A couple months ago, I got it in my head that I would stop dreaming about having a closet full of Archers and make them. I pulled a pile of fabrics off my shelves and started cutting. If we hang-out on Instagram, you may have seen the madness. While I was at it, I also cut out a pile of shift dresses using the same vintage McCall's pattern I used to sew my LBD. Slowly, surely, (and sometimes not at all), I've been working my way through that pile.
My goal with sewing has always been to completely sew my own wardrobe. This has been a bigger challenge than I realized at the onset. By the time the year ends I'll have five years of sewing and projects under my belt. I've learned a lot along the way, but the hardest lesson I've struggled with is figuring out which types of garments I really want in my closet. I've sewn pretty vintage party dresses that spend all their time on a hanger. I have a number of impractical garments that should only be worn on weekends. I have a pile of ill-fitting garments that it's time to part with. Most importantly, I have a group of garments that I reach for time, and time again.
In truth, I'm a very boring dresser- Normcore all the way. I feel most comfortable when I have a basic "uniform" to work with. I decided to embrace my vanilla-ness and use that last group of garments, the ones that spend more time in the laundry than they do in my closet, to build a foundation for my ideal wardrobe.
As I finish each project, I get more excited about the direction my closet is heading. Granted, this type of sewing makes for very boring blogging. For that, I apologize in advance. I'm not a fan of repetitive project parades either, but I blog, in addition to the social element, as a means of personal record keeping. Finding my stride with wardrobe staples is a pretty big chapter in this epic. I'll make it as quick and painless as possible. Promise.
I really feel that once I have a strong foundation, I can build on top of it. I have plans to mix-in some new patterns and styles this summer. The biggest irony of this whole experiment is that being totally boring and sewing the same things over, and over again somehow makes it feel easier to take risks- it's like I have a safety net now that I have clothes to fall back on.
Who knows, I might find more favorite patterns as I play around and push boundaries. I'm very happy to wear some combination of this outfit in rotation with my shift dresses until I do! Many of the fabrics that I used work well in a variety of combinations. It's like algebra class and story problems but with real world applicability.
The Archer is amazing, but it doesn't stand alone. I needed a suitable bottom to wear. I started my search on Pinterest. I have a board of separates where I've pinned and continue to pin all sorts of tea-length and midi skirts. Thanks to my overabundant pattern stash, I was able to find a pattern that I think checks all my boxes in terms of a great skirt. Vintage (80s?) Butterick See&Sew 5076 might not be the first pattern most people would reach for, but this skirt is FABULOUS. I'm wearing my first 'mock-up' of this pattern in these photos. The fabric I used is kinda sucky. It's a poly-blend suiting fabric that I bought at an estate sale for the purpose of muslining. However, this skirt fit so well, I decided to fully finish it. The fabric doesn't feel horrible, but gosh is it a nightmare to press.
The skirt falls directly from the waistband without darting and flares toward the bottom to create a nice amount of volume. It's got enough swish to satisfy, and it only takes two yards of fabric to sew. With four seams and a waistband, this skirt is also a very quick project, which made it great to alternate with the somewhat more complicated Archer.
The Archer is a contemporary pattern, the skirt is awesomely 80's; together, I think they look very 70's. Most importantly, they're totally 'me'. Have you found your sewing spirit animal?