OK, so I am in danger of reaching the end of January and failing in my quest to make an item of clothing a month throughout 2015, before I’ve even started!
In the resources post I did a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the post on Sew Mama Sew by Allie Olsen of Indiesew, all about transitioning to a handmade wardrobe.
I thought I would work my way through it.
1. Get rid of the junk
I have de-cluttered my wardrobe a couple of times in the last year, but I confess that there are still some things I am hanging onto until I find something to replace it. Maybe I need to be bold and donate/recycle them now, and that may well work as a significant incentive to get on and make replacements!
2. Define your style
I struggle with this I’m afraid. I am no clothes horse, or follower of fashion. As long as I’m not embarrassing the kids, I tend to not put a huge amount of thought into what I’m wearing.
I do tend to wear the same things most of the time though, so maybe that is my ‘style’…!
- I have a pair of White Stuff trousers (that I got for £2 from a charity rail!) that I love the fit and style of
- T-shirts and vest tops. I wear vest tops and long sleeved t-shirts a LOT in the winter, with a snuggy jumper or cardi on top. I’d love to be able to make both long-sleeved and short-sleeved t-shirts
- Cardigans-who doesn’t love a cardi..?!
- Dresses-having never really worn dresses, I found several in charity shops during My Make Do and Mend Year, and realised that I actually quite like wearing them.
- My skirt made from an old pair of jeans-I love this and wear it a lot, with leggings in the winter, and with bare legs in the summer
- Leggings-to wear with skirts and dresses-I have only one pair and need more!
- I don’t tend to like things that are too tight, but things that are too big and shapeless do tend to drown me slightly! I think there may be a mis-match here between what I like the feel of, and what actually suits me…!
3. Know your favourite fabrics
- Jersey and knit fabrics. Unfortunately. I say unfortunately as I’m a bit scared of trying to sew with stretch fabrics!
- Denim and linen for trousers
4. Create a colour and pattern palette
I struggle with this. I actually have no idea what colours suit me and what don’t (I’m realising what a rubbish girl I am!). I think most of the things are in my wardrobe just because I liked them at the time, not because they are a particular colour palette.
Having said that, I guess I must gravitate towards certain colours, as there seems to be a lot of blue/grey/black in my wardrobe!
So I think:
- Neutral colours-black, grey, navy
- But with the odd ‘pop’ of something really bright!
5. Make a wish-list
Things I want to make this year:
- T-shirts-long sleeved and short sleeved
- Trousers-an attempt at a similar style to my White Stuff trousers
- Skirt-I want to try and turn a pair of trousers into a skirt
- Skirt-make one from scratch-I want to try a 1950’s style circle skirt
- Dress-I really want a 1940’s tea dress, but might need to have a closer look at whether it would actually suit me..!
- Winter coat-this may be too ambitious, but I have some gorgeous tweedy fabric I inherited from my Nana, just crying out to be made into a gorgeous coat
- Running gear-I am in desperate need of some new running gear. Am I brave enough to attempt sewing with lycra…?!
- Socks-I REALLY want some handmade socks. As I don’t knit, this probably means crocheting some
- Pants-I really enjoyed making my pants last year, and am keen to have another go! I want to work out a way to recycle old t-shirts into new pants!
6. Evaluate your skills
Ah. OK. Weeeeelll, I can sew a straight (ish) line.
I have done zips, but the thought of something like a fly zip scares the pants off me (get it?!).
I did sew with elastic to when I made my pants, but I could definitely do with some more practice.
As I mentioned earlier, I want to sew with knits and stretch fabric, but that is most certainly no part of my skill set (yet!)
7. Plan your first item and find a pattern
It’s not on my wish list, but I’m going to attempt project 2 from my Love at First Stitch book-the Margot pyjamas!
It seems like quite a nice easy project to start on. I want to ease myself in, and not attempt anything too hard to start with and put myself off.
8. Buy your fabric and supplies
I have this fabric that I think was an old sheet, that I found in a charity shop, and it just screams “Pyjamas!” at me, so I’m going to use that.
I think I have everything I need, but I will double check the list.
9. Sew your item and take notes
I will do this and blog it..!
10. Do it all over again!
And then there will be no stopping me….
So, has anyone made anything yet for #mmaw2015?
Do share below, or on the Facebook page 🙂
See if you can get hold of a copy of The Batsford Book of Sewing by Ann Ladbury (1967). Such an absolutely practical book which tells you exactly how to approach sewing stretch knit fabrics and put in all sorts of zips. Practice making some Teddy sweaters first!
I’ll see if I can track a copy down-thankyou!
Wardrobe wise, I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve seen a few people go through this series of exercises to help refine their style. http://www.coletterie.com/category/wardrobe-architect
However, at your point I think you need to get making and built up some confidence. T shirt fabrics aren’t as scary as you think, honest, and the bonus is jersey doesn’t unravel so you don’t need to finish the seams and it gives flexibility so less fitting is required. How about these upcycling ideas to get you started. http://www.sewmamasew.com/2011/09/hooded-tunic-tutorial/ and https://kleinekleinigkeiten.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/two-t-dress/. And these top tips http://kitschycoo.blogspot.co.uk/p/sewing-with-knits.html.
Go for it and good luck!
Thanks so much Rosemary!
You can do it. Love sewing knits. True only made skirts and really like the blog Its Always Autumn great skirt redo that I love…t shirts also. and Imagine Natgs must learn to spell. Anyway try her Cerisy skirt. Fun and easy…I am going to make a handmade wardrobe…even found a great undies pattern,.So you want to join me. I will show you what I am making, and I will follow your blog…….
Fab, some great blogs, thanks so much! Do join in, and share your makes 🙂
Well, lots of challenges in this post. I don’t know if you have heard of http://www.thesewingforum.co.uk. It’s an invaluable resource for sewing queries/wardrobe etc. I hang out there as PurpleIvy.
Don’t be frightened of doing fly zips, they’re much easier to get neat than your regular types of zip. There are lots of tutorials on the ‘net.
If your favourites are knit fabrics, then your best friends would be an overlocker and a coverstitch machine. It is quite possible to sew knits without them, but for quite stretchy ones they’re invaluable.
I have a whole wardrobe of knits…..well, it’s still in kit form! I think your blog might have pushed me into getting on with it. For help in creating a wardrobe, you might look at Marcy Tilton’s blog post, I think it was for yesterday or Sunday. She explains how she creates a capsule wardrobe, particularly with travel in mind, variations to make it seasonal as well. I have a few of hers and her sister Katherine’s patterns, they use a lot of knit fabrics.
So many fab tips-thankyou so much!
Hmm, maybe the overlocker/coverstitch machine are out of the question….I just read your ‘about’ section!
I’m sure I could find a secondhand one..!
You could post a message on the ‘I want to buy, sell, give away’ section. Or just keep an eye on it.
What a brilliant way to start – I think I might just do this myself. thank you for the inspiration.
Since most of what you wear is stretch fabric, you might be wise to invest in an overlocker. They wiz through stretch fabrics with ease, and you can make an entire teeshirt using an overlocker. Not only will it neaten the edges but the chain stitches are designed to seam stretch fabrics at the same time. You will need one that includes a chain stitch (it uses four to six threads so a mid range rather than a bottom end) However, it will pay back dividends since you wear a lot of these fabrics.
Local repairers and shops often sell reconditioned machines, I bought my overlocker secondhand and it is a real dream to use.
Youtube is always a great source for techniques, I always just take a peek if I am doing something new, or something I haven’t done for a while. There are so many ways do sewing, even though I have been sewing for years, I usually pick up a tip or two.
Thanks for all the tips! Might start looking into overlockers, but they scare me..!
don’t be scared, you will fall in love with your overlocker, honestly!
Thankyou for the encouragement! I think I will bite the bullet at some point this year, just working up to it slowly!