Sewing Assistant


10 Essential Patterns

On PatternReview, I posted a thread asking other sewists what ten patterns (plus five bonus patterns if they were very, very good!) they would pick if that was all they could have to build a basic wardrobe. I excepted underwear and accessories from consideration. It has been interesting to see what items (and what specific patterns) various people have picked.

When I sat down to make my own list, I found the first ten items to be fairly easy to come up with. First, I came up with basic rules:

– Fitted at the waist/torso.

– Yokes and waistbands required.

– Tops should have interesting necklines to draw the eye up and give my body balance.

Then, I went looking for clothing types. I think I could dress to my satisfaction every day and in almost every circumstance with the following ten items:

1. Jeans (bootcut/flare)

2. A simple knit top that could work as either a t-shirt or shell, if sleeveless.

3. Bootcut/flared pants.

4. A woven top with waist definition (“peasant” style).

5. A buttondown.

6. A pencil skirt.

7. A gored or circle skirt (basically, a skirt with some flare).

8. A three button jacket, possibly with a peplum.

9. A sheath dress/fit-n-flare dress (ideally, this would be a fitted bodice with two options for the skirt).

10. A tailored coat.

It all falls apart, though, when I have to decide on five bonus patterns. There are too many options that would add zing and variety to my wardrobe, and I can’t decide what is most important. This is the best I can come up with:

11. Nightgown/cami/slip pattern.

12. Knit top with an interesting neckline.

13. Yoga pants for lounging.

14. A knit cardigan/sweater.

15. A woven shell/top.

Then, I went looking for patterns, and the project became even more unmanageable. My initial reason for posting the thread was that I was thinking about how to create a basic, well-fitted wardrobe. I keep thinking of Lekala’s tempting, interesting patterns, which are drafted to match your custom measurements.

Lekala offers an option to purchase their patterns in bundles, including bundles of 10 and 15. If I could have ten to fifteen custom patterns–patterns that I had a good chance of getting to fit quickly–could I dress myself for all occasions? I wondered.

It’s more difficult than I expected. In following posts, I will share my selected “wardrobes,” both all-Lekala options and mixed.