In my introductory Sew Your Kibbe Challenge post, I proposed several guidelines for choosing your patterns. I thought it would be helpful to post a couple of example capsules. All of these are possible capsules I’m debating using for my personal challenge this year. I’m pretty busy this month, but due to the magic of scheduling posts, I’ve had this sitting in the queue for a while. I’ll post my final decisions when I get back from my trip (and probably sew the easiest pattern as my January make), but for now here are a few possible combinations of patterns that I’ve been considering as a bit of inspiration to help with your own Sew Your Kibbe Kibbe plans.
Example Capsule #1: Sew to Flatter
This capsule idea comes from the Craftsy course “Sew to Flatter.” The course is sort of what started me on this journey of understanding style typing systems, color palettes, and cohesion in wardrobe planning. While the styles used as examples in the video course don’t really feel fresh or modern to me (let’s just say there is a very mature Soft Classic vibe going on), the concept of how to mix colors and styles to get a really versatile capsule was very inspiring. The main idea is to get a “Core 4” – 4 pieces that are the same fabrication/color that work well together. Now, in the perspective of Kibbe, this makes a lot of sense if you need a clean vertical line (like a Dramatic or Classic), but much less so if you are a type that needs to mix and match (like a Gamine or Natural). However, the coordinating pieces allow the other types to mix and match a lot more, while still allowing the the types that need strong vertical lines to do so with ease. The following items are included as part of this capsule:
- 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
And here is my Soft Natural interpretation of this wardrobe plan:
Pros: I’ll have a coordinating wardrobe with lots of separates to mix and match.
Cons: The “Core 4” concept is not the best for Natural types, and there aren’t any dresses in this capsule.
Example Capsule #2: Tim Gunn’s 10 Essentials
I attempted a Tim Gunn inspired challenge back in 2012 (just after I started my blog). I didn’t finish it then (because I was just starting to sew and being distracted by all of the shiny things and because sewing a button up top just wrecked me), but the items I did sew got a ton of use and I still wear a lot of them today (the ones that fit, anyway). I like this set because it isn’t a real “capsule” in that you don’t get a bunch of interchangeable outfits, but what you do get should work together to be serviceable for a wide array of events. Mixing the tops with jeans creates a casual vibe, as does use of the “sweatsuit alternative” look. Mix the same blouses with the classic trouser and you are ready for work. The LBD pairs with the jacket for a professional setting, the trench for a date night, or solo for a cocktail party. Since there are only 10 pieces listed I made the “sweatsuit alternative” a 3-piece casual outfit, to get a total of 12 items. Tim Gunn’s 10 essential items are:
- 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)
Here is my Soft Natural Tim Gunn wardrobe plan:
Pros: I know this sort of capsule will give me a versatile foundation to my wardrobe, and I will end up with a lot of really great pieces.
Cons: I won’t have any really fancy (Level 3) looks, and not as many professional/business/work styles, which I sort of need.
Example Capsule #3: Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning
This is a capsule idea I came up with based on a vintage sewing textbook I’ve been reading called Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning by Dora S. Lewis. It is a textbook geared towards high schoolers, aiming to teach them about budgeting for a wardrobe, how to make clothes to supplement expensive store-bought items, how to tell quality items that will last, and how to properly care for such items. It discusses wardrobe needs for many different budgets (and how to make a budget for family shopping because, well, it’s from the 1950s), but the take away of what is “essential” in a wardrobe is pretty interesting, and pretty practical. The full recommendation is certainly more than 12 items, but I’ve distilled what I think are some of the more important features down to a 12 item sized capsule. For this I’ve decided to include:
- 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
Here are my Soft Natural picks for this possible capsule:
Pros: I’ll have an item from each of the Kibbe categories, and I’ll have a fairly versatile range from causal to formal looks. Two items each of tops, pants, and skirts means a lot of mix-and-match options; it could be even more if you choose to switch out one of the jacket/sweater options for a third top.
Cons: For some reason making a coordinating capsule meant leaving out a lot of the designs I’m most excited to make! I’m really digging some casual options at the moment, but this capsule comes off as more of a Level 2/3.
Example Capsule #4: Seasonal Capsule
If you live in a climate like mine, planning a year-round capsule probably makes a lot of sense. While I certainly have clothes that only come out in summer or winter, a lot of my items are in constant rotation, because the seasons just aren’t that variable here. However, I could see how doing 2 small 6-item capsules might make more sense if you wanted to plan you Kibbe sewing to coincide with weather patterns. Here is my suggestion for planning 2 smaller seasonal capsules:
- Top 1
- Top 2
Pros: Sewing seasonally is good to have stuff you can wear immediately. It’s also fun to change gears a bit when the weather changes.
Cons: Some items may not work as well year round, and the mix-and-match ability may be decreased. Additionally, it’s harder to have multiple levels of dress with smaller capsules; I’ve gone for a more casual look here, though it could easily have been made with Level 2 or Level 3 styles as well.
Example Capsule #5: Mixed Level of Dress Capsule
One of the features of my Sew Your Kibbe series was posting options for different “Level of Dress,” with Level 1 being casual and Level 3 being formal. In reality, unless we live a super glamorous lifestyle, we probably need more Level 1 and Level 2 clothes than Level 3 clothes. This is a sort of tiered capsule; the majority of items are in Level 1 (assuming a more casual lifestyle), with Level 2 essentially consisting of a 3 piece suit and blouse, and only 2 Level 3 items to get you through an unexpected formal event that might just pop up. Here are my suggestions for this sort of capsule:
- Level 1
- Coat or Jacket
- Top 1
- Top 2
- Level 2
- Suit jacket
- Suit pant
- Suit skirt
- Suit blouse
- Level 3
And here are my Soft Natural choices:
Pros: I think this results in a pretty versatile wardrobe. You end up with a lot of casual pieces, a formal 3-piece suit and blouse, and a fancy dress and coat for holiday parties and weddings.
Cons: Not as much mix-and-match ability; that Level 3 coat is certainly not going with those Level 1 trousers, and the Level 1 skirt is not going to look quite right with the Level 2 jacket either.
Example Capsule #6: Single Level of Dress
I think one way to get a true “capsule” that is intended to entirely go together as a cohesive unit is to focus on sewing for only one level of dress. The items for each level are the same, but I thought I’d do an example for each level and see how they compare.
- Heavy coat
- Lightweight coat
- Top 1
- Top 2
- Top 3
- Bottom 1
- Bottom 2
- Bottom 3
- Dress 1
- Dress 2
Here is my Level 1 Soft Natural Capsule:
My capsule for Level 2:
And for Level 3:
Pros: These have the most mix-and-match ability. Everything is intended to go with everything else. You get plenty of coats, jackets, tops, bottoms, and dresses to make an outfit, and if your life really is all casual all the time, or super fabulous parties all the time, you get to focus on making what you need. It’s also great if after doing a closet inventory you realize that you don’t have any work appropriate clothes and really need to fill that hole as a sewing priority for the year.
Cons: If you are new to Kibbe and it has totally changed your mind about what styles you should be sewing, you may need to inject a bit of Kibbe recommendations into all levels of dress, and this option isn’t as versatile for doing that.
And that’s it! I hope these examples provide a bit of guidance or inspiration for anyone who is looking for a bit more advice on how to get started. This challenge is meant to be completely open ended and in no way restrictive, but I found that planning my Sew Geeky capsules last year was really helpful in motivating me to be a bit more focused in my goals and not get quite so distracted by all the shiny things. I’m curious to know – which capsule do you think is the best, or at least, which one would be the most practical for your lifestyle? Also, just out of curiosity, which do you think would be the best for me? I haven’t really done the closet inventory stage yet, and won’t be making final choices until I get back from my trip at the end of the month, but I’m curious if one of these capsules sticks out as being more interesting/fun/practical/exciting than the others. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this phase of wardrobe planning down in the comments!