Working on my everyday wardrobe

Summer in Portland MaineI’ve had a pretty good year (granted, my first year!) of cranking out handmade garments, and I’m finally starting to feel like I have handmade items that I can grab and wear on a regular basis.  As my old clothes are starting to wear out, I’ve been replacing them with handmade ones.  Although I love sewing pretty dresses, I’ve been trying to think more about what I actually wear everyday and making an effort to sew more casual and practical pieces.  Let’s face it — I work in a lab, often doing physical labor and spilling things on myself, and pretty dresses are just not in the cards!  Maybe one day I’ll have a fancy office job again.  : )

Anyway, a few weeks ago I started taking note of how many handmade garments I had worn each week, based on the pile of laundry that I tackle every Sunday.  It’s been about 3 pieces per week, consistently, for the past month or so.  Not bad!  I’ve been feeling good about my progress, and yes, even feeling a little smug when I do the laundry.  : )  Considering I had zero handmade garments just a year ago, I’m calling this a success.

A big part of my success rate is my drawer of Renfrews, currently holding at 6 (with fabric for 2 more in the stash).  These tops are just so easy to wear and care for, and they fit perfectly into my everyday lab uniform.  They may not be sewing masterpieces, but they’ve been a great push in getting me to a 100% handmade wardrobe (which is still very far away, but I’m getting there).

I’ve also been wearing my skirts and dresses, like the yellow dress pictured above, which I wore to a work event earlier this week with black tights and a black floral cardigan.  Skirts are generally reserved for the weekend, but I’ve been making a concerted effort to wear them every Saturday.  And seeing as how my first Beignet is now finished (photos coming soon!), I now have more winter-friendly options.

All in all, this whole handmade wardrobe thing is pretty liberating.  : )

What percentage of your wardrobe is handmade?  And if you have a 100% handmade wardrobe, how long did it take you to get there?

4 thoughts on “Working on my everyday wardrobe

  1. I’ve been sewing for years, and my wardrobe is still only about half handmade. Some of that is because my style has changed over the years so I’ve gotten rid of plenty of clothing that I’ve made. And it’s only in the last couple years that I’ve stopped purchasing any RTW, but I still have plenty of older clothing that is in fine shape and fits well, so I’m not going to get rid of it just because I didn’t make it. But, as I find new holes in my wardrobe or get rid of old RTW, I always replace it with handmade. So, it’s a process. But it certainly is exciting to see your closet fill out with handmade garments, isn’t it!?!


    • Definitely! That’s a good point – it must take a long time to completely replace all the RTW items in your wardrobe, particularly if you hold onto things for many years. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still have some sweaters from when I was about 14 years old. Ha. You said it well – it’s a process. : )


  2. I only have a few handmade items so far, but not much for fall/winter. I wear my Renfrews, undershirts, and leggings regularly, but I need to make more. I’m just such a slow sewer! On the upside, I haven’t actually bought any new clothing since I started sewing, so I’m sure the transition will just happen gradually over time. Plus, I have lots of hand knit sweaters, hats, etc, so I guess I do wear something handmade almost every day. I can’t wait to see your Beignet!


    • That’s great! I feel like knitting is the perfect way to fill some of the wardrobe holes left by sewing – e.g., wool sweaters. (I was obsessed with knitting years ago, but sadly my knitting mojo is gone.) I’m impressed that you’ve stopped buying RTW already – that’s awesome! I’m slowing down but still buy a few things occasionally. And I’m a slow sewer too. We’ll both get there eventually! : )


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