How do you shop for fabric?  Do you buy to go with a pattern?  Buy then select a pattern?  Impulse buy?  Shop only sales?  For a while if I liked it and it was on sale, I bought it.  Garment fabric is just too hard to come by locally.  Within hundreds of miles Jo Ann’s is the only option.  In working with different fabrics, you discover what fibers, blends and characteristics you like.  Sometimes fabric is sought for specific projects.  Stashing fabrics for my favorite styles/patterns has solved the I can’t sew anything problem.  Now my fabric needs to be curated along with my closet.  Looking through my inventory on Cora showed me that I had already been purchasing fabrics inline with my tastes, but sometimes I need to recognize that while I like a style and fabric they aren’t necessarily my style.  They can look good and be comfortable, but may not work with anything else in my wardrobe.  This isn’t a major issue for dresses, but still…as I’m beginning to sew separates again this is a great realization to have early on.  It was brought to me by the latest Craftsy sale.

The Craftsy clearance sales are great places to pick up nice fabrics (I got some liberty knit here last year) at much more affordable prices.  My stash is well stocked at the moment and buying is limited until I’ve sewn things up, but I bought some Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen in Charcoal and some Bluebird Foxtracks Poplin from Cotton and Steel.  Two pieces of swallow polka dots lawn had made it into my cart when the Curated Closet came to my rescue.  Tops are the biggest hole in my wardrobe, so while I’d been thinking of these as dresses, which would have been okay, but not great, thinking of them as tops meant spending less by buying less fabric, but they just weren’t tops.  That is when I realized that, to me, tops means: solids, florals, mini polka dots, and maybe narrow stripe shirtings.  Upon review of the dress patterns on my cue, it turned out that this didn’t suit me at all.  Hello, $40 I didn’t spend.

Just a couple more ‘I don’t want to be naked’ projects for summer wearing and then reorganizing my cue seasonally and with items prioritized to fill gaps, and give the greatest impact in as far as achieving the style I want.  My one wish-more examples of dress based wardrobes, particularly minimalist dress based wardrobes.  The CSC offered one example, but my style isn’t Lagenlook and I don’t want my dress based wardrobe comprised of nearly as many skirts and pants as dresses.  7 dresses, 7 cardis/blazers, 7 pairs of shoes.  Could that work?  It would be a lot of outfits (343 or nearly one for each day of the year to be exact). Maybe 14 dresses?  That would be 28 items total for 686 outfits if they are all mix and match.

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4 Responses to Unpurchased

  1. I have had a very similar fabric stash journey. It’s the same here – only big box stores, and even those I have to make a special trip for. So I did a lot of ‘this is an adequate fabric, in a colour or print I like, and it’s on sale’. Actually to be fair usually I had a specific garment to make in mind, but my buying capacity far outstripped my making capacity! But then recently I went through and added things to Cora and get rid of a lot of things that I still like but just can’t see myself wearing. It felt good! I have a lot more fabric now that’s boring as a fabric but I would love to wear. Now I still buy things to stash that are hard to get or special, but I run them past the check of things I know I would wear, things I can’t easily get later, and I buy enough to make that thing out of it!

    I am similar on the dress-based capsule. I think there’s less of them because they seem less exciting. Wearing a dress with a different cardigan and shoes doesn’t seem as exciting in a chart as mixing and matching four different skirts and tops. But for me it’s the most useful! I also am not at all on the lagenlook train, but that said it was nice to see something like that that was a bit different. Not at ALL my look but at least it’s not pencil skirts and heels, which is usually what I find. Maybe I should do a version myself! Except I am still building said ‘capsule wardrobe’.

    • Ahh, pencil skirts and heels…I think I’d blocked them out of my mind, along with all of the all neutrals capsules. What would you say your ideal mix of skirts/dresses/pants would be and does it make a difference what season it is? For instance, shorts instead of pants or pants in winter? I really do love all dresses, but love skirts too. Making some of these decisions before going much farther in my “capsule” would be very helpful, but I have no baseline for comparison (I used to be jeans/skirt and a tee all the time, because tops/dresses never fit.). What do you see the variables being for a dress capsule? Silhouettes, lengths and colors are the first things that come to mind for me. One thing that has gotten my attention is the two piece dress, such as you often saw in the 40’s. I just purchased a black and white floral with the intention of making a Sewaholic Hollyburn and maybe a Simplicity 1692. The look of a dress and the ease of matching, but with the added versatility of what are effectively two neutral separates.

      • I basically never wear pants, simply from a practical point of view of not being able to buy them to fit me. And I’ve only just worked my way up to making them, and by now I’ve fully adapted to the pants free life. I do wear yoga pants or sweats on the weekend but I wouldn’t count those in a capsule! Also I find undershorts + tights or socks + skirt to be much warmer than pants anyway.

        I find I wear skirts much more in winter, partly because I wear more layers in general, and often wear a thermal undershirt, and it’s just easier with skirts. Whereas in summer, dresses are the easiest thing. Some of this is about what kinds of each are in my wardrobe right now – I’d like to sew up more warm, comfortable dresses so as to have more winter dress options. I don’t know how this translates into a capsule though because really I end up wearing my skirts with the same top/jumper combo. Partly because I have to up my shirt sewing game, partly because of ease and comfort. I don’t see this changing too much. I like to be warm and comfy too much.

        I think for a dress based capsule I would need to spend more time thinking about shoes/leg coverings (tights etc) and jumpers. I wouldn’t make a winter appropriate dress with cut on sleeves, for instance, because they don’t fit well under jumpers. After that my priorities are the same as yours – silhouettes, length and colours. Those are always the things that make or break how useful something is for me!

        I’ve been thinking about the two piece dress, too! Actually I am idly planning a dress + jacket combo, and I have maybe enough fabric to also get a skirt out of it, but I’m worried it would be too matchy and maybe too old ladyish? It’s a grey blue, and very nice. But I do very much like to match…

      • Pants and leggings are both out for me. I don’t even do yoga pants. Tights I like for helping dresses transition between spring and winter. It would be interesting to do a two capsules with the same dress patterns, but one for winter and one for summer. Sort of showcasing how fabrics and style options could carry over. Maybe a dress capsule is based on patterns? How much variation can you get with 2 dresses and 2 toppers? I think your 2 part dress idea is great with the skirt too, it isn’t like you’d wear all of the pieces together, but as a word of warning, I do like to wear shawls and styles my grandmother enjoyed in her youth. The only time I’ve actually been accused of being old fashioned was at a civil war reenactment and then the woman was saying that my dress (a purple linen washi with the long sleeves) would be a great medieval dress apart from the color.

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