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Handmade Wardrobe // My Handmade Year

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BlousesRound

Happy New Year friends! I've now returned to the store after a short (and much needed) break. I love the start new year and the freshness and renewed motivation it brings and figured that now was the perfect time to reflect upon my experience going 100% handmade this past year in order to make meaningful goals for the next.

This January marks a whole year of purchasing zero ready to wear garments. There was one exception to the rule -a technical weatherproof jacket as a necessity for our recent trip to Iceland which yes, in theory I could have made but taping all those seams etc. No. Just no. All replacements required have been made including knitting myself 3 pairs of socks.

I've found the experience a breeze for the most part, though upon reflection I've noticed that I've somewhat fallen out of love with my clothes. Over the course of several years my sense of self and personal style has diminished, my clothing becoming more and more functional rather than an expression of self, so in anticipation of a change I've had a big clear out. A purge of all tired worn out garments and many of the ready to wear items languishing unworn.

(like many of you I'm sure!) find myself drawn to making the new and shiny, with often no regard as to whether this will fit my shape, style and the remainder of my wardrobe, or making a knee jerk 'this fabric would look great as...' and this is what I plan to tackle going forward with more thoughtful makes.

With this in mind I've taken some snapshots of a large chunk of my handmade wardrobe to gain some clarity in 1) what I have, 2) what I wear and 3) what I love to wear. Sadly with the current lack of natural light these pictures have been brightened significantly and as such are not the best! They are, however, intended to provide an oveview of the whole rather than details of individual parts so we'll go with it and pick my handmade wardrobe apart!

Brace youself -this is a lengthy one! Let's go!

Dresses2

DRESSES (Left to right) Self drafted shirtdress in polycotton gingham | Sequin Grainline Scout modficationGrainline Alder in AGF Cotton | Megan Nielsen Sudley in palm print Viscose

This is one area of my wardrobe I'd like to expand upon. Day dresses are so easy to wear (throw it on and out the door!) but sadly none of these are without issues. The sudley in particular was a brave dabble with a new easy fitting silhouette that, with my small stature, I'm still not convinced is quite right for me. The gingham shirtdress is something I'd like to revisit. The quality of fabric lets it down as well as needing several fitting refinements but it's essence has real go-to potential. Buffalo plaid? Yes please!

Blouses4

Blouses3

BLOUSES (Left to right) Deer & Doe Bruyere | D&D Datura in Friedlander cotton | Grainline Scout in Double Gauze | D&D Melilot in Atelier Brunette Cambric

Separates are my sewing bread and butter. I most like to make wearable mix and match workhorses. Of the garments above, the Melilot is my absolute favourite and gets worn straight from the laundry. It's smart casual so feels put together but great for every day wear and I'll be making more of these for sure! The Datura falls into 'Bad Combo' territory. Love the pattern, love the fabric, but Kaufman quilting cotton is simply too crisp for this garment.

My Bruyere, despite being unsure from a personal style perspective, sees a lot of wear. Sadly it's looking tired from excessive laundering so this one is on my replacement list (perhaps in chambray?). For some unknown reason I'm also not sure about the double gauze Scout, despite loving both the fabric and pattern. I think certain items need styling consideration... More of that to come!

 Jeans3

BASICS (Left to right) Closet Case Nettie in stripe jersey | Nettie in AGF Jersey | Named Alexandria trousers in Viscose | Named Jamie jeans in cheap Stretch Denim

I live in bodysuits. I have one or two RTW ones in need of replacements but these Nettie's are in almost constant rotation. I can't bear the bunching of tucked in tees so these are super comfy. I have yet to perfect the fit as I shortened the bodice of my second at the shorten line rather than where it really needed it (that pesky shoulder area!). This will definitely be made again (...and again!).

Trouser wise I love these Named Clothing Alexandria Peg Trousers. Secret (or not so) pyjamas. My issue with these in their current guise, as above, is with styling. I think they need to be dressed up for a chic rather than loungewear look. I love Yasmin's recent wool pair so see more of these in my future. The Jamie jeans became a bit of a running joke in terms of my WIP pile. I eventually finished them off but they truly are a wearable toile. The quality of stretch denim is not great ergo these jeans are not great. When I get around to pair number two I have faith that they'll see a lot of wear.

On the subject of the Jamies (as I've yet to cover details with these) after much deliberation I chose a pale blue topstitch. I used a vintage cotton from my inherited thread statsh but should have realised (having a sewing 'Moment') that the cotton would not have the required strength to cope with the stress of the vertical seam across the knee. Obviously with hindsight the stitching has popped. Polyester FTW in this instance.

Skirts

SKIRTS (Left to right) Dunga-Moss Modification | Grainline Moss in indigo denim | Deer & Doe Brume in marl ponte | Moss in Kaufman corduroy

Moss with tights and boots has been my staple outift this winter. The denim toile was a near fit which for me is almost unheard of! In my first Vlog entry I talked about small changed including increasing the curve of the waistband and reducing the yoke a fraction. The 'Dunga-Moss' (as it's affectionately known) came about after seeing loads of glorious Cleo pinafores but wanting something with a little more detail and definiton at the waist. This first incarnation needs a little tweaking in the strap placement and a touch more ease to enable me to layer a little more but it's a great start and I love the clean front with side button fastening. Brume in our grey marl ponte di Roma is a great skirt -comfy and smart, though more styling consideration needed here regarding the length to stop the ensemble looking frumpy.

So there we are, nit-picked to within an inch of it's life! A self-indulgent endeavour that I hope may yield one or two helpful points for consideration for your own sewing plans. I'm off to digest this info and return with some sort of strategy!

To Be Continued...

x Marie

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  1. I love each one of your creations, which over the year have encourage me to become more adventurous with my own clothes making. I am aiming to go completely handmade this year (with the exception of socks which I will buy from small independent businesses instead of big named corporate stores) so will continue to follow what you do for inspiration.

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  2. Marie, I love everything you've made and you totally inspired me to start a Melilot when my Mum and I met you briefly in the shop a few months ago. Its good to have a bit of a review of the year and take stock of what worked and what didn't but I think you've got some great patterns to build on! x

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