My Favorite October Outfit: Slow Fashion Style

In the grand scheme of things, one outfit does not equal slow fashion. But here is my favorite outfit I’m wearing this October. There were 12 items in it.

SIDENOTE: Twelve items in an outfit is kind of appalling to think about, but when the weather gets chilly, we just have to wear more. I actually had 13 items, because I had some knit mittens in my purse. This is why we love jumpers and dresses so much, it’s pretty much like wearing a onesie. Why aren’t footie pajamas more popular for public wear?

It’s not quite completely handmade or mended by it’s pretty darn close! Also, I’ll mention throughout some of the lessons I learned while making these items. Here’s the breakdown from head to toe:


Knit Cabled-Hat: I actually made this yarn from one of my sheep (Harriet) and one of my alpacas (Captain). There is a button on it from my button jar. I knit it without a pattern. It has some flaws, like many of my hats, I wish it were longer. But it’s cozy. And it’s from my own flock, so I wear it. Next time, I will try a real pattern before winging it with handspun yarn….maybe.

Captain (left) and Ringo (right) donated fiber to 3 items in this outfit (hat, scarf, and socks). And they’re adorable.So they get a picture on this post.

Total Cost: Free


Knit Scarf with Lace Trim: This is another handspun item. The fiber is 100% alpaca from Ringo. I knit this for my daughters, but they hate wearing winter clothes so I commandeered it for myself. The lace I bought at Goodwill, I have several yards left.
Total Cost: <$3

Knit Sweater: This is the first successful sweater I ever knit. The yarn is from Cascade Yarns. I learned a lesson from this project, always buy enough yarn right away! My local yarn store discontinued their sale of the color halfway through my progress and I had to scramble to find more online to finish it. I was just a few yards shy in the end, so I had to sew the pieces together with a non-matching green yarn. The basic shape of the pattern came from a Knitting Encyclopedia I bought in college at the local antique store. I chose the pattern style because it didn’t require much in the way of armhole shaping.
Total Cost:  $48

Tank top: the tank top I’m wearing under the sweater used to be a baby-wrap for my babies.

Sewn with a free pattern from upcycled fabric, this tank top taught me about pre-washing and bias tape making.

Since my babies are significantly less baby-ish and don’t care to be harnessed to me 12 hours a day, I am slowly using the floral fabric for my own purposes. The bias tape is homemade from thrift store fabric. The pattern is a free pattern from Melly Sews.

Making this tank top, I learned that one must pre-wash fabric! Even though I had reused from another purpose, the tank top was originally long and looked splendid, after one wash on cold, it got short and annoying. Another lesson I learned from this project was how to make and use bias tape. I had messed up the topstitching on the front neckline and covered it with semi-decorative stitching. It’s certainly not going to win any beauty contests, but it’s still a decent workhorse tank top for a base layer.
Total Cost: Free

Bra: This is one of 2 ready-to-wear items in this outfit that hasn’t been mended. Not much to say about it. You won’t see a pic of me in a bra here. But it’s not much to look at. I know I’ve mentioned I’m going to buy a bra kit. Sooooooon.
Total Cost: $24

Lederhosen Shorts: I have a whole post devoted to these shorts. So you can read about them here. I’m in love with the glitter buttons that I made. And they held up in the washing machine!
Total Cost: <$3

Belt: Ok. I don’t know how much the belt cost. My mom gave it to me as a birthday present because I told her how much I liked the song, Redneck Girl by the Bellamy Brothers. So now, I’ve got my name on the back of my belt. This is a bit of a cheat, but technically the belt was free to me….and I’ve worn it pretty consistently for 8 or 9 years.
Total Cost: Free (gift)

Underduds: I sewed the underduds using recycled elastic and an old tee shirt my husband didn’t want anymore. The pattern is free from So Zo. It took me a couple of tries to make successful underwear, mostly because I didn’t realize my printer didn’t print the pattern to scale. The lesson I learned making underwear is to always check the size  test square in PDF patterns, if the test square isn’t there, measure the actual pattern to your own dimensions.
Total Cost: Free

My mending job on my knee there looks a bit like a suture done by Dr. Frankenstein. But, no holes. I’ll count it as a win. It was an adventure learning you can darn machine-made knits with sewing thread.

SmartWool Leggings: I bought these because someone gave me a gift certificate and they were the most practical thing in the store….and they’re purple. I have a deep weakness for purple. I’ve had them for about seven years and they are they have made me a true believer in SmartWool. It is super soft and comfy. Be warned, these are 100% wool, and without the elastic that most leggings have, they don’t have the memory you might be used to. They have become a bit baggy around the knees and butt. One knee wore out last year, and I mended it visibly with purple threat using a darning technique I learned for fixing heels on socks. (Looking at their website, these are normally $95! Holy moly! I must have found a sale when I bought them several years ago.)
Total Cost: Free (gift)

Alpaca Socks: The socks are made from handspun yarn from Captain plied with a white nylon thread. (I see a lot of questions on what fibers to use for spinning sock  yarn, I have had really good luck with alpaca plied with thread, the strength and softness are fabulous.)

I drafted the pattern myself doing a full heel gusset and reinforced the bottom of the toes and heels before wearing them by weaving through the stitches. Knitty has a great tutorial for this reinforcement, here.

Miracle of miracles, they haven’t needed any darning. That is good news, because I HATE KNITTING SOCKS! Those tiny needles! All those stitches! And then you have to make two of them! It’s almost more than I can bear. If I actually finish sock number one before starting sock number two, I’m more inclined to cut off a foot and call it done. This is called second sock syndrome. I believe it can only be medicated with very cold weather and a good wool yarn.

Third-hand boots and handspun alpaca knit socks. You can see these socks are starting to felt on the bottom because I wear them so much.

These socks have taught me a lesson: get some proper sock blockers! Even though I’m careful to only wash them in cold water and to stretch them after washes over mason jars, they are shrinking on me. You can make sock blockers (I found a video tutorial here), but I’m tempted to buy some. There’s these adorable ones on Etsy that are cute enough for me to slog through a few more pairs of hand knit socks.
Total Cost: Free

Boots: My sister-in-law had these boots in her giveaway pile and she gave them to me instead of bringing them to Goodwill. I’m sure someone else gave them to her, so now they are probably considered third-hand. Since I’ve had them, the sole has detached from the body of the shoe. I glued it back on with Gorilla glue which worked pretty well. Now the cheap fake leather is peeling off with a particularly ugly form of brown polyester underneath. (This is totally a normal fashion blog right?) I have considered painting them, but I think it might be time to retire these boots to my shoe garden if they get much worse.
Total Cost: Free

Purse: This is a fast fashion purse. I bought it at an Outlet Mall while I was in college. I can’t remember the price but, knowing me, it was probably around $20. I have just started using a purse again (having carried a diaper bag instead for the last 5 years) and this one is in rotation. It has some large stains on the back and it has a few tears. I fixed up the outer tears by hand with a ladder stitch.
Total Cost: $20


Does it meet my rules for clothes:

  1. Ethical: The bra, belt, leggings, and purse were new when I received them and I can’t assume they were made with human rights in mind. However, the wool leggings and the leather belt are made from natural materials. Also, I’ve owned and used each of these extensively for more than 5 years, so I would say they are at least being used to their full potential. The other 7 items were made by me with pretty sustainably sourced materials or purchased second hand.  I give the whole outfit a passing grade on this rule.
  2. Affordable: Seven of these items were free to me. That is over half of what I was wearing. Everything that cost money is over five years old. Still, the total cost over was just shy of $100! That surprised me. But it was a good reminder of why I started making my own yarn.  Have you ever added up the cost of everything you were wearing? It adds up fast! Overall, I give the outfit a passing grade for affordability. Especially considering the wear I’m getting out of each item.
  3. Comfortable: Check. However, I did overindulge in Indian Food right after this picture was taken and I had to unbuckle my belt on the drive home.
  4. Beautiful: Check. I let someone take pictures of me and I put them on the internet without being embarrassed. I like this outfit. I love the colors and the shape and although I’m sure I didn’t turn any man’s head, I really felt like myself in it.

So there it is. My favorite fall outfit. As slow fashiony as I can slowly fashion. Featuring 3 sewn items, 4 knit items (3 of which were handspun), 3 mended items, and 2 plain old bought-at-the-store items with no mending.

My dog cannot stand when we take photos without him.

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