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My handmade wardrobe year – Jan 2014

Yesterday I announced on Facebook and twitter that my New Year resolution would be to only make my clothes and not to buy ANY for a whole year.

I also plan to blog about my progress and what I make every month. So here by way of a kick start, I thought I better set some ground rules.

Here are my rules:

1. I will only MAKE clothing for a whole year, including coats, jackets, dresses, trousers and tops.

2. The only items I can buy are underwear and footwear – including socks, tights, knickers, bras, shoes, sandals and boots.

3. As I don’t knit if I want a knitted item I can ask someone to hand knit it for me.

4. I can re-work items already in my wardrobe.

5. I can accept gifts of pre-made clothing for my birthday and Christmas only.

Them there are me rules!

Me and my wardrobe so far………..

I have had a life long love affair with clothes, as many of us do. I trained as a fashion designer and worked in the fashion trade for most of my career to date. I think I have got to the point now where I am more of a fan of style than fashion. I admire effortless style and I admire vintage style icons that still look as amazing today as they did in their day. I think classic simple styles stand the test of time and can be re-styled and bought up to date.

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I love good quality fabrics, good quality clothing and interesting and clever design. I love mixing up vintage, new, designer with high street.

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I’ve spent the last few years in and out of maternity wear which I wasn’t in love with. Returning to a normal wardrobe I tried to buy good quality classics that can be dressed up and down and become stables of my wardrobe. Sometimes I achieved this and sometimes it was a total disaster!

My style…..

These days I have to be realistic, I am a mum of 2 little ones, things have to be practical, washable and chuck onable! I am pretty practical anyway so I am a big lover of casual clothes, and understated style but I still like the quality to be there. Obviously I don’t have an office job where I am expected to dress a certain way but nonetheless I am a fan of a bit of retail therapy.

My wardrobe stables are very much jeans and a nice top or sweater. I like trousers the most but I do wear skirts a fair bit, I have especially enjoyed wearing my reversible wrap skirt recently.

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I am a big lover of Toast and can’t usually resist a bargain or two when they have there mega 70% off sale around now! Since having kids actually getting to the shops for clothes shopping has been almost impossible and its a total no-go to go with them!!!! So I have found my way to quite a bit of online shopping. I am a big fan of Top shop and ASOS, both cover most requirements. Topped up with the odd piece from nice catalogues like Plumo and Wrap.

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As for making my own clothes – I have to confess generally I buy more clothes than I make, I have made the important things in my life like my wedding dress. I make a lot of dresses for my daughter, infact she has more handmade dresses than bought ones.

So here starteth a whole new and exciting journey:

I had a quick dig around in my fabric stash and in my wardrobe and came up with a few ideas:

I’m thinking about a simple vest shape that is quite loose to wear under a cardigan with jeans now and on its own in the summer with trousers or jeans. I think I need quite drapey fabric for this to look good. I found 3 fab pieces of fabric in my stash…….

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Semi sheer dobby cotton voile, lightweight piece of Liberty (I think its Liberty – completely forgot about it) and a really old piece of printed viscose. Along with these I found a couple of old treasures kept for the prints, a Georgette maxi dress and a satin maxi skirt, both of these might work well in the shape I am thinking about!

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Then I found this 80’s wool jacket, which I loved for the classic shape and the fabric, but was shelved because it does have 80’s shoulders and the buttons and lining are not my fav!

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With new customising classes coming up I thought I might see what I can do with a classic little beige cardy!

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And a pair of jeans………..

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This vintage dress might just be wearable, but it doesn’t fit or suit my shape so I am thinking a skirt re-work here,

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and the same here……….

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And lastly I quite fancy turning these curtains into slim fit trousers!

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I’m feeling pretty pleased with the outcome of a quick rummage around! A few ideas that have been floating around and a few new ones and the possibility of a much bigger new wardrobe than I would have achieved even in the January sales.

I am also busy collecting ideas for my wardrobe and for classes on my dedicated Pinterest page. I am totally addicted to Pinterest if you haven’t already discovered it go now!

You can follow my wardrobe story here monthly and I promise to be completely honest 🙂

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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