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For almost two years after our son was born, my husband was unemployed. In between sending out resumes he helped with taking care of the kids and did the majority of the housework while I sewed and vended.  He was so on top of laundry that it wasn’t until he found a job that I realized I only had three socks.  Not three pairs, but three individual white athletic ankle socks. I’m sure I didn’t have just those three the entire two years, but as individual socks got tossed when they wore out, or got lost in the way that socks do, I ended up with an odd number. 

I don’t pay much attention to my wardrobe, such as it is. As a sewist, I had my everyday uniform—comfy pants and T-shirts—and my vending uniform—comfy skirts and T-shirts.  As a writer, that uniform has devolved into PJ pants and tank tops or T-shirts, depending on the temperature. Last year didn’t help matters. I was usually good about mending or sewing new skirts and pants when needed. I’d do the occasional thrift shop run to top up on T-shirts. That didn’t happen in 2020 and weight gain forced several items into early retirement. Now, I am starting a new year with a wardrobe that can’t keep up with even an irregular washing schedule. 

Currently my wardrobe consists of two pairs of knit palazzo pants, one pair of wrap pants, three T-shirts, three pairs of PJ pants, two tank tops, one skirt, one pull over sweater, two sports bra, one other bra, underwear and socks.  Of those, the T-shirts and tank tops are falling apart as are the PJ pants. The bras are all on their last straps. I do have two dresses, made with my Dress Like a Hedgewitch Summer Dress tutorial, which are my event garb I’m saving for the time when events are a thing again.

Seeing how I don’t have any clothing that is weather appropriate, and that I’m at a point where I’m close to not having any clothing that is even housebound appropriate, it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to sew a wardrobe for myself.

The wardrobe should have enough pieces that I can go a week in between washes (so seven days of outfits) if necessary.  Items should be able to be worn inside and out of the house, meaning I have clothes I can take walks in when it is cold out. My constraints are as follows: shopping isn’t an option right now due to the pandemic (I have to be able to try on clothes before I buy them). This means I’ll be making the majority of my clothing, which is fine by me. I need clothes, like yesterday, so I am going to stick to patterns and fabrics I know work for me. Now is not the time for experimentation.

With all that in mind, I think a capsule wardrobe is the way to go. Because of my unique situation—introvert writer in the middle of a pandemic—my wardrobe is going to look very different than most found on Pinterest. But it will follow the basic rule of having items that can be mixed and matched with each other. And I will be building off what I have on hand which are the knit and wrap pants and the skirt. I will not be sewing myself bras, but that is going to be an adventure in its own right as I have difficulty finding ones that fit comfortably.

Having read through various tutorials on how to build a capsule wardrobe, I have settled on the following items:

  • 5 PJ pants
  • 5 PJ shirts
  • 5 Skirts
  • 5 Lightweight tops (tank tops & T-shirts)
  • 3 Heavier tops (long sleeve or sweaters)
  • 2 Dresses
  • 1 Robe

This is going to be my base. I can add to it, but I should be able to put the above together in two months. My first focus will be on PJ pants and tops as that’s where I have the most need. And, again, this wardrobe is just for everyday wear, since events aren’t going to be on my schedule anytime soon. I am going to focus on the colors plum, maroon, forest green, black and heather grey: the colors already established in the clothing I’m building on.

I’ve already purchased several yards of cotton for the PJ pants, so that’s my first task. I’ll post next week on my progress.

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