soft blue skein of yarn (Rosemary & Pines Fiber Arts Merino Lino) laying on topf of a speckled socks of the same yarn

Creating a Handmade Wardrobe: 2023 Recap

This blog post is all about creating a handmade wardrobe and a recap of all of my makes in 2023.
Back in 2015, when I first became interested in making my own clothes, I started the journey of transforming my wardrobe. It is not my goal to make all of the clothes I own myself but to be mindful and intentional when adding to my wardrobe. I aim for a rather minimal, well curated wardrobe with a focus on natural materials (like cotton, linen and wool). Every piece of clothing should be worn regularly and make me feel good when I wear it. Right now, it is a mixture of handmade, secondhand and store bought items.

I hope this overview will serve as a source of inspiration for you. In case you are interested in sustainable clothing but don’t feel inclined to make them yourself, I will list some small businesses that I have bought from in the past and can recommend at the end of the post.

four hand knitted colorfuls socks laying next to each other on a wooden surface, next to a vase filled with flowers

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Creating a Handmade Wardrobe 2023 Recap: Knitting

Since I have been constantly adding to my handmade wardrobe over the last couple of years, I didn’t feel the need to knit any garments for myself this year. But since hand knitted socks naturally wear out over time (and can only be mended so often before they fall apart), I made several pairs of socks. My new go-to sock knitting pattern that I released this year are the Happiness All Around socks. They are easy to make and fit very well due to the ribbing all throughout the sock. I made one version exactly to the pattern and another pair where I simply reversed the ribbing.

a pair of colorful hand knitted socks on a wooden surface next to a vase filled with flowers
upper part of a handknitted sock in blues and purples. the sock is laying on a wooden floor.

I also wanted to experiment with increasing the durability and coziness of my socks by adding a strand of mohair. Therefore I made a pair of Camaret Socks using my Luster Sock DK yarn along with some mohair/silk yarn that has been in my stash for a long time.

a pair of handknitted light pink socks on a wooden table next to a candle

One of my staple pieces during the colder months of the year are definitely shawls. Technically, I didn’t need another shawl. But when I watched the Knitting a Good Yarn Podcast on Youtube and Carmen and Jackie talked about the Fleur Shawl, I had to cast one on for myself. The Fleur Shawl is a free pattern by Espace Tricot. It is originally written to be a triangular shape, but I opted for a modified version to make a crescent shape. I followed Jackies description on her Ravelry project page for this. The yarn is my Merino Sport base in a beautiful red with a pinkish undertone. The colorway is called Winter Rose and I am absolutely happy with how it turned out.

close up of a red hand knitted shawl with bobbles and garter stitch on a wooden table, two burning candles in the background
a handknitted red shawl with bobbles and garter stitch on a wooden floor

Gift Knitting in 2023:

The most elaborate gift I knitted this year was a cardigan for my mom. I started it way back in spring and used the colorwork motif of my Schneeflöckchen hat and socks knitting patterns. It took me a while, not only because I had never purled in colorwork before but also because I made up the knitting pattern as I went.

close up of a woman wearing a handknitted cardigan with cream and blue colorwork. the woman is sitting on a window seat next to some pillows.

I also made two pair of socks as gifts, one for my husband and one for my mother-in-law. Both of these pairs were knitted in my new sock yarn base Merino Lino. Merino Lino is a blend of 85% German Merino wool and 15% linen. It is a fingering weight yarn and I am very happy with how well the socks are holding up. For my mother-in-law, I made another pair of Happiness All Around Socks. And for my husband I modified the Into the Woods knitting pattern by Melody Hofmann. Can you see the different shades of blue and grey in the picture? I am so happy with how this yarn turned out.

a handknitted light blue sock in the making. the sock is laying on a wooden table and there are some blurry flowers next to it.
upper part of a handknitted grey/blue sock, laying on a white surface.

Looking for even more knitting content? Check out my Knitting Podcast on Youtube.

a woman holding several handmade knitted items and a text saying knitting podcast episode 1

Creating a Handmade Wardrobe 2023 Recap: Sewing

All throughout 2023, I only sewed one piece for myself. It is a blue and white striped skirt that I didn’t even use a sewing pattern for. It is loosely based on the Gypsum Skirt pattern by Sew Liberated. The fabric is beautifully light mixture of linen and cotton (you can find it here). I have worn this skirt quite a bit over the summer months and am looking to make a similar version with a different fabric next year.

blue and white striped skirt on a clothes hanger, hanging on a wooden grey barn door

Gift Sewing in 2023:

Looking back at the year, I have to say that I sewed quite a lot of gifts which makes me very happy. In total, I sewed four aprons that I gifted to my daughters, one of my nieces and my father. The ruffled apron for my older daughter was the most elaborate version. I used a sewing pattern that I purchased from Etsy and it turned out exactly how I had hoped. My younger daughter wasn’t fond of the ruffles, so I omitted them for her version. And the aprons for my niece and father were self-drafted.

a hand sewn apron with a colorful fabric, laying on a wooden table
my father’s apron

Next up were two dresses for my nieces that I made in the summer using some gorgeous jersey fabric that has been sitting in my stash. The fabric was designed by Sarah Jane Wright for Michael Miller in 2016. It was part of the Magic collection. The sewing pattern that I used is available for free at Schnabelina, a German website.

two pink unicorn jersey dresses in the making, the dress pieces are laying on a wooden floor

Since my nieces loved their dresses so much, I decided to sew two skirts for them for Christmas. The fabric is also from the Magic collection from Michael Miller, but this time in a cotton. The pattern is another free sewing pattern that I have made countless of times. It is a beautiful ruffled skirt by Pattydoo (another German website).

two hand sewn skirts in aqua with unicorns on them, the skirts are laying in a wooden floor

Curating a Sustainable Wardrobe that is Not Handmade

But what if you don’t enjoy making clothes yourself but still want to own a curated, sustainable wardrobe?

  • My first recommendation is that you figure out what you already own that you truly enjoy wearing. Make sure that you take good care of these pieces, repair them if necessary and wear them until they are worn out. Over the course of 2023, I mended several pieces of clothing, both for myself and for my family. It usually takes a lot less time to repair something than you would think and significantly extends the life span of your clothes.
  • Another option is to look for secondhand options when you need/want to add another item to your wardrobe. For example, I bought a secondhand dress for my daughter’s communion this year. It was very inexpensive and looks brand new.
  • The third option if you want to focus on sustainability and natural materials when it comes to your clothing, is to research the companies you purchase from. Personally, I really like to support small businesses on Etsy that custom make clothes. You can pick the size, style and color yourself and they make it specifically for you. Of course it takes a couple of weeks to receive the piece but to me that’s totally understandable. This year, I bought the beautiful dress you can see in the picture below from a Lithuanian company called Old Linen Mills. The dress is very well made and I can highly recommend the company. Another Lithuanian company that operates very similar and that I have purchased from in the past is notPERFECTLINEN. I own two of these pants and can highly recommend the company as well.
upper part of a grey/beige linen dress with wooden buttons laying on a cream colored quilt

Would you like to read more about creating a handmade wardrobe?
Have a look at these blog posts and the Handmade Wardrobe category of my blog:

Creating a Handmade Wardrobe
How to Care for (Handmade) Garments
Why Caring for your Clothes is Important

Pin It For Later: Creating a Handmade Wardrobe: 2023 Recap

two pictures, one of a red handknitted shawl and one of a linen grey/beige dress. a text saying: creating a handmade wardrobe 2023 recap

Do you want to give knitting with sustainable, all natural sock yarn a try?

In this free guide you will learn everything you need to know about knitting sturdy socks with plastic-free, all natural sock yarn.

cover of a free guide on knitting with all natural sock yarn by rosemary & pines fiber arts, featuring several pictures of hand knitted socks, colorful all natural yarns and a woman holding a piece of knitting in her hands


I am a yarn dyeing artist, writer and educator.
I am also an avid knitter and love to create something with my hands every day.
Read more about me here:

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