I've been thinking about craftsmanship lately (see previous post) and looking at my wardrobe and thinking thoughts.
As I hang the laundry out to dry... I see the things I've made for myself and for my family. What worked? Where did I use the right level of craftsmanship? What would I change, going forward?
I'm slowly crafting a wardrobe. And I'm starting to get a feel for what pieces are here for five years, for two, or just for one. Cotton blouses? One at their best, the second year a bit down-at-the-heels, and then gone. Cotton skirts? Two years at their best, the third a bit down-at-the-heels, and then off we go. Denim? Until it rips! I still have all the denim skirts I've sewn, although the first two are definitely "down-at-heels". I can get years from a good dress - if I take care of it. My coat should last decades.
I'm slowly getting an idea of what I wear ... and what I should stop wearing and/or start wearing. I have a wash and wear life, very casual. I *do* clean the floors in most of my clothes... and I rarely visit an office. That doesn't mean I shouldn't be lovely - and that doesn't mean I shouldn't enjoy some craftsmanship. My hard work makes my clothes last. Knowing what looks good on me and works in my life means I very rarely donate clothing - I tend to wear it to rags. (It's time to go through things and be firm with myself).
I'm reasonably pleased with what I have made. Yes, the little quilting cotton dresses I made for my daughter are much the worse for wear. But - they got WORN. So - the fact that I didn't put a ton into most of the dresses (excepting the lace bibbed one) is okay. They're all 2" too short now. Faded. Stained. Loved.
Next sewing season? I'll make the girl up a stack of stash-busting dresses and try out a few new lines. I know what comfy little cotton dresses have in store for them - and being slept in, spilled on, and grown out of... why not use these for experimentation? A wardrobe of "wearable muslins". I'll save my couture techniques for other things.
DH's shirts are still going strong. I need to find a color that is not blue for his shirting! He doesn't need any shirts right now, but when it's time, I think I'll start from scratch and make him a sloper of his own. I fiddled with the fit here and there and everywhere with those shirts, and I'd like a clean copy.
14yo still has those jammies... they're getting worn holes in. I think making him some pajama pants instead of separates might be in order. French seams? Worth it. Good quality flannel? More so. Quality shines forth with real wear.
The four shirts I made? The blue eyelet is pretty faded. Oh, not so badly I can't wear it... but by next spring, it will need retiring. That was a *great* color/vibe/fabric. I reached for that shirt over and over. The bright blue was just as comfy, but only coordinates with my denim. I'll get more wear out of it now that I can wear the denim again.
The green linen skirt is the only "meh" - not really its fault. I know what's happened to all of those full swoop skirts... and it happened to this one. It pulled off of grain at the seamline, all the interfacing in the world couldn't save it. That skirt pattern is much better as a six-gore. If I get adventurous, I might re-cut it as something else. Certainly enough fabric.
None of that is very exciting I suppose... too detailed. But what it comes down to is that I'm happy to use basic good sewing skills on the clothing that I wear, I'm sloppy and playful with my 10yo's play-clothes, and more textile-oriented when it comes to the menfolk.
The more I learn, the better the return I get for my time and my money.