Challenge Made and Failed

by Erin on March 22, 2012

So I had this idea that, for one week, I would try to wear only things I HADN'T made myself. The few RTW pieces I have, vintage, etc.

I made it to Monday: 


one day only!

Seriously, I woke up Tuesday morning and looked at the three (!) daywear-appropriate, weather-appropriate choices I had (two purchased RTW skirts and a vintage dress) and said "The heck with this" (or words to that effect) and went straight back to my regularly-scheduled rotation of made-by-me stuff.

I'm not quite sure what I was trying to talk myself into, except that sewing does take a lot of time (which I'm short on right now, as I'm sure you might have noticed from the dearth of posts recently) and perhaps I thought that if I could get back into the swing of wearing RTW, I wouldn't feel compelled to sew so much. ("Pfffft, fat chance," is what I think my answer to myself was.)

Anyway, if you're interested, the sweater is a J.Crew "Jackie" cardigan purchased on eBay; the blouse is this dotted-swiss wonder from Boden; and the skirt is a pink wool Cynthia Rowley (with great pockets!), bought at Filene's lo these many years ago (I'm pretty sure it's more than five years old). The belt is from H&M, bought in a pack of three. Invisible in this picture (and invisible on my legs) are a pair of microfishnet tights, also in pink. The watch is one of my favorites, a silver plastic Swatch.

So anyway, that was the beginning and end of my RTW challenge. What wardrobe challenges are you working on (or giving up on)?

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie March 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

What does “RTW” mean? So, you woke up Monday and you didn’t like the two purchased RTW skirts and the vintage dress. Why? Did you put them in the thrift store pile like a good spring cleaner? This outfit we see is very nice and looks well on you. Good choice. I’m curious to see the three choices you chose not to wear.

My wardrobe challenge right now is footwear. It’s complicated.


Irene Bullock March 23, 2012 at 2:07 am

I’m kind of giving up on the Colette Book sewalong, that darn Pastille dress is sucking the energy out of me *sigh*. I think i’m going to stick to NL6000 from now on, my go-to pattern nowadays.


Lydia March 23, 2012 at 3:50 am

Interesting that you should post this now. When I dug out my summer wardrobe last week, I realized that I was tired of novelty cottons. I KNOW. It was a shock to me, too.

I’m going to start moving into mixing solid-color separates for visual interest, instead of using sassy printed dresses. Of course, this means re-making my entire summer wardrobe, so who knows when this transition will actually occur.


Milly March 23, 2012 at 4:28 am

I think RTW means Ready To Wear?


Ann V. March 23, 2012 at 7:07 am

I wish we had Boden stores here. I can buy from the catalog, but I like to see it first. I wore a new dress I made from Vogue 1194 last night, I was really proud that I finally finished something for myself!


Hambone March 23, 2012 at 7:38 am

You might consider trying the One Week, One Pattern challenge instead that Tilly and the Buttons is doing. She’s wearing versions of the same pattern to explore the stylistic variations possible with a favorite go-to pattern. It’s right up your alley with all those Simplicity 1577s and 8728s you’ve made!


Lynn March 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

I like the One Week, One Pattern idea. I could easily do that because I tend to get stuck on favorite patterns myself.

My wardrobe challenge? I haven’t been thinking of it as a challenge exactly but late last year I suddenly realized that some of the styles that I’ve always avoided because I thought they wouldn’t look good on me are actually more flattering than the over-sized shirt pattern that I keep using to conceal my ample hips (a.k.a. my big fat hiney) So now I’m sewing some cute little blouses but still hanging on to the big shirts because I still love the fabrics.


Sneza March 23, 2012 at 8:39 am



LinB March 23, 2012 at 9:23 am

Am trying to find a print that is suitable for scrubs for a man who works at a veterinary clinic! All he has now is boring solids. There’s lots of cutesy stuff with cartoon dogs and/or cats, but they all have flowers and girly stuff, too. Wanted to find tiger stripes, but all my local shop had was in pink and purple colorways. Maybe the brown snakeskin print will do … don’t know how he feels about reptiles. (Don’t like to order online, cuz I can’t touch it first.)


belphebe March 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

As noted, RTW is “ready to wear” or store-bought clothes.

My challenge is to make new items for my wardrobe and stop wearing store-bought clothing. However, I have to do a lot of cleaning first since I can’t get near my cutting table or sewing machine.

My RTW clothing is okay, but it doesn’t fit me very well. If I have to alter clothes anyway, I might as well make them from scratch!


denise March 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Well, I think your little store-bought outfit looks cute, but you always look cute. The sexy librarian look certainly suits you.


Mish March 24, 2012 at 7:30 am

I think my challenge to myself should be to pull the sewing machine back out & start making for myself again!


StephC March 25, 2012 at 4:42 am

I love this! It’s an inversion of Me Made May… Hhehee. I have a feeling I’d fail if I tried, too…

Challenges… Right now I’m working on a challenge to use my kimono sleeve tshirt pattern to come up with a new design each month… Not just that, but publishing my drafting notes for curious minds who want to learn a little light drafting… It’s been fun, and has given some shape to all the disparate things I do.


TECarter March 25, 2012 at 6:43 am

Your shoes are PERFECT. Is this a pair you’ve written about before? One of the pairs of loafers?


Dawn March 26, 2012 at 4:24 am

Hey, my challenge is the same as belphebe’s’! I’m rearranging my sewing/computing/catchall room so it’s a bigger wreck than usual. And it probably won’t all be done until after our son graduates from high school in June. Until then it’s the usual RTW centered around black pants. Boring.


Nathalie March 27, 2012 at 7:14 am

I’d definitely fail. Only yesterday I went through my clothes cupboard and threw out two old Boden dresses that are not only knackered but no longer fit the way I dress. That leaves me with the dress I wore on my wedding day (which I could never part with) and maybe two others; otherwise every other dress and skirt is me-made… If I had to do a RTW week, I’d either be woefully inappropriately dressed all week, or I’d have to rely on t-shirts and cardies galore, leaving the lower half very exposed!


Erin March 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

TE — yep, they’re the same loafers I always wear! I think I posted about them here:


Carol April 1, 2012 at 3:55 am

My challenge would be to buy the sewing machine and make the time to sew. I havn’t mademyself anything in so long it could easily be 20 years !


Kristen April 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

At least all of the pieces from that one day are pretty much perfect. :) I sure would love to accomplish the wardrobe challenge of having a wardrobe that was cohesive and worked all together with itself!


JustGail April 3, 2012 at 6:54 am

Erin – if I had a pink skirt and lime(?) sweater, I’d never have thought put them together. I like the combination.

LinB – if 100% cotton is good, try the quilt shop if you have one close. A couple of shops I been in recently have had some wonderful animal prints.


Emma June 30, 2012 at 12:17 am

If you want to try a new challenge, check out 30 in 30. It’s originally by another blogger so I can’t take credit, but I’m on the last day and it’s really been tough this last week. Really fun though and has made me really appreciate what’s in my closet. is the original post. Something worth trying I think! I tried to post once a day to showcase my outfits, but a couple of times I had to post two in one. I’m reading your book at the moment. (Actually there’s a photo of me in yesterday’s outfit holding your book on my blog.) I stumbled across your site through goodreads. Interested to check it out!


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