Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Closing the Gaps" sewing Project


A full closet, but still nothing to wear. Sound familiar?  Since cleaning out my closet, the outfits I have for the summer and me-made-June clothes,  are limited.  I realized I had only done half of the job of cleaning out my closet.  Now it was time to really look through my wardrobe and find the gaps. Gaps are those little annoying reminders that occur when you get dressed. It's when you realize that you don't have a blouse to go with that really great skirt. I knew it was time to get practical about sewing some workable pieces to fill all those nagging gaps! Hence, this project was born. I am calling it "Closing the Gaps". The idea is to become very "intentional" about identify the singles in my closet, then looking for coordinating fabrics, starting with my stash and finally sewing matching tops and bottoms.  The conclusion should be a closet with matching pieces and fewer "gaps" in one's wardrobe. If you want to follow a long or challenge yourself to a better coordinating wardrobe, please join me in this project. Here's a button for the project, grab it, if you like this idea and put it on your blog, then make a link in the comments to any completed projects done for this challenge. To participate, you can choose between two challenges, the first is a short challenge, simply make ONE garment to match anything in your closet that needs a mate, this may be something you have had for years or bought/made last week. If you want to take this challenge to the "second phase",  start by cleaning out your closet. Be prepared to divide, organize, and write down your sewing goals.  The following is what I did to start  the second phase.

1. After cleaning out my closet, I looked through the clothing I had left and found all the "singles". They were pulled out. Remember singles are items that you love, but they don't have a matching top or bottom. 

These three skirts are without tops.

These are thrifted shirts that I need basic skirts for.

2. Then, I compared my "singles" to my stash for any coordinating fabrics. I want to use as much of my stash as possible. Fortunately,  a few of my pieces coordinated with the fabrics in my stash, but if I didn't find a match, I hung these items out of my way into a "go shopping" for fabric pile.

I have to go shopping for these item

3. Next, I focused on the garments that DID match fabrics in my stash.  I then searched for a pattern, notions and checked the yardage for the project.  These items were folded together and put into my "to sew" pile/basket.

Hooray I am using up my stash!!!

This thrifted skirt has been in my closet for years without a good options for a top!
To sew pile!

4. Finally, I focused on the singles (go shopping pile) with no matches from my stash.  I found a pattern for each, gathered them up and took my "go shopping" pile to the fabric store. This is what I put together after my shopping trip.

I got most of what I needed during the shopping trip, I still need some really great red fabric!

5.  Lastly, after seeing an overview of my "gaps", I prioritize! Asking what do I need to sew first?  I wrote it all down on the clipboard and posted it in my sewing room. 

My closet should be "singles" free, hooray no more lonely pieces! The gap is closing up! I hope that you will take either version of the Closing the Gaps Project challenge. This exercise has brought such clarity with the decisions about my wardrobe. If you are not a seamstress you may still find this exercise of value as you look for your pieces at a clothing store.  Good luck!   

Have a wonderful vintage day.  



  1. I need to do this, but I have to get through my 'to sew' pile first! :)
    Ashley x

  2. Gina, this is a brilliant idea! Sign me up! :) I'm off to poke through my closet and make up my own piles.

  3. Gina, what a great really great idea that I'm missing! this morning I realised that I need a simple little black dress, that's my huge gap (yea I know). Many thanks for inspiration! And good luck! keep reading you

  4. I really need to do this - I have so many singles in my wardrobe! Your step-by-step approach is just what I need to kick-start me into action!

  5. I should do this - waiting for the fall-palette to start. I need new clothes and nothing I find are to my liking. I always end up in a pair of jeans and a cotton-long-sleeve. The Muumy-look....I love you 'fill that gap challenge'.

  6. Gina, this is quite an undertaking and a brilliant one too! I'm in serious need of a closet cleanse...hopefully I'll get around to it sometime soon, but in the meantime I'll be following your progress closely!

  7. I need too do this! I have lots of cute printed skirts and no basic tops to wear with them! I've been kind of going through my closet lately but I need to get serious! I just pulled a bunch of stuff that needs to have fitting issues resolved too. Guess I know what I'm going to be sewing next week!

  8. You must have read my mind because I started doing this on Friday afternoon! *lol* I made a list of everything I have and everything I'm looking for, took note of what fabrics I have laying around and went thrift shopping today to try to close the gaps. I already bought 3 new skirts and a cardigan to help fill some of the gaps and I've re-sized about 10 vintage patterns so I can start sewing some separates. It will probably takes ages to complete all of my tasks and fill the gaps but it's going to be SO awesome when I'm done! I'll grab your button! Thanks so much for the motivation! :)

  9. Count me in! I've been meaning to go through my closet and fill the 'gaps' - such a great idea! I'm grabbing your button too ; )

  10. I am so glad this post has been helpful. I know it's a lot of work, but it's harder I find having things in my closet that I can't use. Shoes are the worse part for me, a great outfit with nothing for my feet.
    Brittany good for you!

    Sherry, I hope you sew for your singles. Your work is beautiful always!

    Stephanie Lynn- I have the same problem as you, hope you get it resolved.

    Thanks Sarah- can't wait to see what gaps you fill!

    Marie- thanks for following a long,Closet cleaning takes some work for sure.

    DamaDoma- I understand the black dress thing, mine is missing too, I hope you get it filled soon!! Good luck!

    Brittany- So wonderful, I was wondering if I was the only girl who has closet issues. So glad you are working through them too. Wow, that I great number of patterns lucky you!

    DaneMum- good luck in the fall. I'll be doing this again in the fall time for the winter clothes gaps.

    Ashley- I hear ya, always to lots in the to sew piles! Good luck

    Hooray Eva Girl! Fill those gaps girl! Can't wait to see what you make!

  11. Gina, what a wonderful idea!

    I too will be grabbing your button and begin to get inspired to sew coordinated garments.

    I have been focusing on dresses...but lately, I want more blouses for my summer skirts.

    Thank you for this... :-)

    Mrs. M.

  12. Hooray Mrs. M- can't wait to see what you make!! I just made a shirt today, it feels good! Blessings to you!

  13. You are so organized in your sewing! I need to follow your example as I have so many skirts in particular that don't have any top to match. It would make getting dressed so much easier if I knew every piece I pulled out of the closet had an item to match. :]

  14. Ooooh, this looks like a great idea Gina! I may hav to take this up in a couple of weeks...:)

  15. Gina, what a fabulous idea! I'm going to post the button (if I can figure out how...) and challenge myself to do this this summer when I'm off work. I have quite a few 'gaps' in my closet.

  16. It's up on my blog. I did the closet purge and now I need to fill in my gaps!

  17. This is a fantastic idea. I cleaned out my closet recently and have blogged about what I need to sew to fill those gaps. Thanks for the inspiration.

  18. Gina, what a great idea! I'm totally joining you on this one. I will be checking my closet, and blogging about this very soon! Reana Louise x

  19. Great idea! I don't know if I'm up for participating quite yet, but will likely have to do a similar inventory very soon. Right now, I am trying to figure out what to do with all my other projects first. ;)

  20. This is a good idea! I an attracted to prints and lack solids. In the past I would just buy a lot of t shirts with scoop necks in solids if I would find a t that fit well. Sometimes just a simple Old Navy type t looks great with a vintage style skirt to keep it from getting too costumey. I love the blouses you make but I seem to be allergic to sewing blouses with buttonholes! I read about me made June. I might try this project! I have to go through my things. Thanks!

  21. Gina,

    This is off topic, but can you send me your email address? I'd like to chat with you via email sometime. :)

    -L. Rose

  22. Hey Lady Rose I would love to chat, my email is It's also on my profile if you click on my picture.

  23. Gina - what an organised, clever project. I always admire how methodical you are both in your sewing, and in your attitude to your wardrobe wants and where to go next. I could do with some of your clear thinking, and your posts at least give me a bit of a clue where to start! :)

  24. Wow! That's a great idea! I'll be along with you soon, I will organize and come back .....

  25. Hi Gina,
    I was on Sarah's blog and saw this.. It sounds wonderful.. When will it start and how long do you have to complete.. thankyou for sharing such a wonderful idea.. Judy

  26. Hi Judy, just saw your question. It's starting right now! As I wrote this post, I was intentional about not giving times because to me this is a way of living with one's wardrobe. Although for blog purposes we will go until September 15th, I will post this date soon, thanks for the reminder! You can contribute your creations starting today and post any outfits you have created and finished. I am finding such freedom with having a plan for my singles. Good luck!

  27. I think this is a great idea - with the changing seasons I am now looking to winter items and putting summery skirts and dresses away until next year. Looking forward to seeing the results of this challenge and thanks for the cute button.

  28. This is such an amazing idea, I've been doing something similar recently, trying to really plan my sewing, but I love your organisation! I'm definitely going to join you, I have several buts and pieces in my wardrobe crying out to be worn but I hve nothing to wear them with. Thanks for being so inspiring :)