The Clothe-Me-Myself Challenge

Recently I’ve lost a bit of weight.  Enough that most of my clothes are getting too loose on me.  I’ve ventured out on a few shopping trips in an effort to replace the too-big items, but I’m discovering that since I’ve begun sewing again I am having a difficult time buying ready-to-wear items.  It’s not that I don’t find nice things that I like.  I find plenty of wonderful things that I love.  The problem comes when I look at the price tag.  Holy hell, RTW clothing is expensive!  And most of it is pretty cheaply made (translation: not worth the asking price).  More and more I find that I’m talking myself out of buying something by telling myself, “Self, you can make that for much, much less.”

The other night I had a few hours to kill, and sat down at the machine to attempt a pattern I’d had for a while but had been putting

My first Sorbetto Top

off.  The Sorbetto Top is a free pattern available from Colette Patterns.  It is quick, easy, and takes very little fabric.  I threw my Sorbetto together in about 2 hours, including cutting out the pattern pieces.  I was very pleased with the finished product.  This was a cute top that I could dress up or down – something I could wear for work or play.  It could be customized in many different ways quite easily (omit the pleat, add embelishments, etc.), meaning that with very little work I could have several new tops based on the same basic pattern and achieve very different looks.  I decided to sew up a few different versions of the Sorbetto Top to replace some of the too-big things in my closet, and as I sewed one and then another, a somewhat crazy thought occurred to me:

“Why don’t you rebuild your whole wardrobe by making all new clothes for yourself?”

Huh.  Well that was an interesting thought.  I consider myself very much a beginner when it comes to sewing, and really have not produced a whole lot I feel confident wearing in public, so the idea of trying to create a whole new wardrobe was a little daunting.  But my skills have been steadily improving, and giving myself a challenge such as sewing myself a new business wardrobe, which would require learning and using new and more “advanced” techniques, would certainly help me grow and advance as a seamstress.  Plus, I desperately need new clothes, and I would really rather spend all that money on yummy fabric that I can use to create something unique to me than on cheap mass produced RTW clothing.

So I’m going to give it a shot.  I’m challenging myself to clothe myself for the next few months, at least.  I plan on making several pairs of slacks, tops, and a tailored jacket or two.  I am not going to buy any RTW clothing aside from things like undergarments.  And I’ll document my progress here.  I’m hoping to complete one garment a week or so, although complicated things like jackets may take a bit longer as I learn new techniques.  I have my first project – a pair of cuffed slacks – all cut and ready to go.  Stay tuned for the first update in a day or so!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MontanaDesigns
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 16:50:29

    I have had the same thought for years now, I’ve brought less clothes now than I ever did before because I know I can make it and in better fabric.

    You did a good job here, I could use this pattern to make some tops for work. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Carolyn
    Oct 18, 2012 @ 10:13:44

    I think you can do this! A good business wardrobe consists of a pair of pants, a skirt, a dress, jacket & cardigan. All of these are doable with the help that’s available out in the internet sewing world. I primarily sew business clothing and once you get a well-fitted pattern for each of those pieces, along with your Sorbetto top you’ll be all set…and will be amazed at the quality of pieces you’ll be able to make and wear!


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