Eight Days a Week
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?
6/16/2015 05:27:15 pm
This outfit is sublime. And not remotely boring! Love your goals for your wardrobe. Love how you're realising them.
6/17/2015 01:25:52 am
Michelle, La Belle! I love your curly cut!
Love this on you! I think part of making your own clothes is learning and owning what you want to wear, even if that fluctuates sometimes. And even if it doesn't seem as exciting to blog about. I'm starting to feel a tendency to want to sew more staples and buy things I just don't want to sew--unlike you my goal isn't totally me-made, so I'm okay with that. Like I need some black shorts, brown shorts, brown pants... really exciting. lol But, they're things I know I can make, but can't really buy easily in my style. Whereas a cute vintage-style dress... well I *can* find ones I really want to buy and not make, and sometimes in better fabrics or prints I just can't get my hands on. You know? Following our own changing shift in sewing and style and skills is so interesting! And I don't think you really start realizing it until you've been sewing (or knitting) quite sometime. Go you for finding what you want to live in and making it happen!
Love that you have found a pattern that works in your closet! I'm one to believe that fabric choice really "makes" a garment, so as long as you have a little variety on your fabric choice (and don't make 7 navy blue plaid archers) I won't get bored with pattern repeats. I love your fabric choice for this Archer - it's feminine and has a vintage vibe.
I love this outfit!! I am happy to have a closet full of Archers too - and I don't think there is anything boring about that. It's a really classic shirt and you can easily change it up depending on the fabric you choose and you can do short sleeves, sleeveless, mandarin collar, v-neck. The possibilities are endless. It' so nice to actually wear the things we sew. I think your skirt looks amazing too - and perfect with an Archer. Hooray for uniforms!
It's funny you mention normcore - I always thought of you as having a vintage flair, but I've been focusing on the fashion interpretation of normcore as generic 90s clothing instead of an attitude. There is something wonderful about not trying to prove you're anything unique through your clothes! Maybe Grainline is the ultimate normcore pattern company in that sense. I do think the vintage fabrics you sew with add something interesting to the mix, however!
Your struggles with figuring out what to sew really resonate with me... not because I ever sewed a lot of pretty dresses - I was always focused on "everyday wear" - but because what I like seeing is not necessarily what makes me feel good when I wear it.
6/19/2015 01:08:31 am
FANTASTIC skirt! Love it! : )
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