waistband is tied it will have the nice detail of soft gathers at the waist.
BS-07-2017-106A: Similar to the above style, but more recent.  Burda really likes this silhouette, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a style like this in your collection if you have any sort of magazine backlog or stash.
Burda 6665: View A, the longer length, would work well for a Soft Classic.  Again we have tapered legs, this time with nice soft pleats.
BS-08-2011-137: This style is quite similar, but comes in the Burda Plus sizes.  This could also work for a Level 2 or 3 look if paired with a blazer.  For a Soft Classic the waist tie would be better substituted with a belt for a more formal look.
BS-06-2014-136: Tapered and softly pleated.  The length is slightly short, which makes this automatically feel a touch more casual.
BS-08-2010-124: This is another style the could work nicely at Levels 1 and 2, depending on how it is utilized in an overall look.
BS-09-2014-113: Again we see soft pleating details.  The paper bag waist isn’t too overwhelming of a detail, and contributed to the overall Soft Classic look.

Level 2: For Level 2 the tailoring is only slightly sharper, to give a more formal feel, but the elements of the silhouette and pleating are very similar.

BS-01-2016-119A: Tapered and pleated at the waist, but the waistband has a slightly crisper feel than the styles from Level 1, making it a bit more formal.
BS-01-2016-121: I love how the trouser crease in the front is softened by the pleats at the waist.
Burda Plus F/W 2015#412: A very similar style in the Burda Plus size range.
BS-01-2011-115B: Remember how I said Burda loves this style of trouser?  They have a lot of them in their back catalog.
BS-02-2012-104: In a slightly shinier fabric they could also work for an evening or formal look.
BS-08-2016-112: I like the waistband option here to add a bit of formality, and the hem length is perfect for a Soft Classic.
BS-12-2017-106B: Another example of a similar style in a lightweight fabric.
BS-09-2006-113A: These trousers don’t have the tapered shape, but they do have soft tailoring and subtle plating at the waistband.  Kibbe always reminds us that Soft Classics are Classics first, and I feel that these trousers are a slightly softer version of what a Classic would wear.
BS-03-2007-106: Similar style to the above, but with even less detail.
BS-09-2011-120B: Tapered, soft pleat detail, and soft tailoring.
BS-01-2015-118A: The soft pleats are very elegant in this pattern.

Level 3: I think we’ve seen enough pleated, tapered trousers, but I did think these patterns nicely showed how they could be elevated to Level 3 with fabric choice.

BS-08-2013-112: I think a soft, yet shiny leather look with a delicate heel is a great option for a Level 3 formal event.
BS-04-2014-107A: I also think this jumpsuit could be really elegant at a formal event.  The trouser style is very in line with all of the other styles we just looked at.

Blouses: Blouses should be soft and elegant with soft edges or a suggestion of intricate detail. Soft bows, slight lacy edges, jabots, and draped necklines are excellent. Subdued trim – appliqué, shirring, gathers, beading, etc.- is also good as long as it’s not overdone. Fabric should be lightweight-with the slight sheen of silk best. Very soft and sheer linens, batiste, voile, etc., are also elegant. 

Avoid: Sharply tailored styles. Wide, unconstructed styles. Animated, “perky” styles.

Level 1: The blouses for Soft Classic have to find the right balance between being too detailed and not quite soft enough.  For Level 1, there are a lot of great options for both wovens and knits that give a casual feel.

Burda 6425: Both of these styles would work.  Soft edges, which just a touch of detail, and a softly draped neckline.
BS-10-2011-128A: Soft bows are recommended.
BS-02-2013-135: I would call this trim fairly subdued, but still hinting at intricacy. 
BS-06-2007-127: Just a touch of gathered trim at the neckline and sleeve hems.
Butterick 6173: As depicted this could be a bit too unconstructed, but I think a Soft Classic could make this in a slightly shorter length and it would have a nice neckline detail for a casual summer outfit.
Butterick 5495: Another great option with soft draping detail.
Butterick 5497: Any pattern that has both soft gathers and a fairly fitted shape work well.
Burda 6910: Another great t-shirt option; the softness is very subtle, but enough to be detailed on a Soft Classic.
Burda Easy F/W 2014 #4C: Soft draping on this neckline; this blouse could look really good tucked into a skirt for a fall outfit.
BS-03-2009-106A: Just a hint of soft gathers and detail, but an overall Classic feel.  The detail would be too much for a pure Classic, but is perfect for a Soft Classic.
BS-06-2011-101: This a great woven t-shirt option.  The trim is quite subtle, but could be made a bit fancier on the neckline.
BS-20-2012-114A: Soft gathers, but nothing overdone.
BS-04-2016-120: Another great tank top option with subtle gather detail at the neckline.
BS-11-2016-109: The soft gathers at the shoulder offer just a hint of detail.  (I made this top when I thought I was a Soft Classic.  I really like it, but I don’t wear it much.)
Simplicity 4076: More great knit options with soft gathered detail.
BS-01-2007-109A: Soft gathers and a softly curved neckline.
Simplicity 1716: More soft neckline options.
Burda Plus F/W 2013 #401A: A softly draped t-shirt option from the Burda Plus size range.
BS-07-2007-124: Another Burda Plus top with just a hint of soft detail.

Level 2: The Level 2 tops have a bit more tailoring in addition to the soft gathers and draping we saw in Level 1. 

Butterick 5859: The blouse has a soft, lightweight look, and a nice sheen.  The neck bow is also a great detail.
Butterick 6487: View D is especially good for the Soft Classic; the neck has slight gathers and ruffles, but they certainly don’t feel “perky.”  View C could also work.
Burda 6840: Both the softly shaped collar and bow are good options; the gathers at the yoke seam are nice, especially in the very lightweight fabric.
BS-09-2008-115: The tailoring gives a slightly more formal feel, but interesting darts add a softness to the blouse.
Butterick 5284: I think the neckline from View A and the sleeves from and of the other views would be perfect for a Soft Classic look.
Butterick 6133: Soft gathers at the seams prevent this from being too stiff for a Soft Classic.
BS-08-2005-116: Very soft fabric prevents the pleating detail from being too stiff.  The cuffs and neck bow are fantastic details as well.
BS-10-2005-104B: Soft neckline jabot gives just enough softness to this tailored blouse.
BS-12-2009-125: Another great option with soft details at the neck and wrists.
BS-01-2011-107: This could be a good option for the Soft Classic who doesn’t like a lot of fussy detail, but still needs a touch of softness in the look.
BS-2012-09-111: Another good no-frills style that will work well for a Soft Classic.
BS-04-2018-105A: In a slightly drapier fabric I think the pattern could work for a Soft Classic.
McCall’s 5522: This McCall’s blouse has just enough soft gathers, and the silky fabric they used would be a good choice for a Soft Classic.
Vogue 8747: Barely any gathers, but it does take this shirt from being pure Classic to Soft Classic.
BS-08-2005-115: Because I didn’t realize this was the same pattern as above until I’d already posted it, and I really like this style for a Soft Classic…
BS-05-2009-103A: I think Soft Classics can wear knits at Level 2, but the draping has to be a bit more intentional and sophisticated.
BS-02-2013-127: Another Level 2 knit top option.  You can’t say that this style isn’t elegant.
BS-05-2013-106: Gorgeous, but understated neck drape on this top.
Vogue 8649: This is pretty similar to some of the Level 1 styles, but I think this could be a good look as part of a work outfit or date night look.
Vogue 1387: I’ve always loved the neckline on this gorgeous Vogue top.  The softness from the gathers would work well for a Soft Classic.
Simplicity 3536: I’ve made this top a few times, and I love it!  The soft draping and gathers could be fun for a party or event where you want to have that dressy-casual vibe.
Burda 6696: The neckline detail is quite subtle.  I think this could be great for a Soft Classic work outfit.
Burda 6911: Probably should have put this in Level 1, but I think it could work for a date night look too.
BS-02-2007-101A: Just a hint of subtle ruffle detail here.
BS-09-2007-101: Another soft look with a nice neck bow.
Kwik Sew 4188: I think view A could work as part of a dressy-casual party look as well.  It could be pretty versatile in styling I think.
BS-09-2009-139: Because I’m determined to find every Burda blouse that has a soft bow in my entire collection…
BS-10-2009-138: I don’t really like the fabrication, but I think this Burda Plus top has a nice gathering detail that softens it quite a bit.
BS-05-2012-134: A bow blouse for the Burda Plus size range.

Level 3: I think a lot of the tops from Level 2 could also work at Level 3, but I found a few tanks that I think would look fantastic under a formal evening jacket, or paired with one of the fancier skirts.

BS-08-2010-141: The soft draping is quite subdued, but still very pretty in this Burda Plus top.
Kwik Sew 3691: This Kwik Sew pattern might be easier to get ahold of though.

Sweaters: Sweaters should be soft and smooth. Lightweight knits are best, particularly when the finish is luxuriously soft to the touch. Cashmere, boucle, angora and silky weaves are all excellent. Lengths should be short to moderate. Subdued, intricate detail (appliqué, beading, shirring) is good. 

Avoid: Oversized, bulky sweaters. Rough or thick knits. Skinny-ribbed knits. “Perky” patterns. stuff

Level 1: I think sweaters are great for a Soft Classic look, especially at Level 1.  They add softness and provide warmth, without the formality that a fully tailored jacket would bring.

BS-05-2013-128B: Soft gathers at the neckline provide subdued detail, and the moderate length falls in the recommendations.
BS-10-2004-124: This is probably on the Classic side of Soft Classic, but I think the idea of a sweater/jacket fits in well with the Soft Classic aesthetic.
BS-05-2006-127: Soft wrapping detail keeps this feeling pretty casual, and the length on the shorter side.
BS-04-2010-117B: There isn’t much detail here to make this feel “Soft” but as long as the fabric is soft and smooth I think it could work for a casual look.
McCall’s 6996: The lack of structure keeps this feeling casual, but it isn’t particularly oversized, so would still work for a Soft Classic.
Burda 6406: This sweatshirt is pretty plain, but I think a Soft Classic could put some nice trim on the neckband of view B to make it slightly more elegant.

Level 2: The level 2 styles would be fantastic with an office look.

McCall’s 6708: On the shorter side, and with the potential to have some subdued but detailed trim added around the edges.
BS-01-2002-128B: This is a nice, soft style in a moderate length.
BS-09-2005-103: Similar to the above.  The length is excellent.
BS-09-2009-117: Soft shirring detail at the shoulders really help make this a Soft Classic style.
McCall’s 5978: All of the added trims are excellent for a Soft Classic.

Level 3: As with the other Classic types, I think a tailored jacket would be better for level 3, but for Soft Classic I think the following styles could work over a nice dress.

BS-01-2008-126: The lace and scalloped hem make this sweater feel very Soft Classic, and I love the way Burda has styled it over this simple dress..
BS-03-2013-107A: The gathers on the sweater are perfect for a Soft Classic.  The lace really helps it work for a higher level style.  This is another style I’ve made, but don’t wear much (though I blame that mostly on fabric choice).

Dresses: Should be graceful, flowing, and elegant. Flared shapes are best, and waist definition is essential (although it may be slightly dropped in a very clingy fabric). Soft detail with a suggestion of intricacy is excellent. Draping is always perfect!

Avoid:  Severely tailored styles. Wide, unconstructed styles. Overly fussy or flouncy styles.

Level 1: I think Soft Classics have some awesome dress choices, especially for casual spring/summer looks.

Butterick 6164: Graceful, flowing, flared, with waist definition and soft detail at the neckline.
BS-05-2006-110: Anther softly flowing style that suggests intricate detail, but doesn’t overdo it.
BS-04-2007-127: The ruffle detail is so subtle you can barely see it on the finished design.
BS-05-2017-112B: The wrap of this skirt gives it the graceful flow Kibbe suggests.
BS-10-2018-111A: Soft gathers and pleats add waist definition to this dress.
McCall’s 7160: This dress feels very casual, but the slightly flared skirt and soft waist definition work well for Soft Classics.
Vogue 1543: This is a gorgeous option for a Soft Classic summer look.  Graceful and flowing for sure!
BS-09-2016-105: Soft and flowing, with a hint of intricacy with details at the collar and cuffs.
Butterick 6322: Soft gathers, waist emphasis, and softly intricate detail.
BS-05-2015-104A: This style is quite similar to the Gertie dress above.
Butterick 5491: This could be a good summer dress.  It would be nice for a Soft Classic who wants a casual knit style.
Butterick 5745: The overall effect is soft and flowing with a flared skirt.
Butterick 6020: The collar gives us a hint of Classic tailoring, but the materials keep it very soft and flowing.
Butterick 6090: This could be a good casual fall look for a Soft Classic. 
Burda 6562: I think View B is perfect; it has a hint of detail and waist definition, but is very flowing and soft.
BS-05-2018-116B: Another good option for a fall dress.
Kwik Sew 4155: I think many shirt dress styles can be too stiff, but this pattern has a nice amount of flow.
Simplicity 8014: The views A and B could also make a great Soft Classic style.
Simplicity 1018: Softly clingy fabric gives the waist definition and flow that a Soft Classic needs.  The lack of detail keeps this feeling fairly casual though.
McCall’s 7350: Love the soft gathers on the bodice and waistband; this dress works well with the Soft Classic recommendations.
BS-05-2007-123: An older Burda pattern with a hint of intricate detail at the collar and shoulder.
BS-07-2014-127: This is a great Burda Plus option for a Soft Classic casual dress.
Burda 6670: This dress comes in petite sizes, and has a nice, soft flow to the skirt.

Level 2: Level 2 looks at a touch more tailoring, and would be better made in slightly more expensive fabrics.  The details are also slightly more sophisticated.

Burda 6744: This petite dress uses lots of panels to create waist definition while keeping a very flowy skirt.
BS-05-2007-128: Lots of flow and drape in this flaring skirt, but the smooth top keeps the waist definition and Classic feel.  This could be a cute look for a party.
BS-08-2012-107: This dress would be nice for an office look; the details at the top and wrists are slightly intricate, but not overdone.
BS-02-2017-114B: The bodice is quite simple, but the flowing skirt makes this dress feel very Soft Classic.
BS-05-2018-115: The shoulder ruffles are a nice detail; they add softness without overpowering the entire line of the dress.
Burda 6452: View B could be a nice Soft Classic work dress for the fall/winter.
Burda 6574: I think View A would work well for Soft Classics – the skirt has nice flow, and the bodice is fitted with waist definition. 
Burda 7127: View B has nice detail that hints at intricacy; the hem may need to be a bit shorter for a Soft Classic look though.
BS-12-2009-128: Soft, flowing skirt with a slight flare, and soft details at the collar and sleeve hems.
McCall’s 7117: This looks like a fun party dress for a Soft Classic.
Butterick 5951: The detail at the collar and waist add just enough detail for a Soft Classic.
Burda 6833: This dress could work well for a more conservative office environment; in a different fabrication I could see view B also working well as a party dress.
BS-02-2018-101: Soft flare at the hem, waist definition, and slight intricacy with the piping detail and gathers at the neckline.
Vogue 8701: The View B dress is another good Soft Classic option; the hem is perfect and the style is both simple, but gracefully flowing.
Simplicity 2145: I think the softly draped neckline and waist definition with flowing skirts make this a great Soft Classic option.
McCall’s 5094: The skirt is a bit voluminous here; this might best be saved for a slightly fancier party event.
Vogue 8489: Soft, flowing, graceful shapes with just a hint of detail on the bodice and sleeves.
Simplicity 3775: The soft gathers add waist emphasis and just a hint of detail.
BS-07-2014-129: This Burda Plus dress could work just as well at Level 1, but I think it could read a bit fancier with a nice jacket and elevated styling.
BS-04-2016-129: Flared shape that has just enough flow in the skirt.
BS-11-2017-127: This is another shirt dress option that could work well; the gathered details at the waist add just a hint for flow and movement to the skirt.
BS-01-2018-126: Another good Burda Plus shirt dress option.
Vogue 1044: I think this Vintage Vogue pattern is great – there is a hint at detail, but it doesn’t take away from the graceful, flowing movement of the skirt.

Level 3: The level 3 styles are an interesting mix of party dresses and evening gowns.  Many of these styles could also work at Level 1 or 2 if you made them in a very casual fabric.

BS-12-2007-110: Soft, flowing, and elegant; I think utilizing beaded trim on the facing bands would really elevate this style for a Level 3 look.
BS-11-2009-102: Soft and flowing, very elegant, Not too much detail; just a hint at the cuffs adds sophistication.
Vogue 9053: Another simple style that has lots of elegance and flow.
B6049B: This sorter style would be great for attending a spring or summer wedding.
Butterick 6415: View C is so elegant! Just enough detail to be intricate, but still simple enough to not overpower a Classic.
Burda 7256: Soft, flowing, and slightly flared.
Burda 7406: Another softly flowing style.
BS-03-2007-123: The waist gathers are great to add a hint of definition to this simple dress.
Vogue 2960: I think a slightly extravagant skirt is ok for a formal event.  The soft detail on the bodice is great for a Soft Classic look.  And without a crinoline, this skirt actually doesn’t have too much body.
BS-11-2006-106A: Soft, graceful, and flowing.  The drape of this dress is very elegant.
BS-06-2010-126: Another draped option, with just a hint more waist definition.
BS-12-2011-107: The detail on the bodice add that hint of intricacy that a Soft Classic needs.
BS-2017-12-107B: This is a more simple style, but I think it could be great for a family holiday party or quasi-formal event.
Vogue 9149: This dress is actually quite simple, but the silhouette works well for a Soft Classic.  I’ve made this style too, and I really like it.  It feels a tad formal on me, so I save it for really special events.
Vogue 8789: While this style is simple, I think this dress allows for the feeling of intricate detail with smart fabric placement.
McCall’s 7083: Elegant and flowing; super pretty!
Burda 6548: I think this Burda Plus pattern has nice flow and drape.  Both views would work well, depending on how formal the even is.
BS-03-2018-125: The print might be a bit wild for a Soft Classic, but the details on this dress are all soft and slightly intricate.  The flow of the skirt and waist definition all work well too.

Evening Wear: Symmetrical, flowing shapes. Slightly ornate detail. Lightweight, draped, and sheer fabric. Slightly sparkly fabric. Smooth fabric. Slight ornate trim (but not fussy). Chiffon ball gowns. Long gowns with flowing skirts. Beaded bodices and jackets. Ornate and fitted jackets, over gowns (shoulder tucks, shirring, etc.). Silk dresses. Elegant dinner suits with fitted jackets. 

Many of the Level 3 gowns would work for evening, but I wanted to put even more intricately detailed designs in this category.  There are a lot of wedding gown sewing patterns that work well for Soft Classic!

Butterick 5325: Soft and flowing, symmetrical, with just a hint of ornate detail.  I don’t think you could call this dress fussy at all.
Butterick 5779: I’ve always loved the back of this dress pattern; I think it fits in well with the Soft Classic recommendations of slightly ornate detail.
Butterick 5981: Symmetrical and flowing.
Butterick 5987B: Lightweight, draped, smooth.
Burda 6519: View B is a good example of a long gown with a flowing skirt and potential for a beaded bodice.
Burda 7262: Flowing shapes with slightly intricate detail.
BS-12-2011-123: Symmetrical, soft, and flowing, with just a hint of ornate detail at the shoulder.
BS-03-2017-110: Another symmetrical, soft, flowing style.  The shoulder straps could be a good place to add beading detail.
McCall’s 4714: Soft and flowing.
McCall’s 7154: 30s styles have a great drape and flow; this vintage re-release is perfect for an evening look for a Soft Classic.
McCall’s 7507: Symmetrical back detail that adds a touch of the ornate.
Burda 7404: Soft, elegant, and flowing.
Burda 6518: I think view A is a fantastic option for a Soft Classic evening gown.
Vogue 1474: Smooth, soft, and flowing.
Simplicity 2580: The longer gown has the soft symmetry Kibbe recommends.
BS-12-2010-126A: A softly flowing, symmetrical evening look in the Burda Plus size range.

Whew!  Another Kibbe ID down!  Looking at these styles, I think it is pretty clear why Soft Classic wouldn’t quite fit in the Classic recommendations (they would be far too tailored), but also don’t belong in the Romantic styles either (too fussy/busy).  I think there is a touch of overlap with both styles, but Soft Classic is definitely distinct from the other two.

It’s sort of interesting because there have been a lot of comments on the Romantic/Theatrical Romantic/Soft Dramatic posts that those styles can come off as a bit flouncy, fussy, or overdone.  While Soft Classic pulls more to the yin side of the spectrum, I don’t find it to be nearly as flouncy; the emphasis on the Classic lines keeps the flounce in check.  I’m curious to hear from those same people on this post; does Soft Classic have that same overly flouncy factor?  Or is the subdued softness less overwhelming to the eye?

That thought sort of leads into another area of thought, which is that while some of these style IDs can look more or less flouncy or fussy when compared to each other, if they are being worn by someone of that Kibbe type, the overall effect shouldn’t read that way to an observer.  I think that’s one thing I really like about the Kibbe system is that they clothes are there to compliment the wearer, and not the other way around.  It has been noted by other bloggers/vloggers/etc. that the compliment “Your dress looks great!” is not the same as “You look great!”  Now, as sewists, I’m sure we’d take a slightly different perspective on that commentary, but I can see the meaning behind the comparison; is the dress wearing you, or are you wearing the dress?  I think Soft Classic is a particularly good type to consider this question, because, as with all Classics, the question of “is it too much?” should be key to picking out styles.  Soft Classics get a bit more freedom in choosing styles with intricate details and designs, but they can’t go too much into the realm of Romantics without looking a bit ridiculous.

On a personal note, Soft Classic is the type I thought I was when I started this Kibbe journey, a little over a year ago. I knew Dramatic, Romantic, and Gamine were completely wrong, and I couldn’t imagine myself wearing the oversized styles that are so often shown on the Natural types.  At first I was disappointed because I found Soft Classic a bit boring, but then I soft of accepted it and tried to understand the recommendations.  Eventually I found the recommendations a bit restrictive, literally and figuratively.  Every time I tried to dress “Classic” I’d take things off because they just felt so stiff.  The extreme need for Symmetry by any of the Classic types really doesn’t fit with me at all either. In hindsight, I should have realized this because all of my favorite skating costumes have elements of asymmetry – NOT something that would work well for a Soft Classic.  Now, I realize a costume is a costume, but when you wear them for 20 years you do develop a bit of a sense of style around them.  In any case, I think I understand the Soft Classic recommendations much better now than when I was trying to dress that way, but having pulled all of these patterns really just highlights that this isn’t my type at all.  While I don’t think this would be my worst Kibbe type, the shorter skirts, trouser styles, and need for symmetry really don’t describe me at all.  Happily, I’ve since realized that I fit much better in the Soft Natural category, and I’m really enjoying considering the recommendations (and the shoulder mobility!) for styles in that realm.  

Coming Next Week: We’re ready to move on to our next type with two subtypes, the Gamine!  Gamines were already a mix of yin and yang elements, so it should be interesting to see what happens when we get a dash more yang.  It tends to be one of the more popular style IDs, so I’m sure everyone will be excited when we resume next week with Kibbe’s Flamboyant Gamine!

33 thoughts on “Sew Your Kibbe: Soft Classic

  1. Well, well, well… I think I lost count at how many of the patterns featured here are in my stash (and that I have also made). I clearly have a preference for many of these styles. And honestly, the only thing I really felt that I probably wouldn’t wear is the tapered, pleated pants style. The BS-09-2006-113A style featured is much more in line with my personal preference. I am finding it super-interesting that I have had a natural inclination toward this ID, even when I wasn’t aware of it. The desire for a flared skirt (but smooth through the hip) over a straight one, the continual need for some type of detail on a knit top instead of a simple tee, bow blouses, luxurious cashmere and suede… these are all things that I have discovered that I like and seem to work well for me. So, I am becoming somewhat more confident in saying that SC is definitely a contender.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, we got to the category I suspected I was, and going by how all the items I love to wear the most and feel most polished and comfortable in are literally listed above, I think I’m pretty accurate? Like ALL the pussy bow blouses. And dresses with mostly clean lines but waist definition and half-circle style skirts. And the slightly flared skirts, which I don’t wear much at the moment but have enjoyed in the past.

    Interestingly enough, I found myself nodding at the comments on prints as well – I was just at a fabric shop yesterday reflecting on why I always think the Liberty prints are so pretty, but know that they would absolutely not suit me to wear because they’re so small. I’m definitely drawn more to larger, but softer prints, or more subtle ones in the same colour.

    I was thinking this in the Classic post as well, but I think when I experiment, I will lean towards the more classic styles – straighter lines in dresses for example. And I think some of my skirts are a bit too straight to fall into SC, the ones I tend to wear to work, where I want to look a bit more formal. But I think a slightly more flared skirt is on my list for next time I make one.

    Thank you again for this wonderful series! It’s so so interesting and the work you’re putting in is astounding. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! I think it’s really interesting how a lot of people are realizing what works for them in hindsight of the recommendations. It was like this for me as well, once I realized I was Soft Natural and not Soft Classic.


  3. Lots of my favorites here too. I think I tend to wear more of the Soft Classic styles on top and Dramatic Classic on bottom, not necessarily because they look better on me, but because I visually love curves more than straight lines.

    The more of these posts I see, the more I realize just what an ingenious idea it was to use patterns to demonstrate the types. The differences are so very subtle in some cases that it really takes numerous line drawings and photos for me to grasp them. (When bloggers just show a photo of a single celebrity wearing a single outfit and label it Dramatic Classic or whatever, that’s not super helpful.)

    I think what you’re creating here is going to become a cornerstone for future wardrobe planners, style analysts, and sewists. I already spend more time on your blog than all other social media combined. Stalker alert! 😂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 😂 I’d say, “me too!” but I think that’s sort of obvious and self indulgent…

      Thank you for your comment though; I’m so happy people are finding this series useful. I’d have done it for myself because I wanted to anyway, but the fact that others are finding it useful is nice to justify all the time I’ve spent on these posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just want to throw my accolades in as well. You are doing a really great job on this and it is going to be so helpful to many people, even those that don’t sew. I have long thought that knowing some pattern recommendations with line drawings would be much more useful than just seeing someone in a certain outfit, but the effort you are putting in here to make that happen is beyond wonderful. I am learning so much and I think I will be able to move forward with picking my own patterns in the future by having these as examples.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this reference of Kibbe styles and I am learning so much about what works for me. It is also interesting to observe others and see what suits them and what doesn’t. I will be using this to select my next sewing projects.

    I feel I am a soft classic, however I need to consider my body shape. I am short waisted and an inverted triangle with large bust. This in mind, I can not see myself wearing any of those pants with pleats gathers and bows at the waist which would make me look shorter. No short jackets for me they need to finish at the lower hip and flare out to balance my body proportions. Any gathers at the top of the sleeve head or top shoulders are out as they would make my shoulders look too wide. In some of the styles the gathers and detail placement would not work on my body with out some adjustment. I find I need to show I have waist definition by the shape of the clothes so no straight side seams or belts. However I think I fit between Classic and Romantic.

    So far I can see myself wearing some of the following three styles and these clothes working extremely well for me – Classic, Romantic and Soft Classic. I also think that I could wear some of the Soft Natural clothes as long as they weren’t boxy shapes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s great if you can identify which aspects of the recommendations work for you! Although I’ve been trying to find patterns that work uniquely for each style, there will be some overlap between the different style IDs. Soft Classic definitely has some overlap with Classic (because it is the main type), Romantic (because it provides the yin influence), and Soft Natural (because they are both yin influenced types), The way a Soft Classic combines pieces (and fabrics, etc.), will be different than the way a Soft Natural would want to combine them, but there are totally going to be some patterns that could work for both types.


  5. Another astounding reference post! I don’t identify with many of these, but the long light coat and dress ( I can’t find it again to get the number) is really gorgeous. Well, so many of the dresses are gorgeous! Wish I could wear them, but from past experience, this kind of style just doesn’t suit me. But a beautiful style for those who can!

    I keep going back to the Dramatic page…. *another stalker here*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do really like the Soft Classic dresses. I actually think a lot of these dresses would work for me, but I get in trouble with the tops and trousers and jackets. I wish I’d done this compilation back when I started learning about Kibbe; seeing this ID on the whole I realize I’m really *not* a Soft Classic, but it was hard to picture that back when I first read the recommendations.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. After reading what people post on your posts, is that we sorta have an idea what suits us (whether we like it or not, lol), but all these examples let us go deeper into it, and even try things we might not have. These posts are a fantastic resource.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for all the work you’ve done here—it’s an excellent guide to what makes soft classic different to the other IDs. I can definitely see myself in a few of the tops with gathering, but to make them really work I’d have to pair them with dramatic classic bottoms and use deep colours in plain fabric. Definitely a few patterns to add to the stash here 🙂

    I don’t think SC styles look particularly flouncy in themselves, but some of them (like a tea dress in a floral fabric) would definitely look so on me, no matter how much I’d love to be able to wear styles like that. Ah well. I just get to enjoy them on others.

    In terms of the indies, I’d suggest Sew Over It as being pretty much perfect for soft classics, as I’m guessing that’s what Lisa Comfort is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for adding input on indie options. I know a lot of people prefer them to the Big4, and I think it’s really helpful to have suggestions in the comments until I can get around to doing a full indie/Kibbe post.

      I also think it’s a bit funny how you really enjoy these styles, but they are a bit soft for you, whereas I find that I much prefer the dramatic styles, but they are too sharp for me! I suppose the grass really is always greener….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy to help! I actually prefer big 4 patterns myself, as I detest dealing with PDF patterns and don’t like how expensive the Indies are. I know that’s not very trendy as a sewing blogger, though!

        I guess it is human nature to want to be somewhat different than we are. It’s good to know what looks best on you, even if you do break the rules at times. I’m a big believer in knowing the rules before you break them, though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, thank you! Just found you, I’m new to Kibbe (yes, that’s possible..!) I’m very curious to know, what are the exact differerences between soft natural and soft classic. I’m in doubt….


    1. The Soft Natural post won’t be up for a while, but the main differences are bone structure and vertical line. A Soft Classic will appear shorter in vertical line and have a more delicate bone structure than a Soft Natural.


  8. Oh thank you! Just discovered you! I’m a sewer too! Curious to know what the exact differences are between the soft natural and soft classic….


    1. For the clothing the differences are mostly in how tailored or flowing the clothes are. If you compare my plain Classic and plain Natural posts you can get a sense of the differences; it will be more specific when I get to the Soft Natural post at the end of the month. 🙂


  9. I’m in doubt… soft natural? classic? or… romantic? Being a pear (body type) I don’t like the pleats on the trousers…
    but the skirts, tops, dresses, jackets are great!
    I’m new to the system


    1. You might be Soft Classic if you don’t like a lot of frills; I’m finding a lot of people have different preferences for trousers than what I’m posting, and I expect it has to do a bit with the 80s-ness of the reference material. Also, I’m a pretty big proponent of do what you like, but use this as a resource if it helps you. If you like non-pleated trousers, wear those. Adding personal preference on top of these recommendations is how we can all have a unique style! And as a fellow pear shape I totally understand!


  10. I looked at the pictures before reading the text. This is much more me! So I guess I’m a soft classic. Not overly surprising as I’ve always leaned towards clean and tailored silhouettes.

    After I read the text I peevishly wondered if Kibbe only knew shorter women… Are any of his classifications for women over 5’6″ ?

    Looking forward to the upcoming posts in this series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dramatics and Naturals are over 5’6” – Soft Natural is 5’7” and under, and Flamboyant Gamine is 5’6” and under. But I agree that I was also feeling really restricted because so many of his IDs are for the under 5’4” crowd! I wouldn’t get too fixated on height; if you *look* tall or *look* short it can also have a huge impact on which ID you are, regardless of actual height.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. These posts have been wonderful to visualize each type better. I see the difference better than just reading descriptions. In fact the descriptions now make more sense. I know that a lot of people don’t care for the pleated/gathered pegged leg pants but I actually like them, although I quit wearing them when I couldn’t get rid of my mummy tummy after a few kids. I went to some sewing seminars in the 80s and 90s and we t to classes by Judith Rasband who was big in the industry. Back then she had a pants pattern just like this that was supposed to flatter your tummy. Then styles changed and it was no longer considered flattering. Although I read Kibbe’s book in the 80s I couldn’t afford it and moved on to the latest hide and balance your flaws systems. I’ve worn flat front for years but have never liked my tummy bulge in them so usually wear tops over to hide it. It’s really fun to revisit a system that celebrates enhancing your shape. No flaws only uniqueness!… As for my type…still trying to decide although I know it’s on the soft spectrum.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A very late comment on this series, which I’ve just found. What a lot of work, thank you very much! (also, what is up with the Burda pattern descriptions? They look auto translated from Russian!). I also have many of these patterns and would wear them all – with one exception that I also like jeans, which I think are classic but have the level of casual that makes soft classic approachable — my jeans are generally muted colours, sometimes with a bit of detailing, never grunged etc. Too bad Kibbe didn’t deal with jeans and shorts. But I think we could pull those in in most styles. Anyway, thanks so much for the series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are auto translated from Russian. 😅

      As far as jeans go, I think they can work for all types, and that the best cut will be depending on style ID. I agree that there are many clothing styles it would have been nice for him to include but I also think it’s fun to be able to play around with options just using his general description and guidelines.


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