I have always sewn – from my teens onwards, I learnt how to make my own clothes. My mother taught me the basics (as she had always made some of her own clothes) and I became quite ambitious. I wish I had photos of some of the clothes I have made over the years – I made a reversible satin parka once!
But over the last couple of decades, I have made less and less – I still don’t really understand why. Then a few years ago, came the Great British Sewing Bee – I never missed an episode. At some point in 2015, I really started to look properly at fabrics in shops again and became inspired to start buying a few pieces of fabric.
I realised that there were very good reasons to start sewing my own clothes again. Firstly, that like many people, I felt slightly guilty about overconsuming. I hardly needed any of the clothes that I was buying. I wanted to have a closer relationship with what I was wearing – to feel that I had ‘earned’ them in some way and that they belonged to me. And as my shape has become less and less standard as I have got older, most of the clothes that I bought didn’t really fit me well.
I am fairly short (5’3″), with a big bust. My waist has also got larger in middle age, but my hips and bottom are resolutely small! I also have really skinny legs, so I am a triangle shape. Trousers that fit me around the waist are too big on the bum, and blouses always pull across the bust. Making my own clothes has meant that I can address all these issues and make things that actually fit.
I started buying vintage patterns on ebay as they often were a better shape for my figure than contemporary patterns.
Then I found that there were new independent designers offering a totally different look and experience. Around the New Year of 2016, I discovered Sew Over It, ordered a few patterns and I became hooked! (Although I do have to do a full bust adjustment on them).
So 2016 was the year that I started to obsess about sewing. From Sew Over It, I discovered Lisa Comfort’s vlog, then other vloggers such as Rosa from Sewn. Then Seamwork and The Foldline and that was it – there was no going back!
I now won’t buy any item of clothing that I can make. Since the Spring, I have bought shoes, underwear and cardigans – everything else I have made. Sometimes, finding time to actually make all the things in my head is almost impossible – I probably manage to make 1-2 things a month. I wanted to start blogging about my experiences because, though I have been inspired by other bloggers, they do all seem very young to me! I thought there might be room for someone who still cares about what she wears in her 50s and wants it to be the best that she can possibly make.