craft your personal style (a book list)

craft your personal style

It would be the path of least resistance for me to go through my days with a messy bun (not the cute kind), sweatpants, and spit-up stains on my shirt like I just walked off the set of the Exorcist. Sometimes I think about it because my sweats sure are comfy and I’m already prone to laziness, but way back before I had R, I made a small commitment to myself that after she was born I would still shower, brush my teeth, and not wear pajamas all day long. I aim high, folks, really, really high.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep those commitments, and I’m happy to say that I’ve had a shower every day since Dumpling came along, and I have also consistently brushed my teeth. Sometimes I’ve also flossed, so basically, I killed it. Not bragging or anything, except that I am.

Even with these pitifully low standards, I have managed to look pretty decent most days, thanks to my very minimal wardrobe. I just don’t have a lot of choices, and the things I do have I love with the exception of a few baggy sweatpants and sweatshirts. It’s not unlike what you want your kitchen cupboard to have inside: mostly healthy choices with just a few junky snacks when you’re feeling rebellious. Or lazy.

Although I began building a minimal and intentional wardrobe long before I had R, since she’s come along my “why” has taken on a much deeper meaning. I want her to view the cultivation of personal style as an important form of self-care. It’s such a big part of being a happy human, isn’t it though? And then there’s the part about surrounding ourselves in well-made things. I would love for her to truly value what she owns, including her wardrobe.

Because I strive for a minimal wardrobe, the few things I own are super important and must meet all my clothing needs. Couple this with the fact that there are a few styles that I wear and can be hard to find, especially when I prefer to shop in thrift stores, and I’ve been strongly nudged into making my own clothes.

Don’t let this idea throw you off- I’m no professional, and I don’t know how to do anything fancy on a sewing machine. I know how to make straight stitches, and I know how to move the fabric to stitch around curves, and I know how to pin to create pleats for shaping. But you know what? That just happens to be enough for my needs. I love clothing with simple lines, and that’s great because that’s basically all I can do.

Thankfully, there are some phenomenal women who have created gorgeous patterns that fit my needs both aesthetically and skill-wise. Ever heard of Natalie Chanin? Her company Alabama Chanin produces some amazing stuff, and her popular patterns are in one of the books listed below. So simple, so beautiful.

But my very favorite is Meg with Sew Liberated. I’ve been following her online for years and I’m a huge fan of basically every pattern she’s ever put out. She’s about to put out an online course about crafting a mindful wardrobe and this might be my favorite thing from her. We’ll see. But do check out her patterns because they are lovely and easy.

If you’re scratching your head wondering just how I still find the time to make my own clothes with a baby around, I’ll let you in on a little secret: It takes me a ridiculously long time to finish one thing. There’s no fast production happening on my craft table. In fact, I’ve been working on the Stasia dress from Sew Liberated for almost double that actually.cIt doesn’t matter. When it’s done I’ll have something I didn’t have before, made for my body, exactly how I want it. So it’s a slow process, but that’s fine with me.

These ladies and their books below have all been a huge inspiration to me as I’ve worked on my own wardrobe. They’re like my personal tribe of mentors, and even though I’ve never met a single one of them, because of the awesomeness of the internet and books, I’ve learned so much.

Read: The Curated Closet (Anushka Reese)

Start here. This book will teach you the basics of pairing your closet down to the necessities, gathering pieces that compliment and match one another, and the dos of minimalist accessorizing.

Read: Alabama Chanin (Natalie Chanin)

This book is just phenomenal, and the patterns are swoon-worthy and easy as pie to put together. I would start with this one, and then if you love her stuff as much as I do get her other books and branch out from there.

Read: Mending Matters (Katrina Rodabaugh)

I love this lady. She makes her garments by hand, which is purely aspirational for me at this moment. She also, like the name of her book implies, mends things, but in really beautiful and thoughtful ways, which is why I highly recommend her. We stay-at-home-moms maybe don't have the time to stitch an entire piece of clothing by hand, but we all have ten minutes here and there to mend a torn something for ourselves or our family.

I love this lady and have been following her online for years. You have got to check out her amazing check Insta, you will not be dissapointed. She is just awesome. Besides the patterns she sells on her website, she is about to launch a course on curating a handmade, thrifted, and intentional wardrobe. Check her out!!!!!

Read: Tilly and the Buttons

If you are just getting started with sewing, I highly recommend this lady because she has a great little online class called "Make Friends With Your Sewing Machine", and she also has some great books which is how I became familiar with her.

Ok friend, If you know of anyone awesome that I don’t have on my list, tell me in the comments below :)

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