I first worked with clothes at the age of 16, folding T-shirts and jeans at The Gap. I went on to become head of a visual and merchandising team and then left the corporate fashion world to design windows for independent boutiques. Working in retail taught me so much about the fashion industry: how companies respond (or don’t) to labour scandals, the sheer volume of items produced for and sold in the North American market, and how poorly those clothes fit the general public (how many hours did I spend in fitting rooms with women where they discovered that shopping for jeans was equivalent to hunting for a magical unicorn)?
I began sewing on a whim as an adult, picking up tips from everyone from my mother-in-law to YouTubers. I come from a highly-skilled family of quilters, woodworkers, and competitive gingerbread-house-makers and was delighted to learn how I could make clothes work for my petite and curvy body. As the range of available patterns exploded and fabric became increasingly easy to purchase online, I established the goal of creating a completely handmade wardrobe. As time went on, though, I realized I wouldn’t ever achieve that goal by creating an item every few months.
So, here we are. My aim is to create clothes that I love, that fit me perfectly, and that last for years. I am making it all in 18 months. To see what I started with, check out my Before post.
Exploring the realities of creation and consumption, My Handmade Wardrobe is an experiment in which I will sew/knit/create an entire wardrobe from scratch, including such items as winter coats, bathing suits, jeans, bras, underwear, and accessories. The project will reveal the real work and effort required to create the things we wear every day, highlighting which garments are actually easy to create and which pose the greatest challenges.
- Focusing on Indie designers
- Using Canadian suppliers whenever possible
- Creating exceptional items
- Tracking time and cost and the practicalities of each make