Sewing a New Summer Wardrobe

 Sewn Shirt no1, Cleo Skirt, Ogden Cami Dress, and Adventure Tank Dress. Not a bad start!

Sewn Shirt no1, Cleo Skirt, Ogden Cami Dress, and Adventure Tank Dress. Not a bad start!

As spring arrived, I was inspired to sew a new outfit for the season. I started with a few pieces, and that has quickly built to over ten garments sewn. I’ve got the bug and am excited to make a whole new spring/summer wardrobe.

A little backstory to this point – Three years ago I moved from Brooklyn to Keene NH. It was entirely a shock for many reasons and to deal with the transition I KonMari-ed my life. I won’t dive into that process or the life-changing magic of it (maybe another time). I did eliminate and declutter forcing myself only to keep/move things I loved. I’ve always been thrifty, hunting for sales and rummaging through clearance racks for the best deal sacrificing quality and pieces that fit well; so my wardrobe continued to streamline every season.

To add fuel to the fire, in December I went on an elimination diet that reset my system and got my health back on track. I gained muscle mass (wahoo), and lost a few inches in key places and clothes fit better. Now that spring is here, and I’ve officially descaled winter off of me, I wanted a ‘fresh start’ with some new clothes.

I started with a free two months subscription with (I’m not an affiliate) and learned the Cleo Skirt by Made By Rae. Sewing the skirt was a confidence booster to get re-acquainted with my sewing machine (it’s been ten years since I’ve sewn a garment). Then I made Purl Soho’s Boxy Tee Three Ways. Both patterns don’t require a serger, but I was feeling the bug and purchased a Brother Serger.

Cleo Skirt made with Cotton + Steele Fabric

The Cleo Skirt made with Cotton + Steele Fabric. Gave me the confidence to sew more pieces!

The serger was a game changer, and I quickly whipped up an Ogden Cami by True Bias, and then the Adventure Tank (thanks to Creative Bug) which was my first time sewing jersey knit. The online class helped me maneuver the jersey knit which was a first for me.

Ogden Cami & Adventure Tank

I found a Biscayne Pattern hack by A Happy Stitch which inspired me to turn the True Bias Ogden Cami into a Cami Dress. I added a pocket from my the Cleo Skirt. Then I hacked the Adventure tank into a dress.

My school of thought is – if I master a few fundamental patterns I can build a collection of pieces versatile enough to slowly replace items I no longer loved, didn’t fit or were too young. Little did I realize that I’m building a capsule wardrobe by sewing one garment at a time.

Since May I’ve made:

2 skirts
2 camis
1 cami dress
2 tank tops
1 tank dress
1 t-shirt.

Ultimately making these garments have helped me:

1. Be honest about my body type and what type of clothing looks best on me.
2. Has reinvigorated my creative side that is rewarding.
3. Mentally stimulated me by relearning/learning techniques in sewing that are all tools to make more difficult projects. It’s never too late to learn new things!
4. Save money. The cost of fabric is significantly cheaper, and overall I’ve spent about $80 on fabric to make these garments.
5. Save time – sounds funny but I no longer waste time shopping online or in person on clothes!
6. Helps me clarify wants vs needs. I’ve never been very fashionable or on-trend, and this makes me feel free from that to make the type of clothes I want.
7. It’s really rewarding and gives me a sense of accomplishment.
8. Be conscientious. This process has helped me think of who makes all of ‘stuff’ and the people behind the big brands we buy.

So now what?

  • I want to learn more about fabrics that are best for different patterns/silhouettes.
  • Make more staples that are less pattern crazy/busy.
  • Try to make some pants and casual t-shirts and layering pieces (New England summer evenings can be chilly).
  • Learn how to sew with knits.
  • Make my husband some t-shirts and golf pants (this is a stretch, but I’m going to try).
  • Find some activewear to replace old gym tops!
  • Make ridiculous matching t-shirts for my husband and me to wear and be obnoxious in.

Wish me luck! I’m not a great blogger or a writer, so this is my attempt at sharing my progress! Shout out to Karen for the push into blogging (again).

This time I may stick to it!



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