Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Do your home made garments get special treatments?

I went through a major clear-up of my wardrobe, and it is with regret that all of the above home made garments ended up stuffed in 3 giant bags on their way to the charity shop. 

This wasn't even the first time I've said goodbye to items that I've sewn up, Having done a quick count, before now I've parted with 9 home sewn items over the last couple of years. But this time I'm being particularly ruthless (and goodness knows I'm a hoarder), as I'm working towards something akin to a "capsule wardrobe" - where key, well-fitted, classy and coordinated items run the show, with the additions of some special one-off items. 

With that goal in mind, and the same yardstick which applied to both RTW and home made items (if it wasn't worn in the last 12 months, it's got to go), a number of my sewn items didn't quite make the cut. I've grouped them by reason:

Let's start with the - it wasn't a good idea to begin with...

High waisted vintage shorts, in this fabric.


Elastic waistband skirt take two (take one here)

New Look 6185 in a orange paisley print poly crepe. 

Remember these? No? That's because they never made it to the blog. You probably know by now that I tend to blog not just good projects, but also failures, as I see the blog as a means of documenting my sewing "journey". But I just couldn't quite get excited about those items enough to pose in them (apart from the kaftan - but you can see the excitement on my face) let alone actually writing about it. 

The high waisted vintage shorts - I'm not sure whether I could pull off high waisted shorts at the best of times, but I just don't think the fabric choice is a good one. It's a shame as I spent ages fitting them (they were too big, and then when the legs and hip fitted, the waist was too tight), especially working with a vintage pattern. 

The easy skirt - the viscose, although beautifully soft and comfortable, was, er, pretty translucent. Not something you want from a skirt. 'Nuff said. 

As to the kaftan - I loved the fabric, and remember seeing a very similar print from the Ralph Lauren window at Macy's in New York, days before the photo was captured above. But good job that photo was taken right then, as it was the only time I wore it. I don't think the unflattering photo helped, but I just don't think the style suits me, and with the material being a poly crepe, despite its drapey properties, it is really not absorbent enough to be a beach kaftan. Also between you and me, the gathering around if front is uneven - and those gathers were the only things I can think about when I wore it. 

Next, fitting issues


I'm sad to see this one go (first blogged here). I loved it when it was first finished, and part of the reason was that it fitted well with minimum ease. And that turned out to be the problem. See how I was resting my arm on the garden table? That's as far as I'm able to raise my arms in this dress. After a few occasions of considering "do I need to raise my arms today?" and answering yes, I knew it was time to let this one go. The other thing that puts me off is the polyester fabric - not the most breathable for a summer number. 

This was my first attempt at a vintage pattern, and I spent hours matching the pattern, and tweaking the fit. The result? A baggy chest area still. I wore this once, to Dubai, on the basis that I had put on a bit of weight then, and it was modest and inoffensive, but the above photo, taken on a replica abra in the man-made waterways in Madinat Jumeriah, is enough to convince me that maybe it's best to give this away in case it fitted someone else better. I can't believe I'm posting all these unflattering photos on the worldwide web! 

The final category is, it's just not me


This was upcycled from a maxi skirt, and I got a couple of wears out of it. As much as I liked making shirred dresses when I first started sewing, I've grown out of them. They are not the best suited for my body shape, and this one is particularly long, making me look shorter. 



Ah, the romper! I'm glad that I made it, and am also pleased to have worn it once, in Hawaii. Looking back, though, I think Hawaii may have been the only place on earth where this would look acceptable to society...  In truth, it wasn't the most comfortable thing to wear on a bumpy and windy 7-hour drive. 


Finally, the Paris dress. I knew full well that this wasn't my style, but I really wanted to take part to celebrate Roisin's nuptials. As comical as the fabric is, I just can't see myself wearing it, not even in Paris. But who knows? Maybe someone will pick it up from the charity shop. The thing is, this helped me find the good fit for the Floral Elisalex later on, so it's served two really good purposes. 

So there you have it, the home made items that I am parting with in this round of wardrobe clear-up. I do try my very best to look at them through the same lens as my RTW garments -- if I haven't worn a piece of clothing, and am not planning on wearing it, then they are better off gone than taking up my valuable wardrobe space. Sometimes I think that I should be more strict when it comes to home made items, as they have been "tailor made" for me, so the bar should be higher. On the other hand, when you've spent hours cutting, sewing, and fitting an item, it is difficult to put them in the charity bag, or even worse, the bin! 

How about you? Do your home made garments get special treatments? Whether it might be about throwing it out, repairing it, or washing, pressing? I would love to hear from you!  

15 comments:

  1. I'm sad to hear about your yellow dress. It's so cute! But I guess being able to move is sort of important.

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    1. Thank you - I did really like it too, and the fabric is just so sunny. But comfort and practicalities won in this case, sadly! But hey, I guess it's making room for newer and better things ;)

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  2. That romper is seriously cute!

    I have a hard time getting rid of things I've made, but I still do it if the fit is uncomfortable enough or if it's really unflattering. If I'm in the right mood I can be quite merciless though. It's actually easier to get rid of things that I've made than vintage things that were gifts.

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    1. Oh yes I am completely with you when it comes to vintage gifts... In the same bag I finally managed to get rid of some gifts from years (seriously over 10 years!) ago. But it was still really hard due to the sentimental value.

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  3. I can totally relate to the not being able to move your arms problem! It takes some courage to give away handmade items.

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    1. Hehe yes... when I first finished the dress, I thought it was an excellent fit, due to the minimal ease, but I'm starting to appreciate the importance of wearing ease!

      Can you believe it? Almost all of my 2011 makes have been given away (I think there is just one survivor, which might not even survive for that long), and a lot of the 2012 made it to this round of eliminations. On the bright side, I think this has made me realise how much my sewing skills have come along, and how much my style has evolved over the last few years, but it still is difficult to see these things go.

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  4. I really need to do this, but I just can't bear to part with anything I've made - not yet anyway. I always think that maybe there will be something to learn from that in the future. But you are right, if it hasn't been worn in the last 12 months it should go.

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    1. I can totally understand this. But hey, something will have to go to make room for better things ;)

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  5. The hardest part is saying goodbye to the actual fabrics. I end up throwing things I can't wear back into the stash to be remade. The romper - lose the bottom half, cute top! Paris dress, new skirt! Probably not helping, huh?

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    1. Woo I'm all for "upcycling" existing projects! That's a great idea, and I'll try and think of that next time.

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  6. I'm super ruthless about parting with handmade clothes that don't work for me, but I live in an apartment with a small closet, so it's just not practical to have things taking up space that I don't wear. I remember reading somewhere on a blog that sewing can be tricky since we don't have a fitting room! I mean, how many garments would you try on before you bought one when you were on a shopping trip? And when you sew, you don't have the luxury of working out if it's your style or will look good on you beforehand, not to mention the steep learning curve every time you make a new garment! It's much better to give things a new home than to hang onto them!

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    1. Ha I never thought of it like that. What a fresh perspective! I try on an awful lot of stuff before buying something when it comes to RTW, as I do struggle to find clothes that fit me well. I feel encouraged now to get rid of more stuff! Thank you :D

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  7. I feel I ought to like things I made as I made them but sometimes I am just not sure. :)

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    1. I can understand that, and sometimes I like what I make to start with, but later on change my mind... I suppose it's a bit like shopping, right? Sometimes you return things after buying them.

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  8. Well done on getting rid of your me-made garments. I am finding it easier if I have blogged / documented / learnt a new skill so its not a wasted effort. Good luck with any future de-cluttering x

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