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!