Guest blog: RTW vs ME MADE

Hi everyone, Sew Confident regular Laura here!

I’ve heard and read many reasons why people make their own clothes but rarely is the reason ‘to save money and protect the environment’ because we all know making our own clothes quite often costs more money. I can only speak for myself on the environment side of the debate and say that I am happy making some of my own clothes contributes to protecting the environment but that’s all I will say on the matter as the debate over fast fashion and slow fashion is another blog entirely. 

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For now I want to share my thoughts on ready to wear and me made items of clothing.  Looking through other sewists #makenine2019 goals and their resewloutions for 2019 I saw a lot of people wanting to eliminate their wardrobe of all ready to wear clothing and others wanting to buy nothing ready to wear in 2019.  It made me feel guilt for enjoying my ready to wear (RTW) clothes, like I wasn’t dedicated enough to making my own clothes.  I enjoy fashion and mixing my wardrobe with both me made items and ready to wear items, I mostly own ready to wear items as my sewing journey has just began.  Completely eliminating fashion retailers would deny me my inspiration.

Some of my much loved clothing is ready to wear, my wedding dress for one.  Although I have seen some beautiful me made wedding dresses by some very talented sewers and I wish I could have had more of a hand in my own but it does not dull how much I adore my wedding dress.  I still have the outfit I was wearing the night I met my husband.  I have a coat my gran bought me on one of our many shopping trips, she is no longer fit enough to come shopping with me and I treasure that item of clothing. 

Some items of clothing I have wanted to make have not come to pass, last year I wanted to make a dress to wear to wear to a friend’s wedding but due to being pregnant I decided to go down the route of ready to wear instead. 

The me made section of my wardrobe makes me very proud and I love to show it off but I am equally proud of my ready to wear section, I am trying to grow my me made wardrobe and make more conscious buys in relation to clothing.  I am also trying to use up my stash rather than spend money on more fabric.  Finding the time to make these clothes is proving difficult at the moment with a new baby, however, slowly but surely I am doing bit by bit nap by nap. 

Personally I prefer my wardrobe to be a mix of me made and ready to wear and I always try to remember that dressmaking is a hobby not a way of life (for me).  I think eliminating your ready to wear wardrobe would be difficult if not impossible for most and I don’t completely agree with the reasons why.  I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on their ready to wear vs me made wardrobe over on the Sew Confident ‘sewcial’ fb group. If you haven’t already joined, you can do so here whether you are a SC customer or now!

Love Laura


WANT TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN SLOW-FASHION, ME MADE ITEMS? check out our up coming classes  here .

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN SLOW-FASHION, ME MADE ITEMS? check out our up coming classes here.

Catwalk to Cutting Table - LBD with a twist

Intern Kirstys, Catwalk to Cutting Table

London Fashion Week has JUST ended and you know what that means, we get to take a closer look at all the designers and see who’s managed to create something amazing.

Personally one of my favourite designers from this years LFW was RIXO. They tend to design fun, quirky and stylish dresses.

The design that caught my eye, was this off the shoulder, black velvet fitted dress, with a colourful dot fabric at the bust area. This stood out to me as the contrast between the soft black fabric and the bright dots at the top defined each section of the dress.

I have even managed to find the perfect fabric copies and similar pattern. Although this may look complicated and impossible to recreate yourself. ITS NOT! So why not give it a go.

Feel like you may need some extra help, or feel you want to take your knowledge further? Why no come along to one of our pattern classes. For more information on these classes please feel free to contact us.

Hope to see you soon.

Love, Kirsty

For the spot fabric, click here. For the black velvet, click here.

M7719 MISSES' DRESSES PATTERN

M7719 MISSES' DRESSES PATTERN

Frida Frenzy

Everywhere we look there is Frida Kahlo designs to be seen! What are your thoughts on this latest trend or are you still a little unsure on who this famous mono brow lady even is…?

Who is Frida?

Considered one of the Mexico's greatest artist, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico City, Mexico.  Frida painted many portraits, self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artefacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country's popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class and race in Mexican society. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist.


Sew Confident does Frida

Never wanting to miss a trend, here at Sew Confident we have created our very own, super cool item. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… Ladies & Gentleman, now available via the website or from our studios - A Frida hand embroidery kit!


Wanting to see what else we are loving? Check out below some of Colettes best finds! Just click the image to follow on to the website I found them on.

Cat Walk To Cutting Table - The Denim Jacket

The denim jacket is an indispensable wardrobe basic. Each year the denim jacket can be seen on the Cat Walk as a designer tries to put their own twist on the classic. Lately we have seen some classy, embellished jackets on Elie Saab A/W 18 catwalk.

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Here are some images from my first attempt at a 'denim' jacket which I made for my holiday. The pattern is from seamwork & called 'Audrey'. I also used the brand new Sew Confident original printed fabric - it looks so fun, I want to make one out of all 4 prints we have!

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It wasn't actually that easy to source heavy weight/good quality plain denim but having made this Jacket now myself, you might want to start with a lighter weight material until you have gave it a go. There is a good few layers, button holes etc so do also consider what your sewing machine can handle! The Elna 340s which we use in our studios worked great with my jacket.

To create your own version of the embellished Elie Saab jacket, you might want to go through your cupboard of rubbish & see if you still have one of these beauties.... (TOLD YOU IT WOULD COME IN HANDY ONE DAY MUM!!)

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March Sew-er of the Month - JANE

Say a Big Hello to Sew Confident Loyal - Jane!

1. So Jane, How long have you been sewing?

I’ve always wanted to learn to sew and I took a short beginners class about 2 years ago.  I loved it but wanted to do more and I wanted to make things that I’d actually wear/use. About a year ago I found Sew Confident and haven’t looked back since!!

2. Why did you start sewing?

I’ve always wanted to sew my own clothes.  You know when you see that ‘almost’ perfect outfit but wish the sleeves were a bit different, the length was longer/shorter  or it was in a different material. I just think it is amazing to be able to alter or make your own clothes to be exactly what you personally want.

3. Sounds like we could have a future fashion designer in our classes... What sewing project are you most proud of?

I love my wee 2 piece suit from Colette’s Co-ord class.  The material is so nice and it’s fleecy on the inside so keeps me nice and cosy!!  Colette taught me how to incorporate the fringing detail from the edge of the fabric and I think it looks really fab!  My own version of a Channel jacket!! I also like my coat I made at the pattern class – it was a bit adventurous and the 1st time I’ve done something that is lined, but I think it turned out ok.

4. Both your co-ord and jacket look AMAZING! You will be giving Channel a run for their money in no time. What do your friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I think they’re just astonished I can do it!!  Haha. I remember showing my Mum some fabric I got one day.  I was so excited about it that I went ahead and cut a wrap dress out that night and sewed it up.  She couldn’t believe it when she saw the finished dress the very next day!! No one has really asked me to hem anything yet – maybe they’re waiting for me to build my skills up!!

5. That is so nice, there really is no better feeling than saying you made something yourself! SO, What sewing accessory could you not live without?

Jenny and Colette on speed dial!! ☺ haha! Actually – this is a bit silly, but since Jenny taught me how to use the needle threader on my machine, I can’t live without it!!  I don’t think I can actually thread the machine needle by myself anymore!

 

6. You know you are more than welcome to drop us a message or e-mail whenever you need!! Next question, If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Probably a bit predictable but...Just keep sewing and don’t worry too much about mistakes.  No-one else notices them! I think I put myself under pressure to make everything absolutely perfect but you’ll never get any better unless you keep practising.

7. Since your beginner days, have you had any sewing disasters?

Yes! Loads!  I can be a bit slap dash so end up unpicking things all the time!!

8. Sadly I think the unpick is most sew-ers best friend!! How many classes have you attended?

I’m a bit addicted to attending classes!!  My first was the shirt dress class which was amazing.  Lovely people on it (looking at you Amanda and Amrit!) and it was the first time I’d been able to make something I actually wanted to wear!  I’ve done the overlocker for beginners, underwear class, Advent Calendar class, 5 week Pattern class (with another amazing bunch of people) , 121’s and Colette’s Co-ord class.  I’ve got the Initial hand embroidery class coming up which looks amazing. I adore the ‘Sewcial’s’ too and get to as many as possible. One of the best things about every class is the lovely people you meet – we’ve had some great chat and interesting stories.

9. That is a LOT of classes, You really are a Sew Confident Loyal!! What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

My dream is to be able to draft my own patterns – just think up a design and be able to draft a pattern and make it.  I’d also like to become more skilled in altering bought patterns to fit me the way I want. At my last 121 with Jenny we drafted a pattern for a jersey skirt (I have a new obsession with the pattern master – what a piece of kit!!) and it’s fab – I’d like to do more of that.

10. **Takes note of future pattern drafting class idea**...What projects do you have on the go right now?

I’m so naughty for starting loads of projects at one time!!  I tried to focus myself this year with the ‘make 9 in 2018’ challenge.  I’ve already finished some – next one to finish is the Sew Over It Eve dress – I’m taking that one to the next Sewcial for a bit of help!

11. We are excited to see you & your project along at the Sewcial! Last question, What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

DO IT!  It is so relaxing and de-stressing, it’s an amazing skill to have and you’ll meet some really lovely people.

Dress Like Royalty For Less

Who doesn't love Prince Harry?! And it seems everyone loves his Bride-to-be (and previously, suits actress) Meghan Markle, who today joined the Queen and senior royals for her first official engagement with the monarch.

Often hitting headlines for her outfit choices, Meghan isn't the first member of (soon to be) royalty that everyone is obsessed with - who can forget Princess Dianas AMAZING outfits?! 
 

As Miss Markle was pictured today heading to Westminster Abbey this afternoon, social media was going crazy for her jacket pictured below. I took it upon myself to find where this Jacket was from as I ALWAYS look at something and wonder how much it would cost me to make. (I'm hoping i'm not the only one who does this...)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave following the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey this afternoon (Monday 12th March - 2018)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave following the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey this afternoon (Monday 12th March - 2018)

 

I found the exact coat Meghan Markle is wearing on www.amandawakeley.com . This cream sculpted tailoring crombie coat would only set you back £895... bargain eh? FEAR NOT, I am about to suggest various patterns & fabrics which will allow you to make this key waredrobe piece for much, much less!

 

 


The Patterns

I have found 3 different patterns, none of which are an EXACT match but could be easily manipulated to be! With the most expensive pattern being £8.99 and all 3 coming with various other patterns...we are already on to a winner with our budget royalty knock-off!

K4225 MISSES' PRINCESS SEAM JACKET AND COAT - £8.99

NL6163 MISSES SEPARATES | EASY - £6.95

BD8292  MISSES' COAT - £7.19

The Fabric

Again I didn't spend a lot of time on finding the BEST fabric, if you go to do this for yourself i'm sure you will find something to suit you better but in the mean time, here is some possible fabric options: 

1. Designer 'Lady McElroy' Graceful Cream Wool Mix Felt Coating - £29.50 p/m  - Available from www.sherwoodsfabrics.co.uk

2. LIVIA - A Superior High-Demand Pure Wool with Stretch - £17.90 p/m - Available from www.sherwoodsfabrics.co.uk 

3. 'Soft Coat Fabric In Cream' - £8.95 p/m - Available from www.myfabrics.co.uk 


Going for even the most expensive pattern and fabric that I have found, you can make a version of this Meghan Markle coat for under £100!

Be sure to send us in a photo to hello@sewconfident.co.uk if you decide to give this a go at home, and if you would like some help remember you can come along to one of our pattern classes or monthly sew-cials

Lots of love, Colette x

Make a start on your Christmas party outfits!

It is definitely time to start thinking about just WHAT to wear for all those Christmas parties you are looking forward to (Or being dragged along to). Well the best conversation starter and way to impress your colleges this festive season is to make your own amazing outfit!! (This also means you wont have the embarrassment of turning up in the same outfit as Annoying Anne who works on the 2nd floor). Here at Sew Confident HQ we have saved you a bit of the hassle and looked out some patterns we think would make AMAZING party wear!

PAPERCUT PATTERNS

Sapporo coat from PAPERCUT patterns 

Sapporo coat from PAPERCUT patterns 

Mito cami/dress from PAPERCUT patterns

Mito cami/dress from PAPERCUT patterns

Sea-bell Dress from PAPERCUT patterns

Sea-bell Dress from PAPERCUT patterns

NAMED PATTERNS

Elizabeth Gown from NAMED patterns

Elizabeth Gown from NAMED patterns

Leotie Midi Dress from NAMED patterns

Leotie Midi Dress from NAMED patterns

Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit

Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit

BY HAND - LONDON

Alix Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Alix Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Orsola Dress & skirt from BY HAND LONDON

Orsola Dress & skirt from BY HAND LONDON

Kim Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Kim Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Are you making this years Christmas outfit? Send us some photos!

Colette x