Friday, October 28, 2011

Wardrobe Planning--It's a Pain in the Ass

Inspired by The Wardrobe Reimagined, I've been thinking a lot about my closet this week.  My wardrobe is fairly small, as a matter of necessity--I've moved eight times in the past five years--and my everyday wardrobe is even smaller than that.  However, there are still things I can and will get rid of, and some things I very badly need and don't have--particularly in my winter wardrobe.

Here are the things I wear at least once a week, often more (fall and winter edition):

Tops: I have a bottomless wardrobe of stretched-out Old Navy v-neck t-shirts.  I also frequently wear this dress under skirts and sweaters, so it works as a top sort of.  I also borrow Dear Partner's extensive wardrobe of plaid flannel button-up shirts.

Bottoms: Long wool flannel skirt; one pair of acceptable-but-not-excellent Old Navy jeans; wool blend tweed pencil skirt (me-made long before I started this blog).

Least sad, actually; their cardigans are pretty decent.
Sweaters: One Old Navy beige cardigan; one Old Navy black cardigan; several oversized sweaters also, it's true, borrowed (stolen) from Dear Partner.

Underthings: The aforementioned sweater tights; two or three nylon or polyester slips; and one pair of me-made polyester bloomers, which would be awesome if they weren't, you know, polyester.

Dresses: none.  I have no winter dresses at all.  It's a sad sad thing.

As you can tell, my clothes are cheap, unplentiful, and largely not even mine in the first place!  Now, this is just the list of things I reach for at six-thirty in the morning when it's dark and cold and I don't want to worry about what to wear, but shouldn't that list be a lot longer?  After all, trying to cobble something together from the rest of my mixmatched winter wardrobe is a very blood-from-a-stone sort of enterprise.

Which brings us to priorities.  Now, I know that just the other day I was saying how practical a seamstress I am--which is true.  Everything on my to-make list is sturdy, warm, and fits into my wardrobe.  However, when I sit down to actually make something, I'm always drawn to the challenge: I want to draft a silhouette I've never drafted before, try a new technique, do something tricky and exciting.  What I don't want to do is make another chemise dress or pair of bloomers.  And yet.  And yet, and yet, and yet--one of my biggest wardrobe gaps right now is warm underthings.  (And pants.  But we won't get into pants just yet.)  I can imagine how wonderful it would feel to have a cotton flannel petticoat and bloomers under my skirt, it just feels too boring to make them.

Wait--maybe I'm not practical at all--maybe I just love wool and cotton separates the way other people love satin evening gowns?


As always, I've got a plan for how to fix this.  My wardrobe needs, by category:

Tops: I need to just buckle down and sew this damn chemise dress (the fabric is washed and everything!  I have no excuse!).  Other than that, I'm pretty okay with the Old Navy tops I've got--until they wear out (which won't be long, admittedly) I'm not going to worry about sewing a bunch of layering pieces, especially since I'm not all that comfortable with knits yet.

Bottoms: Pants--I need to make some winter pants--but I'm afraid.  So very afraid.  They're just so involved, and even my previous victory over them isn't really adding to my confidence, since that pair (while incredibly comfortable and versatile) have some moderate fit issues, the source of which I have still not pinpointed.  I'm not even sure how to pick the fabric.  Other than that, I should buy some more wool flannel and make another tea-length gathered skirt--they're perfect for this climate.

Sweaters: I'm working on this one!  I picked up three all-wool sweaters from the Salvation Army today, and I have plans to cut them down into something a bit like these thirties ones that Casey posted a while back.  Quality cropped sweaters would fit excellently with the rest of my separates.

Underthings: I bought some more of this cotton flannel to make a petticoat and bloomers with.  It's going to happen.  Maybe if I just put it in front of my sewing machine so I have to stare at it every day, I will actually break and sew them.

Dresses: Part of the reason I never wear dresses in winter is that they never seem to cover enough of my body--probably a result of mass-market fabric skimping or something depressing like that.  I'm thinking a jumper dress will help with that, but the fabric I've got is a little overly drapey, so it might need underlining.  We'll see where I get with that.

That's a plan, right?  Right?


  1. You could make basics but add one detail and give us a tutorial on that detail. For instance: six gore skirt, but with functional buttons down one seam. Or: bloomers with different kinds of hems.

  2. Oooh, that's an idea! Maybe if I plan ahead of time to do something a little different with the garment, I can tone down the boredom a little. I kind of want to do circular ruffles on my petticoat, so maybe I'll start there...