The Before

August 1, 2016
Wardrobe July 2016


My current wardrobe is a mixture of handmade, vintage, and store-bought items.

I started this project by going through my clothing and clearing out anything that doesn’t fit, including some handmade items (no giant trash bags of clothing here, though. I didn’t own that much stuff, to begin with). I’ve been thinking about doing this project for a long time and have been waiting on replacing worn out items until now. To avoid unnecessary waste, I will phase out any store-bought items that still fit me as they reach the end of their lifespan.

I have 92 clothing items in total, including summer and winter clothes. When I looked at what I own, I was actually embarrassed. For starters, 36 of those items are workout clothes. I do a lot of hot yoga, but still: that’s 39%! These items fall more on the athletic side of the “athleisure” continuum and aren’t really for wearing outside (not that I don’t try on occasion). I kept 11 handmade items, representing only 12%.

Items needed:

  • Office wear – a trench coat, pencil skirts, blouses, etc.
  • Coats of all kinds. I have worn my winter coats to death and don’t currently own one.
  • At least one swimsuit. I don’t own even one of those either. And I live by the ocean!
  • PJs. Wow, they’re threadbare. Let’s make some pyjamas.
  • Knitwear of all kinds and weights.
  • Bras. I’ve never made one before, but I’ve been enviously following along with all the lovely makes I’ve seen online.
  • Leisure wear. I am in need of comfy clothes! I keep commandeering my partner’s t-shirts and sweaters, much to his chagrin.
  • Jeans. As in, I only have 1 pair of jeans and they need to be replaced.
  • Dresses. I have a few formal ones, but they certainly aren’t for running to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning.

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  • Reply Anemone August 2, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Hi Erica! I love how you’ve taken the time to clean out, take stock and make a plan for what items you should tackle first. Gets me thinking, I should really make myself a better plan since I’m trying (successfully for 6 months ?) to no longer buy ready to wear items. I look forward to following your project!

    • Reply August 2, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Thank you so much! I’m hoping this helps me keep my fabric shopping in check too 🙂

  • Reply Heather August 2, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    So excited for you, Erica! I crocheted a sweater this summer (because it can’t be all unicorns), but also did a stuffed mermaid (because it can’t be all sweaters!). As usual, you’re an inspiration. Good luck–can’t wait to follow you during the process.

    • Reply August 2, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you so much Heather!

  • Reply Johnnie Hinders August 26, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Don’t be discouraged if the final look of the garment isn’t totally what you were envisioning. Often times, getting the perfect fit from a garment takes a little modification to the pattern. Write down where things might seem a bit off. If you’d rather your top be three inches longer write that down. With every garment you sew, you’ll learn how to adjust the fit of the item for your body shape. This is the best part of a handmade wardrobe! Every item is tailored to your measurements! If you don’t totally love what you made, and you’re sure you’ll never wear it, that’s totally ok. But, don’t hang it up in your closet. Offer it to a friend who might like the item better, or repurpose the fabric for another pattern. If nothing else, chalk up the sewing fail to a learning experience.

  • Reply Wardrobe Update #1 – The Handmade Wardrobe December 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    […] The percentage of handmade items compared to store-bought items has grown from 11% to 23%, but this is also because I have been able to get rid of some additional garments (my total number of garments has actually gone down from 94 to 92). You can see what I started with here. […]

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