Sew Your Own Mini Travel Capsule Wardrobe

This week have the absolute pleasure of having Caitlin Towry guest blogging telling us all about her fabulous vacation (which I'm totally not jealous of...nope...not living vicariously through it or anything...) where she sewed up a mini winter capsule!

Simply getting dressed to go outside during the cold winter months can feel like a real test of will, so it’s no surprise that creating a capsule wardrobe for a wintertime trip can feel a little daunting!

This past winter, my husband and I were able to book a trip to Southern Germany. This was to be our first major getaway together, and I wanted it to be extra special. And to me, that meant sewing up some comfortable and cute outfits to wear while we were adventuring!

Because checked baggage is so expensive nowadays, I wanted to challenge myself to pack lightly, and that meant sewing up a travel capsule wardrobe.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The term “capsule wardrobe” seems to be everywhere lately, and there’s a lot of great information about how to create one, online and elsewhere. In a nutshell, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing made up of coordinating items, in order to maximize the outfits that can be created from them. Because everything works with everything else, it’s very easy to keep the number of clothing pieces you actually need down to a minimum! And to me, the less clothing I needed to bring on a winter getaway, equaled a much easier and convenient way to travel!

How Do You Start to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe?

Whenever capsule wardrobes are mentioned, the first question will often be, “Where do I start?” With all the gorgeous fabrics and patterns available out there, I can certainly see how it would seem hard to just jump right in! Here are the steps I followed to create my own winter travel capsule wardrobe.

  • Consider Your Trip

When creating a capsule wardrobe for any sort of trip, this is the first place you need to start.  What will the weather be like when you get there? Will you be doing a lot of walking, and need comfortable clothes? Or maybe planning on a few fancy outings that would need something a little more dressy? For our trip, we were arriving in the chilly off-season. Along with my favorite wool coat, I knew I would need warm sweaters and long pants. We planned on visiting historical sites, hiking, and eating at casual restaurants, so I knew I wouldn’t need to sew anything fancy. We planned a week-long trip, but our rental house had a washer and dryer available for us to use, so I knew I wouldn’t need to overpack!

  • Select Your Patterns

Once you have the basic idea of the type of clothing you’ll need for your trip, the next step is to choose your patterns! I wanted to use patterns that I knew and loved; ones that I felt great and comfortable in! For bottoms, I wanted both leggings and pants to change between. For tops, I wanted both roomy pullover sweaters, as well as cardigans to pair with tee shirts or camis for layering.

  • Choose Colors and Types of Fabric You’ll Want to Wear

Now that you’ve got your patterns picked, the next step is to choose what types of fabric and what colors you’ll want to wear. Since it was winter, I knew sweater knits for tops were a must! And since I was absolutely in love with this Ivory Ann sweater knit that I’d saving, so I used that as my inspiration for a color palette. It has blue, pink, burgundy and ivory, so those were the colors I tried to stick with when choosing coordinating fabrics.

  • Keep it Pretty Basic

I love floral prints, but I knew for this trip I wanted to keep my pieces mainly solids. I threw a couple of florals and the odd stripe in because they make me happy, but solids were key to coordinating!

  • Get Sewing!

Once my patterns were chosen and printed, and my fabric was washed and ready, it was time to jump in! I started with bottoms first. For this trip, I chose to make a pair of leggings and stretch denim pants. Yes- that’s only two pairs of pants! But I knew with a washer and dryer available to me, that should be just fine.

Next, I moved onto cozy pullovers. I love being able to just throw something on in the morning, so these were a must. I started with my favorite floral Ann sweater knit, and two more- one in navy/white stripe thermal, and another in mauve sherpa knit.

The next step was cardigans. As these were layering pieces, I made two in solid brushed sweater knit (so cozy!) in navy and burgundy first. And I couldn't resist making another in Teal Blush Lily Melange Hacci! Luckily, I was packing so light, it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice of space to throw another pretty floral in.

I then moved on to base layers. These I kept simple, as I wanted to be able to mix and match these with my various sweaters. I made a simple tank with some white double brushed poly, and a cute pink camisole with Vertical Stripe Poly Cotton Woven. These would go great with nearly everything I had packed so far!

Finally, I made myself a couple of cozy extras that I knew would come in handy on our adventure. To wear on the plane, I made Striped Swallow’s Warrior Kimono with two-toned burgundy sweater knit. I’m always freezing on planes, so I wanted something I could wear that would also double as a blanket during the long trip. I also made myself a hidden pocket infinity scarf out of solid brushed ivory sweater knit. It would go with everything I had made, it was super warm and cozy, and the perfect place to keep my passport, credit card, and any extras I wanted to keep extra secure!

And that’s my travel capsule wardrobe! I had so much fun making and wearing all these pieces on our adventure to Germany this winter. Making a travel capsule wardrobe was such a fun way to be creative, and to challenge myself to sew in ways I wouldn’t have done before!


Ashley Abston

Ashley Abston

Great post Caitlin! My husband and I are going to Costa Rica in October and then Ireland in July (2022). I hope to have a capsule wardrobe for both!



Super, thank you!

Connie Smith

Connie Smith

We’re going to Amsterdam and British Isles next summer. Weather is fickle there. What choices would be good for basics. Pants? We will be on a cruise. Thanks for all your pictures.

Tamara Karlin

Tamara Karlin

Loved this & all your garments Caitlin, very helpful, thank you! I have my first trip to Italy this October & want to make a capsule wardrobe.

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