Why am I doing this? The main reason is that I like to challenge myself and was encouraged by Sarah at Goodbye Valentino, who went on a ready-to-wear fast a couple years ago and is doing it again in 2014. I was blown away by the beautiful clothing she created during that year (and beyond) and was doubly impressed when I learned she hadn't really sewn much in the 25 years prior to making that commitment.
I sewed or refashioned a lot of my clothing in high school, but put my machine away once I went to college where I took up knitting. (Smith College has a strong knitting tradition among students.) During my late 20s and 30s, I sewed mostly home dec, then when my son was born, I started sewing for him. Sewing kids clothes helped me hone my skills so that when I gingerly started sewing for myself again, I had more successes than misses. I'm confident of my basic skills.
Other reasons for a ready-to-wear fast include not wanting to buy cheap throwaway clothing created in an exploitative economic system usually found in developing countries; a desire to wear clothing of impeccable quality (not that my skills are impeccable, but at least I can get the details the way I want them); to eliminate the bulk of my extensive fabric stash; to improve my SAHM jeans-and-t-shirt wardrobe to something a little more tailored and elegant; to give myself a creative outlet from my day job as a freelance journalist; and maybe to save a bit of money, although don't kid yourself--home sewing can be an expensive hobby, especially if you're anything like me and swoon over fabrics like silk charmeuse, Irish linen, and wool from Scotland.
It's a bit mad to commit to this: 2014 is going to be a crazy-busy year for me. Economic circumstances dictate that I put off the MSW, so my co-author (and friend) Linda and I are building up our Renegade Writer business. We have big goals with lots of deadlines attached to them. On the other hand, most people who sew (and knit!) have full-time jobs, too.
So wish me luck if you're so inclined. And if you're interested in giving up ready-to-wear clothing, you can commit to it on Sarah's blog. I'll be curious if you go through with it as I plan to do. :)
I'm getting a jump on 2014 by heading off to Staples to print out a pattern for my next project: Liesl & Co's Woodland Cape! I mentioned this pattern last week on the blog. It's not quite Sherlock Holmes, which I think would look a tad ridiculous on me, but cape-y enough to satisfy. I bought this camel/rust/olive windowpane wool at Fabric Mart a couple weeks ago, and I'll be lining it with olive Bemberg rayon I bought at Fabric Place Basement in Natick. The only thing left to purchase are three leather toggles and two buttons.