When it comes to wardrobe gaps, it’s often easy to figure out why they exist. I’m always short on nice looking neutral colored cardigans because I don’t knit them very often and wear them to death when I do. I currently have too few dresses with pockets, but that’s because I only really started finding pockets useful when I began working in an office a few years ago, and I build my wardrobe slowly. And I still don’t have the perfect bra.

The first two are relatively easy to deal with. I like sewing dresses, and it’s simple enough to add pockets, so I’ve cut them out for my next two dress projects. (That said, I don’t get much sewing done in a year, so I’ve also added it to my criteria for picking out dresses at the thrift store.) To get myself to knit more neutral colored cardigans, I’ve been working on them during KALs because I get the extra fun of a KAL to make up for an unexciting color. It’s also not the speediest method, but that’s okay! I’ve found a balance between what I need and what I want to make that works nicely.

That perfect bra, however. I just have zero interest in sewing something that fiddly that won’t really get seen. So for now, I buy them and have to settle for less than perfect. It’s hard to find bras that give a retro silhouette and play nicely with low cut tops, but I’d rather compromise on shape and style than take the time to make my own.

Crafting should be fun, and at the end of the day, you should choose the projects you enjoy. Strive to find a balance between what you want to wear and what you want to make, but don’t fuss over projects that won’t bring you joy.

On another note, when it comes to talking about building a handmade wardrobe online, it’s easy to feel pressured to take it to the extreme. There are people who want to make absolutely everything they wear and that makes them happy, but if the idea of sewing your own winter coat doesn’t excite you and you’d rather buy one, that’s more than okay! In online communities, there are always extremists and more casual people, and the extremists stand out, which can make it intimidating for newbies who have no interest taking it that far or are interested in it but aren’t ready yet. But casual people are always the majority and not unwelcome. I see people who are afraid to use the handmade wardrobe tags on Instagram because they haven’t made enough of their wardrobe, and this kind of hesitation isn’t unique to crafts. The vintage community can make it seem like you need to have fully “true vintage” outfits to participate. You don’t! As a vintage-loving crafter, I’m never going to have a fully vintage wardrobe OR a fully handmade one, but my participation has never been treated as unwelcome, so don’t be afraid to join in, too. Me Made May is coming up, and I hope you’ll participate if you’re interested, even if you can’t do it every day. I love seeing everyone putting their handknits to use!

8 Comments

  • Long-time reader, first-time comment-er (I think, heh). I am a fellow god-bra-shopping-is-a-PITA. For fitting the darn things, have you tried https://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/ ? I found it amazingly helpful to narrow down how to fit, what to measure, and suggestions about specific bras. They do focus some, on the smallest, and largest, bras. However, most of it applies specifically to fit. And there are lots of suggestions about how each and every bra fits (you can search by brand and model, to some degree) including how it fits a person’s exact shape of breast. They do go into specialty bras brands, as well as Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant, Warners, Bali, etc., and if you need a certain silhouette, I believe there are recs for that, too. YMMV, but I found it enlightening.

    • Thanks. Fit isn’t an area I struggle with, but other readers might find that group helpful. I’m pretty familiar with the bras that work for my shape and the vintage repro brands. I don’t think what I’m looking for is out there.

  • Just starting out on the handmade wardrobe. First time sewing since leaving school. Looking forward to getting my sewing machine. Totally agree, definitely only work on joyful projects. Happy Easter crafting.

  • It’s really easy to get sucked into the “everything must be handmade” mentality and become anxious about a hobby that is supposed to be enjoyable. I tried sewing my own bras for a while, but found I couldn’t get a fit anywhere close to RTW. I spent far too much time and money on something I didn’t really enjoy before I gave up.

    Regarding the pockets, it is so easy to insert a pocket into an existing garment! I do it all the time with thrifted skirts and dresses. You just need a scrap of fabric.

    • I really need to follow your pocket suggestion! At the very least I can add them into older dresses I made because I know there’s enough seam allowance that it won’t be challenging.

  • Thank you so much Andi! This post sums up exactly how I’ve been feeling about things. I love vintage and retro (which is why I love your patterns so much) but I’ve been struggling with an “identity” recently. I don’t fit into the truly vintage, totally handmade wardrobe – not even close…yet, but I definitely would consider myself in the very interested category. I haven’t been using the handmade wardrobe hashtags for the exact reason you said! Honestly, it’s like you read my mind with this blog post and coming from someone who I respect and admire it has almost given me permission to know it’s ok and the small amount I do is good enough – and in time as I learn to sew etc hopefully I can build on that also. I just wanted to say thanks, this post resonated more than you know.

    • Aw, I’m happy to read that. I hope you feel more comfortable sharing. We all start at the interested phase, so I think you’ll find quite a bit
      of support.

  • I love sewing because i can make and have something no-one else will have and when i sew it is usually tops or knit dresse. I cant knit( i have tried to teach myself as well as my grandmother and mum have also tried) so i will buy what my mother in law needs or pay to have a lovely lady to make it for.

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