Last week I was inspired to buy 3 sewing patterns. All absolutely beautiful, 1 for practicality, 1 because I can envision it looking stunning and 1 because it was on sale and I have loved it since it's release but not enough to buy it full price.
Usually I don't have to justify to myself too much about all the purchasing for sewing, "it's my hobby", "it brings me joy", "I love it" and so on. But this week being fashion revolution week had it's effect on me and inspired me to make more conscious choices.
Since beginning my dressmaking journey I have sewn a lot of garments, some were rushed and complete fails which have found their way back into the stash to be recycled into something else. But some are completed projects which have never been worn out of the house. I've always justified these garments to myself by calling them practices and "the fabric was cheap". But yesterday it hit me, I don't want my wardrobe to be full of garments which are rushed and not thought out.
The last 3 garments I have posted on my blog were a real learning curve for me. They taught me to be patient and enjoy the process of making the item. Although I didn't realise it at the time!!
I really thought through the process of how each fabric would fit with that specific pattern, and now these are garments which I cherish.
I am making a promise to myself to plan out projects better, to look at what I wear daily and reconsider before purchasing a pattern or fabric. This has begun with ordering samples of fabrics before impulse buying just to end up in my stash. Although my stash isn't extensive, which is something I am proud of.
I have been looking at my most worn items (handmade and shop-bought) and although I don't buy new clothes from shops any more I still wear these items daily.
1. High waisted jeans
2. Cigarette trousers
4. Coco & Agnes
6. Baggy tees
7. Polo necks
1. I have 4 pairs of shop bought high-waisted jeans which are on constant circle in my daily wardrobe. Although 2 of them are slightly too small on the waist for me now (too many vegan cookies) which has encouraged me to learn how to sew my own jeans. This is a project I have been anticipating and dreaming about for too long, it's time to get on with it! I think learning to make jeans will be empowering because shop-bought ones are never a perfect fit for me, either too small on the waist and perfect on the bum/legs or too big on the legs and perfect on the waist. I still have the mustard stretch denim from the Knitting and Stitching show which I think would make the most amazing high-waisted jeans! I've already begun the planning.
2. I have one pair of shop bought thrifted high waisted cigarette trousers which I absolutely love and plan on wearing/fixing forever. Hearing all the stories from fashion rev this week about fixing/ up-cycling garments and hand-me-downs from each generation has completely inspired me to appreciate my most loved items and look after them for when I'm ready to hand them down.
3. The practical pattern I purchased last week was for my first bra! It's an Ohhh Lulu beginner pattern. I practiced it last week with some scraps from my stash and found that I had underestimated the size of my boobs. I have a medium to large bust and can rarely buy high street shop bought bras - really only m&s. I was on their website last week looking at the cost of a new bra and thinking - I could make that! So I started researching where to buy all the knick-knacks for making a bra, and going through old bras which no longer fit and seeing what I could re-use from them. It was a lot of fun, and I don't think I have the need to buy a shop bought bra again. Using up jersey scraps and making them into something feels really good and makes me happy to think "I was right to hold onto these scraps".
4. Coco and Agnes are easily my two most worn handmade items! They are suuuper speedy to make (without rushing!) The first Coco I ever made is probably my most worn handmade garment in 2 years. I love to be comfortable when I'm working and crafting (so pretty much 90% of my time) and these two are just perfect for that. I have 2 Cocos which I don't wear, but I am planning on altering. One needs small changes it's currently a dress but I think I would wear it more if it was shortened to crop-top length and then the scraps can be made into a bra?! It's a black and white vertical striped ponte from fabricland and it's too bold for my taste to be worn as a dress. A family member said it looks very "Star Trekky". Great. The other is a ribbed lilac Coco dress which I haven't worn for no good reason. So I am thinking of a way to change it about, maybe some embroidery and length/sleeve alterations.
5. Leggings. I have about 5 pairs of leggings. So I don't need to make any at the moment. But I have the pattern for when the time comes. And I certainly won't be buying any again.
6. I love big baggy t-shirts. I'm often given them by family members if they've faded or shrunk. I'm thinking it might be possible to copy the pattern from an old one I have. I currently don't need any more but they are worn very often!
7. Polo Necks. I LOVE polo neck long sleeve tops. I own about 6 shop-bought and thrifted ones, which I've had for years. I use them for layering and under dunagrees/cleos! I've seen some patterns floating about for them but again I don't even need to make any as I have plenty.
I think the biggest promise I need to make to myself is to be realistic with my purchases and makes. As I now have two gorgeous Reeta dresses which are so beautiful and can be styled in so many ways, I doubt I need any more "smart-style" dresses.
And with my new Arielle skirt pattern that's perfect for wearing with Agnes tops I could see myself making 1 in a plain fabric.
Lately with my sewing it's been about what I want to make rather than what I need (except for the bra). And I wanted to change my outlook on this, I want to make long-lasting garments slowly and with care. I want items which I am completely proud to say "I made this!" and I want them to be worn for a very long time.
I'm always tempted to make something new, so I think it would be a good idea for me (suggested by bff Beth), after finishing a new item my next job is to do the small fixes on an old item. I always put off the little mends and it's about time I stopped waiting until I feel like doing it and actually do them.
I still get overly excited about patterns, I love imagining how a project will look, and I need to learn to embrace this stage and slow it down! And learn how to make a pattern into something I would wear regularly.
So a promise: I promise to take greater care with my sewing, with the making and the finished item. I promise to buy quality and not quantity and to make items that I know will be worn. I promise to up-cycle garments I already own and appreciate my favourite garments and all the love that went into making them!