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.

Sew Vintage - [Guest Blog]

Hey! My name is Dominic, I’m 21 years old and am currently studying at Strathclyde and work part-time in retail. This means, like a lot of people my age, money doesn’t spend a lot of time in my bank account. Whether its rent, travel or groceries - young adults are always having to budget and save money where it’s possible, and in my case I tend to save money on clothing. Up until recently, I was on the lookout for fashion sales in high-street stores or online retail platforms, however my foreign study semester in 2017 changed this mind-set; I found myself studying in a university in Malta, a country with limited retail options and expensive delivery charges. I decided to try vintage stores and charity shops to save money, and fell in love with the idea. Not only did I find clothes at a fair price, but the style and culture behind the recycled fashion experience allowed me to better express myself in an environment that was new to me. It was an activity that encouraged me to explore different areas of the country in an exciting hunt for outfits unique to me, all the while saving money and meeting new people doing the same thing. In a world where sustainability and reusing is more important than ever, it helped me feel like I was doing my part in reducing my carbon footprint as well as giving time and money to those who require it most, rather than multi-million companies where all you are to them is an order number.

I kept this mind-set when I came back home at the end of 2017, and made my resolution for the New Year to only buy clothes that have been used and loved before. Luckily for me, there is no better place to do this than in Glasgow! I have a love for retro looks, so I found myself at vintage kilo fairs more than I’m willing to admit. It is never a dull place to be and some of the clothes that I found were one of a kind. From jackets to footwear, there is something for everyone when you look hard enough. I always go and check out a charity shop whenever I walk by one, and Glasgow have so many to offer. The West End and City Centre provide a great variety to choose from, with a Bernardos in Merchant City being my favourite. The Glasgow outskirts are always fun to travel to as well, such as local charities in Giffnock and Inverclyde. You would be surprised how often new items come in to charity shops, and that’s what entices me the most. I manage to find a new outfit once a week usually, and never spend more than £15 in total. There are always big-brand items as well (some I’ve found include Ralph Lauren and AllSaints, as well as retail brands like River Island and Zara) which are always in pristine condition, with designs that make others turn heads. Some other items you find in charity shops would surprise you; things like bags I use for university, kilts and formal attire, sportswear and retro football shirts are just a few which might catch your eye.

And that’s what I would say to anyone that might be sceptical about shopping in charity or vintage shops; what is the worst that can happen? I have loved every second of my resolution and plan to continue it in to 2019. I even plan to learn some sewing skills, to help with mending and upcycling items I find to make them even more unique! It excites me to know that you won’t bump into anyone who shares the same clothes as you do, and you ultimately get to wear the unique clothes that define you at a fraction of the cost you might think, all whilst contributing to inspiring and meaningful causes. When someone asks me where I got something that I’m wearing, I take pride in telling them, “Vintage Shop, mate”.

Sewing With a New Born - Guest Blog

Sewing with a new born…It’s not really a thing is it? I had grand plans to set my beautiful new baby in its bouncy chair and set to work sewing while the baby slept soundly.

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Ha ha…Reality came crashing down around me. Finding time to sew was impossible. I think the closest thing I came to being crafty during the first 6 weeks was knitting a single row on a scarf I was making (for myself).

Then came a rare day when my husband was off work and there was no housework to be done. Now don’t be hating on me, all this happened because of specific well timed events, mainly an in home lifestyle photo shoot for the arrival of our beautiful baby boy. I found myself with an hour to myself and I ventured into the sewing room and I made a garment. An actual wearable top. Sounds impressive I know but it was a pattern I’ve made twice before and I had already cut out all the pattern pieces pre-baby so all the hard work was done.

It’s 4 weeks later and I haven’t sewn anything else BUT I have had time to think. Sewing has now become just as much about the planning as it has the actual sewing. I find I’m taking more time choosing fabrics and thinking of what to use from my stash. I’m planning on investing myself in more quality sewing rather than too much of a sew and hope. Reading patterns before I sew them is becoming a thing, feels like I’m learning more.

Also I have booked babysitters to cover any upcoming classes and the sewcial for this month. Grans are awesome!!

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Have you seen my 'sewjo'? - Guest Blog

Hello pregnancy, goodbye sewjo !

I think that’s exactly how it happened, well I’m pretty sure of it anyway.  I was on a roll with my sewing, had a started my own sewing blog, curated my instagram, sorted out my sewing room and had sewing plans for the year made which did not include a new pregnant body I can assure you. 
 That’s pretty much what halted it, the pregnant body. All of a sudden I had to try and dress this bump. Everything I wore was stretchy. I had no motivation, no patterns caught my eye, it was either a pattern that suited pregnancy only or a pattern that I would need to wait until post pregnancy to measure myself so no point even embarking on it. I didn’t know what shape I was going to be once I had the baby so felt like I couldn’t even plan for new me made outfits. Meanwhile every insta blogger is churning out the latest patterns, it felt like there was a new indie pattern released every week.

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Then the hallelujah moment - enter Tilly and the buttons Stevie pattern. I adored this pattern while pregnant, it draped nice on my body and didn’t make me feel like a whale. I made four in total (two dresses and two tops, I've included a photo of one of the dresses) It’s best points being that it was simple and quick to make and felt like it could be worn as an oversized t-shirt dress post pregnancy, I’ve road tested it and it falls into the secret pyjamas category. Just throw an oversized cardigan on with it and wear it with tights and it looks fab.

The moral of the story - I don’t have one but does there need to be one? I lost my sewjo for a while but it’s coming back slowly. There are new ideas cropping up in my brain and suddenly fabric is making its way into my wish list again. I think I stressed out about having no creativity and thinking it wouldn’t come back but it did though plus I think I will appreciate my sewing time a little more now that it’s limited.

Baby news - We welcomed a baby boy on 13th October, Max, weighing 6lbs 4oz, literally a little bundle of joy 💙

(PART 2 OF LAURAS BABY BLOG COMING SOON!)

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