While trying to make my handmade wardrobe in the past, I always tried to make something fast to get the satisfaction of wearing it. But I never planned well, and either didn’t like wearing the item or I didn’t have anything to wear with the item.
I made lots of mistakes and tried too many colors and too many styles. I kept trying to get the best wardrobe, but I didn’t really know what I wanted that wardrobe to be. I kept filling it with items that didn’t get worn.
The last couple of years I’ve been very intentional about my handmade wardrobe and I’m finally in a place where it feels like the best wardrobe for me. The free printable is at the end of the post.
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I’m joining in Back to Basics with Sew Altered Style because I love having handmade basics to wear that makes my entire wardrobe wearable. To get ready for summer I made two items from patterns that I wear all summer long. I also used fabric from my stash because it’s important to me that I’m using what I have.
These styles are tried-and-true patterns for me, and it’s all I want to wear when it’s hot. I made some Tania culottes with pockets and an elastic waist back out of a ikat canvas (similar ikat canvas*). I had to piece it together because I had such a small amount of fabric, but it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.
I also made some Flint pants out of Tencel, but I used the wrong side because I liked the color better (similar Tencel fabric*). I paired them with this striped tee shirt and this graphic tee shirt tutorial.
I went through this process when I was planning my basics and handmade wardrobe, and these are the tips I would give for planning a versatile handmade wardrobe.
1. Your Current Wardrobe
First, to have a versatile wardrobe you need to look at what you have.
- What do you have that you like wearing?
- What can be altered to fit you better?
- What needs to be donated?
- What do you have that you love, but doesn’t have anything to coordinate with?
2. Do you know your style?
What’s the point in making clothes if it doesn’t feel like you? Your style should feel like you no matter what trends are happening. I feel my best and I can accomplish the most, when I feel like my clothes represent me.
If you are struggling to find your style I completely recommend the Colette Wardrobe Architect series. It’s a free resource that helps you figure out your style, your colors, your silhouettes, your accessories, etc.
3. Find Your Holes
In your handmade wardrobe you can either find “holes” or “orphans”. I find my “holes” when I notice I keep wanting a certain item for multiple outfits. This past winter I kept reaching for a navy blue long cardigan over and over again which told me that I needed to make one.
“Orphans” are items that don’t go with anything or only match one item in your closet. It’s not very versatile when you can’t coordinate. Coordinating is not just about colors matching prints. Do you need high-waisted bottoms to go with crop tops? Do you need long tops to go with leggings? Coordination is silhouettes, colors, and fit.
4. Plan your items
Now you can plan to make the items that will fill your holes and you can plan items that will coordinate with your orphans. Maybe some of your holes can help with your orphans. Try to choose your colors or narrow them down for each season.
This is the fun part because you get to choose the patterns and fabrics! If you plan for multiple seasons make sure the fabric or the pattern works well for the right season. If you’re planning well you can put your money in good fabric and patterns.
I shared a free printable for my versatile wardrobe planner, that I used when I’m planning a new item or a new season of handmade clothing. I can see all the items it’ll coordinate with before making it.
5. Make a Muslin and Figure out Fit
Take the extra time to make a muslin. It’ll definitely be worth it when you get the perfect fitting garment.
Not everything has to be tight or oversized, so you have figure out what fit you want. You’ll also be able to protect your expensive fabric.
6. You will make mistakes
And it’s okay. Learn from them and keep moving forward.
7. Slow Sewing
I always make mistakes when I rush my sewing. It’s worth it to go slow, enjoy every seam, and seam rip to fix mistakes. When I put more effort into a handmade item, I love it and appreciate it even more.
Get the Versatile Wardrobe Planner Printable
If you make something using this printable, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!
Learn How to Sew Your Own Clothes
- If you want to learn how to sew your own clothing you need to start somewhere. These are the Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself Before I Started Sewing. They will help any beginner who wants to learn how to sew.
- Then you can read some Tips to Start Sewing Clothing.
- Once you start you’ll get better at using a sewing machine, but you’ll make clothing that you might not wear or love. I made every mistake and this is How to Sew Clothing You’ll Love. (Avoid my mistakes!)
- As you get better and better you’ll need to learn How to Choose Fabric for Sewing Clothes and the Best Fabrics for Sewing Clothing. I recommend fabrics that I love, but you’ll find the fabric you love the best.
- You can use paper patterns which are great to buy on sale or you can use PDF patterns which are great for instant gratification. There are lots of Different Ways to Assemble PDF Patterns so you need to find what works for you.
- Lastly, when you are sewing your own clothing and you are drawn to lots of different printed fabric, you need to learn How to Make a Versatile Handmade Wardrobe + Free Printable so that all the items in your wardrobe can coordinate with another item of clothing and be worn!