I am currently in the process of transitioning from an almost entirely shop bought wardrobe to one that is predominately me made. This sounds like quite a huge undertaking, and if I was exchanging garments on a one out, one in basis it certainly would be! However I believe that it can, and should be a fairly simple process – albeit a slow one.
So why transition at all?
I currently live in a delightful, but tiny, house in a peaceful village in Buckinghamshire. It’s a bit like a one bedroom flat with added stairs. My kitchen is the size of a generous larder and the bedroom is not much bigger – in London it would be classed as a generous double as you can physically get around the outside of the bed. However you would not want to try and get a king size in there! As you can imagine storage space is quite tight, particularly when you consider that I do not live alone. Our house has to accommodate myself, my fiancé and our 2 feline fur babies, Leo and Kiki, not to mention all the supplies for my crafting hobbies and the musical instruments that I will one day learn to play (keyboard and guitar) or revisit and improve my skills on (violin).
In the bedroom itself we have managed to fit a double bed, 2 bedside tables, 2 chests of draws and my relatively small yarn and fabric stash. There is also an alcove which we use as a wardrobe – it is slightly narrower than the door to the bedroom itself and just deep enough to hang things on a tension rail. My clothes take up most of the wardrobe, one of the chests of draws, and several vac pac bags in the loft. Many of them don’t fit properly and I tend to return to just a few items over and over again. My poor other half has to make do with just one chest of drawers for all his clothes.
My thinking is that by transitioning to a predominately me made wardrobe – note that I am not aiming for 100% – I will actually be able to minimise my wardrobe by being far more mindful of what it contains, ensuring that all the items I own fit well and can be combined with several others effectively in a capsule type style. My clothes would therefore be worn on a more active rotation and provide me with multiple options for outfits, rather than being forgotten about behind all my usual go tos.
I am aiming to transition to a 75/25 wardrobe over the next few years. In order to achieve this I have begun thinking about capsules by using the Design Your Wardrobe programme run by Seamwork. Over the course of four weeks Seamwork takes you through a series of tasks to help you analyse your existing wardrobe and identify projects that will work alongside items you already own. By the end of the month you will have produced a mood board, a series of looks that you are aiming for, a plan of which items you are going to tackle and a priorities list for those projects. I have found that this process has made me approach my upcoming projects with a much greater sense of intention than my usual SQUIRREL approach.
I have opted to begin my transition with nine sewing projects to make over the course of the next few months. On my list are three pairs of trousers, three tops and three dresses, all of which I plan to make in browns, greys and blues with splashes of yellows, particularly mustard, and the occasional orange and chartreuse splash. I’m planning to make two sewn garments from my list per month, although if I have time I will obviously make more! These sewing projects will sit alongside my ever growing knitting queue and my full time job, but I think it should be manageable whilst allowing for the occasional SQUIRREL to jump out at me.
My Sewing Queue
I will, of course, be sharing my progress with these projects as I go, both here and on YouTube. You can also find more of my thought process and inspiration, including colour schemes and fabric ideas, on Pinterest.