My Handmade Month: February 2016
Last month I introduced the idea of finding joy in getting dressed. I’d felt firmly stuck at the bottom of a rut for the past few months, one that made it hard to get out of my sweats in the morning. I had closets full of beautiful handmade clothing, but I simply could not see the point of getting dressed.
So, to try to cure this lazy affliction, I defaulted to the only way I know to get myself out of a low spot: I decided to create a challenge for myself and called it My Handmade Month. My Handmade Month is all about feeling pride in the clothing we put so much heart and soul into creating. My Handmade Month is about feeling productive, confident, and proud of the clothes we put on our bodies each morning.
I was shocked to hear so many of you shout out in affirmation that you too have been feeling the same way. Whether we’re entrepreneurs, stay-at-home moms, or people who simply don’t have to get dressed up for a job every morning, it seems so many of us are in the same boat. A lot of us are feeling uninspired, sloppy, and in desperate need of joy, especially first thing in the morning.
So I proposed we search for that joy, by getting dressed before we ever log onto our computers, hop in the car, or start doing housework each day. And why not take a photo too? I sort of threw the idea out there, not really knowing how it would develop or what changes it might encourage.
But, man oh man, change came, and it came like a ton of bricks. The last two weeks of February were the most motivated and inspired I've ever been to sew. And I honed in more on my personal style. More on that later. But first let’s see what I wore for the last two weeks of February:
Top Row: Bethioua | Archer Button Up | Birkin Flares | Gillian Wrap Dress
Middle Row: Laurelhurst Wrap | Ella Top | Union St Tee | Lane Raglan | Halifax Hoodie
Bottom Row: Jasper Sweater | Beatrix | Lane Raglan | Marianne
These were the garments I wore Monday through Friday for the second half of February. I’m obviously a jeans girl (and I cut 6” of hair off halfway through) but here are some other things I noticed by getting dressed and taking a photo every weekday.
1. I suddenly want to sew all the things, all the time. In the last two weeks of February I sewed up the Halifax Hoodie, Red and Oatmeal Lane Raglan, and the Red Striped Marianne Top pictured above. I also did a ton of mending that needed to be finished. I have a mile-long list of garments I want to sew up, including a pair of jeans drafted from my favorite pair! I seriously cannot stop sewing and I love it.
2. I have garments I like the look of, but I hate wearing. There are items in my closet that I think look great when worn. But they don’t feel great. The cuffs don’t stay up on my Jasper Sweater because I neglected to use ribbing. And my Beatrix Top is too short and tight. It’s time to fix or retire these.
3. My signature color palette is neutral with pops of red. Before this challenge I thought that I wore primarily grey, black, and navy blue and therefore I was boring. But I clearly have a real love of red. And when I look at the outfits I wore that are mostly neutral, I think they look classy. So I’m going to stick right where I’m at with my color choices.
4. Retiring handmade garments is hard. I spent so much time sewing up some garments, and it’s painful to say goodbye. But whether I really never liked it or it doesn’t fit, there’s really no sense in keeping a garment that doesn’t bring me joy. But that doesn’t mean that I need to run the garment immediately to my nearest thrift store (where, on average, only 20% of donated clothing actually makes it to the floor). Which brings me to my next point:
What can I do with my handmade clothing I don’t wear?
If your garments are in still in good shape, and you’d like to earn some money, I recommend taking them to a consignment or curated secondhand store like Buffalo Exchange. Those stores, especially the super trendy ones, are often looking for clothing that is interesting and different. Your handmade garment has a good chance of being loved by the new owner and you’ll make a few bucks in the process.
Another idea I’m itching to try is to have a handmade clothing swap with your friends who also sew. I’m going to invite the ladies in the area who sew garments and ask them to bring their handmade duds that they don’t wear. I’m going to also ask them to bring fabrics or supplies in their stash they want to get rid of and we can all swap for items we’ll actually use and wear.
If your garments are falling apart from too much wear or shoddy fabric, try to repurpose them Thrift stores will likely throw a garment away if it’s in really bad shape, so keep yours out of the landfill by making it into something new. Projects that call for small cuts of fabric are perfect for those garments that have seen better days. At the very least, you can cut it up and make rags from it!
This month I said goodbye to:
1. The black and white Lane Raglan in the second row. It COMPLETELY fell apart in the wash after I wore it. It’s been banished to the repurpose pile.
2. That shrunken Beatrix Top in the last row. I love this pattern and fabric, but the top is a full size too small for me. I have plans to make another one in the same fabric and will save this one for a clothing swap in the future.
3. A zip-up hoodie that was completely worn out, also sent to the repurpose pile. The Halifax was a perfect replacement!
4. A ton of ready-to-wear clothing I never wear anymore, all going to be consigned.
Now that we’re into March I’m even more excited about My Handmade Month and the changes it’s brought about in my morning routine. I feel more productive and confident, and I also feel like I’m getting a better sense of what I like wearing and what also looks good on my body.
I’ll be back next month with another recap! Did you participate in #myhandmademonth in February? I’d love to see your blog and social media posts! Feel free to link in the comments.
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