Sewing Dilemma: When to Let Go of Me-Made Clothes?

I only started sewing my own clothing in earnest about 1-2 years ago. All of the first items I made were relatively simple – boxy shirts in various fabrics, wide-legged pants with elastic waists, and so on. I was so proud of every single piece that I made! I wore them all immediately and answered any and all questions about how I made them. My friends, family, and coworkers were always so impressed with my sewing skills, and I enjoyed showing off new makes.

However, after the initial excitement over a new me-made item of clothing wore off, I realized that a lot of the clothing I’ve made doesn’t actually fit into my current vision of my personal style. Some of the items are made with prints that I just don’t like any more, or I made several pieces of clothing in a silhouette that actually doesn’t work well for me, or I chose a color that looked nice by itself, but doesn’t work with the rest of my wardrobe. A couple times I’ve worked really hard on sewing a particular item, only to finish it and realize “Hmm, this doesn’t actually look that great on me.”

Erin wearing a blue top with multi-colored embroidery
I made this shirt in May and LOVED it at the time, but I’ve only actually worn it about 1-2 times since then. What do I do with this shirt? Image from my Instagram.

Despite knowing that these me-made items don’t work that well in my wardrobe, I have yet to actually part with them. Most of the items that I’ve made but don’t wear are sitting in my sewing room, folded up haphazardly and deposited into a corner. I just don’t know what to do with them, and I’m also a little hesitant to give them away because I feel like the time I put into making them is for nothing.

But I know that personal style evolves, and as my own style changes, the things that I’ve made in the past just don’t work with my vision of the future. I have no problem at all getting rid of RTW (ready to wear) clothing — in fact, I do a regular closet cleanse of RTW items — I’m definitely not one to hang on to a piece of clothing that I don’t wear. But when it comes to getting rid of me-made items, it feels a little more personal…like giving away a piece of myself.

We all put so much time and effort into the pieces of clothing that we create, so how do we know when it’s time to part with me-made pieces? How do you sort through your me-made items and let them go? Are you hesitant, like me, to let go of items? Or are you more cut-throat with your me-made wardrobe? And when you finally decide to let go of items, where do they go? Do you take them to the thrift store, or gift them to family and friends?

I would love to hear about everyone’s process of letting go of me-made clothing!

Erin can be found posting about sewing, knitting, gardening, hiking, and dachshunds on Instagram @shortern.