the year of handmade, 1

year of handmadeSo, since I’ve already been quietly getting on with it for the last month and it’s actually been successful so far! I think I can finally officially announce that I am doing this thing; my Year of Handmade.

For a period of one year; I will wear ONLY clothing and shoes that I personally have made with my own two hands.

Long term readers may remember how I’ve dreamed of emulating Natalie Purschwitz’s Makeshift Project, a yearlong project in which she wore only clothing and shoes made by herself…  I’ve been a long term admirer of her project and idea, periodically I even go back and browse through her blog and admire the clothing and shoes all over again! and for aaaages I’ve really wanted to have a go and see if I could do the same myself.   During 2013 I did wear only clothing made by myself, but allowed myself ready-to-wear shoes, since at that stage I hadn’t made any.  Well, now I have made a nice little supply of self-made shoes and am in the process of building up more, and so I’m starting to feel cautiously confident that I can do it!

So, it’s on!  I’ve made a little button in my sidebar that links to my project outfit pictures in my dedicated Flickr album; Year of Handmade.  Actually I think I’ve held off announcing it on my blog all this last month not just because I was scared of failing at winter shoes yet, but also because I hadn’t thought of nor made a button yet!  ha!

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I started on 22nd February, and so I will keep it up until at least 22nd February 2017.

I’m going to keep the project mainly in the Flickr album, although periodically I may write an update here on how I’m feeling about it as it goes along.  Consequently, my thoughts for the first month;

It’s not surprising to me that I have plenty of clothes to see me through this thing, plenty; and that shoes are my biggest restriction.  I am a beginner shoemaker, and while I am pretty happy with most of my handmade shoes, I still have to turn out a winter shoe that I am 100% satisfied with.  SO far, the project has sailed along pretty smoothly because I’ve been able to wear my summer shoes, and I’m really happy with ALL of those.  My 2-tone caramel/ivory sandals and my denim shoes are very satisfactory to me; I LOVE wearing them and am super happy with how both pairs turned out.  It helped that they are both pretty simple style of shoe to make, and so I hadn’t encountered any of the challenges associated with making a closed-in shoe yet… though I have now!!

I’ve found that colour-wise and style-wise, both these pairs of shoes go with practically every item of summer/trans-seasonal clothing that I have.  Cannot stress enough how useful this is!

On a morale point of view, it feels so SO great to be able to go forth wearing a 100% self-made outfit in which I still feel halfway stylish.  In fact, that feeling is one of the most rewarding things ever, from a maker’s point of view.  Every now and again, as I’m out and about, it occurs to me; how many other people out and about would be wearing a head-to-toe outfit 100% made by themselves?  Not many, that’s what.  It’s a hugely satisfying feeling, HUGE; and one that so far keeps me motivated to keep going for the year.

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31 Thoughts on “the year of handmade, 1

  1. Go GO you marvellous lady! You inspire me to have a go at somany wider sewing projects. Yesterday I made the bottom of a bikini and today I will make the top – such an easy thing to make rather than buy rtw. I am starting to feel my way towards all handmade. I am not there yet but on the few days I am all handmade from undies to outfit I get the same amazing feeling as you. Jo x

  2. I have yet to fully embrace the handmade shoe, and thinking about trying some mary-janes inspired by your last post – but possibly it will take me months to get around to it. – I am building up a handmade wardrobe, and I prefer it. Its like all my clothes are now thought out, and definite and about me, instead of picking up a cheap thing, and buying it on a ‘it will do’ (or ‘can’t leave it behind its so cheap’ – well yes you can and now I do). I really enjoyed wearing my handmade coat last winter, as it was ‘so-me’, with a detachable hood for irish weather!

  3. Lynn on 26/03/2016 at 7:23 pm said:

    Amazing and inspiring project! Always enjoy seeing your beautifully crafted and stylish makes. Will be watching with interest as the year progresses.

  4. What a big year – way to go!!

  5. You are so inspirational and I have every confidence in you!

  6. What a great challenge for yourself. To me, you are 95% there already! You’ll be a seasoned shoe maker in no time!

  7. Exciting! Really impressed that you’re including shoes. Good to know I’m not the only one still using Flickr, too…

  8. Vistounova Jiulia on 27/03/2016 at 2:00 am said:

    Wish you good luck! Hope to undertake some similar challenge in the near future.

  9. With as great of a wardrobe as you have, who needs RTW?! Love seeing how you accomplish 100% handmade!

  10. Wow! I will be among those cheering you on! I’m really impressed with how skillfully you translate your imagination into garments (and now shoes!) that are stylish, wearable, and both very individual and compelling to others (like me, again :-))

    The best of luck, Carolyn! I’m looking forward to following your further posts about your completely handmade wardrobe.

  11. It’ll be a very interesting year – looking forward to seeing all the outfits and especially the shoes.
    Inspiring project.

  12. You’re way ahead — bring it on!

  13. I too am so inspired by you Caroline! I am just stunned that you are wearing shoes you’ve actually made! I’ve never even contemplated such a challenge 🙂 I too am on a mission to build a wardrobe that is ONLY me-mades but I am a very long way off from that goal yet. I think to be fair it could take me another couple of years BUT I have set the intention to NOT buy any more clothing 🙂

  14. This is fantastic. I’m so pleased you are going for it and I think you’re pretty brave diving in to such a huge shoe-making challenge. How did you get on yesterday with all that rain? I think I would have resorted to tying plastic bags over any precious handmade shoes! I am really enjoying following this journey.

    • Carolyn on 28/03/2016 at 11:47 am said:

      thanks Megan! I stupidly didn’t wear my yellow rain shoes, doh! the shoes I did wear held up pretty good in the rain, although it was only a light shower, time well tell how I go in a downpour! I have made a raincoat though and know that holds up quite well 🙂

  15. If anybody can do it, it’s you! What an amazing challenge; can’t wait to see all the outfits, especially the shoes.

  16. You are an inspiration. I am very impressed by your shoes, even the ones you don’t seem to be. I have every faith that you will achieve this goal – and look great throughout.

  17. You have the ability and love to do this, I can’t wait to see what shoes/boots you come up with and you will look fabulous in them all.

  18. You are so talented and inspiring! I look forward to seeing you creations and reading about your journey in the year ahead.

  19. You are such an inspiration!! I love seeing what you make and I can’t wait to read more about your challenge. I too would love to wear only handmade but I am still a long way off.

  20. This is a huge challenge to undertake…far out of the range of my capabilities, but I have every confidence that you will achieve everything you have set out to do. So looking forward to following along with your progress.

  21. Buttercup on 28/03/2016 at 8:43 am said:

    Wow what a clever lady. I love what you have done so far. It ticks all the boxes for me – fun, creative plus you are building on your skills with every new pair you make. Truly inspiring!

  22. Very inspiring! I’m enjoying watching your shoe making progress!

  23. Brave aim, go for it we are all routing for you.

  24. How challenging is this idea! After years of wearing handmade clothes you have found a very interesting new field to work at. I am sure that you will wear beautiful outfits with increasingly well made and cool shoes! It is so inspiring looking at your proceedings. Thank you for sharing it!

  25. This is exciting! 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing and reading how it goes, what obstacles there will be and how you’ll manage them! 🙂

  26. Best of luck! Not that you need luck…because I am quite confidence that you will be able to accomplish your goal.

  27. You are my hero!

  28. Love this! I hope you post updates from time to time, it’s always been so interesting to see how you mix and match things in your wardrobe.

  29. That’s quite a pledge. I’d find it hard to give up my shoe collection and thrifted coats.

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