What Have You Been Working On: Conquering Artist’s Block by Working on a Me-Made Wardrobe

What have you been working on?

Artist’s Block

One of my worst habits is taking on too many art projects while simultaneously expecting the outcomes to be nothing short of masterpieces. Naturally (because I know myself), I end up getting stuck on a project, paralyzed by perfectionism, then abandon ship.

I am, however, working to break this habit. Over time, I learned that perfectionism is useless if there is no outcome. I have abandoned too many projects, and I am currently working on fixing this habit by… taking on more projects! My current ongoing project: Create a Me-Made Wardrobe.

Do I ever learn?

Ironically, adding crafts to what was originally solely my food blog has started putting a neat dent into my personal goal of completing art projects and rounding out my expectations for this blog.

Making clothes is a difficult venture. I have political and environmental reasons for doing so, but I would say creating my own clothes has more to do with self-discovery and self-expression. I noticed that the more I explore these uncharted pieces of myself, the more satisfied I am with my creative outcomes.

The result? Less abandonment.

I don’t love everything I have made (and I definitely left out a lot of sub par pieces). But, it is cool to see the transformation from the beginning when I didn’t know what I was doing to what I can make now after a whole lot of practice and mistakes.

Sashiko Midi Skirt

This was my first attempt at a skirt with buttons, and my first time using an expensive specialty fabric.

This dress was somewhat self-drafted with the help of a tutorial by Jess Dang. I had to make some adjustments because I didn’t have as much fabric as I needed. As a result, the gathering at the waist isn’t as full as I would like.

Although this skirt is not my best made item (it has plenty of strange stitching and wonky buttonholes), its crudeness is hidden behind the beautiful fabric and wooden buttons. The fabric is traditional Japanese sashiko cotton.

This skirt taught me how to enjoy and love my poorly sewn makes. It gets a decent amount of wear despite its problems.

Galaxy Rosa Dress

My Galaxy Rosa Dress was almost an “Abandon Ship” project because I got the sizing wrong and I made it during a time when I was obsessed with super pretty patterned fabric… even though super pretty patterned fabric doesn’t always translate into nice clothes.

I made the dress work by scrapping the sleeves, opening up the neckline, and giving it a satin tie for the back.

The original pattern is called The Rosa Dress by Rosery Apparel. This dress was one of my many learning opportunities for dealing with mistakes.

I have not worn it much, but it was the main project that helped me get over the fear of making a mistake.

Sitka Blouse with Mandala Buttons

This is my first button up shirt, and the first item I ever made using linen. The pattern used is called the Sitka Short Sleeve Shirt by Sirena Patterns.

I did document some of the process. Originally, I was not happy with the shirt. It is a little big, I messed up quite a few of the buttonholes, and there’s some weird stitching by the collar.

Despite this, I wore the shirt for the first time at work and everything about it felt fine. No one at work knew that I made it (I don’t really tell anyone at work if I’ve made things), and I felt zen-like with the flowy fabric and mandala buttons.

The lesson learned here is that no one will notice if any of your clothes have mistakes. So, keeping sewing on.

Arrangement in White and Blue

This is my second shirt, and my first serious attempt at history bounding―the concept of dressing in a way that combines historical, classical, and/or vintage style into modern dress.

I love history bounding, but I want to do it in a subtle way. This blouse was made using reproduction fabric based on 18th century fabric found at the Colonial Williamsburg archeological site.

The buttons are antique Czech glass dated to be from the 1920s.

I am super proud of this make. I made it using the Butterick 6686 pattern.

Mustard Blooms Ruffled Wrap Skirt

This is one of my favorite skirts. It is a wrap skirt made with a delicious mustard fabric my best friend helped me pick out during my last trip to New York City.

I got the skirt idea from my Pinterest board.

The skirt combines a Jess Dang draft and a wrap dress pattern from Butterick 6554. I documented some of the process.

It is super flowy and goes well with all of my plain tank tops.

Sometimes Sweater in Heritage Green

I know chunky knits can be polarizing because they can fit awkwardly and pill easily. But, I absolutely love my Sometimes Sweater from Wool and the Gang.

I minimized the fuzz and pilling by investing in an electric lint remover. I also do not wear anything over the sweater to reduce friction.

This was the garment that reminded me to start making more green clothing. One of the things I disliked about my fast fashion wardrobe was just how few clothes I owned in colors I actually wanted to wear.

Everyone sells blue, red, black, grey, beige, and white.

I want more green, purple, burnt orange, and raisin.

Elegant Forest Mittens

These are my forgotten mittens that I started when I still lived in New York (almost ten years ago).

I finally finished them, and jazzed them up with these precious bronze buttons that I bought off Etsy.

Another reminder to keep making green things.

Amy Shacket

This is one of my favorite makes of the year: the Amy Shacket by Anna the Tailor. Despite being a shacket, I made some adjustments to make it more of a flannel shirt.

This one here is actually the second one I made after my first one ended up with a miss-matched plaid design and the sleeves were too short.

This pattern showed me how to make liberal adjustments and taught me that interfacing can be unnecessary depending on what you’re structuring.

I am desperate for the weather to get cooler so I can finally wear it!

Donegal Tweed Pullover

This is an older knit I made roughly fifteen years ago, but it still fits and still looks good.

It is knit with a greyish-green Donegal tweed yarn, and it is a pattern-hack of a purple pullover featured in Vogue Knitting Fall 2003.

This is the second sweater I’ve knitted, and the first one where the proportions are acceptable. I added the turtleneck and ribbed sleeves.

Dressy T-Shirt

This is one of five t-shirts I made. The other three are very wearable, but I thought I would share this one because it looks dressy. The pattern is called the Wardrobe by Me T-Shirt.

This is one of three dressy t-shirts I made for work. The fabric is soft and moisture wicking, which is great for my strange active-but-should-be-a-desk-job job.

Wearing this dressy t-shirt along with some Betabrand slacks makes work a bit more comfortable. Best of all, I can make a stop at the hiking trail for some exercise before heading home.

Flowy Palazzo Pants

This is the project that made me love flowy pants. Secret pants are definitely the way to go: they look like a skirt, but they feel comfortable like pants.

The pattern is McCalls 7131. I messed up the first pair, tried again, and then created these awesome pants. They only irritate me in that I made the seam allowance too wide at the crotch, so… wedgie central depending on how I move….

Linen Palazzo Pants

McCalls 7131 take THREE! The fit is so much better here. I jazzed up my French seams, made sturdier pockets, and used gorgeous 100% linen. Then I spilled egg yolk on them during breakfast…

I did save the pants, and they’re now one of my favorite pairs. Linen changed my life. It is expensive and an investment, but it is crazy breathable.

This project inspired me to pay more attention to fiber and fiber quality. Natural fibers are more comfortable, breathable, moisture wicking, and odor neutralizing.

The Black Costume Dress

This is my most ambitious project yet: The McCalls/Yaya Han M8303. I made it for my Morticia Addams costume, but it triples as a witch and vampire costume. It is the first Halloween costume I ever made, and my first time working with velvet―which was interesting.

I am thankful that I paid attention to the grain of the fabric, making the dress look super fancy in the light. The sleeves are interchangeable; I made another set of sleeves that better suit the witch and vampire look.

This project gave me more confidence to work through patterns with unclear instructions.

Hogwarts House Scarf

As long as this project was, I am super happy to have geeked out on this Harry Potter Hogwarts Scarf. The trapped bars are a little wider than I would have liked, but nothing is ever perfect!

This project taught me not only patience, but how to appreciate the end result of a project that took a massive amount of time.

Scrap Fabric Witch’s Hat

Behold the classic witch’s hat—with a twist! I had so much fabric left over from the Morticia costume that I was able to create a matching witch’s hat.

This project gave me the confidence to make accessories to complement my work. Some outfits really do look better with a hat.

Have I been Successful?

YES! With the exception of unwearable items that I’ve made terrible mistakes on (which is about eight items), I am happy to report that as of November, all of my half finished sewing projects have been completed… including the ones I had put to the side back in the summer! Also, instead of having four knit projects hanging out on knitting needles, I only have two… and I am not starting anything new until THOSE are done. It feels good to have slowed down and cleaned up my creative space.

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  1. I’m also trying desperately to finish unfinished projects but with MUCH less success so far LOL. You have inspired me to keep trying though! <3

    1. Yay! It’s definitely not easy. I forced myself to sit down and just get through it because my sewing table was a mess. 🤪 You got this!

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