2017 Make Nine: A Handmade Wardrobe Project

020617 2017 make nine 01.png

I am so so late to the Make Nine party! If you're not familiar with the concept (because I only learned about it a week ago), it's where sewists all over the web declare their handmade intentions for the year. It's a brilliant concept created by the lovely Rochelle at Home Row Fiber Co.

The truth is, I've been thinking about making my own clothes for a while, but every time I even halfway entertain the idea, I keep coming back to one thing: I don't have time for this. To be honest, I don't even have the skill level. BUT, I realized that I also don't have time to hop from store to store to find less than a handful of things I actually like only to discover that none of them fit well. Or to spend hours pouring over websites to finally make a purchase and then... surprise... it doesn't look half as good as it did online. The reality is that I can sew a simple pattern (including searching for and watching tutorial videos) in the same amount of time it takes me to drive to a shopping center, find parking, become disenchanted with everything, and return home exhausted (and with nothing).

First world problems, I know. I'm fully aware that if I have a choice about what to wear or how to spend my time, this usually means I'm doing just fine. I get that. But I'm also not kidding when I tell you that my wardrobe is...minimal. Like, "somebody please get this girl a gift card to Old Navy" kind of minimalism. When it comes to being human, fashion is my weakest subject.

And I'm going to be completely honest: sometimes I just really don't care about outfits. Not because I think it's silly or trivial, but mostly because I have a hard time when I'm taken at face value. Although, it's not lost on me that this is essentially what happens while building a platform online. What I'm trying to say is that I don't want someone to be attracted to me (romantically nor platonically) based on what I'm wearing. What about my mind? My heart? My borderline obsession with vegan cupcakes?? Anything but my clothes! My introverted soul craves more than that. Just to be clear, it's not like I'm walking around showerless and disheveled (I definitely am NOT). I know how to dress when I have/want to, I just don't really put any effort into my regular everyday wear.

But that ends now.

I want to wake up and get excited about getting dressed in the morning. I want my clothes to tell stories and hold memories. I want to remember how I felt when I first ran my hands over the fabric that would eventually become my favorite dress. I want to think about how I wore my first pair of self-made jeans during an exam and how it made me feel just a little bit more confident in myself and my abilities in general. I want to stop spending money on stuff that's "just OK" and "works for now". I want to wear what I love. If I'm going to put the time, money and energy into revamping my wardrobe, I'm going to do it for things that 1) I actually like, 2) were made to fit my body and current lifestyle, and 3) hold value... in more ways than one.

Fast fashion just isn't working for me anymore... for many reasons. This includes the social, health, and economic implications for the factory workers and entry-level employees in the industry. I won't pretend that adding a few handcrafted pieces to my closet will solve everything, and the reality is that I'll probably still buy a few items here and there. But I'm taking baby steps in the direction of the life I want to live. And that feels good.

So, without further ado, here are my make nine picks!

020617 2017 make nine 02.png
  • Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts. An early favorite, I love everything about this dress. I envision it being an easy option to throw on before class or running errands, especially in the spring and summer months. The first time around, I plan on lengthening the bodice and skirt for a better fit. Next, I hope to extend the length again for a maxi dress! Photo credit.
  • Zinnia Skirt by Colette Patterns. Pretty much my dream skirt. I'm thinking I should make one in chambray and one in yellow ochre (my favorite color).
  • Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files. The thought of making my own jeans kind of terrifies me, but I think I'm up for the challenge. These Ginger jeans have received high marks from just about everyone who has tried them. Photo credit.
020617 2017 make nine 03.png
  • Long sleeve cowl neck dress. This is actually a ready-to-wear dress, so I don't have a pattern. The company that sells it doesn't have the best customer reviews, so I wouldn't feel comfortable purchasing even if I wanted to. Since I don't have a pattern, I haven't the slightest idea how to make it. I just know that I love it! Apparently, my signature aesthetic is "anything that resembles a wearable blanket". I'm hoping once I gain more experience, I can piece together a few patterns to get the look I want. Photo credit.
  • Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio. I've seen this jacket quite a few times on Instagram. It's perfect for those cold-but-not-so-cold non-rainy days in the PNW. Photo credit.
  • Yuzu Raglan Coat by Waffle Patterns. I already have a winter coat, but it would be nice to switch it up every now and then. I really like the lines and architectural quality of this one.
020617 2017 make nine 04.png
  • Oversized dress (source unknown). Another dress without a pattern. I found the photo online and instantly liked it. I'm thinking this could be another one where I piece together two patterns to get the desired look. We'll see. I envision myself wearing this on those quiet Saturdays where all I want to do is drink tea and make art or read a good book. Photo credit.
  • Ridge + Wedgwood Bundle by Straight Stitch Designs. I'm kind of cheating because this is a top and skirt bundled into one product. So, I'm actually doing a make ten! You know me... always the rebel. I love the pure easiness of this skirt and top. Perfect for meeting a friend for coffee or lunch and then roaming the halls of a beautiful museum!
  • Archer + Alder by Grainline Studio. This is actually a case where two patterns were already put together to get the desired effect. I've been looking for a loose-fit long sleeve shirtdress for at least a year. Sold! Photo credit.

I have no idea if I'll be able to complete nine (er, ten) items this year. That feels like a lot right now. But, even if I make one thing that's actually wearable, it's more than I made last year (I attempted a shirt that hasn't seen the light of day because... well... it needs "help").

Also, I picked a lot of dresses/skirts! That's really interesting to me considering I hardly ever buy them in store. I'm not sure where this strong desire for a closet full of dresses is coming from, but that's what I'm being drawn to, so I'm going with it!

Well, here we go! Wish me luck (because I'm definitely going to need it). And if you're embarking on your own handmade wardrobe project... I'd love to hear about it! Happy sewing!