There seems to be a big trend today in sewing ‘capsule wardrobes’ of basic everyday wear. I have never been a planner when it comes to my sewing. Over the years I have collected patterns and random fabrics bought in the downtown LA fabric district or the various estate sales I would go to. I’ve always preferred to let inspiration strike, using the fabrics sometimes years after I would buy them. A stockpile of inspiration. This mindset does not work well with today’s trend towards minimalism. Creativity for some people is messy and can be cluttered.
Whenever I have tried to plan a wardrobe I found myself feeling very stifled and suddenly not interested in sewing. Which brings me to entering the Pattern Review capsule wardrobe contest, followed by my sudden lack of interest in sewing.
A capsule wardrobe from the Vivienne Files
After entering, I went down to my sewing garage and spent a few hours sorting through fabrics and patterns to find a nice combination of three tops, a cardigan, and two bottoms to match. All would go together in different combinations. I based my color palette on a Liberty of London cotton voile, a fabric I have been meaning to make a button down top with for ages. I picked out some other fabrics and put together what seemed like an entirely sensible and wearable capsule wardrobe.
But then I realized I felt totally uninspired to sew any of it. Not only did I feel uninspired, but I started to feel almost resentful about the task at hand. After some mulling around in my mind, I realized that I don’t care if the things I make don’t really relate to each other.
My favorite things have always been things that didn’t go with anything. I guess that’s where basic T shirts patterns come in handy. Because if you sew a military blazer made from a Mexican sarape blanket, you will need a basic t shirt and jeans to wear with it.
Which brings me to the proliferation of extremely basic patterns which seem to taking over the sewing scene. Basic T shirts and tanks, spiced with trends like high low hemlines and cold shoulders which are already outdated the moment we sew them.
Me in a basic tank I sewed. I love it, but how many tank patterns do we really need?
I really don’t want to sew so I can look like I bought all my clothes at Target or Wal Mart. I get that these pattern designers have to make a living and these types of basic patterns sell well. It really is the stuff most of us wear on a day to day basis. And those of us trying to sew our entire wardrobes need basics like this. The background to make a standout piece pop.
But it’s not very inspiring when my blog feed is full of basic jogger pants and dolman sleeved t shirts. I mean, it’s cool when people react with shock that you actually sewed that basic black t shirt, but often an eyebrow will be raised. ” Why would you want to sew such basic things when you can just buy a black t shirt at the Gap” (and it will probably fit better because the pattern designer at the Gap is professionally trained?) I suppose you can answer with a noble response like ” I am fighting against today’s fast fashion conglomerates”. No one can argue with that.
I know….. I’m guilty of sewing boring basics lately too, haha! One look at my feed proves that. But I miss the days of sewists creating outrageous and totally impractical dresses from vintage patterns made from tablecloths……
How about you? Do you like the idea of wardrobe planning and sewing all of your wardrobe basics or does it make you feel like a rebel? And are you also bored by many of today’s pattern offerings? Is there now too much cake and not enough frosting?