In August I was a guest on Ann’s Instagram Live broadcast where the topic was how and why I took on the journey to make all my clothing — almost eleven years ago — and stuck with it. Ann has uploaded it on YouTube and you can catch it here. In this post, I’ll attempt to address the same subject, with more nitty gritty of the process coming up in future posts. So, tell me in the comments if you want more details. Or, does the whole thing bore you to tears?
The beginning of my journey was pushed to the forefront in January 2010 because of a huge fabric stash and the need for a new year resolution. I gave myself a year and found that it’s totally do-able forever! If you want to embark on the sewn wardrobe journey too, consider the following issues before you start!
- What is your time worth? Children? Job? Other activities? In other words, how much discretionary time do you have? That is the time which is not dedicated to family and other life matters, and is free for you to do with as you wish. If you have ten minutes of discretionary time each day, you can still sew your entire wardrobe. You will have to adjust your outlook regarding the quantity and quality of your wardrobe.
- What is your level of ready-to-wear shopping mania? For some, shopping for clothes is a sport. Personally, I don’t enjoy it. I dislike shopping in general and abhor shopping for clothes even more. That was an advantage in my court. If you do like buying ready-to-wear, start on this venture slowly, and never feel guilty about falling off the wagon by purchasing that cute Banana Republic blouse. The more you sew clothes in a methodical way, the easier it will get. Once I got into my sew-everything journey, I never really liked the clothing offered out there. I actually, LOVED what I made.
- Make a Plan and Sew Capsules. Wardrobe pundits love to tell you about planning it out — and they’re totally right! When my journey began almost 11 years ago (come January 2021) I started to sew things that seemed the next new and shiny thing; or I would sew a new garment for an upcoming event. Now I’ve seen the light. Planned sewing is my mantra for the past couple of years, encouraged by my friendly local sewing group when Roz of Sew Much Fabric guided us through the process.
- Keep the capsule small. I’ve learned that very recently, too. See my neon2020 capsule below? That is larger than I need – but I wanted that capsule to look like the inspiration page. Hahaha. The red/white/blue capsule started in 2018 and 2019 (continued into 2020) guided by the inspiration images back then.
- Don’t be in a hurry to cull out your existing wardrobe. Replace an item with each sewn garment, while you get your feet wet in the process; it helps to see if you really want to continue with this journey. Once a similar item is replaced, please put it in a give-away pile. Otherwise, your closet will be stuffed too full for comfort – hey, that is my outlook. Some people love to see bursting closets.
- To get into it right away, sew two easy wearables to replace two ready-to-wear items from your RTW group. Sure it takes time to think it out – that is a fun exercise, actually. Mood boards are nice if you have a place on your wall; I prefer a binder where “planned” inspiration can be inserted in plastic sleeves.
- Lastly, I ought to clarify that I sew all my outer clothing. I don’t sew undergarments — well, maybe one day……
- How do I organize all my makes in the closet? It changes each time I look in my closet. That’s fodder for another post!
Are weighing your options regarding a completely sewn closet? Or you are already well-entrenched in the process. Do share your thoughts in the comments section.
Keep sewing, friends!
7 thoughts on “Sewing Your Entire Closet: the Nitty Gritty 1”
That’s awesome how you made a wardrobe capsule using the inspiration picture!
Your steps to sewing a closet full of clothes make a lot of sense. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and about 90% of my clothes are self made. I started sewing because I couldn’t ever find RTW that fit me well. I’m a tall pear shape, so it was very frustrating and made me hate shopping. The clothes I sew aren’t perfect, but they fit SO much better!
I’m thrilled to see fellow “sew-everything-ers” out there! I believe you might be underestimating your sewing skills! If you feel good in your self-made clothing, they are perfect. Plus, there’s always stuff to learn — I am still learning sewing and fitting techniques 🙂 .
Thank you for this inspiration, Samina. I sewed all of my clothing from age 13 through 20, an awfully long time ago! Since then, 40 years later, I keep trying to get back to that. I can afford to buy whatever I want, but in my (artistic) heart, I want to determine everything about my wardrobe and solve all of the problems that occur with store-bought: waist of pants emphasizes my “fluff” (but fit great everywhere else) so I must choose tops that don’t cling and emphasize the fit defect, tops that fit great but emphasize my tummy, so I must wear a pant that smoothes the tummy, etc. etc!
Then there is the love of wild fabric that sometimes must be tamed (or end up with a garment that is too lively for my comfort zone): this rarely happens with bland RTW, which is often quite mainstream in flavor.
There are lots of great reasons to get back to sewing my wardrobe, but I get in my own way! I appreciate your fun blog and your unique point of view.
Thanks for your awesome comment, Joan! I love to see sewing paths taken by seamstress friends. The wild fabric love exists……
Ive been wanting to do something like this but didn’t know where to begin. I’m trying to not get swayed by social media temptations – pretty fabric, great pattern of the moment- and really sew things that I’ll wear over and over. It’s very difficult! To be honest of all the things I’ve sewn and that are crowding my closet, there are only a very few that I love. It’s like fast fashion only with Sewing! Argh!
I hear you, Jilly. When I started this make-every-garment journey, I would sew anything that took my fancy, enabled by social media, gorgeous fabric, someone else looking awesome in a new trend, and all that. It took time to realize that if I’m not wearing it, it was time and resources wasted. Some things have great hanger appeal, but there is something not quite right when it’s on my body.
Oh I agree with every point you made. I have found them to be true in my #RTWfast journey, especially the ones about “time available” (I couldn’t have done this when the kids were small. I could barely keep up with sewing for them!) and “culling” (there is no way I could replace everything all at once). I sewed pieces that I was missing or needed replacing in my wardrobe and mixed the me-made with the RTW until the RTW was almost gone. Great post and I loved seeing the YouTube too!