Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Wardrobe and Sewing 2016

Back in 2008, during the third year of writing my blog, I wrote a post called "My Wardrobe and Sewing."  In it I talked about the fact that 90% of my wardrobe was made by me. I discussed what I sewed and why, and what determined a RTW purchase for me.

Several of you must have read it recently because it showed up in my "popular blog posts" listing on the sidebar. To be honest, I don't even remember writing that post but then I have been writing this blog for 10 years so that may be why.  Anyway, I thought I would update the post reflecting on my life now cause hey it never hurts to look back to help you move forward.

So in 2008 I said that I made about 90% of my wardrobe. I can say that's no longer true! Weight loss, job and lifestyle changes caused me to not only give away most of my wardrobe last year but it also changed what I wore and sewed. Presently I would put the percentage of me-made in my closet at 25-30%.


Which after years of having a predominantly me-made wardrobe is just astonishing to me...and was hard to handle during my first fall & winter at this job. Even though I'm sewing as fast as I can, it takes time to get to that number again...especially when you have to redevelop your TNT patterns.  

I have to tell you that I recently made a pair of pants and I'm not sure that I like them. The fit is close-fitting in the abdomen area and I hate the way it looks and feels. I think I've worked out a fix for a more comfortable fit but my pants pattern is still a work in progress. As of now, all of my bottoms are RTW with their inherent fitting issues. 

So let me ask you, how much of your wardrobe is me-made?  I know that since there are Me Made months held to highlight your makes, and there's more awareness/interest in sewing the majority of your own wardrobe ~ including underwear ~ how many of you have set a goal to sew the majority of your wardrobe?

This is the question of the day.  In 2008, there was a great conversation attached to that post.  48 people talked about their wardrobes and sewing.  If you left a comment then, I would love to hear from you now.  And if you weren't reading the blog then but would like to get in on the conversation, I would love to hear from you, too.

This is the Question of the Day - so talk back to me!

...as always more later!


82 comments:

  1. Intersting question, it depends on what season we're talking about. My spring/summer wardrobe is more me-made than my winter wardrobe. I have yet to sew a winter coat worthy of -30 C temperatures or ski-pants. And even though I found a good turtleneck sweater pattern, Burda 6990, it is tough to find that oh-so-warm merino wool fabric that I like to wear. So my me-made number drop in the winter season.

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  2. Hi there Carolyn,
    Mine is probably 90% me-made (excluding undergarments). It could even be more! For me things changed when I got a dedicated sewing space. It was easier and easier to sew for myself rather than go to the shops. Also, I've put on weight (again - it's a revolving door for me) and I can sew things that I like easier than I can buy them. My eldest daughter's wardrobe is probably 60% made by me.

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  3. My percentage varies with the type of garment: pants, tops, underpants 100% me-made. Bras 100% RTW (have been working on bra-making, but set it aside for now since I finally found a bra that fits the J-cup girls). Jackets/coats 50-50 (will be working on that one this winter).

    Perfecting TNT slopers/blocks is, IMO, the key to building a me-made wardrobe. It is not easy for most sewists! Achieving TNT nirvana meant that I had to learn to fit and not be afraid/reluctant to make muslins (muslin after muslin after muslin...). It hasn't been easy; as many folks mentioned in the 2008 comments, I, too, have an aging, menopause and gravity-ravaged body. (To be honest, though, patterns didn't fit me very well when I was young and taut. Big 4 patterns drafted for a B cup - that last applied to me when I was 12.)

    Great question!

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  4. Probably about 90-95% and I hope to increase that as I am starting making my own underwear. I am Dutch and tall but live in the Philippine so never buy clothes here for a number of reasons: 1. At 56 I find everything to short unless I would wear stockings which are just unbearable in the heat. 2. I can only wear natural fibers because of the heat and more than 50% of what is available here is some type of synthetic 3.I can get very cheap decent quality fabric here (usually left over fabric from garment factories and therefore a handmade wardrobe is very cheap 4. Lastly and maybe most importantly, I just love to sew!

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  5. I was a little saddened when you got rid of most of your wardrobe - it was a huge inspiration for me when I 'discovered' blogs about 4 years ago. I completely understand your reasons and I know that we all move on (as have I, style wise), nonetheless, I can be selfish if I so desire! I make everything I wear except knickers (panties) and tights/stockings. I even knit my own socks! So my percentage has to be around 95-99% me made. And I'm hoping to get those last bits of lingerie made by me in the near future. If I can make well fitting bras I must be able to make knickers!

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    1. Two toast - I was upset when I gave away all those me mades too! LOL! Change is challenging but I was getting into a rut sewing-wise and I'm no longer there!!!

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  6. About 80% of my regularly used wardrobe is me made. That's taken a few years of tail and error, finding my groove and my personal style. I think I'm almost there :) My rtw items tend to be jeans, shorts, and light weight cardigans.
    I definitely agree that find the shapes you love leads to finding/creating TNT patterns and that is key for me. There are so many hours in a day and I don't want to spend too much time trying and fitting new patterns.

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  7. I'm surprised your me mades are only 25 - 30%, as you have been sewing up a storm. I would be lucky to have 20%. I don't sew much and I don't buy as I keep thinking of all the fabric I have! I tend to stay around the same weight so have clothes for years.

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  8. I'd say about 50% of my wardrobe is memade and it's the most when half! In pretty happy with that though because I still love shopping
    Frankie
    http://knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

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  9. I wish my wardrobe was 90% me made but it's not. It would probably be about 30%, also depending on the season. I still love to shop and to be perfectly honest I just don't have as much time as I would like to sew. I also find it difficult to adjust patterns, but I am improving. I find your blog very inspiring.

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  10. At the moment most of my wardrobe is RTW - but I am slowly trying to change that. When I see a gap (currently a couple of autumn work dresses) I am making rather than buying so hopefully over time most of my wardrobe will come to be me-made. In the last couple of weeks I've also made underwear and have bought the Craft bra making course to try making my first me-made bra. Wish me luck :)

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  11. I would guess at 50% me made. I tried making underwear but the cost for elastic etc means rtw is infinitely cheaper. I don't make things I can buy so I can focus on filling the gaps that rtw just doesn't fit eg trousers.

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  12. Probably half of the clothes I wear often would be me made. Most of my casual trousers and shorts are me made, all trials for making work trousers. As my work shirts deteriorate I'm replacing them with me mades too. I've made some undies and am gearing up to make bras and bathers.

    I recently bought some tshirts and a pair of jeans. I needed them and ran out of time for sewing. Not sure I'll ever make jeans however, as my machine is not fond of several layers of denim.

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  13. Carolyn I rarely post choosing to stalk the sewing blogs. I read your blog weekly and get so much inspiration. I'm a 50 somethin' professional lady, and tired of cheap clothing found in the stores unless you spend hundreds of dollars. I started sewing for myself a couple of years ago and it has been a challenge. I live rural and no sewing buddies, so the internet is a valuable resource for me. I would still classify my skill level as beginner, but gaining confidence. 50% of my dresses are me made, but probably overall 10%. I aspire to one day be 75%. Thanks for all of your help!

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    1. Julie - thanks for emerging from the shadows! Thanks for leaving a comment!

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    2. Somehow my reply seems to fit here too! I'm similarly a seamstress who stalks and gets so much joy from sewing blogs including yours. Also professional, 45. My wardrobe is about, hm, 20% totally me-made but more like 35% me-made or altered. With kids at home there's not time to sew more! Thanks so much for your effort to write, I love to read your blog.

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  14. Hi Carolyn, I love your blog! I would say my wardrobe is about 50% me-made for professional clothes, and a lot less than that for casual and workout clothes. Like you, I am now in a job that is less formal than my previous position, so I hardly if ever wear some of my nicer me-made clothes now. However, I live somewhere with nice local fabric stores (Oregon), I finally have a jeans pattern I like, and I am starting to work on making workout clothes, so I hope I can slowly phase out my RTW items I still depend on. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the future!

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  15. I remember having lunch with you (maybe the first year we knew each other?), and I said "I love your top, did you make that?" You answered, "Honey, I make *everything* I wear." I decided then that I wanted my whole closet to be handmade.

    (Of course that means making some more conservative things I can wear to auditions, of which I have 2 pieces...)

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    1. I was such a little snot then wasn't i? LOL! Glad we're still friends!

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  16. Carolyn, like you I have experienced major lifestyle changes in the past few years. I went from a wardrobe of classic business apparel to wearing medical scrubs, which I refuse to sew! So my wardrobe is now 25% me-made. My sewing focus is now solely "pleasure-based" and not driven by building a wardrobe. It includes making a cute apron, a lace bra, a quilted skirt! Very different from my past sewing.

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  17. I'd have to guess I'm in the 80%-ish made by me category. I buy cardigans, simple shells & undergarments. All my pants/capris are me-made. I still have 3 or 4 store-bought skirts I wear, the rest are me-made. All of my suit jackets are me-made.

    I'm working on sewing tops next, but so far I don't have any TNT patterns. Still a work in progress. I will likely never sew undergarments, it doesn't really interest me. All my pj's/nightgowns are me-made, though.

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  18. I'm just starting out so about 10% is me-made. But except for a new suit (my first attempt didn't work out), I haven't bought store made clothes in a year! :)

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    1. Elizabeth - that's awesome that you haven't bought RTW in a year!

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  19. I have just decided to get back to garment sewing after 25 years. Well, fitting is a whole different story with this 67 year old body! Good fit is one of the main reasons I want to sew, and it is a very steep learning curve. i finally worked out a good pants TNT with the Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern and the Sarah Veblen pants fitting class on Pattern Review and a number of muslins. That was my biggest goal as RTW pants were not flattering. Then I thought tops would be a snap in comparison - wrong. I have just made 5 muslins to properly fit a Sewing Workshop shirt. Had to learn to do a fba, adjust for rounded back and forward shoulders, now trying to get the sleeves to hang in a normal looking manner! Who knew sleeves could be such a problem? I am hoping I am learning the shapes my body needs for good fit, and things will get easier. I bought a lot of nice fabrics that coordinate with each other and I don't want to wreck any of it with a poor fitting garment, so I buy a LOT of muslin. I read your blog regularly but have never commented before. I appreciate the good photos you blog of your makes.

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    1. Sydney - first congrats on coming back to sewing! Two, once you learn what your fitting challenges are you will apply them to new patterns going forward which will help. Three, thanks for the liking the blog and the pics. It seems like the writing is so much easier than the picture taking.

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  20. Hi Carolyn, such a great and timely question for me! I would say that 95% of my wardrobe is me-made, and I do wear my creations. I have a few RTW staples that I must clone the fit of--one being a favorite pair of distressed denim jeans that ironically recently wore out and another is a pair of white boyfriend style Calvin Klein jeans. I have dabbled in making my own lingerie but gave up on the time it will take to make a bra that actually fits and is comfortable! I have even made my own winter coats and would like to find a source for the outer-layers of a Columbia-style coat. Sue

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    1. Hi Sue, Check out Fabricline or Seattle Fabrics or Rockywoods for outdoor "Columbia-style" fabrics

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  21. I've enjoyed reading other people's comments! I think I'm stagnent at about 85-90%... and happy that way. I wear RTW cardigans 9 months of the year, and I'm not interested in trying to phase those out because I can't sew something better. (I like sewing waterfall cardis, but a fine knit cardi just can't be replicated!) Does it stress you out to have less me-mades than it used to, or is it feeling like a fun opportunity to sew new favourites?

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    1. Gillian - at the very beginning I was VERY stressed out! LOL! It had been years since I had to buy RTW and I've made some mistakes this year with quite a bit of it ending up in my donate pile. It seems that I read fabric site descriptions better than RTW site descriptions. Now I'm just stressed. I have more me made pieces but I can still go an entire week wearing RTW. I have to be vigilant and remember to add me made everyday...something I never worried about before.

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  22. I think about 80% of my wardrobe is made by me. I also knit. Some days I realize that I have made everything I am wearing that day except my shoes! I tend to reach for the items I have made, because since I am over 6 ft tall, my RTW items are all too short. I guess that means that I should get rid of those items as I replace them instead of holding on to them because "they are still good".

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  23. For tops, with the exception of a few RTW knits, everything is "me made"; for dresses it's 100%; pants 50/50, skirts 90%; and lastly, outerwear, almost 80%. Socks, shoes and undies are all RTW but that will change as soon as I can get a well fitting bra pattern. I tend to make things that can be easily sourced or that I must make because RTW just does not fit. Most days I wear what I make but I do live very casually so it's easy.

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  24. This is an interesting topic - I recently lost 46 lbs and had to make some hard decisions about what to sew, and what to buy. Before that, everything in my wardrobe except winter jackets, Jeans, socks and basic undergarments were me-made. I spent a long time years ago on learning pants alterations for my body, and I can't yet bear to do it all over again now that it's changed. So right now, my pants and shorts in the smaller size 100% RTW. You are so brave to get started :) I have been focused on sewing summer tops, running shorts, and on altering RTW pants. My running shorts are 60% me-made, my summer tops are 50/50. I've had to buy some RTW clothes, as I did not have enough time to sew to "catch up" after losing the weight, and I cannot look sloppy at work. I am hoping to start a nice fall wardrobe of dresses and blouses/skirts in my new size.

    Carolyn, I want to say that you have been an inspiration to me to keep on sewing and altering and learning to re-fit my self. I know I can gradually build up my wardrobe again. So, thank you!

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  25. Like so many others, I very much enjoy reading your blog and I'm inspired by it. I buy some undergarments, shoes and outerwear (and my goal is to make all of those at some point). Aside from that, I'm nearly 100% handsewn. My wardrobe is fairly small in comparison to many others, partly because I'm so picky and will donate something that starts to pill or sag or whatever. Thank you!

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  26. Carolyn, Your blog is my favorite. It pretty much is the only blog I reply to. My me made is probably 50% to 75% in my closet. But, my lifestyle has not changed and I have not had a big (wonderful!!!) weight loss. I buy bras and underwear because I am just not interested in sewing them and I buy some shirts and my blue jeans at the thrift store. I still make shirts but if I see a great color or fabric at the thrift store it will be mine! I usually have to refashion or alter the fit. I make pants I love but still like to wear bought Levi type worn denim jeans.
    When I read your comment to Gillian about the stressed out part I was sad. The changes in your life are fantastic but they mean changes in other areas of your life too. You are so creative and approach your sewing in an artistic way. I hope you wear your RTW on that fantastic new body and enjoy the journey and wearing of each new piece you create. My attitude is "Who cares how much me made I have in my closet", the journey being to learn more each day about sewing and my artistic style. I hope your stress lessens about how much me made you have. By the way you look great in your new sews and even though I see some of the old look now and then, I love it when I see you in a new sassy, biker chic (for lack of a better term) look. So you!

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  27. Probably about 85 to 90%. But, keep in mind that I have a fairly small wardrobe, and I'm a much slower sewer than you are. I don't wear dresses except when it's very hot. That means I need to make 2 to 3 pieces to get an outfit. Takes longer! I also sew coats for myself which takes quite a bit longer. I really need a non knit tnt pattern that would make my sewing faster and expand what I sew easily. I make so many knit tops and pants and I'd like to have some good fitting blouses. I spend more time altering patterns than I do sewing sometimes!

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  28. That is a hard question. 100% of my current wardrobe is RTW, but 60% or more is altered by me. After all of that work I have decided to just make my clothes. I have noticed that those brands that I have relied on for so long are catering to someone who does not reflect me or my style. So I am starting anew. Thank you for your blog. I feel like we are friends even though we have never met!😊

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  29. Me-made is not a goal for me, it's pretty much a necessity. I buy my undergarments (although I just took apart a well-fitting pair of panties to use as a pattern), and I usually can wear purchased tee shirts. Aside from that, nothing really fits off the rack. For about 5 years I wore nothing but dresses and skirts because RTW pants and jeans didn't fit and I was afraid of tackling the fitting challenges of me-made. I finally bit the bullet this Spring, and purchased the Style Arc Elle pattern. I've been working with it all summer, have made 5 pairs of "jeans", 1 pair of shorts, and 1 pair of dressier black ponte pants. All are wearable, some look quite good, but I'm still tweaking the pattern. This pattern has been a real confidence booster for me. I think I can use what I've learned about my lower torso shape to expand my repertoire of shorts, capris, jeans, and trousers so I can dress more like the retired lady I am! ;-)

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  30. If I had responded to your post in 2008 (I didn't start following until 2009) I would have said 80% me-made wardrobe excluding underwear. Now, since I've retired, I would say only 40%. Like you I wore classic, corporate outfits. Most of these garments have been donated away and I'm re-vamping my style and wardrobe which takes time. I sew mainly tops/tunics trying to give them a chic look and purchase most of my pants as I really don't like sewing them. And when I sew a jacket it's usually more 'artsy' in style. I'm enjoying this new style adventure and can really relate to your journey. Thanks so much for your blog. Karen

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  31. I make all my long sleeved clothes, since I evidently have monkey arms and I HATE it when my coat sleeves are too short. I used to make everything but after I gained weight I got so discouraged about how I looked, I basically stopped. But over the past several years I am getting back to it, and I make pretty much all my tops and blouses. I'm working on pants and am getting better at fitting them. I like interesting, unique clothes, so sewing for me is as much a creative outlet as it is for something to wear.

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  32. I would *love* to have at least 75% of my wardrobe me-made. It seems I sewed more when I worked full time. I hate rtw but I'm finding it harder to schedule me/sewing time now that I work part-time. Sounds silly doesn't it? I have more free time, but spend less time sewing. smh.

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  33. I enjoyed watching you make that 90 percent handmade wardrobe and I still enjoy watching and learning from you. I am at 90% or more because I seldom shop RTW. I do need to downsize my hand made items though just to make room.

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  34. My wardrobe is still dominated by hand sewn items. Regular RTW will never be long enough for me. Sleeve length will never be quite right. Pants might fit okay, but they'll never be long enough. I would always have to order from the store's online site for the tall length. Dresses will never have that perfect fit. They will always be a little loose on top. So it's still easier to make something I love thank settle for RTW pieces that I will nitpick every detail.

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  35. I would say my closet is maybe 70% handmade. After Me-Made-May, I stopped worrying about the ratio of handmade to RTW. I have too many clothes either way, so I just sew what I want for fun!

    Sewing is hobby that can become a lifestyle -- which can be really positive -- but it was becoming stressful for me. I was trying too hard to be "productive" in my free time, and after May I realized I have plenty of me-mades and there's no need to try to crank out more.

    I think we're all on a spectrum of RTW and Me-Made that fluctuates according out other factors in our lives, and no side of the spectrum is any "better" than any other.

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  36. Wow I feel like a slacker. I sew most of the time but I make quilts and purses. In my younger days I made my clothes but finally learned that bought was so much cheaper. I live in Southern California so the life style is so much different than most of you. I wear jeans and t-shirts most of the time. No need for nice work clothes and I almost never wear a dress. I love your blog so much and look forward to each new outfit. You are all terrific. One of my main issues is the cost of fabric and finding it. I think I will start with under pants and work out from there. LOL

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  37. Ive been sewing about 4 years and I'm amazed to find already that 90%+ of what I wear is made by me, it feels great and I love that I don't get bored of my wardrobe the way I used to with rtw clothes. I have enjoyed your journey this last year because about 4 months ago I started working from home most days and I had no idea what to sew anymore! Except for bras 100% of my work wardrobe was sewn but only about 20% of my home wear was because I had never put much value on what I threw on in the evening! So like you I had to figure out a new way of sewing and looking for a whole new bunch of patterns for comfortable casual clothes and I'm still finding my feet on that one! Love your blog, and admire the detail you put into the hidden parts like linings etc.

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  38. Your bog always inspires me! I began to sew my clothes at 9 yrs but switched to making quilts rather than clothes..and so it went for many years. What returned me to the world of apparel sewing was reading Elizabeth Cline's book "Overdressed" which led me to do more reading about the societal impacts of "fast fashion"...not that I wear or sew "on trend" anyway! I realized that I had the skills to be able to make clothes in patterns and fabrics tha make me happy and comfortable. I returned to apparel sewing with a newfound energy and passion. I do find it difficult to find the kinds of fabrics printed in simple designs that I prefer but Emma One Sock and Stylemaker have been a great 'find' .

    I am sad that "home ec sewing" is no,longer taught in schools...maybe it was the name "home ec" that just sounded boring?! I cannot imagine my life without needle and thread!

    Thanks for your inspiration and great sense of style!

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  39. I have to say that my wardrobe is about 50% RTW and 50% me made. I have an issue with my right leg called venous insufficient supply requiring me to wear compression knee high hose on that leg. So I have begun to wear a lot of pants as the more I wear the hose the less likely I will have to have surgery. Since I don't normally sew pants, thus I have increased my pant wardrobe with most purchased from Talbots cause those pants fit my petite size well. I have lots of dresses and skirts that are me made and not getting worn a lot. I spend most of my sewing time on tops, cardis, and jackets now. And an occasional dress.


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  40. I think I am at 50% made by me. I am still struggling with pants fit, so those are RTW. But I have to shorten and take in every pair! I can find jeans in RTW, but when I do, they stop making them. Tops dresses and jackets are mostly me made. Often I will find something I like in RTW and buy it to copy- like a dress to wear for a wedding if it is on sale. I have a brand of bra that fits perfectly- Wacoal- so I will never make those. I do make my coats as it is such a pain to shorten sleeves in RTW. I do feel the pressure to sew and wish I had more time to do it. I am a president in ASG and like to wear something I have made to meetings.

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  41. Carolyn, I, too, have been reading your blog consistently since right before your basement flooded. I didn't know there was such a thing as sewing blogs when I discovered yours. I was sick for you when that happened, but delighted when you had re-established your sewing cave and was amazed at the abundance of fabric. I have not commented before, but want to take this opportunity to compliment you, not only on you expert sewing craftmanship, writing and explanatory skills, and beautiful photos, but on your dedication to continue writing the sewing blog. To answer your posted question: I haven't started sewing yet. Thank you for your continued blog and inspiration.

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    1. Sally - I'm honored that you've followed me for the last couple of years and don't sew! That is so awesome and mind boggling because I just never thought I would appeal to someone who doesn't sew. My blog posts can be so technical at times so thank you, thank you, thank you for following my sewing adventures!

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  42. I wear a LOT of handmades now. So much so that on the rare occasion that I'm wearing all RTW, I'm shocked. :)

    But I think it's easiest to quantify by category for me.

    Pants - 100% handmade
    Dresses - 90%
    Tops - 50%
    Skirts - 60%
    Jackets/cardigans - 50%
    Outerwear - 90%
    Jeans - 20% (I find sourcing good jeans denim tough; but then I don't wear jeans very often).

    I haven't caught the activewear, bra or underwear bug. I think those are categories that don't excite me because of the material sourcing. For example, I love the Kwik Sew skort I made and then realized I need better fabric for the shorts portion.

    While I know it had to sting to get rid of so many well made lovelies, it seems like it would be so fun to be able to rebuild a whole new wardrobe.

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    1. Okay Keisha let me just disavow you of that "fun to be able to rebuild a whole new wardrobe" theory now. It sucks! Seriously sucks! I've had this conversation a lot with Shams who also lost a lot of weight. Just the creative blow to losing your TNT patterns is enough to make you want to pack it in. I guess if I liked sewing new patterns a lot it would be fun but honestly the thrill in sewing for me is reworking my TNT patterns into whatever I can think or dream. Now I'm back to basic fitting and reworking patterns. I still don't have a pants pattern...so no baby girl it is not fun to rebuild a wardrobe...so much sew that when the Dr. tells me what a great job I did on losing the weight and that I should just lose 20-30 lbs more I laugh at him! Ain't happening...or I will have to sell my sewing machines and fabric collection!

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    2. That totally makes sense!

      Don't sell the collection wahhhhh

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    3. Yes, yes, yes! Carolyn is so right. When I lost a lot of weight, and I lost most of my TNT patterns, it was AWFUL. Really awful. People aren't that sympathetic, but it's a pain point for sure. It takes time to recover.

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  43. Over time I have gradually come to wear about 90% Me-Made. I find that the clothes I sew last a lot longer than clothes I buy - and I think it's because I seek out the best quality fabrics. Personally I also don't like to sew from a lot of different patterns. I prefer my TNTs and tweaking them to get what I want. I think I would sit down and cry if I lost my TNT patterns!

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  44. Interesting question and responses. It's easy to forget the effort to get a pattern to fit.
    My wardrobe is about 70% hand made. It's been easier since retiring a few years ago. When I worked I never made pants, now I can make fun casual ones. Lots of tunics and tees as well

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  45. I just don't fit or like the stuff in the stores. And I have come to hate clothes shopping. If I am just there to look, it's fine. When I have to buy something, I'm better off thrifting, there's a wider selection of fabrics and sometimes it's a lot easier to take a shirt apart and rebuild it than buy a new one that feels icky.

    I am all in favor of someone else making the buttonholes.

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    1. SJ, LOL about the buttonholes! They are the bane of my existence, too!

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  46. I've been sewing clothes since I was a kid, but I really started sewing my own wardrobe once I bought some pattern making software. Save my measurements, design what I want, and print out a pattern that fits me! I try to wear at least one me-made item every day. My pants are 100% me-made. Tops, active wear and jackets are about 30-40%. I, too, struggle with finding the time to sew. I am so impressed when I check into your blog, and you've made 4 or 5 items in a weekend. So inspiring!

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  47. I am probably only at about 20% but would love it to be way more. I need to make more basics and staples and revisit patterns which worked well to build up some TNT which will let me pad things out. Your blog is particularly inspiring as you make a fair few items for work and think about what will be versatile!

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  48. After years of quilting, I finally took the leap year ago into sewing clothes for myself. I simply couldn't keep justify paying Eileen Fisher prices for outfits I knew I could make if I put my mind to it. I started off making muslin samples. Then enrolled in a few a few online classes and stalked sewing blogs like yours.

    I've made about 10 outfits over the past year (mostly skirts and tops), With each new garment my skills have slowly improved. I bought a serger a couple of months ago, and that did it. My confidence skyrocketed. To answer your question, right now less than 10% of wardrobe is sewn by yours truly. I expect that number to jump to 40% over the next year. Bohemian chic is definitely my style and I refuse to pay designer prices for tunics, unstructured jackets, simple skirts and unlined dresses. Like others have said, your blog has been a huge inspiration to over the past 3 years as I've begun sewing for things I like and want to wear.

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    1. RJ - Yes for the 10 new outfits!!! And thanks for enjoying my adventures although I'm sure that now that your skills are improving you will be making many more outfits and won't need me for inspiration!

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  49. I checked to see if I had commented back in 2008, and I did..so, I realized you are definitely talking to me!

    Back in 2008 I was still a stay-home mom volunteering..and I realized I fudged the answer a bit, because I didn't count the 'stay home all day' t-shirts and sweatpants in the wardrobe, which would have brought that percentage down quite a bit. And I still hang out in t-shirts and strechy active-wear stuff when I'm home all day. But 'home all day' rarely happens any more...

    Anyway. I said I made 90% of my wardrobe...we'll make that 'clothes I actually wear outside my front door'...and that's still pretty close. I will buy jeans and sweaters, garments that are made of fabric I can't source easily (like white shirts. Why is that available white yard goods seems so much more see-through than the fabric used in RTW?) or are on a crazy sale that makes them as cheap or cheaper than making it myself....like the Lands' End tank tops I bought at the end of last summer for something like $7 each.

    But, by and large, it's still faster to pull out a TNT pattern and make a pair of Loes Hinse Oxford pants or a Jalie T shirt than to hop in the car and go looking.

    Thanks, of course, to The Stash...lol.

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    1. Lisa - thanks for the follow-up! Gawd I miss TNT's cause you're right with a good stash and some TNT's you can get a new outfit in an evening!

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  50. I have to say that mine is pretty paltry. I love to sew, but with a full time job and a child with chronic health issues, I just don't have a lot of time to sew. So, I think maybe 10% completely me made and maybe another 20% refashioned from RTW. And pretty much every pair of pants is altered in some way. Most of my recent sewing has been doll clothes for my nieces. Fun, but not so practical.

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  51. I think I'm at 20-25% me made. It would be a little more but I have given away a number of my early makes because of fit issues or just things not having been my style.
    The me-mades I have kept, though, I'm happy to say I wear often and they mix in my wardrobe well.

    I'm only 3 years in so now that I have a feel about what I ACTUALLY like to wear and have a bit more knowledge about techniques to keep my garments lasting and to make them fit properly, I will slowly be working at LEAST 75%. Don't plan on making that next month or anything LOL but maybe 3 or 4 years?

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    1. Tasha - you're going to find that you get to that 75% faster than you think especially since you know what you want to sew now! I'm rooting for you!

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  52. I remember that post because it was one of the very first sewing blog posts I read - I was not really confident enough to comment since I had JUST started sewing and discovered blogs. At that time the idea of a mostly handmade wardrobe seemed SO very far out of my reach. It took me so long just to sew one simple thing!

    Fast forward to now and most days I wear something I made. Probably 50% of my wardrobe these days was made by me if you don't count underoos and work out clothing (but do count my hand knit socks). Although it is more like 75%-80% of what I wear regularly since i favor sewn over purchased. And of course 90% of my small but fun maternity wardrobe was sewn by me.

    You hit the nail on the head with needing time to replace RTW with sewn. The last clothing I purchased was when I was transitioning between maternity and my regular clothing size. I just couldn't sew fast enough to keep myself clothed.

    I hope one day to get to 90%. One thing that hasn't changed since I began sewing is that my "to sew" list is far longer than I will ever realistically be able to complete! And it always gets changed and re-prioritized. LOL

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  53. I have followed your blog since late 2012 when I switched back to garment sewing . I've loved your journey & how generous you are in the details of your makes. My me mades are a very small percentage of my wardrobe. I'm working very hard to face my fears in sewing -I have many with fitting at the top of the list. I'm almost ready to dive into making pants !!!
    Thanks for your wonderful ,inspiring blog !

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  54. My percentage right now is probably only 10%, mainly because of time constraints. But the remaining 90% is almost completely thrifted! And I do alter most of the thrifted items, mainly hemming and small tweaks. Given my budget and time limitations, thrifting and fixing is what works for me right now. At the moment, I have more than enough clothes in my closet, plus many items to refashion, two bins of fabric, and tons of patterns.
    So my goal right now is to stop thrifting, finish going through my mending and refashioning pile, and then use up the fabric to make "perfect" pieces that will suit me so well I will no longer be looking for a better version.
    I just have to be patient and content with my current wardrobe as I work towards the perfect wardrobe

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  55. I think I'm at about 90% me made right now. I took the RTW Fast pledge a while back, and still just can't bring myself to buy anything. My super large, sometimes overwhelming, fabric stash is also a reason I don't buy much RTW - I have to really justify the purchase to myself when I have so many pieces of "almost" clothing already in my house! As an aside, I've also recently curbed my fabric buying for the most part because of this. I will buy a piece of clothing when I want to study it to figure out a technique or method of drafting or if I find it inspiring.

    My sewing mojo has been up and down in the past few years, but it's currently back with a vengeance. My weight has been up and down in the past few years as well and I was completely frustrated when I didn't know what size to make for myself, or what alterations to do! I solved this problem by taking pattern drafting courses, and while working through these courses I realized that nothing I sew for myself is a waste, even the wadders - I learn something with each garment I sew, whether it is a sewing or drafting technique or an alteration. Yes, it can be frustrating, but then it is SO very rewarding when I get something that fits and makes me feel amazing.

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    1. Tonia - I have to tell you that your fabric collection definitely inspired mine! I remember reading with rapture when you would write about going down to your little sewing shed and using things from your collection. So to hear that you've reached about 90% me made is very inspiring!

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  56. I am working on a mostly made by me wardrobe. It is slow going. I also seem to get sidetracked by the "shiny." I think the hardest part for me has been to really understand my personal style and try to stick to a color "story" when I am buying fabric instead of "oh my GOD, look at that beautiful print!" It's been a fun journey!

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  57. I really don't know. Like you my size and needs have changed and I'm sewing as fast as I can to compensate, but while I wear me mades about 6 days out of 7, they are actually still a fairly small portion of my wardrobe. I'm just afraid to get rid of the RTW top, shorts and jeans, because I don't have replacements yet and I can't quite wear a dress everyday. Me mades get worn so much they start to wear out, before I can build my stockpile :)

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  58. I think you wrote that post just before I started sewing. It's been a long road but I've enjoyed watching you create a wardrobe along the way. I've also been having weight changes lately, but the bigger issue has been time! I've spent all my sewing hours making commissioned projects, and my personal wardrobe is looking really ragged because of it. I think it is probably only 10-20% me made, but might be only 5-10% if you toss out all the things that don't fit. I wear my me made pieces to death, but I've got to do a major wardrobe overhaul soon. I'm back to dressing like a broke college student - I'm wearing half dead t-shirts and faded jeans because it's what I've got. I've spent the better part of the past year doing physical therapy for a back injury, and I've noticed that I've got more energy and desire to do sewing things now that it doesn't kill me to cut fabric or sit for too long. Hopefully this translates into new wardrobe items soon!

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  59. From Creative Hormone Rush: As I am not quite down to my final weight, I'm doing it backwards to avoid using up nice fabric on temporary clothes. First I'm beading up necklaces in perfect lengths, scale and colors for me, and then will be sewing new garments to match. Doing it this way helps me focus on the best styles and colors not just for my body type and complexion, but also for making my face and hair really pop. I've found it's a lot easier to choose patterns that will provide a lovely background for my completed necklaces, rather than endure the frustration of hunting far and wide for matching jewelry after the fact. Because the first step is putting my best colors up to my face in a handcrafted necklace, clothing decisions become much easier. For me, a fabulous necklace is the main event, and garments are the supporting actors. If a necklace looks dead-on perfect on me, then any well-fit clothing in my color palette that goes with it should look great, too. This new "order of creating" also results in much more targeted pattern selection. I'm already pulling patterns from my stash and putting them in my "Gotta make THIS!" basket not just because they have great lines, but also because one or more of my creations would look good on a background consisting of a garment made with that pattern. Then, when I hit my target weight, I'll be aiming for 75% me-made clothing because you're such an inspiration, always showing how wonderfully (and happily!) it can be done. :) :)

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  60. I had fun reading through (most) of these comments! My wardrobe is about 95% hand made. I do buy tees from Uniqlo, because I love the quality and don't enjoy sewing those. Other than that, I tend to buy things that are unique, artisan or boutique items, things that I couldn't sew because of the materials, or the unusual construction. I love patronizing artists!

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    1. This is an interesting answer since I think of the things you sew as art pieces! You have a very unique voice and perspective when you sew. I really saw that when we went fabric shopping the last time!

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  61. Carolyn, I have been following your blog. You are so dedicated even if you make just a few percentage of the clothes you wear. I can't even finish one in a month even if I want to. RTW fit me sometimes but not always a good fit. I love to look at people when their clothes fit.. I like watch Joy in the AM on MSNBC and her clothes fit her so well.. I wonder if someone is making her clothes. It makes a lot of difference if we make our clothes.. you are my inspiration to push me accomplish something.. I look at your blog and I say... there is that lady again.. she finished her project and mine I am just starting and hope to finish..

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  62. I would say I'm at 30% memade. I would like to conquer a TNT pants pattern as I buy all of my pants and jeans. My work place is casual as well so I concentrate on tops and jackets for the office. I am planning on making a coat for winter this year so I've been pinning styles that I like. Thanks for you inspiration and look forward to you fall sewing.

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  63. It's hard to say mmmm but thinking 60% me-made. I still shop, but only for blazers and lucky enough to not have any major fit issues when I buy rtw. This summer I went on a huge blazer shopping bonanza and thinking any blazers going forward I will make myself. Lets see how that goes... I am such a sucker for a great blazer, great fit and great price...lol

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  64. What fun this has been, Carolyn, to read through the answers...and how inspiring it has been to see you tackle life and sewing challenges through the years. I mourned your loss of those TNT patterns while I cheered your other changes. As for my wardrobe, this year I have perhaps bought more RTW than I have in the past and also let go of many of my made by me clothes. Some of it was a style change...turns out those Florida jackets, skirts and tops were made almost ten years ago when my sewing and fitting skills started to improve. The styles and most obviously the colors didn't fit in with life back in Baltimore. Right now that would make my general clothing about 50-50 which is the lowest me made % in years. I buy underwear and active outerwear like a rain jacket or hiking shorts for travel. But even though I have added a number of tops and sweaters to my wardrobe this year, my first love and goal is to always be sewing something new. I learn from each garment something about fabric or a style for my body or colors or just a sewing technique. In the ten years of reading your blog my sewing has moved from adding a quantity to my closet to adding more stylish and unique items as well. I admire the many sewists around the country and around the world who create slightly edgy but still flattering, nicely fitted clothing. I'm a pretty traditional sportswear kind of gal (I'm 65 years old this year and typing this in my bike shorts and Costco hoodie before going for a bike ride today) but I like to dress up too. I understood your pain when you let go of those gorgeous garments because they had terrific details and style. Letting go of a me made T shirt is easier than an exquisitely designed lined dress from beautiful fabric. Now that I have a nice collection of TNT patterns, this year I want to spend more time doing what you do so well, designing from those as my base. I enjoy watching and sharing sewing journey along the way.

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