Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fave Pieces

I've been noticing recently that I wear my own homemade garments regularly (score!) but not all of them (no surprise).

The pieces that get the most wear (once or more than once a week) are:
  • 2 pairs of denim trousers
  • my burgundy Sencha (the smaller of the 2)
  • my navy rayon 3/4 sleeve T shirt
  • my crazy pattern rayon jersey T shirt
  • my DKNY cowl sack dress
  • my handknit sweater (what kind of summer is this?!)
Natch, this is a summer mix. In winter I have worn other items more frequently...

Why? Well, they fit the best, IMO, they drape and wear well, they're practical (and easily restylable depending on what I wear them with) and I've managed to block out their imperfections (so, when I wear them, I'm not simply thinking about how badly they were made).

Intriguingly, no handmade skirts figure into the high rotation schedule - although I do wear a couple of them on a semi regular basis i.e. once every couple of weeks. Those would be the skirt I made for my sister (which didn't work for her) and my crazy patterned pencil skirt.

Peeps, I think it's time to add a skirt to the mix. A kind of sassy one. And another pair of those TNT trousers (but not in denim). And then another Sencha.

I've also realized recently (since the poly jersey dress) that the better the fabric, the more desirable the finished object. That means, even if I need to take a risk on ruining beautiful, expensive fabric, I'm going to have to do it. The pay-off makes it worth the risk.

What homemade items do you wear most and why? Do share!


  1. It's neat to see what ends up in rotation, isn't it? (and what overcomes its flaws vs. what doesn't ;) )

    I am at a point where even when it's not a Me-Made month, probably 3/4 of my daily wear is me-made. There's really only a couple of pairs of jeans, three or four knit tops, and a sweater or two, of RTW left that I regularly would reach for.

    I still haven't mastered the skirt, either, though. I think I've made myself three, and I don't wear any of them regularly. Of course, the bummy weather here, too, hasn't helped.

  2. I agree with you about fit and fabric choices, getting these right does lift a garment to the next level. I mostly do a muslin now, sometimes in calico and sometimes in a nice but not special fabric (if I think there are fewer and more manageable changes). It takes a bit longer and sometimes means you have two of the same pattern, but I'm enjoying the finished garments so much more now they fit well. I don't have a near-to-pattern figure and the patterns I use vary a lot (because I like to try different designers). Also as I get more experienced I invest more time in the sewing process, so much better to get it right. Great blog btw :)

  3. It's funny how that happens, isn't it? And I'm beginning to totally agree with you on the choosing better fabric thing--it's amazing what flaws really nice fabric will overcome.

    I wear my Jalie jeans a lot....like every other day. *blush* I've also worn those Burda shorts that I've just finished three times, which is kind of surprising since I've never really been a shorts kind of gal. I wear my bras regularly, but I'm still more of a sports bra kind of person than a regular bra person. I've worn both of my KS tunics quite a bit, and it looks like there'll be another one to add to my rotation soon. ;-) Most days though, I still (unfortunately) end up reaching for one of hubby's t-shirts because I don't have enough casual (or dress) shirts yet.

  4. I have made 2 of the tops from B5147 http://butterick.mccall.com/b5147-products-7795.php?page_id=154 and it's crazy how much I wear them all year round. They are just a lined, fitted tank, but they layer well under cardigans and jackets and if the office gets too hot in the summer the straps are wide enough to wear alone. I had dreams of the dresses I would make, the jacket I might attempt, the skirts I could get from one pattern purchase. I have a dress and skirt as a UFO, but those two tops are in very high rotation.

  5. It sounds boring but I get the most wear out of the t-shirts I've sewn... which is why I aim for higher quality knits... on sale of course. I know that a lot of people buy t-shirts cheaply. I can't find any that fit well and the ones I sew do. They're far more flattering. Also skirts. I wear a LOT of skirts and the ones I've sewn fit better. Fit is really important to me.

  6. Good question. I realized last year that I really don't wear my knit sweaters often, for a variety of reasons -- for one thing, they're often too warm for a heated classroom and overheated lecturing, not so great. And I think I also find that some of the aesthetics that I like in a sweater (subtle dye colours, textured stitches, natural yarns) can have too homespun a look to integrate with what I choose to wear otherwise.

    What I do end up wearing very often is a lacework shawl (Miriam Felton's Icarus, a beautiful pattern) in a cherry-red laceweight Alpaca, as well as two silk-blend lacey long scarf/shawls, one in sea colours, the other in earth tones.

    And I love to wear the denim skirt I knit -- actually, you should check out that pattern, Indigo Ripples. I suspect you might enjoy making/wearing this one -- the Rowan cotton, indigo-dyed, is fabulous, wears and fades just like a real denim jean -- and there's not the butt sag factor you might expect in a knit skirt.

  7. Ooh I did this topic a while ago (eep! 4 years!!) and it was so much fun to see the successes. I recently logged what I wore every day for a month, and the most interesting thing to me was the tally at the end: which things were worn most often, and how often I wore trousers vs skirts vs dresses. I highly recommend it!

    And you've made me realise I should really do another Awards post...

  8. Well lets see, my handmade skirts are all too big but I wore them constantly when I had them so that is probably telling me something.

    Right now, there are two handmade (sewn) tops and several summer shells (handknit) that get pretty constant wear.

    I am really short on lightweight cardigans so I either need to sew some or knit some or both, as I am most decidedly not finding what I want in the local stores.

    And I agree with you about the better fabric. I will wear something that didn't turn out quite right if the fabric is nice, and truthfully most people don't even notice that it is not up to my all-too-strenuous-standards, but if the fabric is sub-par it doesn't matter how much work went into it or how beautifully it turned out, I just don't wear it.

  9. I wear the skirts I've made the most. Generally, I haven't had any luck with tops -- I've made a few peasant tops but since I am not really a peasant top person, they ended up not in the rotation much. I am working on learning to sew pants that I like, but that's very much a work in progress.

    I've discovered that one big factor in making a skirt wearable to me is either a drawstring waistband or belt loops. I don't have much differential between my waist and high hip, so skirts tend to float around without something to anchor them. I'm trying to be aware of that, and if a skirt is overly simple otherwise, I'll add belt loops.

  10. I love your blog and read it often. I've got to ask about the Sencha blouse you say you wear often. Since I know from previous posts that your front and your back upper body measurements, shall we say...vary widely (as do mine!)did this pattern require much in the way of alterations for you to achieve a fit that you like? I need some tops that aren't sweaters or t-shirts, which means I have to sew them or they won't fit at all- but I had previously rejected the Sencha, even though I like it, because I thought it didn't have enough seams to allow for the kind of shaping I'd need to do to get a blouse to fit well. But if you like it...I'm reconsidering.

  11. Hi Margaret: Thanks for your lovely comment. Incredibly (and I've read this elsewhere), the Sencha required no FBA. In fact, I cut the size 8 and realized that I could have probably cut the 6. Instead, when I made it the second times, I made a couple of edits: I shortened the sleeves slightly, I made the waist about .5 inch smaller (1/8 inch over 4 seams) and - instead of pin tucking the back centre (2 tucks) - I made 4 pin tucks (same spacing from each other) on either side of the original tuck. There's so much ease in the front - everywhere, really - that you can affect the shaping most easily with the pin tucks. Hope that helps!

  12. T: I'm starting to wear my own things much of the time. I guess, happily, eventually the items make up a large portion of one's wardrobe...

    Dilliander: Thank you for your comment! I tend to make muslins too - though more for wovens than knits (which are so unknowable, but often more forgiving). It's a sound practice - and makes one feel comfortable using the pricier fabric!

    CGC: Say no to the hubby t shirts! :-)

    chutchings: A guess another one is in order. It's amazing how changing the fabric changes up the whole look of a garment...

    Myrna: Your skirts and Ts are excellent...

    F: I'm totally going to check out the skirt (how can that work?!) and I think that lace shawls are the bomb. I think that's next on my list...

    melissa: totally off to check out that post. Thanks!

    M: Isn't it crazy. There are garments I love but then I think - I wouldn't buy this in a store because of the fabric. Why would I make it? Time to embrace some fabric risk...

    LSCG: Knowing what you need is half the battle. (Or a third of it anyway). The other two parts are, IMO, mastering fit (the TNT) and using great fabric.