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Saturday, June 15, 2013

State of the Wardrobe Address


Five years ago I began a quest to stitch all my own clothes rather than purchasing them. I didn't have a blog then, and this sort of self-challenge is probably best made quietly in case of abject failure, haha. Notice I haven't made any announcements about eating less chocolate? Right.

Well, as it turns out, purchasing store-bought clothes has a much, much weaker pull on me than chocolate does. In fact, in comparison to the thrill of making my own (and it's worth mentioning: in inverse proportion to my sewing skills) clothes shopping is dull.

Now, at the five-year mark, I thought I'd inventory every stitched item I own and see where I stand. "Every stitched item" includes, well, every stitched item. That means it excludes anything knitted, like socks and sweaters, but includes undergarments, outerwear, swimwear, exercise gear, etc.

What have I purchased in the last five years? 1 coat, 1 jacket, 1 pair of gloves, and underwear (which I wasn't interested in counting).

What have I gotten rid of? I've gradually weeded out and replaced the bulk the casual clothes I wear everyday. My remaining ready-to-wear is a lot of the extraneous stuff and dressy clothes. Many of my handmades have also been weeded out for various reasons; some of them have plain worn out.  Some of my RTW garments are nice, and I don't plan to get rid of them just because I didn't make them.

I was surprised at the percentages I came up with, as I thought I had sewn a greater percentage of my wardrobe than I have. I think my perception was thrown off by the fact that I've sewn most of my casual clothes, the stuff I reach for every morning. Clearly, some more weeding out is in order, as I'm not wearing much of what I own.


Click to make the charts bigger.



Below, I've broken down two of the categories into the sub-categories:





I plan to update the graph in my sidebar periodically.

How long do I aim to continue this madness? Until some other ridiculous challenge tickles my fancy, I suppose.



20 comments:

  1. I've just started this same journey and I love seeing your progress.

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    1. Good for you! It's a very fun challenge.

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  2. Yes, but in fact this is great. If you did another graph - frequency of wear - your hand-mades would score much higher. That's evidence that you are sewing for the life-style you have, rather than an imaginary/fantasy life-style. Also rarely worn RTWs tend to persist in your wardrobe simply because they are rarely worn - so they never wear out! My scores would be similar. My plan s to sew a fall coat, a winter coat and underwear - kind of dreading the initial stages of bra-making, though!

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    1. You're right - it'd be interesting to track frequency of wear for a short period of time. I haven't participated in the Me-Made months lately, as I'm "always" wearing me-mades; it's not a challenge.

      I think my pattern collection represents that imaginary/fantasy life-style! Too many dresses, hehe.

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  3. I find it interesting that bottoms (which seem to be the least sewn by most sewists due to fitting issues) is the handmade item you've sewn them most vs. purchasing. I really enjoy it when you break down your sewing into graphs/pie charts!;)

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    1. Thanks - I'm glad other people enjoy my nerdy endeavors (:

      I thought the same things about bottoms. Bottoms are more challenging to sew but, I think in my case, they're easier to fit.

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  4. Lol I love your graphs and charts. It appeals to my organized nature. It sure is eye opening to see in print what you have sewn and what you thought you've sewn. I think you are doing a great job! I also think it is amazing that you make time to sew things for yourself; I seem to get caught up in children's sewing too much of the time.

    I also agree that it sure is dull now to shop for clothing. It all seems way overpriced and cheaply made.

    I did just pick up an underwear pattern from Jalie. I have yet to try it though. It seemed like an excellent fabric scrap buster so I'll get around to it sometime. The kids will probably laugh at me for sure!

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    1. I've been eyeing that underwear pattern, too. But I need to make another effort at the Ottobre one I already own, first. And just wait 'til you're making the kids undies. They won't be laughing then!

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  5. This is great! Congratulations. You've really accomplished a lot. I also don't buy much rtw these days

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    1. Thanks! I think as your skills increase (ever so gradually), you know you actually CAN make what you see in the shops.

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  6. Very interesting nerdy graphs there :-).. I see 2 areas where you can improve the proportion almost effortlessly, and with great satisfaction: pjs and undies. You can make them as comfy/glamorous as you want, as you could not find or afford to buy, in a blink. In fact, nothing compares to homemade pjs for comfort (well, handknit socks but we won't go there). I like nice bottoms, and complement with wearing-out ts I can't take to work any more, looks good and feels virtuous while skipping all the fussy parts. I have an old McCalls that's wonderful to wear (deep back crotch curve for sidesleeping comfort) and instant to make, no side seam at all, no pockets. And I've been very happy turning out 15mn pairs of matching undies from my one Jalie pattern, from those t-shirt scraps that are too small to make another but too big to throw out without guilt. No time at all since it's all including in the tee.
    See, you've hit a virtual 75% already, without even thinking about it.

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    1. Ok, I'm off to make undies, hehe. I do make all my pjs, but have some holdovers (old t-shirts, mainly) still.

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  7. This is great!! Obviously I do not think it is madness to make all your own clothes at all since I am doing exactly the same thing! It's been an enormously rewarding challenge to myself to make all my own clothes, and I've not been tempted to buy anything for years, including socks, tights, undies or bras.

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    1. No, you wouldn't think it is madness, would you (: Your self-made wardrobe is very inspiring. I can't imagine anything in the stores would tempt you much!

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  8. Amazing. I think your stats are super impressive. I was doing well not buying any rtw but I just slipped up and bought several post partum things. They were needed. And I do love a nerdy graph! Excited to see your progress.

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    1. You made oodles of amazing maternity wear, something I never did, so I think we'll forgive you buying a few things (:

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  9. Now I'm curious about mine! At first thought I'd say that most of my clothes are me-mades, too, these days (which I am doing for much the same reason you are---it's more fun) but once you start counting the "rarely worn" stuff the proportion would get much more even, just like yours. hmm. Good work! :)

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  10. Really interesting! I agree with the Ruth at the top who suggested you need to look at frequency of wear rather than number of items.
    I have been making the effort to wear my seldom-worn items, to try to work out whether there is something wrong with them or "more right" about the things I DO wear. I am definitely a creature of habit and get into ruts very easily. Boring!

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