Many years ago, I gave myself the challenge to make an entire outfit in one month. It included knitting, sewing and jewellery.

It was undeniably crazy. I lived, breathed and dreamed clothes and outfits. Mr Myrtle and my kids were all very patient as the housework accumulated and dinners were a disaster.

I had so much fun, I was (mostly) very cheerful, and it transformed my wardrobe.

I managed five months straight before I moved countries, and the whole thing became a bit tricky to sustain.

Planning and creating one outfit at a time is certainly one way to create a handmade wardrobe. I loved planning what I was going to make, and I’d imagine a look and trawl the internet and catalogues looking for pieces to create the look.

Of course, things evolved as the month went on. I made mistakes, abandoned disasters changed my plans, and made do with the materials I had. But, by the end, I had created a pile of handmade clothes and accessories, and it was brilliant. I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything mixed and matched, so I ended up with more than just five outfits.

One of the bonuses was working to such a super tight deadline and having no time day-to-day to worry about what I felt like making. So I gave myself a schedule and systematically worked through each item in the outfit.

I gave myself heaps of permission to try lots of new things, rework some old favourites, generally have fun, and wow, I learnt such a lot.

There are usually three reasons we don’t make more clothes for ourselves:

  1. We feel a bit daunted. If that’s you, perhaps start with accessories. Once you’ve conquered a few hats and shawls, you might feel braver to try a cardigan. Ignore that you’ve never tried lace or knitted in the round. You can learn those things! Hunt out people who know some of the things you don’t know and ask heaps of questions. Our supportive Hangout is an excellent place to start if you’re knitting a Truly Myrtle pattern and have questions.

  2. No time! Start by grabbing 15 minutes here and there — even a sneaky half-hour first thing in the morning. You might be surprised how fast things grow when you try to tackle them regularly in small chunks. Don’t panic when you make a mistake. Instead… make a cup of tea.

  3. We don’t know where to start. Think about trying my method; find an outfit you love, and figure out what you need to recreate it. Perhaps you already own some of the pieces, and maybe you’ll buy some. Then, have a bash at making the rest. Take a risk!

You never know; you might have an absolute ball, learn something new and before you know it, end up with something gorgeous for your handmade wardrobe!

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