Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Handmade Wardrobe Project: Getting started

There are not many handmade items in my wardrobe but following the relative ease of my 'Trace a T-shirt, Make a Wardrobe' dress I am going to start making make more of my own clothes. This has been on the cards for a while - especially as many of my favourite bloggers are 'polycraftual' and have been writing about handmade wardrobes for some time. I've been seriously thinking about it in the last week but my plans are far from serious, involving quick (fun) projects, many of which I hope can be improvised. So where to start?
Crafts from the Cwtch Handmade Wardrobe Project - sewing, knitting & crochet
Throughout Me Made May I found myself listening to/ reading a lot of different opinions about garment-making. One thing that consistently came up was the value of working out what's missing from one's existing wardrobe and using this to decide which pieces would make the other things "work" better. With this in mind I've done a bit of analysis...

Lifestyle  and Requirements
I'm a mum and I have a dog. We live in a small English village which is surrounded by farmland, and I walk between five and seven miles in an average day. I work from home and 90% of my social life is with friends from the same village. The reality is that I need practical clothes that can be worn with comfortable shoes (for all the walking), whatever the weather.

I love to accessorise with brightly coloured knitwear and jewellery so my clothing needs to be fairly neutral (this is a particular problem as I usually end up buying from two shops whose clothes suit my shape but where they mostly sell patterned things). I prefer loose-fitting garments which can be layered and co-ordinated for multi-season use. The colour palette needs to take this into account. 

The "Plan" 
I plan to start with a few different tunic tops which can be worn with jeans or leggings (which I already have plenty of), or possibly as a dress with sandals or tights/boots and additional layers. Dresses should be more comfortable and practical for me, but I typically have trouble when buying off the shelf clothing due to a generous bust combined with a short body (heck, a short everything - I am short!). Making things myself should be a good solution.

I'd like to knit, crochet and sew to make different garments, and to combine these three crafts for some of the projects too. The knitting and crochet should be fairly straightforward but as I'm impatient, an irregular size and averse to following patterns /love to improvise, the best way to start sewing seems to be drafting my own patterns. I loved making the dress from a t-shirt so this also seems a logical next step. Thanks to a 4-week course from Cal Patch it's also achievable. 
Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch
I'm going to fit the classes in as and when I can and I'm not working to a particular schedule except that I'd like to be able to join in with Me Made May 2016, so there is no rush. There is a distinct lack of fabric and sewing tools in my 'stash' so that's also a factor, but I'll update you with my progress here and on Instagram. I have to tell you that I am pretty excited about it all.

Related reading/listening: 
I'll be sharing links and resources as well as any patterns used, starting here with some of my inspiration. 
- Libby at Truly Myrtle has been inspiring me to sew for years as well as having lots of completely handmade outfits! 
- Creativebug all-inclusive sewing content, including the Cal Patch 4-week Pattern Drafting course, and the t-shirt-to-wardrobe class I took. (You can get a free trial if you don't already subscribe.)
- The book 'Design-it-Yourself Clothes' by Cal Patch is available at and

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  1. Yay!! Your ideas sound fantastic - I do love a tunic and The Cal Patch class looks great. You're going to have so much fun gathering supplies - bring on memademay16!

    1. Thanks Libby! Seeing all your garments and outfits has been a huge motivator. Xx

  2. WOOT!!! i'm so excited for you, and i think you are going to LOVE this journey! and remember that i'm always here for pep talks if you get stuck along the way!


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