“Just how many clothes do you have?” My coworker asked, stopping me in the hall, eyebrow raised. They said I never wear the same outfit twice and must have a huge wardrobe.
To be fair, this person travels often and doesn’t see me everyday. But I was suddenly riddled with angst – How big is my wardrobe? Is it excessive?
So I pawed through my closet and allotted dresser drawer with the scrutiny of an old woman at a yard sale.
Turns out my year-round wardrobe, including outerwear and excluding socks/leggings, is around 70 pieces.
All of it is handmade, save one pair of jeans, the aforementioned leggings (I’ve made them before, I don’t care for it) and a few graphic tees that I can’t possibly make.
My sweaters and outerwear are in solid colors (grey, blue, purple, black and iterations thereof); skirts and pants are similarly boring – or versatile, depending on your outlook. There are some, like a stalwart flock of cardigans, that I’ve worn for 3+ years. Telio Bamboo French Terry is unsinkable and unpill-able, by the way.
Dresses and shirts are where I bring out the patterns and go ca-raaaazy. I also have amassed a collection of 6 jackets and blazers. A lifetime record for me.
Thinking on my style in the pre-sewing years, I wore alot of tees and “ath-leisure”. Sartorially, I was “The Citizen” – cut-and-copy American in tee shirts and jeans.
I actively hated fashion, doubly so for clothes shopping. My annual clothing haul was the Old Navy Christmas sale, where I could buy a year’s worth of thin t-shirts for $30 bucks. This was also while I was working temp jobs and had little money for luxuries like fashion.
Once I was gainfully employed, I had a brief stint of shopping on ModCloth. I’d save my precious pennies to blow them on an ill-fitting retro-wannabe item. I remember buying a simple cotton skirt for $50 because I liked the print. Now, I could make that for $20 and a Saturday afternoon!
The first garment I sewed as an adult was a skirt with a gathered waist. I didn’t use a pattern – just 2 hasty rectangles of fabric and some elastic. The things I didn’t know about sewing back then could fill the ocean.
The instant I donned that first skirt I was doomed, immediately needing to make one for each day of the week. I paired them with solid, coordinating tees I bought on Amazon, and cardigans from ModCloth.
Now my wardrobe is full of woven shirts, high-waist skirts, and blazers. What happened? Sewing has made me classier, more sophisticated.
Psych! I’m still crass, still playing video games, still drinking pop straight from the can.
But now, there’s a big difference in my attitude and outlook every morning. Before bed, I look up the weather forecast, think about the day to come, and plan what to wear as I drift off. I actually enjoy putting outfits together and have a broader variety of choices.
Which circles back to the beginning – when to stop adding without subtracting? This year has been the turning point, as I’m now designing my own patterns and my overall skill level has greatly benefited from that. I know more techniques and have practice in them. (practice is EVE. RY. THING)
While auditing, I got rid of old, unworn, lesser quality things. Although it pained me, I sent a bunch of my old makes off for donation. I’ve since learned they were probably shredded to make rags. Hooray!
I have no idea what the Goldilocks amount of clothing is. I don’t want to outgrow my closet and I do still have gaps in the arenas of pants, dresses, and “lounge wear”. Oh, and hot summer weather clothing! I am scrambling to make heat wave friendly attire!
What I do know is that I don’t want to stop sewing, at least not yet. It’s my favorite thing to do and I’m constantly reading or thinking about sewing.
Thanks for reading 😊