Sewing a Wardrobe: Part 2 (Finding the Gaps)

The quest for a small and functional wardrobe continues, my friends!

Last time, I talked about my method for cleaning out my closet and drawers. In the end, I was left with just a very few good pieces, a large pile of lonely hearts clothes, and loads of work left to do.

There were a couple of things that were glaringly obvious to me after my purge. First, I have one skirt left. Just one. I love to wear skirts; I rarely wear pants these days. So this is an unfortunate deficit. Also, I have no simple knit tops and very few solid woven tops. And, after getting rid of so many little knit dresses that I used to (grumpily) wear all the time, I now need some basic dresses–especially ones that will work in colder weather.

For now, let’s turn our attention to the single pieces who need partners to complete them. If you’re playing along at home, you now have a choice to make: do you get rid of the single clothes? Or do you plan to make what you need to form an outfit? The choice, of course, is up to you. Keep in mind that these are clothes that made it through the first two (very stringent, right???) cuts–so obviously, they’ve got some potential. But, if your “lonely and friendless” pile is overwhelming, I suggest trying to cull it more. Basically, don’t bite off more than you can chew. (Sunni has written a great series of posts on the subject.)

I decided at this point to sit down and, just as I did with the mending pile, attach notes to the hangers with what I need to make to complete outfits. You may find that you only need a few key pieces to pull everything together. For instance, if you glance through all your notes and see that five different tops have “needs A-line navy skirt” written on their tags, it’s probably a good idea to make a navy A-line skirt.

In my case, I didn’t have much left over after the cleansing. I did have a handful of tops with only a denim skirt to pair with them. Of course, my denim skirt is my only skirt now.

Sorry for the pattern overload.

Sorry for the pattern overload.

I started with this top–which I did not make. I think I found it several years ago in a fit of style clarity at a T.J. Maxx or something. I’ve only ever been able to wear this top with denim or black. I’m not a huge fan of solid black these days, so I thought I would try to pair it with some color. Nothing too, too flashy because the top, after all, has a lot going on. I did remember this cherry red stretch twill I bought for last fall’s wardrobe plan (which never really materialized, ha!).

Multi print top outfit

It’s not matchy-matchy, which is okay. I’m a little puzzled about shoe options, but it has potential. I’m thinking a straight skirt, probably a Grainline Moss Mini, but with the hem band. It does need to be work appropriate. Also, I found I could wear a red skirt with a few other tops.

Outfit collage

You may be wondering why I’m bothering to make another skirt when I can wear all these tops with my denim skirt I already have? Well, for one, the skirt fits but not perfectly. It’s tight around my hips (nothing is ever tight around my hips) and it’s loose at my waist (nothing is ever loose at my waist, especially when it fits my hips, NEVER when it’s too tight around my hips). So, it doesn’t look so great with things tucked in, which is how I prefer to wear most tops, even with my short waist. I just look so much more pulled together, in my opinion (which, let’s face it, is the only one that matters, am I right?? 🙂 ).

The other reason is that I don’t want to be limited by one outfit option–which ties into a later post (stay tuned!). The more functional your pieces are, the bigger your wardrobe can be even if you don’t have a lot of clothes. And, guys, I’m so tired of having soooo many clothes that I can’t really do anything with.

I am still puzzled by this top:

Sorbetto Collar 1

I wear this little Sorbetto all the time. It’s still quite warm in Atlanta, so I’ll be able to wear it for a while longer. I just don’t know what to pair it with. It works with denim, but denim officially doesn’t count. Navy, maybe? I already know I want a navy skirt, so maybe it will work with All the Colors? I don’t really want anything too bright. I’ll continue to puzzle over this. Suggestions are welcome!

New Look 6107 neckline

Speaking of navy, there’s another top that could work with a navy skirt. I really like the Kelly skirt and the Hollyburn. A very simple A-line might work well, too. And I could draft that myself, probably. I definitely want something that fits at my waist with a narrow waistband and inset pockets. I’m not sold completely on buttons down the front. My other option would be a zipper at CB. But that’s neither here nor there at this point. That will come later.

So, here’s what I know I need based on my single pieces and what’s obviously missing from the closet:


  • Red twill, straight
  • Navy, A-line or dirndl
  • Knit maxis (I don’t really need any maxi skirts, but I want them.)


  • Knit, white
  • Woven, solid colors
  • Able to layer


  • Knits
  • Solids
  • Fall/Winter

This is really just the beginning. I now have three main areas to focus on as I begin to make definite plans. But before I can do that, I have to work out a color palette–which we’ll talk about next time!

Until then, anyone else revamping their wardrobe out there? How’s it going?


6 thoughts on “Sewing a Wardrobe: Part 2 (Finding the Gaps)

  1. I love these posts! I’m going through a similar exercise, although not as in depth as you are. I also have some orphans for autumn and winter that I can’t bear to get rid of so I’m going to sew items to go with them. This has changed my original plans somewhat but at least I’ll items I can wear!

  2. Would your Sorbetto not go with the the red twill too? Failing that, I’d pair it with navy like you say, or a mid blue (a duller version of your bias binding) or even the darker colour in the print – can’t tell if that’s brown or dark red or even black. And denim totally counts! Just as another option.

    Great post. I like your thinking. And it is possible to make a buttonless Kelly – I did it and it’s quite easy. Or what about Colette’s Zinnia? The pleated version?

    • The Sorbetto and the red twill REALLY don’t go when you see them in person. The red in the Sorbetto is more like a burgundy/brown. I’m kind of leaning towards an indigo chambray at this point. It will resemble denim, but have a different silhouette and drape. Thanks for your input!

      I think the Zinnia is lovely! But, I feel like I already have patterns that are so similar it would seem silly to buy another pattern.

      Is your buttonless Kelly on your blog? I would like to see how it turned out 🙂

  3. I’m really enjoying these wardrobe posts of yours! I’ve been feeling the need lately to be a bit more purposeful in what I make, so reading how you work through that process is really helpful, thanks 🙂

    • I’m so glad they’ve been helpful! I wondered if anyone would even be interested, but I’ve found that writing everything down and putting it out there is helping to keep me accountable and not give up on this rather large task 🙂

I'm done. Now, YOU can talk :)

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