Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

Is the concept of a capsule wardrobe a passing fashion trend or actually a really sensible idea? I think it’s a great idea and even more so when it’s a handmade capsule wardrobe. But before we dive into the details, what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? 

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a smaller selection of ‘mix and match’ garments that compliment each other. With this more limited selection of items you should still be able to create a variety of different outfits.

An adult’s capsule wardrobe would include something in the range of 25-50 items including clothes, shoes and accessories. As adult sizes don’t change in the same way as children’s, this would be enough items for all four seasons and you would mix and match (and layer) through the whole year. An adult capsule wardrobe can take longer to get organised than a child’s one because you need more items but it’s worth taking the time because it can last years and years.

A child’s capsule wardrobe needs about 12-14 items. That doesn’t sound like a lot, especially compared to an adult capsule wardrobe, but as children grow and change sizes often they’ll need a new capsule wardrobe twice a year (one for Spring-Summer and one for Autumn-Winter). Some items will work for all seasons, like T-shirts, so you might be able to move some clothes from one season to the next. Due to the smaller number of garments needed for a child capsule wardrobe they are quicker to get organised.    

Benefits of a capsule wardrobe

But what are the benefits of having, or making, a capsule wardrobe? There are quite a few benefits plus some extras when we’re talking about a handmade capsule wardrobe, or a capsule wardrobe with some handmade items.

  • easier to decide what to wear as there are fewer choices
  • more sustainable with less waste and “impulse buying”
  • takes up less space so easier to store
  • you can be more efficient with fabric use for handmade capsule wardrobe items (e.g. use left over fabric from one item to add pockets/cuffs to another item…less fabric waste and more coordinating outfit potential!)

Creating a capsule wardrobe

Waves & Wild has a growing selection of adult patterns but as there are more children’s patterns in the collection let’s focus on creating a child’s capsule wardrobe with handmade items. Most of these tips are still useful when sewing for an adult capsule wardrobe too.

Tips for making a child's handmade capsule wardrobe...

  • Use a loose colour scheme to make it easier to make coordinating items e.g. pastel colours or bright colours or neutrals
  • Make sure that EVERYTHING goes with everything else; this is much easier to achieve when you stick to a colour scheme. And don’t worry if your child’s favourites change because you can choose a new colour scheme for each new season.
  • Think about the layers you’ll need depending on the season and your particular climate e.g. there are some places round the world (like the U.K. or Western Australia) that will still need a sweatshirt/hoodie in their Spring-Summer capsule wardrobe because the temperature varies but for other locations (like Arizona or Texas in the U.S.) there would be no need for this “warm” layer in their Spring-Summer selection because it’s simply too hot.

What should you include in a child's capsule wardrobe?

There isn’t a hard and fast rule for what should be included in a child’s capsule wardrobe because it can depend on a few different factors; climate, child’s activities, likes and dislikes etc. Here is a rough guide for a good combination of different garments to give you an idea:

Spring -Summer

Six tops, five bottoms, and one sweatshirt


Four tops, four bottoms, three dresses, and one sweatshirt


Six tops, five bottoms, two sweatshirts, and one coat


Four tops, four bottoms, three dresses, two sweatshirts, and one coat

Planning your capsule wardrobe

The best tip I have for planning your child’s handmade capsule wardrobe is to be super organised. Because a child’s capsule wardrobe doesn’t need lots and lots of items, it’s easier to make over a shorter time period and have the whole thing “ready to wear” when that new season starts. This means it’s best to plan ahead a little and have your patterns and fabrics selected ahead of time. But I’d recommend measuring your child (and therefore choosing the size/s to make) as close to when they’ll start wearing them as possible to ensure both a good fit, and a fit that will last through the season. The free download Waves & Wild Sewing Planner is the perfect tool to help. Use the ‘Ideas List’ page to decide which patterns you are going to use. Record the wearer’s measurements on the chart. Use the ‘Project Details’ pages to note down the finer details of each garment including the fabric you plan to use and any extra features. And keep track of your fabric purchases using the ‘Fabric Record’ page.