My handmade vintage wardrobe challenge 2011

It’s really time I sat down and thought about my wardrobe.

I’m not participating in the Colette Spring Palette Challenge, but it’s really had me thinking a great deal about my clothing and accessories and the colors I pick. While I wasn’t able to commit to the challenge in the time frame as set (plus I would want to include knitting, naturally), it’s really inspired me to think about what I’d like out of my own self-made additions to my wardrobe over the next several months. With little baby steps, I’m already feeling more confident in February about my sewing than I did in January, and I’d like to hope this upward trend will continue through the spring and summer. The fact that I am even contemplating posting sewing-related goals simultaneously fills me with terror and excites me.

I’m giving myself a challenge. I plan to…

1) Focus on a color palette.

Like the Spring Palette Challenge, I’d like to narrow down my color palette. In part because it seems like a fun challenge, in part because if I approach this willy nilly, I’m going to end up with a bunch of things that don’t go with anything else, and they will just hang in the closet. I’m really good at getting carried away, so this will reign me in.

I’ve been giving colors a ton of thought. I’m not picking only springlike or summery colors because I’d like my wardrobe to function year-round. A light blouse gets winter wear with a cardigan. A beret gets Spring wear during cool nights camping.

My palette choices for my challenge will focus on: navy, coral, ivory, ruby red, butterscotch, and sky blue.

I’ve always loved how vintage patterns and magazines talk about thoughtfully pairing colors and items together in smart combinations, so I will use this as my foundation. I spent a long time focusing down these colors. I feel many are represented frequently in vintage fashions, and they play well with each other. Plus all are colors I’ve been loving lately and most are far under-represented in my current wardrobe.

Some inspirations around Etsy in my palette…

Clockwise from upper left: polka dot dress, Bakelite bangles, coral blouse, daisy necklace, red pumps, ivory beaded purse

2) Think about what I need/would like to sew and knit as it relates to my wardrobe.

Things I absolutely need: dresses; sleeveless or short-sleeved blouses; at least 2 heavier weight cardigans; at least 2 lightweight cardigans (which will not be ivory, see my ivory sweaters post), at least 1 short-sleeved sweater

Things I would really like: at least 2 skirts; at least 2 simple blouses that would be extra comfy for outdoor activities like hiking and camping (no darts, not too fitted, etc); gray fingerless gloves and beret to match one of my Pendleton jacket

If I get to them, these things would be nice too: pajamas (but this wouldn’t be limited to my palette colors… I mean it’s PJs after all); one sewn item to be embellished with embroidery; a modified knit turban as an ear cover only (not full-on hat)

3) Make sure each item made works with at least two other items in my wardrobe.

Anything I sew or knit must work with a minimum of two items that I either already own, am planning to buy or are planning to create during the challenge. If I knit a cardigan, it must work opened with a skirt and blouse or dress, or buttoned up with trousers or a skirt. If I sew a skirt, it must work with a blouse or sweater. This will keep me on track and hopefully will prevent any odd interlopers from entering my closet, never to be come back out.

4) Purchased clothing and accessories won’t be limited to my palette colors.

I won’t be limiting my purchased wardrobe items (i.e. things I am not making) to my palette colors. Because if I find a great vintage dress that fits and is the right price, no way am I turning it down because it’s green. But I will attempt to make at least some of my purchases fit into the palette to round out my wardrobe, especially when accessories are concerned.

So, those are my goals for my handmade wardrobe challenge. Wow. That’s a tall order for a veteran knitter/newbie sewist. I may get more specific about the numbers a bit more as I go along, to have something to aim for, but I’m content with this for now. I’m not even setting a date for myself, since I really have no idea how long it will take me to accomplish all of that. Probably through the end of summer, I’m thinking, or more likely fall. Hell, I could very well still be at it in winter. Fortunately, one of these items will be wrapped up soon (my navy worsted cardigan that’s currently blocking…under my cat’s butt), one will be my Briar Rose sweater for the knit-along, and I’m switching my fabric choice for my somewhat languishing project for the Swing Dress Sew-Along to a navy floral, so that will then count, too. It makes me feel like I’m off to a good start before I even knew I was starting anything, so surely that’s a good sign, right?

I hereby dub this My Handmade Vintage Wardrobe Challenge 2011. If I don’t name it and don’t commit it to “paper”, I might not do it.

Wish me luck and stay tuned throughout the year… Can this gal do it, and learn a few things along the way? And not lose her marbles? Only time will tell!

Other fashion challenges that have been inspiring me:

Filed: Knitting, Sewing


Golly, 15 Comments!

  • Good luck! You chose a great palette. I, too, love the color combinations given in old magazines and with knitting patterns. No one wears gray with jade anymore.


  • Good luck! I’ve taken on the same sort of challenge, though mine is more specifically to just make vintage repro clothing (I own very little). I should post as well– maybe you have started a trend!


  • Of course you can! I’ve set a similar challenge…only without the knitting because I can’t….but you are far more organised about it. I will have to take a leaf out of your book or I’ll end up with lots of stuff that doesn;t go with other stuff. Good luck, and it will be fun to follow your progress. xx


  • Great challenge! I love it!!


  • What a great idea! As I’ve been wearing vintage stuff for over 20 years I’ve never stuck to a palette, as you say if you see something which is great, it fits and suits you who cares what colour it is! However I wear more home made vintage now so this is a great idea. However I still have the problem that if I see vintage fabric that is fabulous and a good price I would just have to buy it still!!

    Thanks for getting us thinking though. Oh and btw I started my sweater last night, it’s going to be a slooooow process!!


  • I like your clothing challenge. I feel like I need to try something like this myself. I keep ending up with subdued and sophisticated colors of yarn because I like the when they look in the hank, but I really prefer more loud and vibrant colors.


  • @Lauren Hairston Isn’t that the truth! Gray and jade, that’s a lovely combo. I think during this challenge I need to get my hands on more vintage magazines, most of my collection focuses on craft magazines.

    @Kate Yes, you should definitely post about what you’re doing! 🙂

    @Ivy Black Thanks! I think I’ll need all the luck I can get.


  • @Debi Thanks Debi! 😀

    @Straight Talking Mama! You’re totally right about fabric. I definitely won’t limit myself to only purchasing fabric within my palette. Maybe I can just consider things I may want to sew that don’t fit in as non-challenge pieces. Good luck on your sweater, you can do it!!

    @Andi Thanks! I am all over the map when I buy yarn, and don’t really think about colors that I like to actually wear. So I think this will be good to get me to focus a little more.


  • oooh, love this. I’m on a major primary color kick for this spring and summer, so I just adore your choices!


  • What a great challenge! And I love the colors you’ve chosen.

    I just found your blog a couple weeks ago and have LOVED it. I’m a sewing person and a knitter as well.


  • very good blog!!! i love


  • @BaronessVonVintage Thank you! I have been on a navy kick since around Christmas, so of course it had to be one of my staple colors!

    @Melanie and @sweet betty lou Aww thanks! ♥


  • Dig the palette. I need more pretty primary colors in my wardrobe! I walk out like Wednesday Adams 90% of the time. NOT that that is a bad thing. But a little sunshine-y butterscotch or sky blue might just do the trick! Good advice, as always.


  • What a grat idea! Goof luck! x


  • Inspiring! Looking forward to what you come up with. I’m one of those folks who overplans and underdelivers, but more often than not, it helps (as you say) reign me in. Otherwise, I’m just a little bundle of desire.


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