I love fashion. And nowadays I love to refashion, often using fabric harvested from high street fashion sale items or charity shop finds. I love shopping and seeking out new projects. I love vintage. I love spotting fashion revivals. I love spotting the trends and then recreating them to suit me. I shop as a hobby, and used to shop as part of my job, but it’s a habit and an obsession that I can’t give up.
I have made and worn my own clothes for many years. For me there’s nothing more satisfying than wearing something I’ve made, that no-one else has. Sometimes I just enjoy the pleasure of the sewing! I can’t even remember when it started – but on and off over the years – I haven’t found what I want in the shops so – what do I do? When I can’t find what I want I make it.
Starting with jumble sales, in the 80’s as a fashion student, I would spend pennies, then alter these clothes, add a collar, reshape them, then maybe even cut off the sleeves! There were also many High street fabric shops back then.
In my days in industry, as a designer/pattern-cutter, there were always spare bits of fabric to use. It was when I left and went to work at the Edinburgh College of Art that I realised the lack of availability of fabrics in the shops compared to the fabric we would source at exhibitions like Fabrex in London and Premier Vision in Paris. It took me a long time to work through my stash of fabric from my days in industry, but when I finally did I was stuck for where to go to find the fabrics I liked. So on and off over the years I developed a method of searching the many charity shops and the cheaper high street stores looking for fabrics I like and they offer me limitless supplies. Not only do I find fabrics I like and can afford but sometimes the clothes I pick are already partly made for me. I can often buy two of the same thing if extra fabric is required and it’s usually cost effective too!
I would buy shirts, when what I really wanted was a bow neck top! So when I was tired of them, instead of the recycling bag, I thought, is there enough fabric in the sleeves to make the bow neck I wanted? And there was.
These are things I’ve done for years. It wasn’t until I realised the interest in the ‘Great British Sewing Bee‘ that it occurred to me that others may be interested.
My way of working originated from always having the desire to create, make and sew, but not always being able to find the right fabric or having the funds to do so!
I now have three favourite areas:
- The order of the construction of a garment.
- Quick fixes, which covers anything from an alteration to making something to wear immediately.
- Pattern cutting and making samples for independent fashion designers.
I have spent the majority of my working life pattern-cutting, but understanding the construction of clothing and sewing, makes the pattern-cutting easier. Each part is key in consolidating the other. They are each interrelated.
I will include elements of pattern-cutting, sewing and construction in this blog but my main focus will be to provide hints, tips and details on producing well finished garments as I work on various projects.