I am the kind of person who is very picky but knows what she likes when she sees it. As a result, I have bought in multiples most of my adult life. If you were to look in my entry way right now, you would see three pairs of sneakers and eight pairs of Sam Edelman Felicia Flats in a rainbow of colours. It’s only natural that I would sew the same way.
Except I didn’t until this year. For some reason, I felt like every garment I made had to be totally unique – not only from ready-to-wear pieces, but from the stuff I’d made, too. Since discovering the genius of making a muslin, I’ve also come to understand that sewing a pattern more than once makes putting together a muslin seem less like a time-suck and more like an investment.
It all started with the skirt class I took this fall. The teacher reccommended making an extra skirt as homework. This made me realize that you can save a crap ton of time when you’re making a piece for the second time.
Then, came the famous top pattern that I used a zillion and one ways. I bought the pattern knowing I wanted to use it twice: Once for a regular length top, and once for a longer sweatshirt dress. Then, on a creative whim, with some scraps, I made the Kate Spade Bow hack top. This spring, I pulled it back out for a striped t-shirt dress, basic ginham top, and the horsie peplum blouse. This top really made me realize that you could totally use a basic pattern as a block and change it up a thousand ways. None of the tops made from this pattern look alike, but they all fit the same and I love it.
I also went on a tank top spree this spring. I was determined to give my favourite tank top a new life by tracing it and drafting my own pattern. I made three tanks in the end, a semi-functioning muslin, a decent second muslin (that I’m not quite convinced I’ll wear out), and the cute bird-print tank. Making so many of this tank allowed me to perfect the fit and work on my knit-sewing skills.
This spring, I took another course and, again, decided to make more than one. I made the basic black jacket in class, then did the pink frog closure blazer to experiment with fray trim, and, most recently, the yellow wool jacket to practice some couture finishing techniques. I loved doing this as I was able to focus on learning interesting, new tidbits as I had the nitty gritty about fit and construction down.
In the past, I’ve searched long and hard for the perfect, unique pattern that would be challenging and not look too simple. This year, in my multiple-mania, I’ve shifted my philosophy to picking easy, basic patterns with good lines that I can make fit well and jazz up when I feel like it. I think this summer I’m going to take another crack at making a capsule wardrobe, but I’m going to start with a couple basic blocks I’ll use a thousand times. Aaaaaand I might try pants.
What are your thoughts on making multiples? Do you prefer a one trick pony or do you have patterns you’re faithful to?