This Is The Day – the challenge to make a minimalist wardrobe

Catherine came over yesterday to get back into the groove of sewing. She’s pretty talented _and_ also smart enough to ask for help when she knows she’s going to struggle with something. Struggle + anxiety that things aren’t working = more anxiety + often walking away from projects before they are off the ground/ throwing things out a window/ tears. Asking for help is something that takes a long time to learn.

Anyway. We got to talking about why sewing her own clothes is going to become a big part of her year – wanting to wear things that fit curvy lady bodies and wanting quality clothes that meet personal style, quality and colour desires. There are probably more cogs in the mechanism, but my brain has moved on from them onto new ideas. Wear The Shift is going to become the brick and mortar of a Catherine-Friendly-Wardrobe. Fucking tops idea and project.

I’m good with the making of stuff, and over the years have had _fucking tons_ of patterns and fabric, etc etc to make my own gear. I didn’t though. It seems I have issues with doing things for myself, plus I’m self-conscious about my weight gain over the last 7 years and that I have enormous boobs. I feel like a ship’s figurehead. Over the years I’ve decluttered and denied myself down to just a few patterns and a few pieces of fabric (fabric, patterns, and half-finished projects have all gone to good homes, not the bin). It’s a peaceful feeling to be free of so many unfinished projects, a wide open road. I’m mentally at a place where I can finally move on from years of being stuck in the mud.

Catherine and I have made a pact. This year we are going to sew a simple wardrobe for ourselves. No excuses. We have the technology.

Enter The Duffel Bag Project and The Carpet Bag Project. Inspired by Supernatural (Sam and Dean live out of duffel bags, it would seem) and the desire from childhood to run away and join an oriental caravan/ escape in a TARDIS, we are going to build a daily uniform that expands our sense of self, eliminates wastefulness, and will fit into one bag (this bag could be metaphysical).


The Carpet Bag Project is a synthesis of ideas.

My skin crawls at over consumption, and I love the freedom provided by making for yourself/ swapping clothes. There is so much more that can be unpacked in this idea, but for me, it’s basically – we don’t need that much stuff in our lives to be happy, and the creation of so much stuff is intrinsically bad. Love what we have, and have what we love.

The zen proverb ‘the best way to control your animals is to put them in a large paddock’. We are over-run with choice these days – not just what to wear, but where to go and what to know. With so many choices, many people have forgotten how to stop and make a true choice for themselves. I need the feelings of boundaries so that I can fully explore the possibilities within and make choices right for me. Not constriction, but the knowledge that each day is only a day, there are only so many hours in a year.  I’m not going to faff around with anything that isn’t meaningful for me.

I’ve a fascination with both material culture studies and the Slow Movement, and how we relate to the objects we use, and more importantly, create.

I really want to steal away in a TARDIS, and need to be able to scoop up my life in one go, throw it in a bag and _run_. I love my non-husband and children, but I can always return to the same point in time.

The idea of ‘dress for the job [read: life] you want’ is fundamental – to show who I am inside by how I dress and the honesty of wearing my heart on my sleeve.


The Uniform Project, Project 333 and 6 Items or Less have covered creating minimalist wardrobes and are really interesting reading. I’m going to do things a bit differently, though.

I’m not doing The Uniform Project, as it’s currently on hiatus, and I need to concentrate on building good stuff in my life before I can financially give to others. What I can do, though, freely encourage and support friends.

I’m not doing Project 333, for though it is a good foundation, I want to explore the freedom I have in through making my own clothes, shoes and accessories. With this in mind, 33 items per season is a bit more than I can handle (albeit items can transition from one season to another). I will be keeping track of Project 333 for encouragement.

I’m not doing 6 Items Or Less because I own 6 items or less, and it fucking sucks. I haven’t taken the time or resources to build more scope for myself, and this is something I need to do. That being said, it’s an awesome idea, and I’m looking forward to their 6 Items Or Less experiment site being up and running.


I am a post-punk Timelord (my ultimate ‘job’) with a deep love for orientalism and the occult. I do not wear ‘nice’ clothes or a lot of colour. I am also a visual person, and don’t work well from lists of 3 jeans, 3 sweaters, 2 shirts… that shit is boring. I need engagement and visual inspiration.

What I _am_ doing to support Project Carpet Bag –

I’ve created a Pinterest board to help me organize my ideas. I’d sort of started the idea with another board of mine, but I have patterns etc on the new board.

Catherine and I will help each other make body forms (I’ve recently some lost weight so need to make a new one) – this will help us drape to make our own patterns and check the fit of muslins/ pattern blocks we prepare.

Over the next month, I’ll choose my styles and fabrics (online fabric shopping for the win) and make a time sensitive plan. I’m busy and easily distracted, and if I fail to plan I plan to fail. You know it’s true.

I’ll touch base with supportive friends to help me keep going. I’m going to do this.


Funny thing, really. Whenever things were changing in my past, and I mean _big_ changes, I always found myself sitting down, staring at the sky and singing ‘This is the day’ by The The. I was doing some research (aka ‘Googling’) this morning about “minimalist wardrobe challenges”, and the background song for The Uniform Project’s film was this song. I also dreamt last night that I went back in time to set my life on a different course. So are big changes coming my way? I think so.

2013_03_This Is The Day


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