The 2017 Make Your Own Clothes Challenge

The 2017 Make Your Own Clothes Challenge
Carly Jacobs

try not to talk about crocheting too much here at Smaggle, because it’s not really what Smaggle is about. That’s why I started Crochet Coach. So I could go full crochet geek without alienating people who have been reading Smaggle since before I picked up a hook. I mean obviously if all of you started crocheting that would delight the shit out of me but I get that it would be kind of jarring for me to go pull cro-pro on all my Smaggle readers and have people being like ‘WTF’?

BUT I’ve started a wee little challenge that I’m really enjoying and thought my Smaggle crew would be interested in it. I’ve decided to make one wearable crochet item per month this year, (hopefully) instead of buying clothes. I’m not being too fussy about it, like if I see something I love I’ll buy it, but my main goal is to have 12 beautiful, timeless crocheted pieces in my wardrobe by the end of the year. Most of the crocheting I do is for Crochet Coach so I have to figure out patterns and stitch counts but this stuff will just be for me.

So here’s the first piece I made. I didn’t follow a specific pattern, I used the top of a Mermaid Cat design and then just crocheted the bottom to fit my figure.  It 100% cotton so it’s super comfortable and it’s a throw back to my early 20s style where I wore lace pretty much every day. I pretty much only wore pink and lace when I was 21 – isn’t that weird?

make your own clothes



Crochet dress handmade by me

Chloe and Sabine sandals 

Why am I doing this?

1. I’m freaking out about sustainability

Fast fashion is making me really uncomfortable. I’m not trying to shame anyone (because it’s SUCH a huge issue) and I do still buy clothing at (the more ethical) commercial stores but I love knowing that no one died to make my clothes and that they’re constructed well enough to not end up in landfill after a year of use – in fact they can be unravelled and recycled at the end of their life If I really want to be conscious about it. It’s a really great feeling. I’m also trying my hardest to source ethical cotton and use locally produced yarn from places like Bendigo Woollen Mills. I’m dipping my toe in the slow lifestyle and I’m loving it.

make your own clothes

2. It makes my crocheting hobby extremely productive

I hate wasting anything. Time, resources, materials. I like everything to be useful. Making clothing through my chosen method of relaxation makes me really happy. I’ve tried to be the type of person who can just do things for the sake of doing things but it’s just not my bag. Everything must have a purpose in my world and crocheting my wardrobe adds that necessary level of productivity I need to devote time to a project.

3. It’s awesome

I’ve tried sewing SO MANY TIMES and sewing machines just hate me. They hate me. I’ve never understood patterns very well and I think my centre of gravity is off because my straight lines are never, ever straight. I’ve been wanting to make my own clothes FOREVER and I’m so stoked I’ve finally found my craft. And I don’t have to sit at a desk (like sewing) and it’s not loud (like sewing). I can just quietly sit on the couch crocheting for a few nights and end up with a dress at the end of it. It’s so ace.

This outfit was worn for a night out for a friend’s birthday. We had Mexican for dinner and then went out for karaokee. Far out it was fun. We sang and danced until we couldn’t speak anymore. I haven’t done that in ages and it was bloody good fun. If you have a karaoke joint in your city, I highly recommend you get your butt out there for a girls night out. So cathartic.

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Have you ever wanted to make your own clothes? Do you sew? Or knit? Do you think you could make one clothing item a month for a year?


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P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.
P.P.S I’ve also got a beginner bootcamp coming up for anyone who wants to learn to crochet. If you fancy yourself as one of those totally calm and serene yarn crafters you should float on over and join my crochet mail list.


  1. Rebekah Jaunty 11 months ago

    You saucy wench! Fabulous. Who could resist a hobby that ends in cool clothes?

    I’m moving toward a slower lifestyle, too, and have a big crush on Bea Johnson’s small, versatile wardrobe. My wardrobe goal for 2017 is to buy a maximum of 25 wearable things— so far I’ve bought one pair of shoes and returned them. This is big progress for me, compared with the last three years…

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 11 months ago

      Oh I’ll look her up! I love minimalist wardrobes – I’m halfway to having the perfect one myself! It’s hard to get into the mindset of not shopping but it really does become a habit – good luck!

  2. Steph 11 months ago

    I really really love this on you. I think its one of the mpst flattering outfits ive seen u post and your hair looks super cool with it. I wish i could do this but I’m really terrible at sewing too crochet doesn’t appeal to me

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 11 months ago

      Thank you so much! It didn’t appeal much to me either but knitting didn’t work for me and then I tried crochet and now I’m in love with it!

  3. Jules L 11 months ago

    I love your dress. I wish you had a pattern you could share with us over on Crochet Coach. It’s absolutely beautiful.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 11 months ago

      I’m in the process of figuring out how to scale dress designs for different sizes – I’m wanting to include plus sizes too. It’s really difficult – I could release this pattern but the changes of success for people actually making it themselves and making it fit would be really low. I don’t want to give out patterns that aren’t going to work for the Crochettes! I’m on it though – I’m hoping to do something later in the year.

  4. Eliza @ money meet mind 11 months ago

    Love the dress! And you made it yourself for a whole bunch of reasons that are dear to my heart 🙂 I’m totally with you on not being able to sew in straight lines. I really like knitting the only problem is that my projects are always too ambitious / take too long so I end up swearing off EVER starting a new item. But now I want to again.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 11 months ago

      I just find that if I stay really calm, I can work my way through it. I made a lacy shawl last year that took ten years off my life but I finished it! I was so pleased!

  5. That is bloody beautiful and amazing! I want to make one!!!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 11 months ago

      I’m working on a beginner pattern for release later in the year!

  6. Lindsay 11 months ago

    This is GORGEOUS. And it’s absolute perfection on you. So awesome that you made it!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 11 months ago

      Thank you! I want to wash it but I’m too scared! 🙂

  7. akaleistar 11 months ago

    That dress is so pretty! #CrochetGoals

  8. Tania 6 months ago

    SO pretty! I sew and crochet ( but way to slowly to be able to do one piece per month)
    I ‘m actually thinking of doing a whole year withoug shopping for clothes …. not sure I’d resist, but I will try. 8 days so far….ah ah

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