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My Handmade Month: March 2016

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

My Handmade Month: 30 Days of DIY Wardrobe Inspiration

Old habits die hard. That’s my theme of My Handmade Month: March 2016. It was a month full of ups and downs: a broken toe that will not heal, my 30th birthday, a killer flu bug, and a family trip to see my 102-year-old grandma. It was a busy month that ended in a huge sale and one epic giveaway. And because of all the flurry of activity and forced downtime, my old habits crept back in.

If you’re new to Indiesew or My Handmade Month and are wondering what in the heck I’m referring to, first read this post. In short, I experience a real struggle to get dressed every morning as someone who works from home. So in February, I set a goal to get dressed everyday Monday through Friday, and to do so intentionally. I’m searching for joy in getting dressed. In doing so I hope to find more productivity and confidence as I go about my day.

So, back to those old habits. Just like in February, this challenge proved to be eye-opening in March, but in an entirely different way. As you will see there are only 16 photos below, despite there being 23 weekdays in March. Traveling and sickness resulted seven missed days, but I'm giving myself a pass for those. You'll hear more about that below.

Indiesew // My Handmade Month: March

First Row: Laurelhurst Wrap over Sutton Blouse, Eleanor Cardigan, Archer Button UpBethioua
Second Row: Mercer Tunic with Birkin Flares, Sanibel Dress, Archer Button Up (yes, again), Rushcutter Dress
Third Row: Capitol Hill Dress, Bethioua and Delia Beanie, Fen Top with Birkin Flares, Lane Raglan (first version)
Fourth Row: Ravenna Top, Sunkissed Kaftan, Lane Raglan (updated version), Together Tank

In February I was all about neutrals with pops of red, but in March I was really into blue and grey. I’m wondering if this is a reflection of my mood and how my body felt? I wore mostly jeans, but tried in earnest to work a few dresses into the rotation. And, in fact, these outfits turned out to be my favorite. Here’s what else hit home this month:

1. I feel more put-together when I layer. When I look at these photos, the outfits that I’m most drawn to are the layered ensembles. I love the look of cardigans and structured jackets layered over tees and dresses. I’m making it my priority to sew more spring/fall layers in the coming months.

2. I dig leggings and clogs/wedges. March was the month I realized how much I enjoy the folky look of a tunic or dress paired with leggings and clogs or wedges. Because I clearly only have one pair of leggings, the Sloan Leggings are my next project.

3. A replica of my favorite skinny jeans is a necessity. Last month I asked you all on Instagram if you’d be interested in a blog series on creating a replica of your favorite jeans. The answer was a resounding yes! Now, it’s hard for me to pull on my favorite faded black skinny jeans without getting excited for the project. That series will be coming later this month! To be the first to know, sign up for our newsletter.


It’s okay to take a break.

For every day I missed a photo this month, a feeling of guilt grew in the pit of my stomach. “I’m not living up to my promise,” was the thought that circulated my brain as I spent day after day in my pajamas, on the couch, with a fever. "I'm reverting right back to my old, lazy habits," I thought.

It was a month of huge accomplishments for Indiesew, amid an absolutely crazy schedule. And I was angry with myself for getting ill and not getting dressed. 

I know so many of us find it difficult to stop working, tending, or caring for other people. We take on more than we can handle in an effort to prove ourselves to others, or distract ourselves, or simply because we really like what we do. But, there has to be rest. Or the flu will find you.

Maybe old habits creep back because in hard times they provide a sense of comfort. Perhaps they allow us to sort of coast on autopilot while we tend to the more pressing issues at hand. For me, noticing a habit has returned is an alert to myself that I'm struggling with something bigger and to take a look at what that could be. 

Once I finally gave into the exhaustion and sickness, and forgot about outfit photos, blogging, and sewing samples I started to feel much better. 

It may seem trivial, and I’m sure my workaholic tendencies will creep back again and again, but a few days of not getting dressed at all taught me this: it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to not get dressed on a Tuesday because you have a sore throat. There’s always tomorrow. And you’re doing the best you can.

But if you’ve been in a rut for awhile and you’re ready to turn things around, I recommend trying this challenge. Get dressed Monday through Friday before you start working or cleaning or running around town. Take a photo and at the end of the month to reflect on how the challenge made you feel and what you loved wearing. It’s made a big difference in my productivity and confidence, and I’ll continue to do this all year long.

I also recommend checking out Christine Haynes’s journey through the Wardrobe Architect. Her posts are enlightening and the whole process is really intriguing! 

Happy sewing!

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