This week’s theme of Slow Fashion October is Small; a prompt to think about what makes up a wardrobe. I must confess there are virtually no handmade, small batch or indie made clothes with an eye to sustainability in my closet. There are a few hand-me-ups from my sister and hand-me-downs I saved from my grandma and one hand-knitted sweater. I don’t consider myself to be all that stylish or “on trend”. I don’t replenish my wardrobe each season. I mainly buy utilitarian clothing on sale that fit pretty well and can be worn daily; clothes I don’t have worry about if grubby hands/feet/paws are smeared all over them. My hardest working pieces in my closet are jeans and a fleece hoodie. That doesn’t mean I have few clothes in my closet. It means that I have lots of clothes that don’t fit that great and are pretty generic.
Over this past summer, I wanted to add a few more pieces to my wardrobe. Ones that I could wear often, that didn’t break the bank, felt good on and had style. I pretty much struck out and instead of buying the same old things, I didn’t buy anything. I’m a petite person, so clothes either need 3 inches more in the shoulder, stretch across the bust or the waist hits at my thighs. Most small batch/indie clothing are not made for my body type, let alone mainstream manufacturers. So, I made a decision to learn how to make my own useful clothing; to fill my closet with clothing that fits, I love and am proud to wear.
It’s a great idea but a lot harder to put in practice. I have limited sewing knowledge and there is a big learning curve and adjusting patterns for my body is still above my skill level. It would be so much easier to just go and buy a “good enough for now” top/dress/sweater. But I don’t want that anymore. I’d like a more selective wardrobe of hardworking, mostly handmade clothes. It won’t happen instantly, but I’m determined.
I was introduced to Karen Templer’s blog Fringe Association and Felicia Semple’s The Craft Sessions this past summer. I was instantly inspired. It led me to think about how I approach creativity and what it means to me (and how I haven’t been making much time for it these days). The Stash Less posts not only have made me aware about how I choose projects, but also how much I have already. And that has begun to bleed over to my wardrobe, books, and other crafts. I’ve been the type to purchase a book or craft supplies in earnest enthusiasm. I spend a few days or weeks plotting and planning and even starting but inevitably, life interrupts and it gets put in a pile or basket on the closet shelf. I rarely follow through with a project. Unfinished dress, and crocheted blanket; alphabet embroidery panel and wedding photo albums. I did finish knitting a sweater- my first ever- this past July. That gave me confidence that I can indeed finish and start a project.
I decided to start this blog as a way to carve out time to work on various projects. To make my creative endeavors more of a priority. A challenge of sorts: to follow through, explore, learn, make and be brave.
When Karen Templer introduced Slow Fashion October I immediately knew I wanted to participate, excited to join a growing movement inside of myself as well as a greater community. I instantly posted on Instagram all the projects I wanted to complete. And then I realized I’m doing the same thing I always do: setting myself up with wonderful and lovely projects, gathering all the supplies along with unrealistic expectations. I need to choose one or two and go about it slowly.
So I think of this October as the beginning of a long journey. Finding my way to a wardrobe of known-origins full of handmade items. Completing a few projects before buying supplies for the next one. With that in mind, I revise my goals: I will figure out how to finish the dress and continue knitting on my Charlotte Light Cardigan. It’ll be hard with all the beautiful, amazing possibilities out there to make but the way I’ll participate in Slow Fashion October is to take it slow.