Closing the Gaps Project

I've been inspired by Vintage Girl's Closing the Gaps project and Snug Bug's efforts to eliminate the orphans in her wardrobe. I have a lot of items that are rarely worn because they just don't match with very much. So I am Officially making an effort to rectify that by sewing some things that match.


I took pictures of items in my closet that either need replacing because they're looking like they've had one too many drinks, or pieces that need a top or bottom made to get them out of the closet and drinking more often.

These three shirts have had it:

The white one has yellowed under the arms and the brown tank and green shirt are too faded. So these all need to be replaced.

I want to make a brown tank top in a similar style to replace this one. I like the V-neck and I like that I have enough bra strap coverage with this style. I also like the empire waist line.

I do not necessarily need to replace the white and green shirts with similar fact, I prefer not to. The white shirt is hard to wear with anything except jeans because of its ruffled waist band and the green shirt is a little too-officey, which I don't need with my current job. But I do want to stick with solid (or near-solid) colors for the replacements.

And here are two skirts (sorry, nothing is ironed!) that need shirts to go with them. I just recently made the turquoise striped one and have trouble matching it with what's currently in my closet. The polka dot skirt has given me trouble from the very beginning. I think I simply need a basic white tank top to go with them, I just don't have one!

And here are two skirts and one pair of pants that also need tops to go with them:

The long colorful skirt I bought in Sevilla in 2007 and it has gotten much love...and it's not ready to be retired yet, but unfortunately the tops I normally wear with it are ready to be retired.

And the navy pin-striped pencil skirt (yes, that's navy) used to have shirts to go with it, but they are now too officey for my current life. The skirt is officey too, but could be made casual with the appropriate top, shoes, etc.

Last but not least we have my linen pants, which are a very light turquoise. It's hard to see, but this image gives a better idea of the color. I also need to find a pair of shoes to go with these pants, but that's another story. I'll have to buy those. Unlike The Makeshift Project, I won't be making my own shoes!

So that's the plan for sewing replacement items and matching items. Now here's for the second part of the plan: I lack an astonishing number of basics. My m.o. for shopping for many years was to do the sales, esp. Banana Republic, Anthropologie, the Gap, and Arden B. I garnered some, I think, undeniably cute items that way (i.e. my turquoise linen pants) but that method also gave less me choices. It is much more difficult to plan a coherent wardrobe that way.

At some level, basics say 'blah,' but I can't let myself give into that impulse! I need to force myself to view this as an incredible opportunity to be creative with basics. I'm relying on you to help keep me inspired!

Now that I'm committed to sewing my own clothes I have more control over what colors and materials I use. Sometimes this means biting the bullet and paying more for fabric than I'd like to, but I've found that you really do get what you pay for. And given that I wear my clothes for years (sometimes a decade, I kid you not...I left Seattle in 2002 and I'm still wearing some of the stuff I had back then) I think I can safely say that it's worth it to pay for quality.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand (!), I do have control over my wardrobe now and I can make it as funky and coherent (or not) that I desire! :) While I do like funky, right now I am in dire need of basics. Here's a not-boring list (positive affirmation!!) of what I estimate I need to make in the next, say, 2 years:

Basic Bottoms:

* white skirt
* black skirt
* red (merlot-ish?) skirt
* tan skirt
* black cropped pants and/or long shorts (I don't do short shorts)
* brown cropped pants and/or long shorts
* tan pants
* tan cropped pants and/or long shorts

Basic Tops:

* white tank top
* white short-sleeve (I have plenty of long-sleeve white shirts ;) )
* black tank top
* black short-sleeve
* black long-sleeve
* red tank top
* red short-sleeve
* red long-sleeve
* brown tank top
* brown short sleeve
* brown long sleeve
* tan tank top

I know, looks booooring. I'm going to jazz it up with tone-on-tone prints and shot cottons and by playing with texture and details. Any other ideas?

And it's a ridiculously long list, but I really, truly do not have any of this stuff...or if I have one or two items (like the brown tank top) they are no longer wearable because they're too icky or worn out, etc, etc.

This is my plan and that was a very long post, thanks for sticking with it! And please, please, feel free to give advice. :)

P.S. I was listening to Cajun music while writing this post and now I'm envisioning all kinds of twirly skirts to wear dancing!


  1. I love that you had the courage to go through your closet and assess what you needed. I refuse because I know, deep in my heart, that I am missing a ton of basics but I just enjoy sewing bright crazy things so much more! I think I may have to buckle down and take the challenge...

    I am also lacking in the bottoms department, so I would love to see some of the patterns/drafting you use to tackle those needs. Good luck! You're inspiring the rest of us :)

  2. Good on you for doing this! I've been thinking about doing that challenge as well - I've been finding lately that I'm seriously lacking some of the basics. I totally agree with you - kinda boring to think of making, but also kinda necessary and worth it!

    So what do you think you're going to tackle first from your list?

  3. @ Meg, I know how you feel! I'll let you know what patterns I try out for the pants/skirts...there's some Burda ones that I love but that I'm too chicken to try. :)

    @ Kat, I started a cream-colored tank top but I'm not sure it counts. I think I'll still need a white one to go with the skirts.

    If either of you have any pattern suggestions, I'll take them! :)

  4. That is a wonderful plan you have going there! I'm in admiration! I wish I was half so organised, you are inspiring me to turn out my wardrobe an asses too...
    And I don't thin your list is boring, far from it! Clothes we fear are "boring" sometimes tune out to be the ones with the most longevity and mix-n-match-ability in our wardrobes...

  5. Carolyn, I hope that turns out to be the case! :)


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