Back in the early 2000’s I was obsessed with the idea of sewing my own clothing. I worked really hard at it in my college days, scraping together every penny I had to buy patterns, machines, gadgets, fabric and even go to the American Sewing Expo. I made a few things but never really got good enough to make my own clothes.
After college I pretty much packed everything away and moved on to other things.
Having that quick win with making the 18th century outfit really did something for me. I am inspired to sew again. The dust is off my sewing gear!
My goal is to not go out and buy more fabric but to use the stuff I have for now.
So first on the cutting board was a full size cotton sateen sheet set (doesn’t fit my bed anymore) and some paisley fabric probably meant for home décor but oh well. I like it.
My first project was simple. I drafted and sewed a 1 piece shirt. The neckline, sleeves and hemline are hand finished as I did with the 18th century outfit. I love the look of hand stiches. Even the simplest items become precious.
Meanwhile I began to analyze my current wardrobe and what I’ve worn over the last 10 years. Literally everything was made in another country mostly China. Very cookie cutter. All but about 3 garments were made of natural fibers.
Pants: all straight leg in black, grey, tan or blue jean Shirts: princess cut button downs, basic tunics, crew neck tees, shells and sweaters, a few wrap shirts and peasant tops.
So simple. I could make the same clothing and personalize it. Couldn’t I?
I read the book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. It made me consider for the first time how it is possible to have the clothing that we wear at low prices. Sewing clothing takes time and skill make. In the mainstream we have devalued it to the point of a low cost disposable commodity.
It would be easier to make a strong case for practicing traditional textile techniques if I wore handmade clothes. Plus it’s fun and rewarding.
Next project was a Lutterloh shirt (pattern system that uses your measurements to enlarge quarter sized patterns using dots that must be connected). I chose a simple wrap shirt with shoulder darts.
Next I moved on to the Simplicity 4273 wardrobe.
So far skirt and shell turned out okay. Pattern alterations were needed for the waist because well, I’m shaped like a pear, darnit.
So far so good. I’ll try the jacket next. As a wise little train once said, “I think can, I think I can.”