The Cull

Amongst other (much more) important parts of my life, I need to sort my wardrobe out. I’ll focus on the wardrobe bit on this blog, it is supposed to be a sewing/craft blog after all. You don’t need to read about my job woes.

Since taking sewing seriously this year and pledging to make what I can, and buy what I can’t make very carefully, I seem to have come to a halt in actually wearing clothes. I started off the year making lovely, lovely things. Practicality and fun came in equal measures. Slowly but surely, all my makes have become garments in headache-inducing prints. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good (or bad) print. The problem is, its hard to dress myself most days without looking like I’m trying to blind people.

My dilemma is that I only have half a wearable wardrobe. It’s not that I don’t have clothes, I just haven’t ever had a proper think about what I wear regularly versus what I don’t wear, what I’d like to, and what I actually have. In my mind, I veer between a slightly modern version of a 60s mod with the occasional 40s tea dress thrown in. In reality, I’m a mess, wearing all manner of mismatched items, and rarely well.

It is really important to me that my clothes are wearable and comfortable, not tight and ill-fitting. One reason I stopped buying and started making was that things didn’t fit right. Sleeves too short, dresses with waist seams under my bust, jeans that sit uncomfortably under my hips. I’m not even that tall. Another was that I have expensive tastes when it comes to fabric choices. What I’d like to wear, in the fabrics I want to wear isn’t affordable for me, whereas it is if I make it myself.

I wanted to reassess what I have, both wardrobe and stash before buying more printed fabric or making more impractical clothing. I am a hoarder and I want to knock it on the head before I get too old to change my ways. I have accepted it may take time.

So, I took a visual inventory. I pulled everything out of my wardrobe, and took pictures of what I wanted to keep. My memory works best with the visual. A list just wouldn’t work for me. I got rid of the ill-fitters and the non-worns. Now I need to do some planning so I’ve got a wearable winter wardrobe. I’ve also started buying Burdastyle magazine, so I’ve got patterns for basics. Stash depleting basics are at the forefront of my mind, ahead of the 1940s floral tea dresses that beckon me.

My current rules:

  • Do not buy anything blue. I have so many blue clothes, it’s a bit weird. I found I had this problem when I was about 18, and restricted my blue-buys. Somehow I forgot about that and it happened again.
  • Do not buy printed fabric. Prints are my weakness. I already have some in the stash, but it’s so much easier for me to warm to an unusual print than it is a solid colour.
  • Finish the unfinished. A given, right? I’ve got a skirt to hem, a jacket to hem, a shirt to fix and a new bag of clothes to make do/mend. I wont have a weird sense of deprivation if I open my eyes to what I actually have and finish what’s there.
  • Be sensible. Going to art school had a bad influence on my sense of what is wearable and what is not. There was a large margin of acceptability, and whilst I wasn’t on the edge exactly, I certainly dabbled. I am no longer in art school, and therefore in an environment which accepts the unacceptable. I am not a concept.
  • Make it wearable. If it’s not appropriate to my life, if I can’t wear it with my other clothes, it goes to the back of the list. I’m all for light summery dresses and 1930s evening gowns, but I work in grimy, cold London, and don’t go to balls.
  • Focus on basics. Embarrassingly, it’s basics I’m lacking in. Nice underwear, something to sleep in that isn’t torn or frayed and a pair of jeans that fit would be nice.

Do you have any rules or guidelines you follow when buying/sewing?


  1. You sound like A fashionable stitch and need her Everyday Wardrobe plan Actually I think everyone has this problem from time to time. I’m very impressed that you are tackling the problem

  2. Yeah, she’s a lot more coherant about it though!
    I’ve not had much time for sewing lately, which in a way has helped me be more clear about what I’m planning to sew next.

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