The Delightful Dozen Project

It all started so simply.  There I was, innocently explaining to Alexie RicRac that I’d been working on my dress for more than month, when she replied with a comment that seemed quite innocent at the time:

If I could construct a dress a month, I’d be very happy!

A harmless, cheerful collection of words, yes?

But the words became stuck in my head and refused to move.  They hung around and made themselves at home, until at last they settled into a slightly different arrangement: If I could construct a dress a month, I’d have twelve new dresses by Christmas!  And once I realised that, there was no turning back.

It almost seemed as though I had little choice in the matter, as the blogging world appeared to be in complete agreement with my devious voice.  I kept coming across blog after blog where the writer was embarking upon a dress-a-month project for 2015.  It was as though fate had decided subtlety was not for me and GREAT BIG CLUES were clearly the way to go.

So I gave in and I hereby present to you the Delightful Dozen Project.

It involves this glorious mess of patterns:

Pile O Patterns

Basically, the Delightful Dozen Project involves making one garment per month from the pool of patterns above.   Initially, I planned to make twelve dresses, but then I thought it might be handy to add different garments to my wardrobe.  This was a difficult concept to grasp, given that I wear dresses ninety-nine percent of the time.

There’s just one problem: my wardrobe.  It’s not exactly empty.  In fact, every time I open it, I marvel at the fact that the rail is managing to stay up.  Can it really cope with a steady influx of new clothes?  The odds are against it… so what to do?

The answer is simple: I’ll replace them!  Ever since I’ve started making my own dresses, I’ve discovered the delight of wearing garments where the waistline is at my waist, and not two inches above it (which is my normal experiece with store-bought dresses).  The down side of this wonderful development is that wearing my old dresses drives me crazy, with their stupid waists in the wrong place.

So the second step of the Delightful Dozen Project is to choose an old garment (or two… or possibly three) to replace with each newly-made one.  Not only will I avoid stuffing my wardrobe to some sort of implosion point, I’ll be ridding myself of dresses that don’t fit properly or aren’t really flattering.

That is the Delightful Dozen Project in its simple entirity.  If things go to plan, I should have twelve new garments hanging in my wardrobe by the end of the year.  Wish me luck!

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0 comment

jenelleshines 5th February 2015 - 4:27 pm

Great idea! The retro Butterick looks gorgeous. I’m aiming to sew something new each month also. Good luck! xx

Katie Writes Stuff 6th February 2015 - 2:22 pm

Thanks! I have quite a few retro Buttericks – even when I buy new, I like to buy old.

Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! 5th February 2015 - 5:06 pm

Good idea! I wish you luck! Although I cannot say that I wear 95% dresses, I am replacing my old pants with their tight waist bands slowly with new pants that fit me better (hopefully!)

Katie Writes Stuff 6th February 2015 - 2:26 pm

Isn’t it lovely to make something that fits you, rather than trying to fit ourselves into clothes with arbitrary sizes? It might take a bit more effort than going to a shop and trying things on, but it’s so worth it in the end. I hope you’re having fun with it.

Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! 6th February 2015 - 2:29 pm

I am, thanks!

Bonita Vear (@bjvear) 5th February 2015 - 7:12 pm

Whoo hoo! That looks like one amazing stash of patterns to sew up! Plus, I totally love how you’re planning to replace the dresses that don’t fit in your wardrobe with ones that do. That sounds like a stella idea to me. 🙂

bonita of Lavender & Twill

Katie Writes Stuff 6th February 2015 - 2:36 pm

Thanks! It was hard to narrow the selection down to just that pile but I felt I needed a little limitation or I’d spend most of each month trying to decide which pattern to use.

Honestly, I’m sick of the amount of clothes I have in my wardrobe, many of which I don’t even wear, so this seemed like the best way to address that issue.

Tess 6th February 2015 - 7:13 am

Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Versace. Katie Gatward. Yep, it has a nice ring to it as fashion designer.
“Is that a Katie Gatward dress you’re wearing?”
“Oh my God, it must have cost a fortune!”

In a couple of years your dresses will be displayed on the great catwalks in Milan, Paris, London and New York,
Just make sure I get a good seat in the front row. 😉 And I want a backstage pass so I can indulge myself with French champagne and canapes….

That’s quite a challenge you’re in for but you’ll make it. Just go for it, sweetie! 😀

Katie Writes Stuff 6th February 2015 - 2:43 pm

Well, maybe if I become crazy and decide to design dresses as well as simply making them. Which is not out of the realms of possibility, given that I declared just a year ago that sewing things wasn’t my thing. Nope. Not at all.

I’m hoping it will be a fun challenge, but it will definitely not be a walk in the park. Then again, it wouldn’t be as rewarding if it was easy. 😀

Tess 6th February 2015 - 8:55 pm

It will certainly not be a walk in the park, but it will be sooooooooooooooo worth it when you pass the finish line. Besides, your faithful followers will give our best support and encouragement along the way. For someone with a complete lack of sewing skills like yours truly, this will be quite fun. 😀

Katie Writes Stuff 8th February 2015 - 11:19 am

Absolutely! The responses to the project have been so lovely and encouraging – I’m full of inspiration already!

alexiericrac 6th February 2015 - 7:19 am

Oh Katie, you are marvellous! I’m glad my words have inspired you so. I’m looking forward to seeing your creations indeed!

Those patterns, my word that is a collection!

And, there is nothing worse than an ill-fitting garment. But you’re not going to have that problem any more, hooray!

Katie Writes Stuff 6th February 2015 - 2:39 pm

It’s a readily-growing collection of patterns! I always find so many treasures in op shops and I never want to leave them behind, especially the super old ones.

I really do have to thank you for making that comment – it seemed to be exactly the thing I needed to hear!

Zoe 7th February 2015 - 5:28 am

Good luck – and a good project! I understand your dress enthusiasm. I’m really petite, and generally dresses off the rack aren’t a possibility for me. Once I started sewing seriously, I could have all the dresses I wanted. My wardrobe is pretty much bursting at the seams. I don’t feel terribly bad about it. Need to make some t-shirts though. 🙂

Katie Writes Stuff 8th February 2015 - 11:23 am

It’s rather liberating, isn’t it? While it might take a little longer to sew something yourself, in the long run it makes more sense because you have a dress that’s tailor-made for you and is a pleasure to wear. Plus, I love knowing I’m wearing something unique (this may be a little vain, but I don’t care!).

Have fun with the t-shirts, when you get to them. I’m following your blog, so I’ll be reading along to see if you end up giving t-shirts a vintage twist… which I will then use as inspiration for my own, sadly deficient casual wardrobe. 😀

The Mystery Parcel in the Mail | Katie Writes Stuff 9th February 2015 - 6:15 pm

[…] thanks to my benefactor from Sew Celia!  It has arrived just in time to become part of my Delightful Dozen Project, so you can expect to see the material turning up in very different formats as the year […]

Dianne 10th February 2015 - 10:36 pm

Ooh I do like the idea of “The Delightful Dozen”- sounds almost do-able! I too can’t resist checking out second hand sewing pattern at the op shop, in fact I may have bought a couple yesterday! Mind you there have been the occasional duds with pieces missing, or with the pattern having been cut out in the smallest size, but mostly they are still brand new and uncut! I have been gradually replacing my wardrobe with home sewn clothes, i think there are only 1 or 2 ( op shop ) bought skirts left, and a few less t shirts and summer tops. But i have yet to tackle sewing a dress! Best of luck with your quest, i will be watching for updates ( and maybe playing along too, 1 new item a month, i should be able to manage that….)

Katie Writes Stuff 12th February 2015 - 8:42 am

That was my initial thought: a garment a month is definitely an achievable target! We’ll see what I’m saying come the 31st of December, however (although I’m secretly hoping I’ll be able to make a couple of extra garments along the way).

Op shop patterns are the best! I love walking into an op shop and finding baskets stuffed full of potential treasures, and I particularly enjoy finding patterns with notes on them from the person who originally used them to make something. But yes, you do encounter the occasional tragedy of discovering there’s a vital piece missing.

It would be wonderful to know someone else is playing along as well!

Style Wilderness 11th February 2015 - 7:44 pm

Exactly the same problem. I love sewing (and opshopping!!) but I have so many clothes already… although a lot of them are not quite right for one reason or another. MUST GET RID OF SOME. Aggh.

Katie Writes Stuff 12th February 2015 - 8:38 am

They contain such hope, though! One day, that dress will magically suit me… One day, that skirt will go with something – anything – in my wardrobe… I’m hoping it will be a good experience!

ameliabeare 1st March 2015 - 10:08 am

I love this idea! When I start volunteering at my op shop again, I will go through our bin full of clothes patterns and send you pictures – any you like will be yours! With the caveat of keeping me updating on progress with any of these patterns. 🙂

Katie Writes Stuff 2nd March 2015 - 6:09 pm

That’s an amazing offer – thank-you so much! I’d be delighted to take part in this deal. 😀


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