Sunday, May 1, 2011

10 Wardrobe Essentials

S.W.A.P. (sewing with a plan), 5-piece wardrobe, 10 essentials...all ways of creating pieces to build a versatile wardrobe so you don't have to stand in your closet and cry out "I have nothing to wear!"

I have read one of Tim Gunn's earlier books and decided it wasn't a keeper for my ever-expanding library of sewing and fashion.  I am intrigued, however, by the idea of sewing with a goal in mind instead of randomly selecting pieces like I usually do.  There aren't any real surprises on this 10 essentials list by Tim Gunn but I enjoy him on Project Runway so let's give him credit for a great list.

You can view the whole list on InStyle here.

  1. Little Black Dress:  I don't have one.  I know, it's shameful.  Every time DH says we have an event to go to, I fail to plan ahead and then find myself at said event wishing I had a basic black dress to wear for these occasions.
  2. Trench Coat:  I actually have a beautiful trench I bought several years ago but it no longer fits.  Darn coat must have shrunk.... Oh well, time for another.
  3. Classic Dress Pants:  I have 3 pairs I purchased from Eddie Bauer some time ago.  I'm slowly getting around to hemming them.  They are nice and fit pretty well but I want a perfectly fitting pair of pants so I'll add these to the list.
  4. Versatile Skirt:  What instantly comes to mind is a basic skirt, solid color or very subtle pattern.  After looking at Tim Gunn's selection, I see that an interesting pattern would be a better choice.  A statement skirt.
  5. Fitted Blazer:  As I am currently going on job interviews, I needed a jacket that fit superbly and I needed it now.  I was shocked to find some RTW jackets that fit beautifully.  Jones New York, I should've known.  I've always admired the look of their jackets.  I do have a smart-looking Vogue Claire Shaeffer Custom Couture pattern I've been dying to make so now's the time.
  6. Classic White Shirt:  I LOVE white shirts!  Tees, button-downs, doesn't matter; white looks great next to my skin.
  7. Day Dress:  Tim says this is not a cocktail dress alternative; more like a shift, wrap or shirt dress.  I have several fantastic shirt dress patterns and a few knit wraps that I'd love to make.
  8. Cashmere Sweater:  Can't sew this one...or can I?  I see great sweater knits online all the time.  I did have a cashmere sweater once and I wore it at least once a week.  Cashmere has the bonus of being as soft as angora without covering you with hair.
  9. Perfect-Fit Jeans:  Amen to that!  This may be my holy grail if I could ever find or make a pair.  
  10. Alternative to the Sweatsuit:  "Casual with sophistication."  I have to think about this for a bit.  I don't wear sweatsuits but I have some black knit pants and baggy T-shirts that are so comfortable.  What would be as comfortable and significantly more flattering?
Now for the patterns....

Butterick 5321:  With short sleeves, can be worn in warm weather and with a jacket for cooler temps or cold rooms.  I wonder if the inverted pleat at the waist would be a good belly and hip minimizer.  

McCall's 5525: The classic trench, perhaps with the Peter Pan collar


Vogue 7881: classic dress pants

Simplicity 2367:  Skirt in an interesting fabric or a solid with some contrasting topstitching

Burda 7618:  Not THE essential blazer but in the right fabric, this jacket could be quite versatile.

New Look 6598: I've had this pattern for many years. This pattern deserves better than to waste away in my stash.

Simplicity 2403: Not the double-breasted version


Vogue 1034

For my alternative to sweatpants:  I think I actually need 2 kinds of alternatives.  One type of outfit that I could run out to the store in and not look like a bum.  Another type for lounging around the house.  

Alternative #1: 
Vogue 1197

Alternative #2:
Butterick 5216: Views C and D can hide the belly and if I add some discrete coverage to the front bodice, I can skip the bra. Bras are evil.

Simplicity 2367:  The pants or capris

Of course, the essentials only work if you have the right accessories. This is where I am in need of serious help. Tackling one area at a time....


  1. Those Sandra Betzina jeans look cute! I've had really good luck with the Jalie 2908 jeans pattern too--I have a bit of a belly, and the high rise version was perfect.

    I'm not an accessorizer, so I'm of no help for you on that. Except to suggest that you make sure your accessories can all go with one another to get maximum value/wearability out of each item. Anyway, it sounds like quite an undertaking, so good luck! :-)

  2. I really appreciate that you went through the trouble to share your list of patterns to fit the 'tim 10'. I should one day learn to be a better pattern fitter then I could go through all of the lovely patterns I just envisioned myself wearing everyday (I have the blouse pattern you posted) and actually sew something.

    Thanks for sharing.


Just my opinion....

This policy is valid from 11 December 2009
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog does not accept any form of advertising, sponsorship, or paid insertions. We write for our own purposes. However, we may be influenced by our background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience.
The owner(s) of this blog will never receive compensation in any way from this blog.
The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.
This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
To get your own policy, go to