I had a great idea the other day: to make all my own clothes for the rest of the year. How fun would that be?! When I had this (cough) genius idea I happened to be in a town with a great little fabric shop, so I ran down there and oohed and aahed over the range of materials. I was rich in ideas but poor in cash, so I ended up buying only a couple of metres of a really pretty blue fabric to make a dress out of. The shop also sold sashiko fabric by the metre, not just in little kits, so I got hugely excited and bought a couple of panels of that too. Then I left the material in the back of the car for two days.
My track record in sewing is not great (you can read about the terry-towelling bikini here: Stash) but I did manage to make a wearable dress over summer. Now that I’ve calmed down—and remembered to get the material out of the car—I’ve realised that I don’t have the time or skill to make all my own clothes. I was even going to try to make underwear. I still might have a go at that, but s-l-o-w-l-y does it!
I’ve been inspired by people’s participation in the 100 Day Project, which is encouraging folk everywhere to make art every day, even if they think they’re no good at it. So many people are actually very good at it, as it turns out. I don’t want to make art at the moment; I want to make things I can use and wear. I’m weary of traipsing around the shops, looking for clothes that fit, that are the right colour and that aren’t too expensive but aren’t made in sweatshops either. To be honest, it’s a struggle. I’m tall. I have middle age spread. I like wearing natural fibres. It’s hard to find clothes in breathable fabrics and styles that enhance the good bits and hide the not so good bits.
A colleague at work is always beautifully dressed. She’s middle-aged and rounded. She wears simple dresses and skirt/top combos but she always looks good because they fit her properly and the materials are gorgeous. I asked her where she gets her clothes. She told me she goes to a well-known material and craft store chain, buys quality fabric in bulk and takes it to a dressmaker. “What a good idea,” I thought, “but why not be your own dressmaker?”
As usual, my aspirations have exceeded my abilities and the time I have available, but getting things out of cupboards and out of the car is a start. I’ve cut out a shirt with sleeves (Impressed? I am! Also scared!) and I’ve found two half-knitted socks from last winter that will be finished this winter. I’ve also decided which patterns to use. I’m making this shirt: Aster, by Colette Patterns. And this one: Sorbetto. Then I’m making a dress, a long coat and some trousers from Everyday Style, which I know I’ve raved about before, but it’s a lovely book. If I’m not curled up in a ball on the floor at the end of all that, I’ll have a go at a dressing gown.
Pictures of successes will be posted here…eventually. Failures may also be displayed to make you laugh. If you can recommend any fab patterns and materials, do let me know! If you’re not already making art or sewing or baking marvellous creations but you’d like to be, go and get started! Or at least start getting things out of the cupboard.