#oneyearhandmade 6 Months In

Consumerism has been on my mind for some time. Walking through town and watching surging crowds of consumers throwing money at poor quality crap that they don’t need makes me feel physically sick. I live a fairly minimal life. I have everything I need, and I love my belongings. I don’t own things that fail to serve a purpose or make me feel great, but that doesn’t stop this feeling of resentment for the ‘stack em’ high sell em’ low’ movement. 

In August I decided to do something. I wanted to find a way to show people that buying handmade, small scale and high quality was totally doable, fun, accessible and satisfying. Cue #oneyearhandmade

I thought about the things I consume and where there might be some room for improvement. Lets be honest, us gals love to buy clothes. Fashion is fast moving and sadly tons of clothes are thrown away every month. I’ve never been a big high street fashion fan, but once I thought about it, I realised how easy it was for me to pick up a tee from H&M on my lunchbreak, or get a new outfit for a night out without even thinking about it. This was my area for improvement! 

I’ve always been a sewer. My mum bought me my first sewing machine when I was 6 and I’ve been making my own clothes ever since. In recent years (I suppose since life has gotten a little more hectic) my dressmaking has slowed down. I thought about my ability to sew, and how I had been wasting the talent, and decided to commit to the big one – One whole year of handmade only clothes. One year!? Yah…

The rules:

- If you NEED something to wear, consider whether you can make it.

- Make as much as possible!

- Buy only handmade from real people. (Check back on my blog this weekend to find out more on my favourite indie fashion brands). 

A couple of weeks ago I attended a masterclass with the clever clogs Charlott Fletcher. I learnt more about drafting patterns from a block and made a workwear smock for days in the studio. (Mine is the one in the middle!)

I have learnt to adopt a need/want filter and I can honestly say my attitude towards shopping has shifted. There is something incredibly satisfying about making your own clothes. I know who made them, I know where the fabric came from and its composition and I know the frustrations of a wrong move on the sewing machine. If #oneyearhandmade has taught me anything so far, it’s that we should all look at how we dress ourselves from the roots of the garment, before we consume non-essential items. I’m not saying we shouldn’t indulge, far from it! But let’s be more mindful about the things we choose to invest in.

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My top tips for sewing your own:

- Go for simple patterns first. Don’t scare yourself off with tricky challenges!

- Take time to prepare your sewing space. A tidy space is a tidy mind. Make sure you have everything you need before you get started.

- If you’re going to really get into dressmaking, buy an overlocker. I bought one after an amazing workwear workshop with Charlott Fletcher, because I couldn’t believe how much neater it made my seams! It’s a life changer!

- Trace off your pattern rather than cutting it out so that you can use the sheet block again for different sizes or share it with a pal!

My favourite make: The Bantham dress & top from the Merchant and Mills Workbook were super quick to make and are perfect in linen. 

If you’re thinking of making your own, check out the modern pattern makers below:

Merchant and Mills (My fave!)

Deer and Doe

Colette Patterns

Seamwork

Marilla Walker

Grainline Studio

Tilly and The Buttons

Rosie Drake-Knight