At the start of this year I committed to not buying any new clothes year if I could possibly make them myself. I wanted to use my sewing skills to be more intentional in my wardrobe, being aware that if I was spending money on fabric and pattern and then spending significant time on creating the garment, then the investment would be bigger and therefore the hope would be that what I make would last longer.
I made a holiday wardrobe in a very short space of time before my trip to Marrakesh in February ( just pre Pandemic mayhem ) and then Covid hit, and I got consumed by Cornwall Scrubs and somehow blogging about it all just wasn't on my radar.
But here we are 5 months later, and I'm starting to think about what i have achieved this year as we make our way to Autumn and a wardrobe transition once again.
By far and away my most favourite pattern of my holiday wardrobe was the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory which I made in a heavyish weight denim which I found very cheaply on Ebay, many moons ago.
I read so many reviews about this as I didn't have time to make a muslin first and in general I decided I needed to lengthen the bodice by two inches and reduce the rise by one and on the whole I am just so thrilled with this make. I feel amazing in it, and always get compliments and the Zadie Love has spread like wildfire through the sewists in my lovely sewing community Kernow Sewcial ( come join us it's free and so much fun!! ) and I even made one in Ankara as part of the August Get Set Sew Challenge for my little girls 2nd Birthday. Which I will share in a blog post another day!
The only thing I would change for next time is the leg length... I would like this to be more wearable in the winter and I hope to make one in Corduroy for the colder months once I have got through the massive backlog of sewing I am looking at as I type! Oh and there is an odd bump on the wrap point that I think needs grading out.
I sized down by two sizes I think as it is very loose fitting in terms of ease, and I also took an extra 2 inches out of each leg to reduce the fullness as I wanted the legs to be slightly more streamlined
I would recommend this pattern for anyone - it's clearly illustrated and the instructions are great and the fit is spot on. It is such a flattering and comfy garment and totally feels like pyjamas disguised as clothes!
Ok, so I'm about 5 weeks too late to announce my big plans for 2020 but honestly this year has run away with me already! I've been setting a new group of beginners free on their sewing machines, and making some plans for future classes and courses - too many plans! And not enough time!
Earlier this month I was invited to Mylor Yacht Club to talk to the ladies there about sewing, learning to sew, and the fight against fast fashion, and it was a brilliant place to share my personal objectives for my sewing activity this year...
The slide below from my presentation gives you some stat's as to why it is so important to pay attention to our clothes and textiles buying habits...
In the past I have bought things from Primark and the supermarket chains, as a quick pick me up, or in their sales, because I've fancied a bit fo a wardrobe lift. I have never just thrown clothes away, I always send things to charity, but at least two black bags of stuff go to charity from our house every year, and that is with extremely limited buying ( we are a family of four... ) as I we have more important things to spend on most of the time!
I really got thinking about this towards the end of last year ... Where I live in Cornwall in the UK we are culturally extremely aware of environmental impact, surrounded as we are by sea on three sides, incredible natural landscapes and all living very outdoors lifestyles. We see on a daily basis the impact of plastics and other waste on our beaches. I am so proud to live in a place where every business is making sustained and concerted efforts to improve their environmental foot print, and cluster of villages where I live is home to environmental campaigners and leaders of textile sustainability Surfers Against Sewage and FinisterreUK. I can't escape it!
With a background in fashion design I have always loved clothes, and their ability to shape my mood for a day, but my budget in recent years hasn't allowed me to be much more than vaguely functional in my dress sense, and I really wanted to change that this year, now that the baby producing days are over, and I can start to remember who I was before the girls arrived in my life!
So for me 2020 will be the year of of the memade wardrobe.
I have set myself a rule:
What I have found already is having this rule is really really making me consider what I make - my time is so limited, and so if I'm going to spend time making something, I really have to either want it or NEED it, which in turn is ensuring that I am creating items which will surely have longevity in my wardrobe...
In addition I want to be more environmental in my fabric purchasing - I'm a huge van of viscose, a fabric made as a by product of the wood industry. Its production does use up a lot of water, but it is made from otherwise wasted materials as far as I know. Bamboo is the most sustainable and wonderful fabric ever, but it is expensive!
I'll do a blog post later in the year on more sustainable and environmental fabrics, but for now, I'll stick with using up my stash, buying viscose when I can - and keeping my eyes peeled for bamboo that is an affordable price point for me!
I love a free sewing pattern, and this is no exception!
It's a departure from my usual style, I love the look of swing cropped peplum tops like these but I worry that with breastfeeding boobs, and a mummy tummy it's just entirely the wrong thing for me to attempt wearing.
But, when I found this gorgeous teal double gauze from My Fabrics, I just knew it would become a top like this so I stepped outside of my comfort zone, searched for and found the perfect pattern in the form of the Peppermint Peplum Top and spent a wonderful couple of hours in my studio while Mr S2S took the girls out for a swim so I could sew in peace.
I LOVE this pattern, Its very simple, easy enough for a beginner and a satisfying and quick make. The only thing I did differently from the instructions was stay stitch the curves first as the weave of the muslin I used was so loose, and I think with hindsight I would probably add an inch or two to the length of the main bodice so it is slightly less cropped for this 'approaching 40' mumsy-mum.
The muslin is divine and the colour is gorgeous - but one word of warning, the gold spots melt off with an iron so press on the reverse or through a pressing cloth. This didn't matter for the bias facing but I did lose a fair amount along the way as it was all too much to fiddle with pressing cloths in the time I had available to get it finished before 2020...
I am thrilled with this and really glad I have a length in coral as well to be able to make one for next summers Cornish beach going and hopefully a holiday too.
Have you made this top? How was it for you?
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!