The Art of Crafting Your Wardrobe

Welcome to the world of handknit wardrobes, where sustainability and style beautifully intertwine. You want to make CLOTHES, and so do we. In this article, we'll dive into the art of creating your perfect collection of sustainable and stylish garments, all lovingly crafted by hand. Whether you're an experienced knitter or just starting out, we're here to inspire and empower you in curating a wardrobe that reflects your unique personality and values.

The fashion industry is, at this point, reliably crap for everyone. Sustainability and inclusivity are intersections where fashion needs to grow. Whatever has inspired you to make your own wardrobe, you can move the needle forward on so many issues and express your values as well as your authentic beauty by making your own clothes. Imagine that each piece in your wardrobe was a conscious statement about who you are and what you believe in. This goal may not be 100% attainable for most of us, but we can move towards it one make at a time.

From elegant lace to chunky knit sweaters, handknit garments are incredibly versatile. One Wild Designs is here to guide you towards building a handknit wardrobe that is not only beautiful but also aligned with your values. Let's jump into the world of handknits and create a wardrobe that stands the test of time.

Jen and Bess are in a brightly lit room with luxurious furnishings, they're dressed elegantly in silk and linen and wearing warm weather hand knit garments.

Our most recent collection, Rare Birds, explores decadence and glamour in a handknit wardrobe. From a slubby raw silk tank to lace backed tees.

While any of these garments could be worn to a wedding, you've also told us you're wearing yours for everyday luxury.

Shop Rare Birds

Understanding sustainability and fashion

The fashion industry's impact on the environment has become a growing concern. From the pollution caused by textile production to the mountains of clothing waste ending up in landfills, the need for more sustainable fashion practices is evident. More and more folks are embracing making their own clothes. Hand knitting offers an alternative that allows you to take control of the materials and processes involved in creating your wardrobe.

We've written before about sustainability, and the TL;DR version is that making your own clothes is ALWAYS a more sustainable choice than buying them, if you actually wear what you're making. There are wonderful organic sustainable yarns available, and it's also more sustainable to knit with acrylic than to buy a sweater from a retail chain that is also made of acrylic in a far less ethical way.

The benefits of hand knitting

Aside from sustainability, knitting your wardrobe benefits you in so many other ways. Firstly, knitting allows you to personalize your wardrobe and express your creativity. With countless patterns and stitch combinations available, you can create unique pieces that truly reflect your style and personality. Handknit garments are not mass-produced, ensuring that each item you create is one-of-a-kind and exclusive to you. For many of us, having the power to express yourself through clothing is revolutionary. Makers with marginalized identities may especially find it difficult to feel represented in widely available clothing stores.

Besides representation, so many people cannot find clothes that fit them in these stores, either. And I am not only talking about size inclusion, although that's certainly no small matter. Even if you technically fit into readily available clothing, that does not mean these clothes fit you. We all have different shapes and we really are not supposed to be able to all wear the same exact shirt. Mass producing clothing means sacrificing fit, and much of the clothing available today is truly designed to fit no one.

Another advantage of hand knitting is the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with creating something with your own two hands. The slow and meditative nature of knitting can be incredibly therapeutic, providing a much-needed break from the fast-paced world we live in. Knitting allows you to slow down, relax, and immerse yourself in the creative process, resulting in garments that are filled with a sense of love and care. The pride you feel wearing something you made for yourself that ALSO looks wonderful on you can be life changing.

Jen and Elizabeth lean against a pink wall in high contrast lighting. They are wearing beautiful sweaters, one knitted in allover lace and one knit with colorwork.

Body of Work is our first collaborative collection. This collection of four garments plus one digital publication represents empowerment, and the feeling you get when you try on that perfect knit.

Shop Body of Work

Planning your handmade wardrobe

Before you embark on your handknit journey, it's essential to plan your wardrobe carefully. Consider your lifestyle, climate, and personal style when deciding on the types of garments you want to create. Are you looking for cozy sweaters and cardigans for winter, or lightweight tops and shawls for summer? Maybe a mix of both? Building a versatile wardrobe that can be mixed and matched throughout the seasons will ensure that your handknit garments get plenty of wear.

Take stock of your existing wardrobe and identify any gaps that can be filled with handknit items. Think about the colors, patterns, and textures that will complement your existing pieces. Planning ahead will help you stay focused and avoid projects that may end up forgotten in a drawer.

While we often think of handknit garments as meaning "sweaters," knitting is far more versatile than that. Handknit tanks and tees are incredibly wearable all year round, and our bralette pattern with encased elastic is one of your all time favorites.

Explore Warm Weather Patterns

Bess and Jen lean against a brightly colored wall, they look at each other laughing. They are both wearing fuzzy, oversized hand knitted sweaters that feel like super cozy sweatshirts.

Southern Hemisphere Babes, we see you, too! The Athleisure Collection features some of our most wearable and well-loved sweater patterns that will keep you warm on cold days.

Essential garments for a versatile wardrobe

Ultimately, you're the boss of your own wardrobe of course, however, there are certain pieces that almost everyone will find useful and highly wearable in a handmade wardrobe. Here are some of our top recommendations for pattern essentials:

Pullover Staples: A well-fitted sweater is a staple in any wardrobe. These designs offer a starting point for your creativity to run wild. We love when you make one of our patterns your own (and please show us!).

Patterns to try: Sunup on 82nd, Marsha's Pride, Study Group, Hypatia Pullover

Tanks and tees: Handknit tanks and tees are perfect for layering or wearing on their own during warmer months. We find ourselves reaching for warm weather knits all year round.

Patterns to try: Classic LBD, Tori Tank, Soft Walk, Alice Tee

A bralette that really works: We mentioned the Carol Bralette earlier, and she's worth mentioning again. This well-loved and well-knit pattern makes a supportive handknit bralette that supports you like a comfy sports bra. We've knit them in cotton, wool, and silk or bamboo blends with lots of success!

Pattern to try: Carol Bralette

Layers of love: These patterns have a bit more personality to add fun to your wardrobe. They also each work beautifully as a layering piece in their own right. We find that pieces that layer well, wear well and get worn more often.

Patterns to try: Marie in Paris, Keeper, Betty's Mystique, Among Petals

Elizabeth wears a hand knit hoodie in a muted gray green. She leans against a brightly painted mural with one hand in her hair.

For beginner garment knitters, our Classics Collection features patterns that are designed to be a first or second handknit garment. Explore the patterns here.

Tips for creating handknit garments you'll actually wear

Creating stylish handknit garments is all about paying attention to the details. Here are some tips to help you elevate your knitting and achieve handknit garment bliss:

Choose the right size: Measure, measure, measure. Explore your measurements regularly to get the most accurate size and fit. We've got resources here, here, and here to help you.

Swatch bigger and more than you think: A large swatch gives you the best information about your true gauge so that you won't be lied to and you'll end up with the garment you planned for. We recommend reading this article on gauge for more tips!

One step at a time: If you are new to modifying patterns and you think you'll benefit from altering the fit of your garments, just make one small change each time. An adjusted armscye, or an added bust dart can make a world of difference in your fit. Over time you may find several small adjustments you like to make for your knits, but doing too much too soon is likely to confuse you about what works and what doesn't work for you.

Block and care for your garments: The final soak you give your finished garment evens out the tension in the garment, creating more beautiful stitches. Proper blocking also keeps your garment in shape, and helps prevent unexpected stretching while you're wearing your knit.

You have the power if you have the patience

Crafting your perfect handknit wardrobe is a journey that combines sustainability, creativity, and personal style. By choosing to knit your own garments, you can ensure that every piece reflects your values and becomes a cherished addition to your wardrobe. Every step in the process from choosing a yarn to blocking and wearing your finished garment is in your hands.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the journey from beginner knitter to master garment maker, allow each wonderful step to empower you further. This craft is learned one stitch at a time, and that's exactly how even the fanciest lace sweater is knitted.

Jen adjusts the sleeve of her linen lace hand knit tunic tee. Her nails are painted soft pink, she wears coral pants, her knit is a delicate cream and she sits on a black velvet couch.


The Art of Crafting Your Wardrobe
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