Reflections on a Home-Sewn Wardrobe
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.
Sewing yielded multiple benefits
Even though when I started sewing I had some basic technical skills—I could install a light switch, hang a picture, and paint a room—I didn’t know how to make anything. When I bought a sewing machine and started experimenting with it, I discovered I could use it to clothe myself, something I had never imagined possible.
Sewing clothing has given me the confidence to explore additional practical skills, including sewing machine maintenance (most sewing machines can be serviced at home, particularly vintage mechanicals), furniture refinishing (like the beat-up vintage Singer sewing table I found in the trash and refinished), and currently, restoring vintage watches.