Better than new

I had a second super cute daughter and as a result I currently need a lot more clothes than I used to. My baby spits so often that I can rarely wear something twice and sometimes even have to change outfits during the day. Add a nursing friendly requirement and a severe lack of time and it may not come as a surprise that I resorted to buying some clothes online to fill my wardrobe needs.

But, as it turns out, even with RTW clothes you sometimes can’t avoid picking up a sewing needle.


With so many threads coming undone it has to be a construction error.

I bought this top that has 4 snaps down the front for easy nursing access and after a while (ridiculously fast actually) 3 of the snaps started to come loose on both sides to the point that I was starting to worry that I would lose one or more if I didn’t do a quick intervention.


So much better…

As I was doing the repairs I was thinking that I was making this top as good as new, but then I realised that no, I was actually making it better than new because I am quite certain that my stitches will hold and won’t require another mending job 2 months from now. And that thought made me feel pretty good.

My sewing challenge for 2014

I have decided to join Sarah Gunn from Goodbye Valentino on her yearlong RTW fast. This means that I am not going to buy any clothes, except for shoes, socks and underwear in 2014. I will make what I need.

At first I thought, not buying anything for a year, that will be tough. Then I started thinking about the clothes that I bought this year and couldn’t really remember anything. I had a quick look through my bank account records and I’ve only bought something in a clothes store once in 2013 (unless I paid cash because then I don’t have a record, but I don’t think I did), so in fact, it probably won’t be tough at all.

Shopping for clothes is not something that I enjoy because I find it really hard to find things that fit well. Being fed up with RTW was one of the reasons I wanted to learn how to sew. Now that I can sew and adjust patterns, I am much happier with most of the garments that I made myself than with the ones that were store bought.

buy fabric not RTWDuring this challenge I will continue to wear the RTW items that I already own, but I plan to slowly replace almost everything by (better fitting) items that I have made myself. By the end of 2014 I hope to mostly wear my own makes. This means that I will have to conquer my greatest fear, trousers, because my RTW jeans are likely to wear out during the coming year and I better have some new ones ready before that happens.

It will be important to create a basic versatile wardrobe (and not 20 party dresses that hardly ever get worn) so I’ve made a list of things that I will need to make in order to arrive at this wardrobe. This list does take into account what I already have made and wear. For example, I already have made 4 cardigans that I wear all the time, so my efforts are better aimed at making items that I haven’t made before instead of making 4 more cardigans.

What to make for my basic wardrobe:

  • 2 casual skirts (The skirt pattern from Craftsy’s class “Design and sew an A-line skirt” is still somewhere in my UFO pile, I think that will be a good starting point.)
  • 1 fancy skirt (Adapt my A-line skirt pattern to a pencil skirt and use a suiting fabric?)
  • 4 pairs of trousers (I have a Sewaholic Thurlow muslin and a pair of jeans that I started to copy with the method from Craftsy’s Jean-ious class in my UFO pile so those will be good to start with.)
  • 4 basic knit tops (Some Sewaholic Renfrews? Lady Skater bodice transformed to a t-shirt? I also really like the look of the Papercut Ensis tee.)
  • 2 sweaters (Anyone has a good idea for a sweater pattern (not a hoody)? Or perhaps I can find one in my stash of Knipmode magazines.)
  • 1 cardigan (Plenty of patterns that I still want to make in my stash of Knipmode magazines. Probably will be hard to stop at just 1…)
  • 2 jackets (There is a jacket in my UFO pile that I really need to buy a lining for so that I can continue with the construction. I’d also like to make the Sewaholic Cordova)
  • 2 classic tailored shirts (I’ll probably use a pattern from a Knipmode magazine.)
  • 2 casual dresses (I suppose my next Lady Skater dress already fits this bill. Perhaps I should also make a dress with a woven fabric?)
  • 1 fancy dress (Good opportunity to finally try out the techniques from Craftsy’s “The Couture Dress” class.)
  • 1 bathrobe (quite urgent, my current one is threadbare and needed replacing 2 years ago (did I mention how much I dislike shopping?). I’m pretty sure I have a decent pattern somewhere in a Knipmode magazine.)
  • 2 pyjamas (Not very urgent)
  • 1 summer coat (I’ve had my eye on the Sewaholic Robson for a while now.)
  • 1 winter coat (Not urgent, my current coat is still in good shape.)
  • 1 suit (Not urgent, I hardly ever wear one and I think for most occasions you can get away with wearing something else. I’d like to make a suit one day though.)

Am I going to make this whole list of items in 2014? I wish… That would mean at least 2-3 finished items each month and some of these will certainly take a decent amount of time. With my current sewing speed that is just not going to happen. I also want to continue to make quilts and gifts so not all of my sewing time will be spend sewing for myself. I think it is really a good idea though to have some sort of plan and to have an overview of the things that I want to make. I think that will also make it easier to make items that will work well with the other items in my wardrobe so that I will be able to combine them in different ways.

Would you ever consider making all of your clothes?