How to Sew a Cohesive Wardrobe

Would you like to have less, but better quality and more elaborated garments in your wardrobe? Would you like to see choosing an outfit as an easy, quick and fun thing you look forward to each day because you have so many things in your wardrobe you love and can’t wait to wear? If the answer to one of these questions is yes, keep reading to see how to achieve this!

How to sew a cohesive wardrobe? You need to

  1. Decide on a colour scheme
  2. Define your personal style
  3. create outfit formulas
  4. Asses what you have
  5. Find the gaps
  6. Make plans for sewing
  7. Decide whice sewing patterns to use
  8. Decide which fabrics to use

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a cohesive wardrobe with tips for each step!

Decide on a colour scheme

This is a simple trick to assure that all colours in your wardrobe will work together and will look great near your face. To make sure the fabrics and print you’ll pair will look harmonious together, pick a colour scheme. A colour scheme is one of the following: pure hues, tints (pure hues mixed with whites), tones (pure hues mixed with black) or shades (pure hues mixed with grey). Deciding on one of these categories will make sure that all the colours in these categories will work together and will work way better for you than a colour palette out of random colours you like. When you choose tints you can even mix in some lighter shades that harmonize with them and are great darker colour options. It works the other way round for shades as well: when you choose the schades you can add darker tints that compliment them well and are great lighter colour options.

Why not just go with a typical colour palette, you might ask. The first downside of standard colour palettes is that the colours included are just random colours that you like, colours that you already have in your wardrobe and therefore need to include or certain trend colours. They don’t harmonize with each other automatically. The second downside of colour pallettes is that you limit yourself to wearing only the few colours on your palette – when choosing a colour scheme instead, you can pick any hue of the rainbow that fit’s into your chosen colour scheme!

So, which scheme to choose? Don’t only decide on your pure taste, bring in your personality, because it will support your look! 

    • Are you a light, bright person? Match your colour choices and wear tints!
    • Are you a calm, peaceful person? Wear subtle colours, such as tones.
    • Are you a dynamic, edgy person? Choose rich and deep colours: Shades.
    • Are you a still, bold person? Wear pure hues.

When in doubt, which scheme suits you best, hold fabrics in these colours next to your face and see, which compliment your face. Stay away from those who overpower you and from those who are making your face look dull. Once you try this yourself, it will be a game-changer for you, I guarantee it, it will help you along the way so much more than a standard colour palette.

Define Your Personal Style

The good news is, you don’t have to invent your personal style from scratch, you already have it in you. You tend to gravitate towards the things that suit you best and make you feel your best. You just might not recognize the connecting pattern.

So look at your wardrobe, what has worked for you in the past? What suits your personality? Here are a few questions to make you think (considering aspects you usually might not think to play that big of a role, but they actually do!)

    • Does clothing with lots of details work best for you, or do you prefer clean, plainer styles?
    • Do round design lines work best for you, angled design lines or parallel lines?
    • Do you prefer soft, cosy textures, rougher textures, or things with no texture at all?
    • Does lightweight, drapey fabric look best on you or stretchy fabric that hugs your figure or more structured fabric that holds it shape?
    • What scale pattern to you like most on you: small patterns, medium size patterns ore large size patterns?
    • What kind of contrast do you look good in (in patterns and when you pair two solid colours): High contrast, medium contrast or low contrast 
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Create Some Outfit Formulas

Now, look at the types of clothes you enjoy wearing and how you combine them. What are your favourite combinations, and what works best for your day-to-day life and your body shape? Create a list of a few such outfit formulas you enjoyed wearing in the past, or you’d like to incorporate in your new wardrobe.
If you need more inspiration, look at your favourite style icons, what the people around you with a similar lifestyle are wearing or what items of your wardrobe you could combine.

Asses what you have

Now it’s time to get practical! 

  1. Get together all your clothes. 
  2. Sort them into your favourite things to wear, the things you sometimes wear and feel neutral about (the maybe pile) and the things you just wear if everything else is in the laundry basket.
  3. Look at the favourites pile: what pieces from there match your colour scheme and your personal style? The pieces you look best in are likely from the colour category that suits you best and have some elements of your personal style!
  4. Look at your Maybe pile and see if you can find some more pieces that fit into this category.

Find the gaps

Now that you have an overview of what you already own let’s look at the gaps. You know your wardrobe and your dressing habits best – what is missing? Does the current number of tops or bottoms or dresses work for you or do you know from experience that you need more pieces? Or did you just put together a new style uniform that asks for certain pieces? Are there specific pieces missing? 

Have a look at the things you just sorted out: are there any things you sorted out but actually can’t live without and that will need a better replacement? 

Make a list of everything you will need to add to your new wardrobe!

Make Plans for sewing

Now comes the really fun part! However, at first, I actually find it helpful to determine the things on my list I won’t bother sewing myself and which I will just buy. More complicated garments, for example, a winter coat that has to keep me warmer than a wool coat, or things you can’t sew, like a knitted scarf. With those things off the list, let’s focus on the things you’re going to make.

Look at your gaps first. What do you need to sew to fill them? Take a piece of paper and take notes. For some people it’s helpful to draw little sketches, some just note the sewing pattern and fabric they’re planning to use – do whatever helps you plan your makes (and later remember your plans)! 

Sketch out your plans as far as possible. You don’t need to match every garment with a sewing pattern and fabric or plan out every detail at this point, and you can always add to your notes later when inspiration strikes you or you stumbled over the perfect fabric for a project. Just write down as much as possible, and the missing details will become more apparent later all by themselves.

planning sewing projects capsule wardrobe

Which sewing patterns to use

Your garments will look best on you and will work best with the rest of your wardrobe if they have some elements of your personal style. For a rule of thumb, there should be 3-4 elements incorporated into each garment. This can be achieved through the choice of the sewing pattern, or through the choice of the fabric. 

  1. Look at the number of details your pattern has: does it fit your preferences? 
  2. Then look at the design lines of the sewing pattern. Do they fit your personal style?
  3. If your pattern isn’t quite right, how can you change it to make it work for you? A lot of changes are so easy to do, like straightening or rounding hems, changing the shape of your neckline, adding some details with an additional ruffle or frill, adding some topstitching or leaving off a detail.

Which fabrics to use

Go through the same process with your fabric now. 

  1. Do the colours work? 
  2. Is the texture according to your preferences?
  3. Is it drapey/structured/stretchy enough?
  4. How about the pattern and its scale?
  5. Is the pattern blended enough? 

Obviously, you can’t change fabrics like you can change sewing patterns. The only thing you can do is dying fabrics to correct their colouring, but this is limited, too. So you will want to make sure that when you’re buying or deciding on a fabric, it matches your style. 

However, remember that it doesn’t have to incorporate all elements of your personal style, 3-4 are enough, so don’t stress out on getting this perfect every time you choose a fabric.

That’s it! This is the exact process that has helped me over the last couple of years to make my wardrobe far more harmonious, and that made it so much easier to create nice outfits because suddenly, all my tops, bottoms and layering pieces work with each other! I hope you can use this piece of information to make your own wardrobe and sewing plans more streamlined and have more fun putting outfits together and wearing your garments in the end!

Related Questions

How to Sew a Capsule Wardrobe?

With this strategy you can plan a capsule wardrobe as well. Once you have decided how many garments you want to include in your capsule wardrobe and you sewed them up, you stop adding to the wardrobe, at least for one season.

x Tanja

PS: Want to remember this blog post for later? Save this image to your Pinterest Sewing board!

how to sew a cohesive wardrobe

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