Sewing a Special Wardrobe in 2020

My sewing projects always start with fabric – and if I can’t find the perfect fabric, I’ll buy something that seems good enough. However, that leads me to a wardrobe filled with a few gems and too many “good enough” outfits. In 2020, I want to make sure that I sew more wardrobe heroes, and less “fine”!

These are all the projects I sewed in 2019 that I still own.

For me, I think that starts with buying great fabric. Not necessarily high end, luxe or all-natural, just fabric that speaks to my heart. The right colours, the right scale, something that makes me feel like my best self.

These sewing projects from 2019 have all been given away or donated!

The next step is to take my time with the project – no, I’m not getting into slow sewing, but a little care and thought goes a long way. I knew even as I sewed most of my Top 5 Misses that they wouldn’t get much wear because the fabric and pattern weren’t the perfect fit. According to my collages, I blogged 41 garments, kept 28, and got rid of 13. That’s 2/3 successful, 1/3 not. I think I do better!

My Top 9 favourite garments in 2019.

What can I learn from my favourite projects of 2019?

  • I like large florals, organic prints and stripes.
  • I enjoy bold contrast in prints (even that black dress has a geometric silver texture).
  • I like dresses and cardigans, but when I do sew pants or jumpsuits, I enjoy them too.
  • Knee-length dresses are definitely my favourite thing to sew, even though I wear RTW jeans and a top about half the time. Does that mean I should stick with dresses or try to sew more great tops?

Just like when it comes to eating healthy, my approach is to add more of what I love instead of focusing on cutting back. More veggies on the plate, and focus on buying great fabric! So, my goal for 2020 is to make one special project each month! I’m giving myself permission to buy one cut of fabric that I adore each month, and sew it up into something I’ll treasure.

Starting with this beauty from Blackbird Fabrics! I love the colour and scale, and I’m excited to wear the multi-ethnic skin tones to work and see what my ESL students think! It’s fabric that is beautiful and political (the lack of diversity in classroom literature and staff is shameful) and I think the large scale will make a perfect shift dress for all seasons! The fabric is a rayon slub woven. This is going to be my Special Sewing project for January 2020.

At some point this year I’d love to make a Kantha quilt coat… maybe something more from boiled wool… and beyond that, I have no plans. I’m excited for the challenge of sewing special clothing each month, in the search for fewer but nicer things!

12 thoughts on “Sewing a Special Wardrobe in 2020

  1. I love your plan! Why on earth deny yourself in order to “improve”?! Instead, just bring the fun to the foreground. I’m sewing very little right now because I don’t have much time (and sewing takes a certain mindset and amount of time for me) and I’m in the office over the hols. But I have some projects planned and all of the fabric etc. that’s required so that, when the mood and time strikes, I’ll be good to go. For me 2020 is about being realistic – and authentic. Not that authenticity generally escapes me 🙂


  2. I always end up feeling *some kinda way* (lol!) after doing yearly wrap-ups and looking back at what I made vs what remained in my wardrobe. I don’t know that wadders are 100% avoidable, I mean, stuff happens, but I feel like year over year, it’s always about the same ratio. Blergh.

    I love all of your favorites. And when comparing the remained vs ousted garments, the picture becomes clearer on why those garments are out. Most of those garments are more muted/understated colors or prints. You know what you like, go for it!! 🙂


  3. What a fun wardrobe! Your newest print would be neat as a shift dress with a long sleeved black turtle neck in the winter. And some long gold or silver fun jewelry!


  4. What fun plans! I miss my wardrobe so much. If I were to make sewing goals for next year it would be to expand my casual wardrobe—leggings, tops, some sweaters—but I don’t think I’m going to have much of a chance. And I really hate to buy stuff when I have so much fabric taking up space. Hmm.


  5. Such an impressive handmade wardrobe, Gillian! It’s interesting looking at your “keepers” from 2019 – they have a lot in common. I guess part of this process is whittling down our tastes & preferences.


  6. I really enjoyed this post Gillian and seeing the roundup of all your pictures. I’m in favour of making more special tops but I would say that wouldn’t I. But hey, if knee length dresses are fun to sew and you feel good wearing them why not?!


  7. I honestly admire you for creating so many lovely garments in a year’s time. I love the jumpsuit from your 9 favourite projects; such a beautiful colour on you! Looking forward to read about your new projects for 2020.


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