Some time in December I ended up in a twitter conversation with Sonya Philip, Cal Patch, Kristine Vejar of A Verb for Keeping Warm, Jill Draper, and Ysolda Teague. We were congratulating Sonya on the completion of her 100 Dresses project. The article had just come out and we were all so proud and in awe of her. It seemed to get a bunch of us thinking about our own wardrobes. Here we were, a half a dozen professionals in the handknitting industry, and very few of us had handmade wardrobes. It’s a classic case of the tailor having no clothes As knitwear designers most sweaters cannot be worn once they are done, they are preserved as samples. We are so busy working making things, that we forget to take the time to make things for ourselves. Making things for ourselves is what got us into this industry, but in doing what we love for a living we lost a part of it as well.
A few pledged to make one thing a month in 2013 for themselves. Whether a sewing a skirt or knitting a sweater, we all wanted to expand what we wear everyday using the skills we have honed professionally. Kristine Vejar started a group through her store in Oakland, CA called Seam Allowance. The idea is to move to a 25% handmade everyday wardrobe. She hosts monthly meetings and has a Ravelry group where people from all over can talk about their progress and ask questions. It certainly got my brain thinking about what I have in my wardrobe and what changes I wanted to see in the things that I wear every day.
For the last few months I have wanted to embark on a larger project. Something that meant a bit more than just knitting a sweater. It clicked when I was talking to all these women about making our own clothes. I loved how Sonya didn’t just make 100 dresses for herself. She made them for us to see as well. She showed them as art. They mean something as a project. It really struck a chord with me. I loved the cohesion that all these separate pieces created.
A little seed was planted in my head and a few days later I had come up with my own idea for 2013. I want to make 12 outfits. I am going to make 1 outfit for each month of the year. I will sew, knit, embroider and crochet my way to a handmade wardrobe, one month at a time. Some months will be easier than others, and I’m not necessarily aiming for 100% handmade. If summer means just a skirt and t-shirt, then so be it. January tends to involve sweaters and mitts and scarves as well, so it evens out. I am not interested in making pants or underwear, so I’m not going to.
My sewing skills are okay. I can do it, and I can muddle my way through a pattern, but I don’t have very technical skills. Part of the idea is to develop my sewing skills beyond bags and simple skirts. Luckily I can call up my mom when I get stuck, and she can help me fit things as well.
I went stash diving when I got back from New Years. It was a lot of fun to pull out the yarn I have and match it up with fabric and patterns. I have had the supplies for many of these projects for months or even years. I want to take the time to actually make the things I have planned.
A few guidelines, in no particular order.
1. I do not need to finish each months projects in that month or in chronological order.
2. The projects I have laid out below are ideas. Some of them I want to make for sure, but might change my mind. I might also see/design something cooler or better or more exciting in the moment.
3. This is not a stash down. I do want to use what I have, but I also want to be excited by new materials. So if I see something I want to knit, I will buy it.
6. With this in mind there are a few things that I would like to make that I don’t have supplies for. I would love to try Cal Patch’s leggings tutorial. Maybe try my hand at something from Alabama Chanin.
5. I reserve the right to bring in things I have already made. This is about building up my wardrobe, not starting from scratch.
5. My game, my rules. I made them, I get to break them.
This is starting to feel very real, having written it all out here! I suppose I should get cracking on some knitting or sewing! Here are up close pictures of the twelve months I have already outlined, in order, along with materials lists. Lets see what I can get done!
Handspun wool/silk blend from Fleece Artist/Old Maiden Aunt/ Fleece Artist. Mountview Cardigan by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud from Knit Scene/ Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair. Grey pinstripe synthetic blend.
Handyed by me laceweight and aran yarn. Navy shot cotton by Kaffe Fasset. Japanese dress pattern. Dream in Color Classy in Grey Tabby.
Fabric. Jill Draper Makes Stuff Hudson in Amethyst. Amy Butler Frenchy Bags pattern. Cosmo embroidery floss. Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabric. Bag Handles. Tula Pink Nightshade fabric.
Blue polka dot jersey. Nani Iro cotton/linen. Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch.
Monsters fabric. Cosmo floss. Thread. Goldfish fabric. Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Lace in Dutch. Wiksten Tank pattern.
Beulah Cardigan Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark from Knitscene Spring 2012. Tanis Blue Label in Grape. Pearl Bracelet by Lizzy House in Glacier.
Decorator weight fabric from Aix en Provence. Field Friends in Shroom by Birch Fabrics.
Secret Garden Lock and Key by Sandi Henderson. Coral Kona Solid.
Spud and Chloe Sweater in Popsicle. Seberg Sweater Tarasovich-Clark from Knitscene Spring 2012. Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabric. Red/blue striped fabric. Blue tile fabric. Walk in the Park Backpack Tote pattern. Navy ribbon.
Red Diamond Sock yarn. Flea Market Fancy by Denise Schmidt. Imperial Yarn Tracie Too in Natural. O-Wool Legacy DK in Lava, Raincloud, Earth and Rutabaga.
Madeleinetosh Tosh sock in Composition Book Grey. Stripey Fabric. Jill Draper Catskill in Bering Sea and Concord.
Blossom by Kim Hargreaves from Misty. Sashiko fabric. Cosmo floss. Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2ply in Pewter.
Do you have any new years projects in mind? Big or small, lets hear them!