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.

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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Quirky Quilting

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Hi - let me introduce myself! I’m Jo and I have started working with Sew Confident to spread the word about the wonderful world that is Quilting. We started with some beginners’ classes on the Bothwell and Glasgow studios this autumn (with Dundee already being up and running) and hope to bring you lots of exciting and new classes in 2019 so I hope we can find something that will suit everyone. Not just quilts too – you’d be surprised what you can make with so many scarps of fabric from repurposed shirts and the like. If you fancy giving a class a go we’d love to hear from you, or if you have any ideas what you’d like to try do let me know and we can see what exciting ideas we can come up with!

As you might be able to tell already I am somewhat of an enthusiastic quilter and have loved having this opportunity to bring this great and addictive hobby to some new stitchers. I’ve been quilting now for about 20 years, having previously been a keen dressmaker and cross stitch fan. However, once I started quilting there was no going back, and my wardrobe has sadly had to stay high street based, and the dressmakers form was resigned to the loft. (I have to say though its seen the light of day again recently have been inspired by the goings on at Sew Confident). I struggle to put my finger on it exactly, but there is something slightly magical about the whole quilt process that I adore and sitting surrounded by lots of little pieces of fabric and a reel of thread puts me in a very happy place. Of course, friends and family are very happy about this as not only does it keep me quiet and out of the hair, but they know they will never be cold and reckon they save hundreds on heating bills, having been bombarded with shed loads of quilty loveliness over the years….Learning to quilt is not as daunting as you may think and once you have the basics you can make quilts and lots of other great things which your friends will find instantly very impressive. The Sew Confident beginners course starts with a baby quilt, but back in the day I, like a mad woman, decided to start with a full blown double bed sized quilt!!

Looking back now it is a very traditional quilt, in very traditional colours, and I still love it, but now though, you’ll find me in a far more colourful world as we have seen a revolution in the quilt world, with the arrival of social media and the very active on line quilting community. Not only is this spreading the word to a wider and younger audience, but its giving us all so much great inspiration, with colour, shape and textures we may not have found in our local shop or book shop. Do check it out- you’ll be amazed.

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At the moment I am trying to design a quilt to submit for my first ever competition at QuiltCon (this probably sounds like the quilt world’s equivalent of being a geek but is in fact a fantastic annual get together of the Modern Quilt Guild). It’s quite a scary prospect but a good way to stretch myself, so watch this space! We’d love to hear from you if you think this is a craft that’s calling to you so why not drop us a note now.

You can also follow Jo on Instagram here!

Our Dundee Superstar, Sandra

As Sandra prepares to become our first EVER Sew Confident FRANCHISE! (How exciting) Here is everything you need to know about this Dundee Sewing Superstar.


So Sandra, What made you want to start sewing?

I'm a bit of a craft addict! I have tried out so many creative projects over the years and love to throw myself right into them, buy all the supplies and then fall out of love with it a couple of weeks later, i dread to think about the amount of money i must've spent over the years. I'm glad to say that sewing seems to have stuck around and i'm still discovering new things to make and new techniques/tips all the time.

Don’t worry it is safe to say we have all been there with the changing of hobbies! (Sewing is 100% the best anyway). How long you have been sewing?

My mum gave me her old Singer sewing machine to try out as it was just lying around the house gathering dust. I used it to make some soft toys which I sold at craft fairs before I managed to break it oops! I then bought my own machine and used it on and off for a few years making bits and pieces but never really got to know it fully or try out many new things. I would say I really got into sewing properly around 5 years ago when I made a quilt for my little boy. I'd never done anything like that before but I followed a weekly quilt-a-long on a blog I liked and in 6 weeks I had a quilt - he still uses it to this date and it still hasn't fallen apart yet haha!

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Aw that is lovely that your son still uses your first ever quilt! Do you have your own sewing space?

My sewing space until recently has been a small box room / cupboard upstairs in my house sandwiched between my two boy's bedrooms - it's small but does the trick! I guess the only problem is i can't really sew at night while they boys are asleep, this is one of the reasons i got hooked on hand sewing quilts and into English Paper Piecing my quilt tops. I'm now lucky enough to have an amazing garage conversion i can sew in - i'm still moving all my bits and pieces in there but it'll hopefully become a nice little creative hub for the Sew Confident Dundee gang!

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I am SO jealous of this new sewing space of yours! It also sounds like you have made a LOT, but do you have a favourite thing you have ever made?

That's a difficult one. I start a lot of projects and finish very few but I think perhaps my favourite quilt might be the Altitude Quilt i made for Dashwood Studios to showcase their Altitude fabric line. It was my first large hand pieced quilt, unfortunately it is no longer with me - it has gone missing somewhere boo hoo! Although my Poppies quilt and Polaroid quilt are strong contenders too! Quilt's aside it might have to be the top i made recently at the Overlocker class - i'm now totally in love with the overlocker and how quickly you can make clothes on it - complete convert!

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Wow, Those quilts seriously make me want to give quilting a go!! With ‘vloggers’ & instagram etc being more & more popular, do you have anyone or anything that inspires you?

I can spend hours trawling through hashtags on Instagram and getting lost discovering new ideas, colour ways and people to follow. 

I’m sure there is many, but what is your proudest Sewing Achievement?

I was recently asked to be featured in a book all about English Paper Piecing written by Florence Knapp (she's a bit of a big deal in quilting circles haha). There's a wee interview in there with me and a photo of one of my quilts. It was such an honour to be featured and amazing to see my work in print.

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No way, that is so cool! Well done!! So for those of you who might soon see you at one of our Dundee classes, How long you have worked at sew confident?

I taught my first Beginners Class in May 2017 and fell in love with teaching straight away, i mean what can be better than spending hours sharing your passion with lovely people and getting lots of tea and biccies at the same time! I have since taken the Beginners class, Baby Accessory class, Hand Embroidery, Machine Doodles, Rope Bowl, Memory Blanket. I mean i love it so much i have just agreed to take on the Dundee Franchise and cannot wait to get stuck right in and see just how much more sewing we can bring to the City - exciting times ahead!

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Tracey The Terrific Tutor

HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY? 2018 is sure flying in, but another month almost over means its time to meet another lovely Sew Confident customer...or in this case, past customer and current Sew Confident TUTOR x

Everyone say a big hello to Tracey! Now some of you may recognise Tracey, as after starting out as a Sew Confident customer she is now actually one of our tutors!

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

Nearly 6 years

2.     Why did you start sewing?

My son has Down's Syndrome, and when he was born and diagnosed one of the first things I read was that his legs and arms would be shorter so I had a sudden need to sew, so that he would never have baggy trousers

3.   That is such a great reason,  What sewing project are you most proud of?

I made a coat for a little boy with additional needs that was adapted to incorporate the framing on his arm

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4.     That jacket is AMAZING, that was so nice of you! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I'm not sure, they don't ask me to do much for them, they know me too well...

5.     I'm sure they are all very impressed with your skills! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

My quilting ruler, I use it for EVERYTHING!

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6.     If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Stop doubting yourself, stop being afraid to try something and fail, it's how you learn

7.     That is some great advice! Talking of failing...Have you had any sewing disasters?

I could write a book, many many sewing disasters. One made my son a pair of jeans and when it came to near the end I had to over lock the edge of the faux fly, I forgot to turn the blade off on my overlocker and cut the leg in half 🤣. I once sewed a circle skirt to the bodice of a dress, but to the neckline instead of the waist. It was stretch velvet so impossible to unpick

8.     Haha, You could have passed it off as some over exaggerated clown coller! How many classes have you attended at Sew Confident?  What was your favourite and why?

I'm not sure actually, quite a few. The intermediate class was really the point where I gained the confidence to sew without supervision. I love the sewcial too, it's great to sew with like minded people and make some new friends.

9.     What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

I really want to start tailoring and make a gown. I just want to keep improving and trying new things

10.  Well you defiantly have the skills to tackle a gown, that's for sure.What projects do you have on the go right now?

Im a master sewcrastinator. I have a few jersey dresses, a woven dress and a purse on the go and I'm. Putting together a pattern for a pair of jeans.

11.  'Sewcrastinator', love that haha! Finally Tracey, What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Do it !! Don't be afraid to give it a go and don't be afraid of making mistakes, it's how you learn!

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If you think Tracey seems great fun (which she is!) be sure to join on our beginners or hoodie classes to say Hello!

Why I’ve Vowed to be a Selfish Sewer!

Why I’ve Vowed to be a Selfish Sewer!

Guest blog post from Sew Confident Customer, Amanda.

 

This week I have completed the Friday Pattern Company Joni jumpsuit with the Sew Along live, made two pairs of shorts for my little girls & got along the Sew your Own Bikini class! Epic sewing week! I’m so chuffed to have gotten so much done and tackled new projects and techniques!! Winner! I think it feels particularly good, because this week I also completed my last EVER paid for sewing work & I can honestly say I’m delighted!
I started sewing for me, and me alone! I’ve been a stay at home mum for 4 years and learning to sew gave me a challenge, got me out of the house, taught me new
skills and gave me a sense of achievement. Initially I focused on making clothes for my daughters, Grace & Ella. I discovered the amazing Jilly Atlanta patterns for girls
and made the girls so many little blouses and pinafores. It seemed every time we went anywhere everyone commented on their outfits, insisting I should sell them!
Obviously this is beyond lovely, for a novice sewer to hear and I very quickly had dreams of my little empire.

 

 


So, I did it! It was easy, I got a little Instagram account, sent a few freebies to some
‘mummy bloggersʼ and before I knew it the orders were coming in!
Initially I was buzzing, but very quickly I felt so under pressure. Making things for my
own girls had been a joy, it had been fun and creative, but suddenly I was
scrutinising every seam, worrying about fit not to mention competing with more
similar instagram shops than I could ever imagine! It was stressed beyond belief and
I hadnʼt made a single thing for me or my girls in months!
Now, all this might have been fine if I was living a life of luxury with all my new found
earnings, but let me tell you I wasn’t even close! I was covering my costs, but if I
was to actually factor in paying myself for my time I was actually at a loss.
I found, to my surprise my little business of dreams was actually crushing my
creativity. It was boring, a one woman production line churning out the same again &
again & again.


On the plus side I was sewing more than ever. The order book dictated that I needed
to sew every day, but far from being the stuff of dreams, it was a chore, although, my
sewing was getting better with every order. I had more confidence, but this actually
made me resent the orders even more. With my increased skill set I wanted to tackle
new more difficult patterns, make things for myself and actually wear them. Fabric
shopping and pattern buying became my joy, my little pleasure, but it was all just
sitting there in an ever increasing pile! I lost myself in the Instagram accounts of
@SewMeSunshine, @I_seam_sew_happy_xx and Sew Confidentʼs very own
@made_by_amrit. I took note of new pattern ideas & fabric shops. Iʼd spend a
fortune (donʼt tell my husband!) on patterns & fabrics, but made nothing that was
actually for myself.

So, in May I decided to take no more orders and get back to the buzz of sewing for
me and my girls and itʼs a thrill again! Iʼd honestly forgotten how good it is to sit at the
machine for pleasure
, for me. To escape into the pattern, sit there with a cuppa & the
radio on and just enjoy it! Iʼve got major catching up to do, a hit list of makes and I
canʼt wait to get cracking with them!

It would still be a dream to find a way to make a living out of sewing, but safe to say
sewing for others is not the way for me!

This is @marthashappilyeverafter (mummy blogger) little girl on her 1st birthday wearing one of my outfits...this was a high point!!

This is @marthashappilyeverafter (mummy blogger) little girl on her 1st birthday wearing one of my outfits...this was a high point!!

Amandas Pattern Hit List:

'Seamwork' Heidi shorts

'Simple Sew' Shannon shorts

 'Tilly & The Buttons' Bettine

'Vogue' very easy dress (V9312)

'Vogue' Very easy jumpsuit (V9321)

'By Hand London' Charlotte skirt!