I don't mean a physical wardrobe, though ours was of course self-made when it came in its box from Ikea! What I mean is my clothing. Lately I've been feeling so very disappointed when it comes to clothes shopping. Believe it or not, years ago I was a fashion journalist and stylist and used to create the trend pages for celebrity magazines and style still life photography, too. Since I had Albie, however, my style has changed. I feel old and fat when I walk into shops, and I don't want the kind of cheap, throwaway trends that seem to dominate the high street where I live. I prefer to wear 'pre-loved' items from vintage fairs and eBay, and I have to admit I do love Cath Kidston- the clothes are feminine and flattering and feel so nice to wear. What does a 30-something woman wear in a town that reveres Amy Childs and the cast of The Only Way is Essex as style icons?
Well, as ever, I turn to the crafty community. And again, Mollie Makes comes up trumps with this gorgeous special edition- DIY Fashion. Edited by Lisa Comfort by Sew Over It, its beautifully matte pages are crammed with inspiration. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't very much in there about dressmaking- e.g. where to find nice patterns and some basic skills, but overall I loved the content. (I have also become obsessed with Kate Gabrielle of Scathingly Brilliant- how gorgeous is her style?)
Inspired (like so many of you) by The Great British Sewing Bee, I've decided to start making my own clothes. Clothes that fit nicely, are unique and indulge the rather addictive habit of shopping for fabric and notions. Who doesn't love a bit of ric rac? So, a couple of weeks ago I decided to stop being frightened of my sewing machine and just sit down and sew something. My lovely friend Hannah (owner of Make, Do and Mend, whom I talk about so often on here) helped me to set up Betsey (my 1970s Frister + Rossman behemoth) and gave me the confidence I needed to just get on with it. I can't be that hard, right? Right!
I rather sensibly started out with a very simple pattern- just two pieces of fabric and some bias binding was all it took to make this gorgeous top. The top is the FREE 'Sorbetto' tank top pattern by Colette. I've been a fan of Colette patterns for a long time, but always filed them in the 'never gonna happen' section of my mental wish list. But this was SO easy! And isn't it lovely? The fabric is a simple polka dot cotton poplin from The Makery (part of my Mollie Makes subsciption gift so it was gloriously FREE also!) and I had the white bias tape in my box from when I made my wedding bunting two years ago. I am planning a whole range of these easy-to-wear tops. My next one will involve gingham bias and sleeves. And then I plan on tackling the rest of the Colette pattern range!
Next up, this fabulous skirt I made on Friday night at a new workshop at Make, Do and Mend. I used the beautiful mustard double gauze from my last blog post with this extra-wide elastic waistband. The technique was pretty simple and I really LOVED sewing together with some lovely Make, Do and Mend chums. I'm thrilled with this, I cannot tell you how pleased I am with that straight hem! All thanks to Han's instruction. It will look marv with leggings, clogs and breton, oui? I envisage a black and white gingham one next, with some mint green ric rac trim. Tasty.
I have got a real taste for sewing now. Since the inaugural Sewing Bee I've been following the lovely blog Tilly and the Buttons. Her easy-to-follow instructions and tips are pretty amazing, and her first book, Love at First Stitch comes out in May. Exciting, non? I cannot wait to get my hands on it and get stitching. I've already downloaded her Miette skirt pattern, I'm seeing it in blue chambray with liberty binding on the pockets...
But of course my handmade wardrobe won't be limited to sewing. Already I have a couple of hand-made garments in my closet, including THE crochet dress...
And the first and only cardigan I knitted 18 months ago!
I have another crochet cardigan on my hook at the moment, of course it is MUSTARD. Obsessed, moi? But I'm really looking forward to tackling more of Tilly's patterns and the gorgeous Colette dresses. And I will of course be documenting my experiments in sewing right here. There is a Pinterest board dedicating to sewing, too, of course.
Would you and do you make your own clothes? Any tips appreciated thanks!