All of My Sewing History is in My Closet

I was switching and organizing my closet for the season recently, which is no small task. The problem with my closet is simple: Either I have too many clothes or too little closet space. I would argue for the latter; my husband the former. Each season, he has to bring down cartons and garment bags from the attic, which I sort through, give away, consign, or hang and put away as needed. This period is particularly trying because clothes are strewn through the living room, bedroom, and den. Then I pack up the previous seaon's clothes, sort, and up into the attic they go. By this time this is all done, it's almost time to bring them down again (which is why my husband has such vocal opinions on my wardrobe.)

A look in my closet is a walk
down my sewing memory lane.

I once had a walk-in closet, but I decided to return it to its status as a guest room, because it had become a walk-in dump. Since then, each season I have discarded more and added less, and I am definitely cutting down on my clothing stash.

I have a fascination with closet storage, and each season I develop a new method of organization, whether by color, style, or whatever. This time around, I decided to group all of my handmade garments into one area and it proved to be an eye-opening decision. First, I never get rid of anything I have made anymore. (I have sold my handmades online and actually tried to buy them back!)

So I have a living history of most of my sewing since I returned to it in 2001, all of it just hanging there in front of me, like a textile album of my life. This is where I learned again how to set a sleeve, tried a hem I discovered in my couture certificate class, made my first trenchcoat. It's a sentimental and revealing journey. When I first returned to making clothing, I was relying on the home sewing skills I had learned from my mother and grandmother as a child and teen.  Over the years, I have studied draping, couture techniques, patternmaking, accessories design, fashion illustration, to name a few. And looking at my closet is like a march through my sewing history.

It's comforting really, and I am glad that my journey in wardrobe simplification has brought me to an appreciation of what I have made.

But I still contend that I need more closet space.

For a passel of hot patterns to heat up your closet and home, check out Stitch Summer 2014 in the Sew Daily Shop.

Have you kept many of your handmade items? Do tell!

Happy stitching!


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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

7 thoughts on “All of My Sewing History is in My Closet

  1. I enjoyed your post re your sewing history in your closet. I was encouraged by your timeline description of the projects you have completed and how your skills grew. I have an upcoming trip to NY this fall and actually would have time to take an all-day sewing class. I cannot decide what to select for the topic. For the past two years I have been renewing sewing skills and adding new ones as I now make the following items for gifts and retail sales: vintage aprons, modern aprons, various baby gifts, flower girl dresses, and am now branching out making girl friends dresses. I have made one style of clutch purse and one baby quilt. Could you make a suggestion of a one-day class that could really add to my knowledge but yet fit into my skill level at this point in time?

  2. Until they are completely falling apart and then I try to repurpose them into something else.
    my mom sewed nearly everything that she wore and it would have taken several large closets to store everything. A very interesting collection from several decades.

  3. It can be difficult to part with sentimental items. If you ever make the decision to “release” some of these hand-made clothes, consider taking pictures to create a book (the type you can assemble on line with a publisher). A pictorial history takes up a lot less room!

  4. As I have found out, what was old is new again. My daughters are wearing some of the clothes I made for myself in high school and college in the early 80’s. I kept about 10 outfits that my husband liked and brought back good memories. The girls don’t understand how I could have disposed of all my high waisted pants.. They have remade several of my old patterns, even a few of my mom’s from the early sixties!

  5. When I got ill, I began gaining weight and nothing in
    my closet fit. I have made the majority of my clothes since high school and had a closet full of clothes. When I was forced to face the fact I was never going to be well enough to go back to my exercise routine I decided to get rid of the things that no longer fit. I discovered that I am emotionally attached to the things I make and it was much harder to part with my too small clothing items than I had first realized.