February 5, 2014

I get a certain attachment to the things that I make.  Sure, they are not perfect, but we have a history.  A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into them.  Not to mention money!  I can look at the items that I made a few years ago and see how far I have come.  It is fun to see my knit finishes pre-serger and my buttonholes before I owned a machine that helped with that.  There is a story behind each garment.

All of that being said, we do not have a lot of closet space and there are lots of items that I have made that just don’t fit right, are out of style, or I just don’t wear.  The problem is that I have a really hard time letting go of them.  So they continue to hang in my closet, taking up space, and not getting worn.

So I wonder, do you guys have the same problem?  

Do you hold onto the items that you make long after their normal lifecycle?  

How do you convince yourself to part with the items that you no longer have a need for?

When you do part with them how do you go about it?

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  • Reply Taivahalla February 5, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    I have the same problem. Sometimes it’s easier if I cannibalize it for the buttons, zipper, or fabric. Or if I can look at it as a learning process (love the term “wearable muslin”- somehow that justifies it!). It also helps me to give it to a girlfriend (my sewing buddy is about my size, and frequently we like each other’s wadders). But it’s hard. OTOH, I have the same problem with RTW if I really liked the clothing.

  • Reply katherine h February 5, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Same problem here. Especially if the fabric is beautiful. When a friend of mine, who is a lawyer, drew up my will, she suggested I state who I was going to leave my dresses to. I thought this was a bit crazy, but perhaps not?? It would be fun to inherit a box of handmade clothing. Doesn’t solve the problem in the short term though, and it means I don’t have room to make new stuff.

  • Reply Madalynne February 5, 2014 at 7:43 PM

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  • Reply Madalynne February 5, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    MadalynneFebruary 5, 2014 at 6:43 PM
    Personally, I don’t part with my sewn clothes, unless it was a failed project, and I make space for it. Each garment made a story and without it in front of me, I don’t remember all the chapters that were written during its construction. Some people write in diaries so that later in life, they’ll remember their youth vividly. I do that too, but I will also rely on my me made clothing we I’m older to recount the life of me.

    • Reply megannielsen February 6, 2014 at 9:04 AM

      Maddie you always put things so beautifully. I always feel incredibly guilty keeping all my creations, but i keep them anyway because i feel like i’d be cutting my arm off to part with them 🙂 You’ve just made me feel a whole better about hoarding all those pieces that are precious to me XOXO

  • Reply Melody Murdock February 5, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    I have the same attachment issues with my own “sewn children”. After so many years of garment sewing things tend to pile up. If I decided that I can by no means part with the garment because it was made for a special event or I am in love with the construction or design or fabric but I am not wearing it on a semi regular basis I will hang on to it and add it to storage. If I am no longer wearing the garment and can part with it, I give them to friends or donate my garments to local thrift shops. Twice I have encountered my donated garments on others who had thrifted the garment and it made me so happy knowing that a person now wearing and treasuring what I made.

  • Reply Lori February 5, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    I find it hard to part with some of my sewn garments, they have memories tied to me or my daughters. Then other items that are total flops – they head right out the door!

  • Reply gingermakes February 5, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Oddly enough, it’s not that hard for me to part with me-mades that just aren’t getting worn. But I have a tiny closet and tend to get overwhelmed by lots of stuff, so it helps me to get dressed quicker when I’ve pulled out the things that don’t really fit or suit me. I just hope that someone enjoys wearing the things that I’m not able to wear since I put so much work into them!

    • Reply Jo H. February 6, 2014 at 4:47 AM

      This is exactly how I feel about it too. I’m weirdly un-attached to them – sometimes it just feels like they’ve got to the end of the whole making & wearing lifecycle, and then I’m ok just letting go of them. I quite like the idea of someone finding and liking homemade clothes in a second hand shop.

    • Reply Malady February 6, 2014 at 5:19 AM

      I have bought made items in thrift stores before, including one really beautiful and different formal gown. Looking back, it was probably a muslin for someones wedding gown, made from a heavy floral brocade, but it fit me like a glove and made me feel like a princess (on a paupers budget).
      Someone will love your items if you are able to let them go. Especially in this age of thrifting.

    • Reply map February 6, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Absolutely, and I almost think of it as thrifting karma when I donate handknit sweaters that didn’t quite suit me… like, I’ve benefited so much from thrift shops that I like thinking about someone else getting a sweet deal on a handmade cabled sweater! (Even if they just want to take it apart for the yarn — which I have done as well.)

  • Reply Bella February 5, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Same problem. I usually give them to my mum or my sister. I can’t handle the thought of them being out in the hands of strangers, because my garments feel so personal to me, and it would be like letting people read my diary. Not sure why I feel this way, they are just clothes after all. If I can keep them in the family then I’m much happier about it.

  • Reply velosewer February 5, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    I used to be attached to my sewn items but I’ve realised that while they were sewn with lots of energy, I am happy to give them to charity as I’ll always have an online reference to them. That gives me more space at home.

  • Reply Gabrielle February 6, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    Yes I find this hard too! I’ve only donated a handful of me-made clothes to charity. The rest go in one of those plastic storage bins. There’s currently one for my old me-mades for me, and one for my children’s grown out of me-mades, but I don’t know what I’ll do when these fill up!

  • Reply Gabrielle February 6, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    Yes I find this hard too! I’ve only donated a handful of me-made clothes to charity. The rest go in one of those plastic storage bins. There’s currently one for my old me-mades for me, and one for my children’s grown out of me-mades, but I don’t know what I’ll do when these fill up!

  • Reply little betty February 6, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    Oh yes, if the fabric is special I feel even more attached to the item. If I really don’t need it, I try to give it away to a friend, but if they don’t want it or fit into it, then I often take it back to keep longer:)

  • Reply Cirque Du Bebe February 6, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    Just the other week I went through my closet, took out all the stuff that I don’t wear, which was sadly most of it and stashed them away for safe keeping. If I have daughters or granddaughters I know my hand-made stuff will be treasured plus, as you say, its a great moral booster to see where you’ve come from.

  • Reply Megan February 6, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    I’m tempted to show my husband this post to prove I’m not crazy. I totally have this problem! I have about half of a wardrobe of clothes that I’ve sewn and love and none of them fit because I’ve lost a bunch of weight. I keep telling myself I’ll alter them to fit but it gets in the way of any new sewing.

    • Reply Eleanor James February 6, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      You could use some of the fabric to create elbow patches on new clothing (if that’s your style) to remind you of what you once made, OR if you like clothing with front or back panels (like a fun print) you could use them in that way too. I’m with you, I say I’ll alter clothing but rarely do!

  • Reply Carolyn February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I have a tendency to hold on to way too many handmade items that I don’t use anymore just because tgeyo handmade. For the new year though I went through my closet and took out those things that never get worn including handmade items. It was a bit painful to put them in the give away pile but I’m actually really happy that I’m just hanging on to those thingsvthat I truly love.

  • Reply angela February 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I do hold on to favorites even if they are unused and unworn..I still have a drawer filled with the handmade purses that I used to sell. I agree with everyone above, if something is a flop I have no problem letting it go. One fun thing to consider though is doing a clothing exchange with your friends, then you may have a fun time seeing another taking joy in your me-mades.

  • Reply sallie oleta barbee February 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Oh this is a tough one! I’ve definitely gotten rid of some of my earliest makes that were just so wonky I knew I’d never leave the house in them. But as I’ve become a better seamstress and in terms of quality there isn’t TOO much of a difference between my me-mades and my rtw clothes I find it much harder to part with my me-mades, even if they may not be getting as much wear for whatever reason. Lucky for me I have a ridiculous amount of storage space in my current apartment (it’s actually a bit silly, really) but I don’t know what I’ll do if/when we move and aren’t in the same boat!

  • Reply oonaballoona February 6, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    oh, this is a hard one. a coupe months ago i got rid of a bunch of handmade stuff when H & M was having a clothing drive, but i did keep some of the very first things i made. i also took some detailed shots of a few things so i could remember them that way. we gots limited space in ny, yo!

  • Reply Heather Lou February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Dude, I hear ya. I don’t think I’ve gotten rid of a single item I’ve sewn and some of them…. eghads. Some I still wear, despite their shoddy craftsmanship, and some are beyond help but I just can’t do it…..

  • Reply Susan February 6, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    I am proud to say that I make a point of getting rid of unworn hand-made items. I add it to my charity bag as it is helpful to think someone else may enjoy my lovingly made items.

  • Reply Eleanor James February 6, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    If I had friends who wore my size, I’d first offer them to friends because I would want to send the clothes off to a home where they’d be appreciated. BUT because my friends wear a size above me, I usually just donate them or use them to make smaller clothes for my toddler. It is hard to donate them sometimes because I did love them at one time. Something I read recently that really changed my perspective on donating almost anything is that what I donate will bless someone else – and I think that’s true. Donations make really neat things available at a much more affordable price.

  • Reply Neeno February 6, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    I’m lucky to have my wardrobe all to myself (I live alone) and my wardrobe has three large sections. I have one section for me-mades, one for work/casual clothes, and one section for “fancy” dresses. I’ve been sewing for just over two years and only about 1/4 of the clothes I sew actually fit properly or get worn more than once. I can’t let go of them!! I feel like I need to hoard them, because I made them. One day i will put them in a suitcase and store them, but I don’t think I have the heart to part with them, too sentimental!

  • Reply Fabric Tragic February 8, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    I donate them but it is hard to let them go! I find most of the things I pass on do fall into the wearable muslins category, so it’s a bit easier. Now that I’m getting better it is going to get harder though – but I have limited space too and it’s either pass them on or fight with the husband over wardrobe space!

  • Reply Sara Mayo February 11, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    Some homemade clothes stay in my closet even if they are stained or don’t fit or aren’t even finished – because I want to be able to refer to them in case I ever want to make that pattern again.

  • Reply Danica February 12, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    I’ve only been sewing garments for myself for a little more than a year now, so I’ve had a few “fails.” These fails I cut up and use for rags – most of them were wearable muslins, anyway, made of inferior fabric. I don’t think I could inflict those on anyone else. Ha! Also, I keep the scraps to make doll clothes for my daughter. I don’t feel particular affection or sentimental about the clothes I sew, except for the very first skirt I made.

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