One Year One Outfit: the full catastrophe!

I’ve had this outfit finished for a while now but needed to find a cooler time to put it all on. There is a surprising amount of clothing here!


For those of you who haven’t been following my One Year One Outfit journey, I accepted the challenge from thisismoonlight to create an entire outfit from one hundred percent locally produced and processed materials, and in Perth that means pretty much wool and wood! Keep in mind that we couldn’t use a sewing machine as there is no cotton produced in Perth, and no zips or fastenings other than handmade could be used. Many of the items here are from self-drafted patterns, so I am pleased with that aspect too.

I’ve made quite a few things that didn’t make the cut for the outfit on the grounds that they were either too brown or too frumpy (actually they all fitted into both categories). So no brown at all now…

So, what did I make? Well, let’s start with the underwear! Can I say that it is surprisingly comfortable and weirdly comforting. I’m not sure that I would use felt in all my underwear, but I’m slightly tempted. It is also easier to launder than you might think.

Then there are the knitted trousers and the dropped stitch top.  I am also wearing a felted corset which is embellished with naturally dyed yarn and i-cord.


Covering all of this is a coat, of which I am especially fond. It is completely felted and has cobweb felt to break it up a bit and add a swish factor.


Then there are the shoes and bag. The shoes are handcrafted from West Australian Sheoak, harvested by my son, Archie (the tree died, he didn’t murder it!!). They are surprisingly comfortable, but I do have to walk carefully on our polished floorboards, and they do “clump” when I walk. I used felt and i-cord to keep them on my feet. Not the most elegant of shoes, but they do the job. The bag is made from leftover felt.

I did make a hat, but I refer to the previous brown comment. Having said that, I wore it a lot over winter, after I refelted it to fit me.

So that’s this challenge over for 2015. What did I learn?

  • to plan more carefully!
  • how to felt – several different ways
  • how to make cobweb felt
  • how to dye using readily available plants
  • how to use cut and sew techniques for the trousers and underwear
  • how to make shoes – using a spokeshave, electric plane, and thicknesser (confession time: Archie did the chainsawing and thicknessing: too scary for me!)
  • to handstitch to a higher standard

So, my mind is now turning to the 2016 challenge. I am not going to make as many things – thinking simple next year – but I am keen to add to my repertoire of skills, so I am currently learning to crochet beyond the basics, I am exploring kombucha as a fabric source, I am going to learn to spin with my newly acquired charkha (thank you to Leila for educating me as to its name) and I am really going to focus on the natural dyeing. I am already excited at the prospect!

A last comment: the thing that I have most loved about this challenge? The Perth group of challengees (is that a word?): Megan (meggipeg), Carolyn (handmadebycarolyn), and of course, mistress of the challenge, Nicki (thisismoonlight). Ladies, I have really enjoyed our excursions, discussions, all the coffees, emails, support, sharing, and love – thank you all!



34 thoughts on “One Year One Outfit: the full catastrophe!

  1. The full catastrophe! Haha! It has been such a pleasure meeting you and seeing your commitment and work ethic on this project has been inspirational! You have many beautiful unique West Aussie clothes as a result!

  2. Your outfit is quite amazing, and it looks very warm. I grew a little flax and knitted it into a dishcloth, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever work my way up to a whole outfit!

  3. I think you have been so innovative. I would never have believed you could get individually-made wearable outfits from wool and wood! My favourite is the corset! I love the wool cord front. Congratulations. TS

  4. Your challenge seemed insurmountable in todays world but you have made an incredible job of it. I am totally impressed, and I would describe it as anything but a catastrophe! You have inspired me to.look for more local materials and I have found a shop spinning fleeced and selling the yarn not too far away. Hopefully I can make something local too!
    Well done Sue.

  5. Sue, you’re so brave! Even if there were resources in my area, I would not embark on such a difficult challenge. You nailed it!

  6. What a rewarding challenge with such an amazing support group! I envy that kind of clever crafting community. Anyway, it was fun to watch your creative process all along and see these original pieces you came up with!

Leave a Reply