I’m starting to get a bit attached to this whole make your own clothes thing. It’s a bit odd because in 2010ish I studied fashion design and learnt all about drafting patterns and clothing construction but after I was done with school it never felt like something I wanted to spend heaps of time on. As I get older (and maybe, hopefully, wiser) I think more and more about where everything I use and buy comes from. Since clothing is something we can’t do without and since I love experimenting with personal style and putting together outfits but I’m ethically opposed to hyper-consumerism, I’ve started to think more and more what a handmade or ethical wardrobe looks like. Brands like Kowtow feature for sure, they’re sustainable and ethical and beautiful. The thing with clothing that’s produced so thoughtfully is that it comes at a price and so I often leave behind dresses that called my name because my wallet says no.
Which is where handmade comes in – I have the tools and the skills to make my own clothing but I’ve never really felt motivated to do it more than a handful of times until now. I’ve made my first handknit sweaters this year – a flax sweater by Tincanknits and a boxy sweater by Jojilocat and I have a whole list of things to add to my handmade wardrobe as time and energy allow.
As far as knitting goes, I want to make socks and a big snuggly shawl scarf type thing (though that might be a slow burn over the spring and summer as I have my eye on something like this which is way beyond my skill set at the moment). As far as socks go, I’ve started my first pair and so far so good. It’s kind of magical how you if you keep following the pattern, even though it feels very counter intuitive and the opposite of what you should do, it suddenly works and you have something sock shaped! I love the idea of a drawer full of handknit socks but as I’ve never worn them before I’m planning on finishing this first pair and then seeing how they feel before jumping all in and casting on a pair for every day of the week.
I’ve also abandoned any and all pretence of being a monogamous knitter and cast on a lush cardigan for Edie. I’m not usually into such delicate knits but I could see myself in one of these with a cropped length (always) so perhaps I’ll add that to the ever-growing list of one day makes. For now, I’ve made the lace panel (my first attempt at knitting lace and knitting from a chart) and I’m excited to get on with the steps once the lace yoke has been blocked.
I’m still stitching my way through my uniform cardigan, my first make from the Uniform book. The one I’m starting with is a 4 ply/fingering yarn so progress isn’t fast but I’ve now just got sleeves to go and so perhaps I’ll finish inside the month. We shall see and in the meantime I’m dreaming of other combinations of shape and length and hemline and fit and wondering what I should make from the book next. I think something in worsted weight yarn is in order, so I can have something complete before the end of next winter. I’ve got sewing plans for least one version of the Uniform tunic as well so I’ll need to dig through my fabric stash (which is pretty minimal after much culling and not much sewing) and see if I’ve got anything to work with before going on a hunt for good cotton or linen to use.
Related to sewing and handmade clothing: It was my birthday a few days ago and my partner in crime and wonderful human I share my life with gave me gift vouchers for Holland Road Yarn Shop (which is in my neighbourhood and I’ve been going to their weekly knit night when I can. I’ve learnt heaps from the other knitters there about the new tricks I’m attempting with each new pattern I begin) which I promptly used to purchase a full set of KnitPro Nova needles which I’d been dreaming of. I think now it’s pretty clear that this knitting addiction isn’t going anywhere and so I thought it was time to invest in some good tools and these needles are my favourite so far. The other standout birthday gift from him (which I’ll write more about at some stage because it’s just ridiculous and amazing) was a book called She Wears the Pants and is by Yuko Takada and is basically all I’ve ever wanted in a pattern book and I’m just so amazed that he knows me so well and got it so right. I’m itching to get into lots of the patterns in this book too.
I have no idea how far I’ll get with all of these plans and no doubt my list is much longer than is realistic in my life but hey, if I didn’t over-commit to things I probably wouldn’t do half as much so there you go. In other birthday news, a friend gave me a sleek black notebook that is essentially a more beautiful way to organise myself complete with a to-do list format and little boxes to tick when tasks are complete. It is perfect for my organisation and finishing things brain. I think it will help with my overly ambitious creative list.