stacks of handmade clothes in shades of blues, greens and greys

My Sustainable Summer Capsule Wardrobe 2024

This blog post is all about my sustainable summer capsule wardrobe 2024.

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two stacks of sustainable, natural, mostly handmade clothing on a cream dresser

When it comes to my clothing – and life in general – sustainability is very important to me. Therefore, whenever I am looking for a new piece of clothing to add to my wardrobe, there are 5 questions I ask myself:

#1 What is the fiber content?

With regards to sustainability, choosing natural over synthetic materials is crucial.

The vast majority of my clothes is made out of natural fibers. I especially love linen, but I also have a lot of cotton and wool in my wardrobe. I avoid clothes that are made out 100% polyester or acrylic.

Other natural plant-based fibers are hemp, nettle or ramie. Additional examples for animal-fibers are alpaca, cashmere, angora, mohair, yak or silk.

If you want to know more about the characteristics and properties of natural fibers, you can have a look at this blog post: Natural Fibers in Yarn

#2 Can I make it myself?

About 8 or 9 years ago, I started teaching myself how to make clothes myself, mainly through knitting and sewing. I also know how to crochet and embroider but knitting and sewing are my main focus, at least right now.

Technically, you can make pretty much anything yourself. But there are certain items that are a lot easier to make than others. If you are a beginner and want to make a garment to wear during the summer time, I recommend that you start with a simple skirt or tee.

In this blog post, I share my favorite tee sewing pattern and they are all simple to make and suitable for beginner sewers: Versatile Sewing Patterns for Tops (Women): 3 Recommendations

If you are not a seamstress but a knitter, you can of course also knit something for your summer wardrobe. A simple tee that is knitted in one piece out of a yarn that is a blend of a plant-based fiber (like cotton) with a protein fiber (like sheep wool) would be a suitable option for you.

#3 Can I buy it secondhand?

If, for some reason, I come to the conclusion that I cannot make the item myself, I try to find it secondhand. Of course, this doesn’t work for everything, but there are a lot garments that you can buy secondhand that look as good as new.

#4 Do I need it?

Over the years I have reduced the number of pieces in my wardrobe more and more. And it still surprises me to this day how little variety I actually need to be happy and content with my wardrobe. To be honest, this wasn’t always how I felt. In my teens and early twenties, I had a massive wardrobe with tons and tons of clothes. But somehow, I still felt that I had nothing wear on a regular basis. Only after I started pairing down the number of items and became more intentional about what to keep in my wardrobe, if it worked with my current lifestyle and if it mixed and matched with my other clothes, I felt happy with the clothes that I owned and felt confident and at ease in each piece of clothing.

This might sound a bit superficial, because after all, we are only talking about clothes here, but I find it so freeing to not stand in front of my wardrobe in the morning feeling unsecure about what to wear that day. It frees up so much brain space to know that at any given time, I can just grab whatever and it will be fine.

#5 What kind of company do I want to support with my purchase?

If we, as consumers, buy something, we send a message to the manufacturer of the thing we bought. Whatever we purchase, through the act of buying it, we say: Hey, I like this item. You should produce more of it. So, our purchasing decisions have a lot of power and we have to be aware of it.

For me, personally, I like to support businesses that care both about the environment and also about the wellbeing of their employees. I absolutely hate the thought that a child would have to work countless hours sewing in an unsafe factory building to make cheap garments for me to wear instead of going to school.

This is why whenever I do make a purchase, I usually support smaller business that are transparent about their manufacturing processes.

Here are a couple of small businesses that I love and can recommend that make linen clothing:

Old Linen Mill (via Etsy)

notPERFECTLINEN (via Etsy)

so linen (via Etsy)



My Sustainable Summer Capsule Wardrobe 2024: Outfits

Now, let’s move on to the outfits, shall we?

Let’s start with an early summer day, when the weather is warm but it is not yet really hot.

Early Summer Outfits

On these days, I like to wear these loose linen pants. I own two pairs, one in blue and one in a light beige. They are both from the notPERFECTLINEN and you can get them on Etsy.

As for the upper body part, I like to wear simple short sleeved garments. Here are two tops that I sewed myself. The pattern is called Esme and it is from the book Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter. I can highly recommend this book if you want to create your own handmade capsule wardrobe. I like it so much that I have written a whole blog post about it which you can find here: Building a Handmade Wardrobe: Sewing Book Recommendation

The light pink version of the Esme top (on the right) is made out of a linen fabric that I got off of Etsy. And the mint one (on the left) is made out of a double gauze that I purchased from an online store called Stoff & Stil.

Another sewing pattern that I really like is the Hemlock Tee, also from Grainline studio. This is a version that I made out of a 100% linen fabric:

hemlock tee in a blue/white striped linen

Here is another top that I made myself. The fabric is a lovely embroidered cotton that is also from Stoff & Stil and I also got the pattern there. It is a very basic top sewing pattern with a set-in sleeve construction.

handmade top in a dark blue embroidered cotton by Stoff & Stil

And this is a top that I have knitted. The pattern is called Night Sky and it is a design by Heidi Kirrmaier. The yarn is Ovis et cetera Igneae which is a blend of wool, silk and ramie – a plant-based fiber. This blend makes it not as warm to wear as a 100% wool yarn.

night sky knitted top in an aqua color

Summer Outfits

Now, if summer is in full swing, I switch out the linen pants for skirts and I also own one pair of shorts. The shorts are not handmade, I bought them years ago and I will wear them until they fall apart. But the skirts I did make myself.

The sewing pattern I used is called the Gypsum skirt by Sew Liberated. I made the navy blue skirt on the left out of a 100% linen fabric, again, from Etsy. And the striped skirt on the right is made out of a fabric that is a mix of linen and cotton. I bought from an online store called Stoffe Hemmers.

I also have two summer dresses. The one on the left is a bit more of a dressier dress that I only wear on special occasions. I bought it secondhand and it looked brand new when I got it.

The dress on the right I did make myself, at least parts of it. I started with a tank top that I purchased secondhand. I cut off the bottom of the tank top and then added the skirt to it with an elasticated waist to make it a dress. This was a very easy project, since I just had to sew up the side seams of the skirt part and didn’t even have to add a hem because the fabric has this embroidery hem on it. The fabric is from an online store called Butinette and is similar to this one.



Color Seasons

You might have noticed that my wardrobe consists of only a handful of different colors. This is very intentional. When I started making my own clothes and decluttered my wardrobe, I looked a bit into the topic of color theory and read about the different color seasons.

four color seasons overview by theconceptwardrobe.com
picture by theconceptwardrobe.com

I am not sure if this is correct, but I identified myself as a summer type. A true summer, to be precise.

true summer color palette by theconceptwardrobe.com
picture by theconceptwardrobe.com

These are the colors that suit true summers best. Fortunately for me, these are the colors that I gravitate towards anyways. Whenever I am looking to incorporate a new piece into my wardrobe, I make sure that it is within this color palette. When it comes to neutrals, I go for navy, jeans blue and greys. And sometimes also light beiges or tans. And as a pop of color, I choose different shades of pinks and aquas, mints or greens.

What I avoid are black, clear whites and orange because I know that they don’t go with my complexion.

Of course you don’t have to only wear colors that suit you. You can wear whatever you like. But in case you do want to find out more about which season you are and which colors suit you best, here are a couple of resources:

Color Analysis | Find your Color Season – A Comprehensive Guide | Color Analysis Quiz (theconceptwardrobe.com)

Seasonal Color Analysis Quiz — The Laurie Loo

That is my sustainable summer capsule wardrobe 2024. As you might have noticed, there aren’t a lot of knitted items in there. But I plan on changing this this year. I am currently working on several knitted garments that I can wear when it’s warm outside. If you want to know what I am making, I recommend that you have a look at this video over on YouTube:

youtube video thumbnail, a woman smiling and five pictures of knitted tops and tees next to her. a text saying: spring & summer 2024 knitting plans.

Annika

I am a yarn dyeing artist, writer and educator.
I am also an avid knitter and love to create something with my hands every day.
Read more about me here:
https://www.rosemaryandpinesfiberarts.de/about-the-writer/

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