The Essentials: 10 TNT patterns for your handmade work wardrobe...

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.... a.k.a. the workwear Capsule Pattern Stash!

You're probably familiar with the concept of the capsule wardrobe - basically whittling your wardrobe down to a small number of 'core' items which are usually classic, versatile basics, and then adding a few pieces each season which stand out a bit more but are really short term 'fashion' rather than timeless 'style' pieces.

I'm definitely not someone who possesses the self-restraint to stick to a capsule wardrobe, but as I have grown more confident in my sewing, I have found myself gravitating to the idea of what I call a 'capsule pattern stash'.

It's the same sort of concept, really - that rather than buying hundreds of patterns for handmade workwear, I'd rather invest some time in getting to a simple set of core 'TNT' (tried and true) patterns that I can make over and over again in different fabrics. And then, just like the capsule wardrobe philosophy, I can add in some extra patterns to complement the core set. These extras might be patterns with more noticeable design features, that you couldn't really make several copies of because people would notice that you were wearing 'that dress with the angular neckline' in five different colours.

The beauty of sewing is that you can craft your own handmade working wardrobe entirely to your liking. But with a plethora of sewing patterns out there, and an active social media community in which you're constantly provided with inspiration in the form of everyone else's latest makes, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing patterns which will work well for your working wardrobe. It needn’t be! Let’s take a look at 10 classic workwear garments which it’s worth taking the time to find, fit or draft a TNT (tried and tested) pattern for.
  1. The shell/basic blouse
  2. The pencil skirt
  3. The button down shirt
  4. The full or flared skirt
  5. The tie-neck blouse
  6. The sheath dress
  7. The tailored trouser
  8. The tailored jacket
  9. The trench coat
  10. The tailored coat
Doesn’t look like much of a list, does it? But the beauty of this list is that once you nail the fit of each of these items, you will have at your hands an infinite range of possibilities for your working wardrobe. AND you’ll be able to combine them in a way which is practical and economical for you. For example, you could make a tailored jacket, pencil skirt, sheath dress and trousers all from the same suiting fabric - let’s not underestimate the simple pleasure of knowing that your black fabric is the same shade of black across all those mix-and-match suiting combinations! Throw in a few shell tops, basic blouses or button down shirts and, hey presto! A fabulous handmade working wardrobe.
Of course, the key to all that fabulousness lies in three things:
  1. Fit
  2. Fabric choice
  3. Finish
Nailing these three things is far easier said than done, but in this series of blog posts, we’ll be examining things you can do to set yourself up for success, examples of patterns you could use, how you might approach drafting one from your sloper (in some cases) and helpful resources if you wish to learn more about any of them.
We'll address each of the 10 Essentials over the coming months, so if you want to make sure you don't miss the series, why not join our mailing list (at the bottom of the page)? 
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