Testing the Waters

When I first started thinking about the Everyday Wardrobe several weeks ago, I decided to test out my strategy with something simple. There were so many articles of clothing in my wardrobe that I really wanted to use the Everyday Wardrobe Game Plan on, but I thought I should give it a go with something classic, something I reach for all the time and never really feel all that great in because I never dress them up or take the time to make coordinating pieces that go with them – Jeans.

I don’t know about you, but I do love a good pair of jeans. I have but two pairs and one of those pairs I really don’t even like wearing that much because they tend to fall down (will probably get rid of these soon, come to think of it). I’m planning to make some jeans very soon, but I thought, why not start with a pair that I already have and like. Enter this pair of Gap jeans. These are basic jeans. I paid full price for them and had to alter them a bit by shortening them (I have fairly short legs) and pinching out some leg fulness. If you are interested in a tutorial, I’m happy to offer one – this is totally not hard to do.

You might be amazed to know that I have very little to wear with jeans. This because I rarely go shopping anymore, unless its for fabric, and so I never know what’s in or out or anything like that and shopping at the mall makes me sooooooooooooo tired. I’ve got some seriously drab tops from college days (that was like 7 years ago!!!), some cardigans with nothing to wear underneath but a ratty see-through tank (what can I say, I love cardigans!) and nary a jacket in sight. It’s a sad state of things. Makes me sad just to think about it.

So tell me, what goes better with a pair of jeans than a t-shirt? And what could possibly be more everyday friendly? So it was that I decided to make a Renfrew. Then I made another and I’ve just cut out my 3rd version. This pattern will have a very long life in my wardrobe, especially as I’ll be experimenting with changing it up here and there and doing a bit of pattern drafting to achieve several different looks. I LOVE this pattern. It’s fabulous! Why sew a t-shirt? I feel there are several reasons. Sewing a t-shirt gives you a great trial run with knits. Sewing a t-shirt is easy to fit because sewing with knits are very forgiving. Sewing a t-shirt is a great instant gratification project because not only does it fit, but you will wear it and you will be impressed with yourself because you made a t-shirt! You can also bang out a t-shirt in about 3 hours, from cut to finish! I highly recommend the Renfrew, but there are other great knit top patterns out there too – Kwik Sew anyone, vintage Stretch and Sew? I also recently enrolled in this rather wonderful Craftsy course taught by Meg McElwee (the Sew Liberated girl!) and she’s included 5 basic knit patterns. If drafting your own is more your style, you can learn to draft a t-shirt from Cal’s book Design-it-Yourself Clothes, which has really easy to follow instructions for how to do it yourself (I like easy for something like this, don’t you?).

Now this was just my first experiment with the Everyday Wardrobe, but allow me to tell you what this did for me. Now I have 2 complete outfits. Both are great for everyday, wearing around the house and even a burger night and cards with friends. I’m also able to coordinate these two t-shirts with a few other things in my closet too. In both versions, I’m wearing shoes and accessories that I can wear all day. Not only do I look presentable, but I feel great. I feel like I actually made the effort. Also, talk about getting my sewing mojo going like crazy – making two t-shirts that feel fabulous and look great and completed an outfit made me feel like a million dollars and gave me the encouragement to start again with another NWG. My next NWG was a bit more challenging, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I have much more lively discussion and inspiration headed your way friends. Much more!

traipsing through the tulips in my new Renfrews!

  • fangaroni - Love the two Renfrews and looking forward to see what is next! Yesterday when I was looking through my closet for NWG, I found an oversized buttondown that I never wore – I took in the sides and took off the sleeves, and wore it today! Thanks to you that is no longer NWG!:DReplyCancel

  • Clarissa - Awesome! Your 2 new tops are super cute. I’m glad you kicked off with something simple. I find that’s the best way with just about anything. Kudos and looking forward to what’s next.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle D - Wow, Sunni! You’re so inspirational! Everytime I come to your blog I want to run to my sewing room and create! I love the new series. I was just thinking that now that I finally finished the two costumes I was working on (pictures will be up sometime soon on my blog), I have time to sew “normal” clothes. I have two knit tops that I want to make. They are also for my favorite pair of jeans and something I can wear to work on casual days. I still need to finish that wrap dress from the sew-along though! It’s been languishing in the forgotten pile!
    Michelle D recently posted..The skirt comes together – Simplicity 1910ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Where do you buy trendy knits? When i go into Joane’s there are bolts of quilting, some special occassion
    Bolts, and then it seems to jump to upholstery fabric. Am i looking in the wrong section?ReplyCancel

  • francesca - Have you tried out StephC’s Blank Canvas Tee? It’s brilliant. I’m not a tshirt wearer much any more – in fact, I’m thinking of turning most of them into knickers :)….. Changed my style completely last summer when I took up sewing again and now live in dresses and skirts – mostly made by me… but this pattern I like, and her hacks are amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Assessing My Handmade Wardrobe | grainline - [...] post my plans and get to sewing! Is anyone else assessing their handmade wardrobe right now? I know Sunni has been posting about hers, I love that more people are getting into sewing for everyday wear, I [...]ReplyCancel

  • Linda - Am I the only person who’s been having trouble with the Renfrew pattern? I’ve tried 3 times now, and I just can’t get the fit right! I thought a tshirt would be so easy, and everyone says knits are so forgiving, but all 3 of my Renfrews are unwearable. Apparently I must have some sort of weird upper chest :P ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - Yay for t-shirts! I need to make a Renfrew with cowl, yours looks adorable!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - Great T-shirts! I’ll have to give t-shirts a try, although I’m weirdly afraid of sewing with knit fabric. Could you please, please, please post the jeans tutorial you were talking about? I have so many RTW jeans with bagginess in weird places, esp. in the legs.ReplyCancel

  • Caila - Everyday Wardbrobe! I love it!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Two great Renfrews! Have yet to dive into this pattern but I love the variations and fabric you chose.

    By the way, and maybe this is just me, but I do feel like you’ve got a couple blouses that you’ve made that could work well with jeans? I’m thinking of that fuschia button down you made out of the AMH swiss dot (which I think is super cute, I’ve given up on ever copying you because I don’t think I’d be able to track down the fabric, BUT if I could I would do it!) … and then the Megan Nielson blouse you made out of the strawberry linen. Yes? No? Just a thought. (I know, why do I have a mental catalogue of the clothes you’ve made, right??? The large buttons on the linen blouse totally caught my imagination (and I just made a blouse with oversized buttons, thanks to that blouse), and again, that half idea to copy the idea of taking the swiss dot + button down look. But yeah, I have a weird stalkerish appearing memory. You can ask my friends.)
    Jessica recently posted..Blouse #10 // Strawberry FieldsReplyCancel