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Reflections on a Home-Sewn Wardrobe

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I certainly couldn’t have imagined in 2009, when I began sewing, that I would eventually wind up sewing my entire wardrobe, from outerwear to underwear and everything in between, but that’s what happened. I started with the simplest garments and gradually took on projects of increasing complexity until I no longer needed to shop for ready-to-wear clothing. With the exception of a few specialty garments (noted below) that is still the case: My wardrobe is home-sewn.

Garment sewing holds some challenges unique to men: primarily, the lack of a large sewing community (though the community is growing) and the lack of easily available patterns (this, too, is changing thanks to independent pattern companies). Sewing one’s clothes, regardless of one’s gender, requires resourcefulness. The payoffs, however, can be enormous.

Even though when I started sewing I had some basic technical skills—I could install a light switch, hang a…

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  1. user-7309692 | | #1

    Great article, Peter. I do love everything you make.

    1. User avater
      Peter_Lappin | | #4

      Thank you!

  2. User avater
    Barakasews | | #2

    Your spring bedsheet suit? I had those sheets, but in harvest gold instead of green. Seeing that photo was like an acid flashback!

    1. User avater
      Peter_Lappin | | #5

      That is hilarious! I also remember sheets just like this from my youth. I miss them!

  3. User avater
    TucsonLes | | #3

    Thanks, Peter. This is truly inspirational and may jump-start me on wardrobe construction. I have been following your lead on vintage sewing machine collecting and just got some vintage clothing patterns as a birthday present from a friend. All male sewists owe you a big debt of gratitude.

    1. User avater
      Peter_Lappin | | #6

      That's very kind of you, thank you!

  4. User avater
    BeckyF | | #7

    One of my 'careers' was making men's period costumes at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. Seeing your suits and coats (love the duffle coat!) takes me back to my tailoring days. Most of my wardrobe is self created, but my retired lifestyle doesn't require much tailoring these days. I am enjoying some vicarious tailoring reading about your projects. Thanks!

  5. user-6807470 | | #8

    I love your velveteen jacket. It's super lux! Thank you for sharing a peek into your sewing hobby. I sewed when I was younger but it was edged out of my life by career and family demands. I'm just returning to it and am inspired by seeing what others are making.

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