My Personal Uniform, My Ideal Wardrobe

January 1, 2014

I feel like I should follow up a little bit after my last post (wow what a response!): I didn’t mean to make it sound like I absolutely hated everything I made, or didn’t value what I learned, because that’s just not the case. I did make some things that I call my favorites and I’m very proud of them (this dress, and this dress, come to mind), but I can’t love those things because they don’t fit as nicely as they should, and I never wear them. I sewed a lot of “closet trophies” in 2013 and that’s not what I need in my life. It’s embarrassing when you explain to people that you practically sew for a living “but oh… no I’m not wearing anything I’ve made right now”. That’s not who I want to be, and it’s why I sound so hard on myself lately in regards to my sewing. I just know I’m capable of better and I need to prove it to myself, not anyone else.

So taking what I learned last year, I know I need clothes that are practical, wearable, washable, and slightly utility. I’m pretty much describing a uniform – My personal, everyday uniform. That’s what I need to sew in 2014.


I may have been unclear about this after we last left off, but I never intend to give up 1940s sewing! I just need to pick more sensible vintage patterns for my lifestyle. Many of you wanted to know what this “uniform” of mine looks like, and I can basically sum it up as “1940s Tomboy”. The outfit I wear most consists of jeans (recently I’ve been obsessed with Freddies of Pinewood), a button up shirt, a cardigan, and some kind of hat or head scarf. That’s pretty much what you’ll see me in all year round. I attempted to sew this uniform last year but because of poor fit, poor fabric quality, and poor seam finishing techniques, these things never get worn. I KNOW I’m plenty capable of making my own shirts, but I’m not brave enough to knit a sweater yet, and sewing my own jeans doesn’t really appeal to me. But, there are plenty of other things I can sew myself to build a small, mix and match, tried and true, quality wardrobe, and I plan to do just that with my proposed Twelve Pattern Challenge (more on that in a second).


Tasha recently shared an excellent post about her feelings on building your ideal wardrobe. She brings up a good point that you first need to decide what you don’t like about your clothes, before you can really fill in the gaps and make what you like. That’s something I guess I never really bothered with before. I’m always drawn to beautiful 1940s dress patterns so I sew them up, fall in love with the finished dresses on a hanger, but then awkwardly try to climb into them as they get stuck around my head and I’m fighting to get them over my chest (yes it feels like THAT much of a fight, haha!).


So here are some wardrobe epiphanies I had recently:

  1. I like dresses, but NOT when they’re the pull-over-your-head kind. I like wrap dresses and shirt dresses.
  2. If I sew something that I can’t throw in the washing machine, I’m probably not going to bother washing it, so therefore I’ll never wear it. I want to branch out and sew more types of fabrics this year, but I also need to be choosing the ones that are machine washable.
  3. I made two cotton dirndl skirts in 2013 that I wore quite a bit, but I always had a hard time matching them with tops because I have a lot of prints. I’m attracted to prints, what can I say, but I can’t really wear my prints with other prints. I need things that go together well.
  4. I need some comfy lounge pants to wear around the house, but ones I won’t be embarrassed to wear outside when Lucille wants to go for a walk. I don’t like sitting around in jeans, so I really need some pants that are both comfy to wear and don’t look like pajamas when I leave the house in them.
  5. Jackets! I really want to sew a jacket.

After spelling this all out, it’s becoming more and more clear what I really NEED to sew for myself. If I add these needs, plus a few sewing wants, my twelve patterns practically picked themselves. So back to my Twelve Pattern Plan that I mentioned earlierI’m basically challenging myself to pick just 12 patterns to sew from in 2014, with the idea that those 12 patterns can be mixed, matched, and altered to build my entire wardrobe.


I have my 12 pattern plan almost solidified and I feel SO GOOD about it already! I’m going to explain all the rules/guidelines I have for myself in a later post because it’s becoming quite the involved challenge, but this is the basic breakdown of my twelve patterns in my “bank” of things to sew: 2 skirts, 2 pants, 2 shirts, 2 dresses, 1 jacket, 1 blazer, 1 handbag, 1 loungewear set. Sounds pretty well rounded, right?

This 12 pattern idea already feels SO MUCH more fun, more focused, and more successful than my sewing ever was in 2013. I can’t wait to get started!

Happy New Year!