I tend to be a spontaneous blog writer. Snap some photos, hammer at the keyboard, slap the laptop shut, take my dog out for a walk – job done. But for some reason, I was struggling to encapsulate exactly what I thought about a future year’s creative planning.

Thank goodness for Instagram and Lucky Lucille‘s #2017makenine.

This is an initiative to make nine items over the coming year. I believe we’re meant to share an Instagram collage of nine items we plan to sew.

I’m not quite ready to do that yet. I’d like to make nine capsule items that build a coordinated wardrobe, but I need more thinking time.


How to plan coordination? First, I looked at clothes I’ve already made. There are often common themes when it comes to colour.


All I need to do is pick out some colours, so that new items coordinate with existing makes. But why not push the envelope a little, taking colour inspiration from a piece of fabric in my stash.


Isn’t this gorgeous? I really like the idea of working that mustard into my wardrobe. It’s a colour I’m always drawn to, and yet fear.

So, I just need to choose some basic items to sew. I wondered if you could help me. What are your go-to items for a capsule wardrobe? Would you be prepared to answer my really quick questionnaire to give me a steer? You can tick more than one box, and if you want to go into more detail, leave a comment below. I’m intrigued to know what items of clothes really work for us.

Go on! Ticking a few boxes will give you something to do whilst the champagne chills.

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!

This entry was posted in sewing, sewing and knitting, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to #2017makenine

  1. Like you, I like the idea of Mustard, I have a blazer style jacket in Mustard which I rarely where though… Maybe I should make something to go with it! Happy New Year!!

  2. Wardrobe building is a process and you are ahead of the game because you sew. Years ago I did a year long challenge sponsored by Vogue Patterns Magazine. I left a clinical position and moved into an administrative slot where “real clothes” were required. So yes, I was starting from scratch. Defining your life and needs is the first step. If you live/work from your home and have occasional business encounters your needs will be much different from the ladies who lunch group. If your work in an office your needs are still different from the others. So, choose your lifestyle patterns for the new wardrobe first. Last year several people asked me to outline that challenge on my blog, I did. The posts are all labels as “The Wardrobe Project.” Feel free to scan them for ideas if you choose. Sadly, each participant dropped out as a result of personal obligations or other reasons. (interestingly After the give-aways) It is a lot of work and even though 9 items does not seem like a lot, it is. Another wonderful source for wardrobe planning is Janice Riggs of the Vivienne Files blog. She is brilliant, best of luck to you in 2017!

  3. Vivienne says:

    I wear mustard with navy a lot. And with tan as well now that I think about it. Good luck with the capsules and thanks for all your great blog posts over this last year. All the best for 2017!

  4. PsychicKathleen says:

    My central sewing intention for 2017 is to get my fit spot on. I’ve been working at it but this coming year I’m going to get it right – for shirts, tops, pants, tunics and dresses. I could use more summer dresses so that’s what I’ll be working on for sure in April/May. Primarily in my intention I plan to make my sewing next less random and redundant – in other words goals, planning and evaluating what exactly I actually need and when!

  5. Sarah Therese says:

    I think if you made that into a simple dress to show off the fabric, you could make a mustard Morris Blazer to go with it, navy and rust would also work in both cardigan and jacket form over it. You can push the boat out completely then by wearing mustard tight with it in the winter and bare legs in the summer.

  6. Chloe says:

    Mustard is a fantastic colour, and for me it has stood the test of time. Embrace the mustard! I did tick some boxes for you – top and pants are my go-to combo as a separates lover, and they can split up and be worn with multiple other items, which leads to more wear! Although I agree that your lovely fabric above would make a beautiful dress.

  7. Deborah says:

    Not sure what your style is, but for me the Lark tee is the best wardrobe basic pattern I have. I have sewn more of these than any other pattern. You can get many different tops by playing with the options and sewing it in different kinds of knits. Happy wardrobe planning.

  8. Michele says:

    hi, I put Top in the survey, but I really mean Tunic, – sort of shorter than a dress but longer than a top as I am short waisted!!. Great Project, I have recently started to downsize my clothes to try and create a capsule wardrobe – so will be keeping a keen eye on how you get on. Have a great, happy and healthy NY.

  9. Jenny Lester says:

    As officially an OAP this year I have had a no jeans year and gone for dresses!!Surprisingly loads of positive comments from friends and family. I do occasionally wear trousers but I see you are really a dress kinda girl! Keep up the good work. I have made 2 Trapeze dresses ( Merchant and Mills)?both very different as one was a fine patterned cotton from Ditto – definite must visit in Brighton and the other more of a pinafore dress in gorgeous wool with stretch from TMOS I also would like to plan a capsule wardrobe for 2017. Better get the patterns out before visiting him in January!! Maybe I start with looking at my current stash and take it from there!

  10. Emily Handler says:

    I wanted to mention The Vivienne Files but Lucy beat me to it – great minds think alike 😉 But truly, her Starting From Scratch series was the most inspiring part of my year, sewing-wise. I used her steps to help myself make up a capsule wardrobe, based on the pieces I wear most anyway. Going through the steps was a great way of evaluating what I have, planning how I can wear it, and seeing what is missing – i.e., what I need to sew in the near future.

    If you’re curious what my plan looks like, you can check it out here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1qu4zBE-JGO_Nk2858gDQgzI7dZhrjvhg3qGXxIRj34k/edit?usp=sharing

  11. redsilvia says:

    Happy new year!

    I like the color mustard (not the condiment) and think you will make some interesting garments. Mustard skirt? Maybe out of cord? The print is great, another tunic…?

  12. That fabric is gorgeous! And it would be nice to accent the mustard. Some years ago I had knit jacket in mustard and I wore it all the time – with jeans for kicking around and skirts for work. I finally have another piece of fabric with a mustard-y background that I’m looking forward to making up.

  13. Happy New Year Karen! I’m a quilter more than seamstress, but last year (ooh, I can say that now!) I made 4 tops/dresses from the “Schoolhouse Tunic” pattern by Sew Liberated; just altered hem and sleeve lengths to achieve slightly different looks. It’s a great easy to wear top/dress. Good luck with your makes.

  14. I believe it was the Unfancy blog that I think gives an excellent way to breakdown your lifestyle, the kind of places/things/events you attend regularly into approximate percentages, plus your climate, then work out wardrobe requirements from there. It might sound a bit weird but I’d take into account layering and how things literally fit together – for example a top or dress with fabulous wide statement sleeves is going to look great by itself but will it fit nicely under a blazer or cardigan? Once I’d picked my patterns I’d then focus on sourcing fabric that is excellent quality and will take the rigours of regular wearing and washing. For me personally I have a gap for some perfectly fitting stretch woven black trousers (currently hoping the Designer Stitch Alyse trousers are a winner otherwise the Safran is a contender), and a smart little jacket that can dress up the jeans and tops that make up most of my non work wear (the Decades of Style Threes a Charm jacket has won that audition). I always have to have a striped knit top in rotation too. I love the slim fit of the Mandy boat tee sleeves mashed up with the more scooped neckline of the Hemlock to better fit under cardigans etc. not sure if that’s the kind of answer you were hoping for! Have fun planning – it’s definitely one of my favourite things about sewing 🙂

  15. Cherie says:

    I have been sewing a mustard coat. I am a BEGINNER sewist (sewer looked wrong). I thought I was an advanced beginner until I tried simplicity 1254 Leanne Marshall coat pattern…..(I have NEVER “bagged” a jacket lining). The instructions were minimal but got help from grainline studio and style arc.com.au. So hard, did my head in, few mistakes, some ugly bits, but I did it. It’s a bold colour but who cares. Love the tips from readers above to wear navy and leather with it. I ticked jacket jeans and top. I love the idea of #2017makenine ❤️that’s a garment a month or so…..good to have a goal. I used to work in a fabric shop (here in NZ) so I have a big stash to work through…looking forward to your 2017 makes and tips on how to proceed with a capsule wardrobe 👏👍

  16. Mertxe says:

    That “make 9” can be a nice inniciative embraced by many, but not for me… that moment when you get inspired by somebody’s dress, by some new fabric, by an event for which you have NOTHING to wear, that moment where you acknowledge you do not have such or such piece and rush to make it because you cannot live without it and you wonder how can you have been living so long without it… those are precious moments I don’t want to ruin by trying to plan them ahead! Who knows what makes 2017 will bring? Let it surprise us!

  17. Michele says:

    Happy new Karen. I think that work/life style dictates what we have in our wardrobe. I work in an office and visiting building sites, I’m an outdoors enthusiast too and then there’s the rest of the time. I don’t wear work clothes at home as I see them as my daily uniform. Why do you want to make a capsule wardrobe? Is it to make a demarcation in your daily life? I see your wardrobe as fun mainly dresses something you can add to if you have a meeting. Mustard is great with autumnal colours and navy, jacket, cardigan or a bold coat to go with your fabulous fabric. I ticked tops, trousers and dresses and I quite often wear trousers with my dresses. Quessing that I’m more inspired by either something that I’ve seen or need in the moment. I do follow other bloggers that follow plans/challenges, whilst that may work for them I have decided that it would end feeling like a chore to me. In my working life I have to work to deadlines, plans et el and I just want to have the freedom to do what I want rather than doing something regimented. Look forward to your 2017 blog.

  18. beales56 says:

    Happy New Year Karen. 9 items sounds achievable and for me a necessity as I retired this year and have spent time ridding myself of formal clothes that I no longer need. It’s lovely to have the opportunity to reinvent my wardrobe. Looking forward to seeing what you choose to make in 2017

  19. Ros says:

    If I had to make a capsule wardrobe I would have:
    2 skirts
    1 dress
    1 jeans
    3 tops/shirts
    1 jacket
    1 cardigan

    I mostly wear skirts and tops as both smart and casual outfits, but I do like the ease of just throwing on a dress sometimes, and I couldn’t cope without jeans. Then you just need enough tops to go with them.

  20. Caitlin says:

    I make most of my clothes these days from the patterns in Lotta Jansdotter’s “Everyday Style : Key Pieces to Sew + Accessories, Styling, and Inspiration”.

    The book is a joy to read (it lives on my coffee table) and the patterns are versatile and easy to wear. The patterns all have multiple variations and work together to make lots of different outfits. They also work really well with the existing things in my wardrobe. It’s a great source for making a year’s worth of clothes and the book is structured seasonally to show how the garments and accessories can be worn throughout the year and for both work and leisure.

  21. i love love sewing dresses but i find that for work, jeans and a cute top is much more practical.
    I do wear my dresses, but my ‘jeans” uniform gets much heavier rotation.

  22. Margaret Stubley says:

    I can\t see why you want a capsule wardrobe! In the last few years, it seems you have followed trends, found interesting things to sew and cherry picked from lots of places…Wjy change?

  23. I think mustard is such an underused colour! I don’t see many people wearing it so I think it’s a good colour to use to make simple garments stand out

  24. Happy New Year, Karen.

    I’d be a dissenter as far as jeans are concerned, but a pair of trousers is an essential part of my wardrobe. Jacket, to dress up or down. I love dresses, but they are a lot more work to wear – requiring undergarments and hosiery that I don’t need under trousers – so I’d hesitate to include them.

    My sister had a handknitted, mustard twinset when we were teenagers (made by our auntie). It looked great and could be paired with a wide range of bottoms, or the cardigan worn with a dress. So I think it’s a fabulous colour and look forward to following your adventures in mustard 🙂

  25. Happy New Year! Nine pieces sound a lot better than the eleven or more for the SWAP’s that I have read. I wonder just how many pieces we do wear on a daily basis? I always seem to gravitate to wearing the same things but have found a big difference now that I am away during the week and have a massive wardrobe to hang up all my work clothes. I arranged them by colour and it has thrown up some surprising combinations. Mustard is lovely and a colour I would love to wear too. Looking forward to how you get on with that fabulous fabric. Xx

  26. I blogged here about wardrobe planning which includes a reference to a free booklet that asks you to think about the words you want to portray in your clothes and also gets you to think about the roles You play in your life https://ruthcreates247.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/wardrobe-planning/ which really helped me. I am taking part in SWAP2017 which I’m finding useful to focus my mind on a more coordinated wardrobe.

  27. brentoomi says:

    I mostly sew dresses for church. On a daily basis I am a stay at home mom so I wear jeans/leggings and knit tops. I have sewn some knit tops but prefer to spend my sewing time on the dresses, partly because it is more interesting, partly because people will actually see them, and partly because I don’t want my handmades to get nasty with food and spitup. My tees can hold up to being washed on a weekly basis but I’m afraid my hand made items might not be as sturdy.
    PS I LOVE mustard! I have always loved it but was afraid it was too bold for me to wear so I bought a mustard purse. Finally bought a sweater in that color and it turns out it goes great with my skin tone so there will be more mustard in my future!

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