My handmade wardrobe year – October

The end of month 10 of only making clothes and not buying ANY!!

I am so happy that I have managed to achieve this plan. With the end of the year in site I feel positive that I won’t be buying any ready made clothes, in fact I feel very happy the way it has all turned out and have also begun to make the majority of my childrens clothes too! I am pretty sure I won’t be rushing to the January sales to get a clothing fix.

I had really started to get a great summer wardrobe together which I was really happy with and then the end of the summer has happened and I hardly had time to wear all my new August tops before packing them away for the winter. I have learnt to be very organised and selective about what to make and when to start, so I made a start this month on items of clothing that I would like to wear over the next few months.


I am starting to work much more on my clothing range which I offer as sewing classes and made to order. My most popular sewing class is for a reversible pinafore dress for little girls. It is now available to make in mummy sizes as well. I like to thoroughly test everything I offer as a class and a product, so this is my mummy version of the reversible pinafore dress. I added deep patch pockets to this side. I made it in quite heavy weight cotton, with a top underneath and some boots I think this will be a great wardrobe addition for the winter.



I decided to cover buttons for this dress and just like the little girls version it has a deliberately staggered hem to avoid the ‘not quite level’ look!



I also ran up another two tops from my simple woven tee pattern that I used in the August post. These are not the most interesting garments to look at. Sometimes you just need some wardrobe basics.

The idea of this pattern was to form the basis of a new course to teach fitting and how to use your basic fitted pattern and adapt it into new designs. I think you are more likely to make more clothes for yourself if you have a pattern that you know fits and that you can rustle up in a short space of time.

This was exactly what I did. Last time I made this it was in pink tiny check linen with a square neck. This time I used navy linen and cut with a round neck. An hour later ….a new top!



Likewise this was the basic high neck version I made in a black and white graffiti print shown in the August post. Simple black embroidery anglais version rustled up in an hour. A couple of basics sorted.



I had my first attempt at dying a garment this month. Inspired by a recent visit to see Cherry at Merrimans Vintage Jamboree who has the most amazing array of dyed blankets and vintage cloth. I decided the above pair of coral colour jeans that I never ever wear could be transformed into something I might wear.

I chose a terracotta colour as I thought it might work better to stay somewhere in the same family of colour. I was pleased I did because although the fabric was made of cotton the thread used to top stitch them was polyester and didn’t take the dye. I quite like the effect of tonal top-stitching.


Although I did promise myself not to buy any more fabric until I made up at least some of my ‘mountain’ of fabric. While searching on line for some lining fabric this just jumped out and asked to be bought!! So before it got a chance to fester at the bottom of a pile I made it into a pair of slightly mad trousers, which I love!



I started work on a toile for this Vogue dress pattern. I am quite happy that I didn’t have to make many alterations to the pattern, I think there may be a few version of this coming up in the future. Its a great classic shape, cut really well.


My first one with be my black and white wood grain print! I’ve got so many things I want make I am going to be busy busy.

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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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