Alright alright alright!! It’s springtime. Supposedly. Almost spring. There’s eight feet of snow outside right now and it’s freakishly warm outside this weekend. I have some serious doubts regarding the likelihood of  ever seeing spring again.

Moving back to Minnesota has strengthened my inner weather pessimist.

In any case, It’s SUPPOSED to be spring. Sometime. And I’ve been trying to reach out and connect with groups on Facebook that aren’t (A) talking marketing shop BECAUSE THAT’S MY JOB or (B) talking politics BECAUSE OMG – so I’ve joined up with a few good sewing communities lately, one of which has been talking a LOT about a Sudoku wardrobe challenge.

Oooo… how fun is that? 

There’s two Sudoku wardrobe capsule challenges currently going on – one on one of my favorite sites, Pattern Review (you probably have to log in to see the contest). And another in the Facebook group Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong, onaccounta not everyone can join the Pattern Review one due to eligibility/membership requirements.

So what’s a Sudoku Wardrobe Challenge? So glad you asked….

First, I’m sure most of ya’ll know this, but a capsule wardrobe is a mix’n’match collection of clothes, shoes, accessories and other wearables that all work together. As a past business traveler, I, of course, love this idea. And even stretching back to when I first started the Snugbug Blog, always tried to show each finished ‘make’ worn three different ways, because if the new item wasn’t super wearable, it didn’t belong in my closet.

The folks in the Facebook capsule sewalong group seem to be somewhat SERIOUS about capsule wardrobes… while I love the concept, I see a capsule as a fun way to work on a sewing project. Not an editing tool to throw out half my closet! That said, most of my wardrobe is super mix’n’match because I wear layers and like neutrals…

So that’s the down low on capsule wardrobes.

The Sudoku capsule wardrobe challenge was new to me — it’s a way to use the Sudoku number puzzle format (or the rules to Connect 4) to ensure that your capsule wardrobe will work. The basic idea is to take four rows and four columns and then populate with tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories to come up with 10 coordinating outfits. Each row, column and diagonal need to make a coordinated outfit. See this graphic from Pattern Review:

Capsule Wardrobe Soduku

For purposes of the contest, an ‘accessory’ is a sweater, cardigan, jacket, blazer, scarf, bag or gloves.

How fun, right? 

I’ve been working on a mini-wardrobe this week with three lengths of fabric and an upcycled dress. After seeing the contest, I thought… why not fit my spring/summer sewing into something more structured?

So without further ado-do… here’s my plan for my 2017 spring/summer wardrobe sudoku capsule…

Soduku Capsule


Omg… what a thing of beauty? Amiright?

For almost all of you… feel free to now scamper back to Facebook. Or Instagram. I’m fixin’ to get down to the nitty gritty, which I can only imagine is interesting to me, or my mom when she’s trying to get super good mom points, what with her golden years looming large and no solid plan in place for elder care. 

For those of you who like the details, here’s the plan…

Footwear (#3, #6, #12, #13)

Honestly, I almost skipped this part of the capsule. I hardly wear shoes and when I do it’s Uggs (winter) or fierce leopard print Croc ballet flats (summer). I live on a farm, ya’ll! But… when I put on real shoes, it’s a mix of Dansko, cute sneaks and my beloved Little House on the Prairie lace up boots from Torrid. So I included them. 

Bottoms and Tops…

This was one of the rules that I didn’t love. I don’t wear pants all that often, so ‘bottoms and tops’ is a false construct. But I DO layer my dresses, so for some of the outfit combos, I included longer ‘slipdresses’ as a bottom and the shorter frocks meant to wear over slips as a top.

For bottoms I’m planning on:

  • #2 – A super fly pair of denim bloomers a’la Magnolia Pearl. I’ve got a pile of awesome denim, already pre-treated with bleach. I can’t wait to piece this fabric together and make a pair of denim, patched, bloomer-style bottoms. **Update – Finished! Blue Jean Baby Bloomers
  • #7 – OMG I’m FINALLY doing it!! Traditional black and white toile slip dress… #WearItEveryDay #LoveToile
  • #9 – Grey pinstripe bloomers
  • #16 – Floral upcylcled slip dress

Tops will be great  – a bit shorter so a longer year round wear with leggings! For the top layers I’m planning…

  • #1 – Spring green linen sleeveless dress
  • #8 – Green homespun slipdress
  • #10 – Pretty knit floral in my stash. I suspect this one will get a lot of wear
  • #15 – Lavender wool boucle… this one will be a challenge to craft something relaxed that fits in my wardrobe. It’s way too thick for gathering… really, much better suited for a pencil skirt or sheath dress, but not something I wear a lot of lately!

Accessories – I.E…. the sweater category!

  • #4 – I have a nice length of hand crocheted tablecloth that I’ve been wanting to fashion into something. I’d love something duster-length, but am not sure I have the yardage. Whatever I come up with, it’s going to be great for summer!
  • #5 – Cardi upcycle. I have a forest green sweater dress I never wear, so am planning on upcycling to a cardi. If I want to enter the contest, it’ll have to be a full rehaul (just cutting down to yardage) – So i”m thinking something short and cute with a scoop neck. Or possibly Colette/Seamwork’s Elmira cardi. With less… bow.
  • #11 – a denim jacket – one of the 6 allowed ‘made’ items… I’m looking forward to this. I already have a denim jacket that I like, and refashioned to cut off/shorten into a more flattering silhouette, but I saw someone on Glades (OMG, Jeff is trying to get me to move to Florida…) the other night wearing a denim jacket fitted, like mine, with the hems just cut off and frayed. My little Old Navy denim jacket might be looking at its second refashion….
  • #14 – lavender duster – this is on my dress form as we speak with some SUPER cool piecing action going on!!

Here’s a few of the outfit lineups – to be clear all the rows and columns need to work together, along with the two diagonals. For the contest, we are allowed six ‘made’ items (for me, four pairs of shoes, the denim jacket and the yellow tank dress #16 which will be an upcycle) and then 10 ‘made’ items. For any curious, technical types, for the most part I’ll be using self-drafted patterns for the ‘made’ items….

Cool, classy and sassyOutfit #1

Prairie Girl Chic. AND TOILE!!





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