The Handcrafted Wardrobe: Make it Work for You

This is what I’m thinking; real women, with real bodies and complicated lives, with all of the true to life sewing disasters and fashion faux pas, but also the possibility of developing a genuine, soul-satisfying sense of unique personal style that’s entirely one of a kind in a way that only hand-made can be.”

I said it, so now I have to live up to it.  Even when I don’t feel well and the sun won’t cooperate and I’m too tired to actually do anything with my hair and I’m not sure how I feel about the clothing I’m sharing or how it looks on me.  Because there is truth in all of that.  This is my real life, my friends, more days than not.

Because of some of my health problems, I have a really hard time wearing anything fitted around my waist, which is quite limiting and frustrating.  I pretty much live in leggings, hence my proclivity towards dresses and tunics.  But when doing outdoor work there are times when leggings just don’t cut it.  I’ve been trying to figure out a solution to this issue for a while now.  When I saw this chambray jumpsuit, I thought that just maybe something along those lines might be the answer?

In looking around I kept finding advice on pairing a style like this with a statement necklace and gladiator heels (am I getting any of these terms right?!?), and I’m all like, “You know, with a frumpy old cardigan and maybe a battered sun hat, that might just be the thing for hauling dirt…”

I really dread being perceived as trying to be trendy.  It’s a strange hang up.  I sometimes get upset when the styles I like become fashionable.

All the same, with hopes of comfortable and productive gardening, I found myself a chambray jumpsuit on deep clearance and took the plunge…

When I took it out of the box Steve looked at me with some concern and asked if I was buying maternity clothes.

After quite a bit of altering, this is what I ended up with:

I’m still not thrilled with the below the waist bagginess, but I didn’t want to risk restricting range of movement.

Before and After:

I think it likely would have been easier to make one from scratch, I literally rebuilt every part of it.  I’m not sure how I feel about it. The jury is still out (to be frank, I feel a bit silly).

Did anyone else do any experimenting with clothes last week?


10 thoughts on “The Handcrafted Wardrobe: Make it Work for You

  1. Zena

    I am scared of buying clothes online for this exact reason. You did a splendid job and I think it looks fantastic on you. Throw on that hat and cardi and this will be the perfect uniform for the garden. I am not making anything at all unfortunately as I am going through a terrible newly diagnosed health issue. I have been sick for a few months. However when I am up to it I want to make simple tunics to go over tights and keep knitting cardigans.

  2. Johanna

    I think it looks cute on you. Perfect for gardening :) Have you thought about wearing overalls? I haven’t worn overalls since the late 90′s, but I seem to remember them being pretty loose in the waist and sturdy enough for outdoor work (and play).
    I’m knitting this sweater in tranquil (knitpicks stroll sock yarn). I love cardigans, but the color is a bit risky for me. I usually only wear black, brown, red, purple, and dark blue. I’m trying to get a little more variety in my wardrobe and be braver about color, but budget is a concern. So I’m also trying to get away with having just a few pieces that are really practical and can be mixed and matched with other stuff. Lightweight sweaters are ideal for changeable Colorado weather. I don’t usually wear shorter tops but this should go with all of my summer dresses and higher waisted skirts.

  3. Allison

    I think you did a great job of making the romper work, and I think you’ll feel a lot less silly if you pair it with the cardi and hat just like you said. It’ll feel more functional. I tried on a romper once when they started getting popular and I felt like an oversized toddler. I think that had to do with the fact that it was a white eyelet/lacey short style rather than a more grown up fabric.

  4. Melody Post author

    Zena- I just sent you and email. I hope you feel better soon!

    Johanna- I think your cardigan is going to be really pretty! The yarn is really in keeping with the vintage vibe of that sweater. I know what you mean about trying to be more adventurous with color. I tend to be the queen of neutrals. I really do love color too, but I think the idea of having to pair it with other colors, etc is somewhat over-whelming. I also fear things ending up too loud and attention getting. But I’m still enjoying experimenting from time to time. I have plans for a cropped sweater for just that sort of wear; over dresses, etc.

    And yes, I think a pair of over-alls would be good! I just happened to find this at a reasonable price first.

    Allison- I think your right and what I pair it with seems to be the key.

  5. Heather

    You are such a whiz with a sewing machine :) It really did turn out well :) I love cardigans – they make pretty much any outfit better.

  6. a little crafty nest

    Melody, I had no idea you were doing this project…so fun!!!! I love your creativity! And just this past weekend I made myself the beginnings of my own long-awaited wardrobe. I made a tunic top of the sort I always wear…a little billowy and perhaps a tad frumpy, but oh so comfortable. I like wearing it with leggins, baggy pants or a skirt…so versatile. Maybe one of these days I can take a photo. Next up are a few pairs of flowy pants and a few wrap skirts….and handmade t-shirts…and a peasant skirt…and…oh, dear…this is just the beginning!
    xo Jules

  7. Ravenna

    “I really dread being perceived as trying to be trendy. It’s a strange hang up. I sometimes get upset when the styles I like become fashionable.” – I can soooo relate to this. One year I decided I wanted ankle strap pumps and couldn’t find them anywhere. The next year they were everywhere! Maybe I am a style leader. Ha!

    I can see a definite improvement with the jumpsuit. I tend to lean toward function and comfort for all houseworky things, so if it is comfy and works then I say rock it! Gladiator sandals in the garden would just leave you with dirty feet ;)

    Reading this post is giving me the sewing itch… I think I’ll go browse patterns now.

  8. Melody Post author

    Oh yes, I’m all for comfort and function as well! Though, as I almost never leave the house these days, I’m trying to pay more attention to not dressing like a complete bum for housework, since that would of course translate into being dressed like a bum all the time!

  9. Melody Post author

    Jules- Please do take a picture! I want to see!!! Oh, do be sure to share your creations if you can (and don’t mind of course!). It all sounds fabulous. I find myself trying to picture your tunic and wanting to know more.

  10. Kathryn Reaume

    I think what you are doing with clothes is awesome! I also have issues with finding clothes. If I could sew like you I would make all my clothes. I dress very modestly and I have a hard time finding things that fit that requirement esp nowadays when everyone wants to to wear as few clothes as possible. I think your jumpsuit is great esp if its just to wear around your yard. Be encouraged and just do the best you can! Love Kathryn

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