I’m pretty sure that the title of this post should come as no surprise given the past three months worth of posts about Kibbe and his style IDs. I’ve just completed posting the main series yesterday morning, and after having gone through all of the Kibbe types in such detail, I’m more certain than ever that I fall in the Soft Natural category. All of this exploration has really allowed me to identify those styles that will work best for me, and so it only feels natural (hehe!) that I should use this as the core of my sewing plans for the upcoming year.
In the past I’ve been quite over ambitious in my sewing goals, but I think I can be a bit more focused now that I have a clearer image of what I want to make. Ideally I’d like to replace my entire wardrobe with new items (partially because I’m Kibbe obsessed, but more so because I’ve realized how ragged a lot of my current garments are). So, despite my lofty ambitions, I want to keep my plans more realistic than is years past. I’ve thought of a lot of ways I could set up this challenge, but ultimately I think the goal for this year long sewing challenge is to make 1 Kibbe inspired item per month.
Based on the number of people who were enthusiastic followers of my Kibbe series, I figure this sort of sewing challenge might be of interest to a lot of people, so I’m going to outline my general approach here, and post more of my personal plans later in the month. Partially because I need to take some time off of the blog in early January to focus on real life events (I’ve got a few posts scheduled ahead of time, but I won’t be actively writing new content this month), and partially because I still need a bit of time to plan out what I want to make. In the meantime, here is my general outline for the Challenge:
Step 1: Figure Out Your ID
I’ve already done this; after considering the Kibbe types for just over a year I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a Soft Natural. If you know what type you are, great! If not, then the first step is to identify which types are the most likely so that you can narrow down the list of recommendations. I covered this quite heavily in my Sew Your Kibbe series, so I suggest you look there if you are just starting on your Kibbe journey.
Step 2: Purge/Organize Your Current Wardrobe
I think it’s important to see what you have, and what you need, especially since the plan is to only sew a 12 item collection/capsule/group of garments to add to the current contents. I think there could be a couple of approaches to this step…
- If you know your ID and really like to purge, then sort your wardrobe into clothes that suit your ID and clothes that don’t. Using the ones you want to keep, figure out what you have, what you need, and plan accordingly from there.
- If you are not sure what you ID is, organize your clothes into groups based on what ID they would best fit into. For example, if you are stuck between Flamboyant Gamine and Soft Gamine, sort clothes into “Flamboyant,” “Soft,” “Both,” and “Neither” categories. Do a trial run wearing just Flamboyant Gamine clothes (possibly mixed with pieces from “Both”) for a week, and then only Soft Gamine garments (also possibly with pieces from “Both”) for the next week. You should feel better in one set rather than another. If you still aren’t sure, try the experiment a bit longer, but save your clothes until you figure out what really works for you and what doesn’t. Once you settle with a type, move on with the purging and then the sewing plans.
- You could do a closet declutter using the Konmari method – figure out what brings you joy. Then sort what brings you joy because you love to wear it in a different pile from things that bring you joy for other reasons (for example, I have an old Burda dress I can’t bear to part with because I’m still so proud of how I sewed it, but I can’t really wear it anymore because it is too small). I’m pretty sure the garments you love to wear will tell enough of a story to help identify or at least narrow down your Kibbe ID.
- Use the multi-step purge method. Basically you do one sweep of the closet to remove the items that are just ratty, old, and nasty. Then you go through and remove stuff you really hate to wear. After that you set aside sentimental items that don’t get worn (and decide if you want to keep or part with them). Then you take a hard look at what’s left and figure out what are your absolute favorites that actually work with your current lifestyle, and what really doesn’t work with other things you are definitely keeping in the wardrobe.
- Maybe you really don’t know your style ID or personal sense of style and are a bit worried about throwing the baby out with the bath water. Perhaps you could try something like Sewrendipity’s Wardrobe Wear Count test during the year. Tracking which garments you like to wear might help hone in on your Style ID, or help determine which garments don’t need to be in your wardrobe in the future.
- You might be someone who purges regularly and really doesn’t need to do this step because you run a tightly curated ship of fabulosity, and you really just want to use the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge to add to your wardrobe selection in a strategic way.
- Or you might be someone who doesn’t purge, ever. And you don’t want to start now. That’s fine, and I’m the last person who should pass judgement on that. I did my first major declutter not too long ago, so I get it. I will say that I think just taking a look at everything you have will be helpful for the planning phase, but if you really just want to jump in and skip this step, that is totally your prerogative. This is all really just a bunch of suggestions, not a bunch of rules. You do what works for you!
Step 3: Take Inventory of Your Wardrobe and Your Life
You need to figure out what you have left after the purge, and what you still need. Maybe you realize that you are set for fancy dinner parties and for casual events, but that your work wardrobe just isn’t doing it for you. Or maybe you have half of the amount of casual clothes you need, and half the amount of work clothes. Or maybe you need a little something for each level of dress to really round out your wardrobe and make it really robust for your lifestyle. Taking inventory not just of your clothes, but of your life can really help with the planning step. Figure out what you spend your time doing (daily/weekly/monthly/yearly) and what sorts of clothes you need, and in what proportions. Maybe you live a very casual life, and need 80% Level 1 styles, with just a few things from Level 2 for “fancy” events. Or maybe you live a life in the public eye and need a full Level 3 wardrobe so you can look completely polished at all times. Your wardrobe needs will be very individual, so this is where you really need to take a fair evaluation of your needs and wants. Right now I feel like I want to replace everything in my closet, but I know that’s not practical. I have to figure out what my immediate needs are, and go from there.
Step 4: Figure Out Your Personal Style Slogan
I’ve seen this called a lot of different things, but, basically, this is when you get to add your twist to your style. Kibbe has given us a framework, but now we get to make it our own. I always struggle with this step. I’m usually thinking about words like “elegant” and “relaxed,” but I haven’t really found my personal slogan yet. In hindsight, trying to fit “relaxed” into the slogan was more critical when I thought I was a Classic type; now that I know I am a Soft Natural it feels redundant. I keep hovering around something like “Elegant Academic” but that doesn’t quite feel right either. This step, ostensibly, is how you personalize your style, so I think it is important to put some thought into this. I must admit it was a lot easier when I was coming up with my Sew Geeky wardrobe plans because in a sense I could pretend to be other characters. It’s a much harder step in this challenge because now I have to figure out how to be myself.
Step 5: Pick a Color Palette
There are lots of ways to get a color palette. You can look at one of the established color systems such as:
- Four Seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter).
- Sci/Art 12 season colors (similar to the above, with more subdivisions).
- Merriam Style’s system (cool vs. warm and bright vs. muted).
- Dressing Your Truth has a color system that relates colors to personality types.
- Crafting a Rainbow has a full series on incorporating color palette into sewing which could be helpful.
- Collette’s Wardrobe Architect series includes a discussion of colors, which can help in palette creation.
- There’s also a lot of advice about how to use technology to make a customized palette.
Personally, I know I look great in the winter colors from the 12 seasons system. Kibbe himself uses the four seasons approach. I’m also intrigued by Merriam Style’s system because it makes a lot of sense if you approach color from an artist’s perspective. Regardless of the system, I’ve come to realize I look best in cool colors that aren’t too muted or too bright. Kibbe himself offers suggestions for use of color for each of the style types, and I think I will try to focus on incorporating his recommendations when putting together outfits this year.
Step 6: Pick Patterns
This will have a lot to do with what you need to sew and what sort of lifestyle you have. If you are making a lot of pieces to complete your current wardrobe, they may not necessarily go completely together, so you won’t need to create a cohesive 12 piece capsule collection. However, I think the Sew Your Kibbe challenge is pretty open ended, so it should be really easy to incorporate into other sewing challenges you might want to participate in this year as well.
Here are some possible ways to combine Sew Your Kibbe with other popular challenges…
- Incorporate your Make Nine items. The #makenine has been really popular on Instagram. You could easily incorporate some (or all) of your Make Nine into Sew Your Kibbe.
- BurdaStyle Challenge. This challenge has been around for quite a while (like, from Ye Olde Bloggers who no longer internet a while), but basically you sew one garment each month from the magazine, either from the new issue or from a back issue of the same month that you may have, especially if the new patterns don’t suit your fancy (or your Kibbe in this case…).
- Various SWAP (Sewing with a Plan) challenges. There are several all over the internet. It would be really easy to pair this with Sew Your Kibbe; basically they tell you what garment types to sew/are allowed for the SWAP and you plan it out from there.
- Assorted Pattern Review Contests. Pattern Review posts the contest schedule at the start of the year. A real planning junkie could totally pre-plan a Kibbe garment for each challenge (except the Bee), and totally go for the two birds one stone approach.
Alternatively, you may want to just plan and sew an isolated capsule wardrobe, or two mini capsules. There are lots of ways to do this, but I’ve included a few ideas for convenience. I will go over these in more depth in a post next week, but for general challenge purposes I thought I would include them here as well. So here are some possible wardrobe plan examples for creating a 12 piece collection for the year:
(1) Sew to Flatter (from the Craftsy course)
- Key Neutral Skirt (Core 4)
- Key Neutral Pant (Core 4)
- Key Neutral Top (Core 4)
- Key Neutral Jacket (Core 4)
- Contrast Pant 1
- Contrast Jacket
- Contrast Pant 2
- Contrast Top
- Contrast Top 2
- Print Skirt
(2) Tim Gunn’s 10 Essentials
- Basic Black Dress
- Trench Coat (Neutral Color)
- Classic Trouser
- Classic White Shirt
- Any Occasion Top
- Day Dress
- Sweatsuit Alternative (3 pieces: top, bottom, jacket/sweater)
(3) Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning (vintage textbook)
- Coats and Jackets
- Heavyweight Coat
- Formal (suit) jacket/blazer
- Midweight Jacket
- Day Dress
- Fancy Dress
- Formal (suit) skirt
- Casual skirt
- Formal (suit) trouser
- Casual Trouser
- Tailored blouse
- Soft blouse
(4) Seasonal Capsule
- Top 1
- Top 2
(5) Mixed Level of Dress Capsule
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Suit jacket
- Suit pant
- Suit skirt
- Suit blouse
- Level 3
(6) Single Level of Dress Capsule (choose Level 1, 2, or 3)
- Heavy coat
- Lightweight coat
- Top 1
- Top 2
- Top 3
- Bottom 1
- Bottom 2
- Bottom 3
- Dress 1
- Dress 2
As you can see there are lots of options! Of course, you can make any combination of garments that work for you, but hopefully these suggestions provide some inspiration for how to combine different garments in a capsule. I will be doing a post with garment samples later this month, though only with examples I’m considering for my own personal challenge. You already have plenty of sample patterns for all the Kibbe types – this is where you get to be creative and make your own personal decisions!
Step 7: Pick Fabric
The fun part! At this point you should know what you want to sew, and what colors you want to sew it in. Look at Kibbe’s recommendations for fabric types and advice on colors and print. Then shop your stash! Or in your local store or online if for some reason you need more fabric… 😉
Step 8: Sew!
The even more fun part! By this point you should have decided what you want to sew, so now you just need to figure out when you want to sew it, and go to town! Hopefully by the end of 2019 you’ve added some very intentional pieces to your wardrobe that will get a lot of use and love!
Step 9: Share!
I’ve never “hosted” a challenge before, since I usually do them as personal challenges for myself, but I think it would be really fun for everyone who is interested in this challenge to share their makes on social media. I’m going to use the hashtag #sewyourkibbe for any of the Challenge makes I accomplish next year, and I invite anyone else who wants to join me on this challenge to do the same! If there is enough interest I might possibly do monthly (or quarterly?) round up post on my blog – I think it would be so fun to do a post of Kibbe styles showcasing non-celebrities looking fabulous in self-stitched garments, and if a bunch of people participated I bet we could have examples for most the the Style IDs too.
So who’s with me? Is anyone else interested in do the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge? Would anyone want to be featured as part of a monthly Challenge round up post? Please let me know if this sounds like a fun challenge and if you have any interest in participating in the comments!
Happy Sewing and Happy New Year!