Last month, I bought twenty items of clothing – basically a non-capsule seasonal wardrobe, all at once.
- 6 knit tops
- 4 pieces of workout gear
- 3 blouses
- 3 sweaters
- 2 pieces of outerwear
- 2 dresses
Fifteen of them were purchased second-hand, three purchased new.
This was very unusual for me and, I’m guessing, for most people. (Shockingly, everything fits in my tiny closet and tiny bureau.) As a sewer, my MO for the past few years has been to sew everything I want or need. It’s brought me to a place where I can stitch myself up a new pair of jeans, undies or even a winter coat. It’s been the best way for me to learn how to sew and I put in tons of hours to make it happen.
Other equally-rewarding activities have started to gain a foothold in my schedule, though, like dancing, reading and getting eight hours of sleep every night. With these positive changes, planning to sew every garment I needed wasn’t working anymore. My sewing queue was growing longer as my output had slowed, and even with my new budget, fabric and patterns have been building up waiting to be sewn.
The revelation that I no longer aspire to sew everything I wear has hit me gradually over the last month. I think it started when I wrote up my IG post for Sew Photo Hop’s “knit vs. woven?” theme. I love me some wovens. I barely tolerate most knit projects, nor am I as excited with the finished garment when I’m done. As I was typing out my post for that day, it dawned on me that maybe I don’t need to sew knits. And I felt a twinge of relief. There will be exceptions – I do what I want, when I want, and contradict myself constantly. I’ve enjoyed making my own undies and even swimsuits. Plus, I have some knit fabrics stashed. But it’s 100% ok to not sew all of my t-shirts and tank tops.
This was my liberated mindset when I walked into one of my favorite local second-hand stores, and I was richly rewarded. I found things I needed (like a knee-length down coat) and things that make it easier to get dressed for work in the morning (a jeans jacket, some dresses, work blouses and knit tops), and they all fit acceptably well, even in the shoulders. I was elated and made two more trips to the Goodwill. I found a few pieces of workout gear and yet more knits. Finally, I bought three other harder-to-thrift workout garments new from a retail store.
I feel satisfied and done with shopping. I’m grateful the capricious thrift-store gods were on my side. I’m going to be warm and well-dressed this fall and winter and I won’t be trying to convince myself I could and should sew a down jacket as I shiver on my walk to the bus in the morning (even though that would be an amazing project….)
Now I can focus on sewing projects that bring me satisfaction. I didn’t buy any jeans or pants, by design – I love sewing those and I love the fit I can achieve. I’m also yearning for more outerwear projects. I’ve been sewing for others, and have a pair of jeans for my husband almost finished in addition to a dress for my best friend and a baby quilt project. I’m even considering refashioning my husband’s beat-up winter coat for him (don’t hold me to that) instead of sewing him a new one.
I can easily imagine a day in the future when I want to return to sewing everything, but for now I’m thoroughly enjoying my new paradigm.
And on the topic of jeans, I’ll be back shortly with some Morgan jeans variations I sewed this spring, summer and fall!