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Seamworker’s Closet

Combining sewing and knitting to create a capsule wardrobe.

Posted in: Patterns, Style & Wardrobe • October 31, 2018

There is a powerful sense of community among people who sew—we share the same excitement when finishing a garment, run into the same questions about tricky sewing techniques, and we love to geek out over fabric. Seeing finished sewing projects can help get ideas flowing, so we are taking you inside a Seamworker’s closet to talk about the joys of a handmade wardrobe.

Meet Whitney and Allyson. As two of our Seamwork Ambassadors, they each add another dimension to their handmade wardrobe: knitting!

Read their interviews below to learn how each of these makers approaches planning a handmade wardrobe that includes both sewing and knitting projects.


Feminine, Sweet, Classic

What’s your sewing (and knitting) story?

I started teaching myself how to sew when I bought my machine on a whim in late 2010, but I'd typically only make one or two projects a year, and those usually ended with a tangled bobbin and tears of frustration. I didn't start sewing garments—and really building up my confidence with my machine—until I participated in Karen Templer's Summer of Basics challenge last year. I began knitting much earlier, though, in the fall of 2002. I used to knit a lot of small projects, especially socks and stuffed toys, but since 2015 I've focused on sweaters for myself—and, now, my daughter.

Why did you decide you sew your own wardrobe? What about knitting?

I think I've always had a pretty clear vision in my head of how I wanted to present myself to the world, but finding those clothes in my size has been a lifelong struggle. Knitting and sewing my own garments has been the best way to bring that vision to life. I also love the confidence I feel when I'm wearing something I made!

What are three words that best describe your style?

Feminine, sweet, classic

Whitney’s Handmade Wardrobe

Here are the patterns Whitney chose for her capsule wardrobe.

Outfit5 = Seamwork Akita + Seamwork Laura + Agatha Cardigan

Is there a theme to your capsule? Are there certain pieces that stand out to you?

I don't think there's much of a theme, beyond what I would wear during a typical week. A jumper is my dream dress for fall and winter, and it's a project I've been planning for the past six months. The double gauze Veronica is one of my favorite dresses, and it's a surprising workhorse in my wardrobe all year round. I especially love how it cheers up a gloomy winter day!

When you think about a handmade wardrobe, what excites you the most? What challenges you the most? How do you work through those challenges?

I love the process of planning a project, sourcing all of the materials, dreaming about how the item will fit into my existing wardrobe. The tracing and cutting are usually my biggest challenge because I just hate those steps. Once I'm past that, the process usually goes pretty smoothly unless there's a new technique I'm intimidated by. At that point, wanting to wear the finished project is usually enough to push me through whatever roadblock I've hit. I don't like to have a bunch of unfinished projects hanging around though, so if I can't push through, I'd rather take a few days away from sewing than start a new project. I have to tell myself it's okay and healthy to take a break sometimes. There's a weird pressure (entirely self-imposed!) to be constantly churning out 'content' for social media, and I try to do what I can to break that cycle when I feel myself slipping into it.

Do you approach sewing differently than knitting when planning your wardrobe? Or do you plan your sewing and knitting projects together?

I have an entirely different approach to each one. Because sewing is faster and less expensive per project, I tend to be more spontaneous with my projects, and they're usually driven by my fabric choices. My knitting projects are much more carefully planned, and they almost always start with the pattern. Technique-wise, I'm more adventurous with my knitting because I've had more practice with it and I still have a lot more confidence in my knitting skills than my sewing skills. Also, because I'm still trying to build up my handmade wardrobe and most of my sewing time happens at the end of the day, I tend to choose projects that are quick and easy. Knitting projects can drag on if they're too simple, though, so I try to go for more challenging projects.


Fun, Colorful, and Confident

What’s your sewing (and knitting) story?

I learned to sew when I was in high school! My mom is an amazing quilter, so she taught me how to use a sewing machine, but I’ve never really gotten into quilting. I sewed garments for myself and friends in high school but then stopped when I didn’t have a sewing machine in college. I sewed very little until about four years ago when I got back into it, and I haven’t stopped since! I learned to knit when I was in high school as well, but knitting I took to immediately and have been very passionate since my first stitch.

Why did you decide you sew your own wardrobe? What about knitting?

Sewing is like a magical puzzle for me! The more I figure out, the more I want to figure out. As a former fat kid, I’ve always hated shopping for clothes and have embraced a pretty minimalist lifestyle of very little shopping of any kind, so making is a great way to continue living that lifestyle. Once I made my own winter coat and a pair of jeans I figured there was nothing I couldn’t sew! My goal is to have a 100% me-made wardrobe, and I’m almost there.

What are three words that best describe your style?

Fun, Colorful, Confident.

Allyson’s Handmade Wardrobe

Here are the sewing and knitting patterns Allyson picked for her capsule wardrobe.

Safran Pants by Deer & Doe | Yates Coat by Grainline studio | Azara Skirt by Deer & Doe | Astoria sweater by Seamwork

Oraefi Sweater | Tensile Sweater | Carbeth | The Shift

Is there a theme to your capsule? Are there certain pieces that stand out to you?

My theme is high-waisted bottoms with cropped and oversized tops—I’ve really embraced this silhouette lately, so I’m running with it! I’m excited to make the Safran Pants because they look like real pants, but they’re really glorified leggings which I’m all about! I’ve got fabric for the Yates Coat and Azara Skirt I’m DYING to dig into!  

When you think about a handmade wardrobe, what excites you the most? What challenges you the most? How do you work through those challenges?

I’m SO excited to get to a point with my wardrobe where I’m 100% me made. I’m really close, and every piece I make gets me closer to that goal. My challenge is casual clothes—I have dresses and sweaters to last me WEEKS, but I haven’t mastered sewing knits yet, so simple tees, tanks, and loungewear, pieces that seem boring, I haven’t dug into yet. Also panties! I’ve got bras down, but underwear is such a snoozefest.

We’re talking about knitting and sewing on the Seamwork community! Join the conversation to share your favorite patterns, show off your finished projects, and get help if you are stuck.

When planning your wardrobe, do you approach sewing differently than knitting? Or do you plan your sewing and knitting projects together?

The way I pick patterns—both knitting and sewing—are very similar! I like the shiny new thing so when one of my favorite designers or brands comes out with a new pattern, I usually drop everything and dig in. And that absolutely is reflected in the holes in my me-made wardrobe—pieces I think are boring like simple loungewear is never going to grab my attention.

I’m not really a wardrobe planner—I’m not afraid of color or mixing prints, so if I pick something out for myself it’s always going to fit into my wardrobe because I make it fit! It fits ME, which is all that matters.

To see more of what Whitney and Allyson make, follow them on Instagram.

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