Planning an eco autumn capsule wardrobe

capsule wardrobe

Finally, I’m feeling a bit of sewspiration again. It only took a bit of buying new patterns and splurging on lovely fabrics, ha ha. The end of summer is not a good time of year for me, to be honest – watching the darkness draw in ever-earlier and seeing the temperature plummet does not fill me with the joys of autumn. Buuut, I suppose it’s a good excuse to recalibrate the wardrobe and do some nice project planning.

offset warehouse

It was a trip to Fabrications to check out their brand new range of organic and ethical fabrics, care of Offset Warehouse, that really sparked some ideas. Fabrications is a sweet little craft store fairly local to me in Hackney which has always focused on textiles and fibre arts, but never stocked fabric before. They’ve now teamed up with online eco textile company Offset Warehouse to offer a hefty range of their gorgeous cloths in store for the first time.

offset warehouse

I popped along to the collection’s launch party last week and couldn’t resist a bit of investment. The good thing is that selecting these beautiful fabrics gave me quite a clear purpose of what garments they should become, and I realised they could form the basis of a really nice capsule wardrobe for the coming months and beyond. I’m increasingly interested in trying to make sure my output is more cross-seasonal, because I find it sad to have to tuck away hand-mades for half the year when they no longer fit the weather. My theory is that by going for natural fibres and a neutral colour palette it’ll be easy to make garments that can mix and layer up for the cold and be worn on their own in the summer. So here’s a look at what I bought and some ideas for what form my capsule wardrobe might take.


I wear my loose woven tops loads so I know this shape will be a wardrobe winner, and this cream striped ikat I bought could be paired with black, blue or grey on the lower half. I may try the Style Arc Ethel I just bought so I can play with the stripe direction across the panels.


I do love my dresses – I’ve made quite a few super basic knee and midi length semi-fitted smock type ones (generally unblogged as boring!) and they’re in constant rotation. Throw one on and you’re dressed, and they’re great for cycling. I picked out a sage-y green striped cotton to make another; I can’t find it on the site but this is the same in a different colourway. Reading the product description of this fabric makes me feel so darn good about my choice: “The fabric is entirely handmade and hand dyed, using techniques that are thousands of years old…It also has virtually no carbon footprint, as the entire process is done by hand and uses no electricity – including the spinning and dyeing”. Considering that, isn’t it quite the bargain?


One thing I am lacking at the moment in an in-between-y sort of coat; one that keeps out autumn chill but isn’t heavy or restrictive (I don’t really feel the cold til it gets really cold). I chose this black and white slubby cross-weave cotton which should stay nice and breathable. Actually I got chatting to pattern cutter and occasional Offset blogger Franki Campbell at the party after I complimented the gorgeous self-drafted coat she was wearing, and realised I totally just wanted to copy it: it was a minimal semifitted hip length style with no side seams and a dreamy centre front bust dart detail. Failing that, I love some of Burda’s cocoon type shapes.


One final piece of the wardrobe that I managed to resist buying fabric for on the night is trousers. I’m thinking high-ish waist so they can be worn with tops tucked or loose, pegged legs and lil’ cuffs – perhaps Burda 7017 again or the Papercut Guise, which i’m toiling now. Fabric-wise I was thinking of going for a slightly textured navy blue ikat such as this or this.

Well, that will keep me busy for a bit! I’ve enjoyed seeing other autumn planning posts up on other people’s blog (and jealously glowering at southern hemisphere folk planning their spring wardrobes) – what are your A/W sew plans?

53 thoughts on “Planning an eco autumn capsule wardrobe

  1. AvatarCaroline

    You have some lovely ideas for Autumn/Winter sewing and I look forward to seeing your finished garments. Unlike you, I feel the cold and tend to make warmer garments. I have finished a Japanese apron dress (blogged) and Japanese bolero cardigan (to be blogged). I plan to make more Japanese style garments and to use lightweight corduroy fabrics for Autumn/Winter.

  2. AvatarJayne

    I love your selection of autumn makes. I’ve just bought your second choice of Ikat from Offset warehouse – dark blue with flecks and it is absolutely beautiful! I wanted to start buying ethically sound fabric and I was totally bowled over by its texture, weight and colour. I think it would be lovely for trousers, mine is probably going to be for a Merchant and Mills Camber shift for a go-to everyday dress.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I think I’ll invest in it soon. It’s so easy to buy ethical when they’re so gorgeous, and really quite affordable.

  3. AvatarChloe

    Hey! I’m actually making the Esther top this weekend, in plain natural linen. So far so good, I’ll try and give it a post when I’m done. I tend to be busier in the autumn, and it’s still very hot, so by the time I have a concentrated time to sew, it will be November! But I too would love to make an in between coat. Tough to decide on fabric, though. Your new fabrics look and sound amazing, I’m sure they will be a joy to sew!

  4. Avatarkathryn

    I love the look of those fabrics you got, I’ll need to check that shop out some time! Your plans sound great and have spurred me on to start thinking about Autumn sewing. I guess it’s time to stop burying my head in the sand and admit autumn is on the way, boo!

  5. AvatarAmanda

    Ohhh, those fabrics are gorgeous! I am all for a capsule wardrobe- 2015 has beneath year of building my work wardrobe and I have a summer and winter capsule now. Make life so much easier when key pieces go together and you can just randomly grab something to go :D

  6. AvatarAnne

    I like your plans. Those fabrics look lovely. My daughter lives close to Broadway Market but I missed this shop when I was down 2 weeks ago – but maybe that was too early anyway. I’ll let her know about it – she’s a brand new sewer; I just took her a sewing machine when I was down.

  7. AvatarBella

    Oh Katie you have such great style! I am swooning over every single look you are planning. Luckily your cross-seasonal plans could also work for my Southern Hemisphere summer so I might just nab some inspiration :-)
    By the way which Burda pattern is the grey coat in the photograph on the left? It’s gorgeous.

  8. AvatarGillian

    I’m so in love with the coat/cardigans you’ve been pinning lately! I just wish there were more sewing patterns for that silhouette – tons of RTW, but patterns don’t seem to have caught up yet!
    Your fall plans are beautiful – I feel like your graphic designer brain had fun making them pretty! Can’t wait to see what you sew! :)

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I need to pick a coat and get sewing! None are quite perfect!

      I did have fun with the illustration and mood boards :)

  9. AvatarDiane

    Loved this post Katie! Those fabrics are gorgeous and it looks like you’ll have some lovely pieces for Autumn. I’m also finding myself more and more drawn to natural fibres and simple shapes these days, and clothes that can be worn year-round. Now I’m off explore the Offset Warehouse website…

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      It’s a great habit to get into I think. Hopefully you can swing by Fabrications when you’re in the UK soon.

  10. AvatarSophie

    Yesssss! Nothing like a bit of wardrobe planning and luscious fabric buying to get you back in the mood. These are all going to be beautiful additions to your wardrobe and such an inspiring idea to not choose a million things (like I would do and then freak out and not make any of them) but a handful of thoughtful pieces. You really epitomise the whole mindful sewing thing! Can’t wait to see them debut x

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Ha ha, definitely keen to set realistic goals since sewing time is at an all time low right now. But there’s something to be said for spontaneity and fun too!

  11. AvatarSewingsu

    I love your capsule wardrobe ideas, until recently i just made things not even thinking about what they would go with and when i would wear them. I am now trying to plan a little more sensibly and have a few autum/winter makes planned!

  12. AvatarEmma

    So exciting to hear off set warehouse have a shop presence, next time I’m in London I will be most definitely heading there! Autumn is the best for planning, love all your choices. Your blog is really fab, it’s my go to for sewing :)

  13. AvatarLaura

    Loving the capsule themes, just getting to grips with knit fabrics so also looking for some warm greys to practice new skills on. Also thinking about making my own dress for a wedding in November… need to decide on the look I’m assuming for really though.

  14. AvatarMelissa

    First I have to comment on the photo of you holding the bolts of fabrics – there is one happy woman! I think we (sewists) would all have that smile holding our favourite finds too!

    I like seeing your A/W sewing plans. I have been on a dress kick lately so I am intrigued by that Ace & Jig red dress and like that style. I will look forward to seeing what yours will look like, along with that coat!

  15. AvatarPosh, Broke, & Bored

    Oh, I WISH I could sew! You make planning a new season wardrobe look like so much fun. I’m useless with fabrics (unless you count draping it over myself with two eye holes cut out, like a paisley ghost) so my Autumn-wardrobe building is restricted to sourcing out vintage clothing (it’s as close as I’ll get to being eco-friendly)! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Well fabric draping is fun too :) I’m totally useless with vintage shopping so I’m sure it evens out!

  16. AvatarCaitlin

    Looking forward to seeing your finished garments! Thanks for sharing about the fabric, too. It’s great to see stores embracing eco friendly fabrics. I’ll be visiting London in a few weeks, so I might have to stop by the Fabrications store!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Hope you can make it – the store’s ethos is all about being sustainable and upcycling, so the Offset range fits in perfectly.

  17. AvatarJohanna

    Hi, your autumn sewing plans look great, as do those fabrics! I just did a post on the longer Burda cocoon coat whose line drawing you’ve included in your idea board. It’s a really nice shape and I found it an easy enough, yet interesting sew. Can’t wait to see your finished projects, and thank you for some much-needed inspiration!

  18. AvatarKatie

    I’m always amazed at what a great grip on your style you have! I love your pieces, and most of all I love how attainable your plan is :D I am working on my plan, and it has like 16 items on it (!!!!!!), but at least a few of them are done already (like your top is according to instagram!). It’s also so great that you have access to such beautiful eco fabrics – I think that’s the next big step for me, but choice seems to be limited.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I’m feeling like I would rather focus on fewer garments and get them just right at the moment. Yeah I’m so glad the shop started stocking Offset – I had admired their site for ages but never took the plunge. It’s lovely to see them in person.

  19. AvatarBeth – Sew DIY

    What a great wardrobe!! I love all of those shapes. I will need to check out those patterns! I’m currently trying to wrangle all my ideas into some sort of plans that make sense for Fall. I’ve had that Vogue shirtdress on my list for a long time. I’d love to see how someone else makes it.

  20. AvatarSonja

    I’m with you in that the end of summer leaves me feeling a bit sad and uninspired. But I’m enjoying your wardrobe plans and your beautiful sketches! Looking forward to seeing them come to life!

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