My name is Eimear and I live in Galway in the west of Ireland. This blog started off as bit of a ‘pet project’ to see if I could make all my own clothes, as I had started to notice a certain imbalance in the way we buy (and throw) clothing. Charity shops have far more clothes than they can sell, and a lot of clothing consumption is done without a thought for social and environmental impact. Some donated clothes to charity shops are good but don’t sell as they are the wrong shape or size, so I also wanted to see if it was possible to remake them – and remake them better.
I used sew as a teen and when I left school, I did an apprenticeship in factory cutting, before going to fashion college (changing later to Fine Art print), so I am able to pattern draft and sew – however in the intervening years, I got lazy and clothes got cheaper and I bought them, and because of this my sewing became even lazier and with far too many (not-so) short cuts. I also decided to start using vintage clothes patterns as the cuts were so much more interesting, and that the varied sewing techniques used would also assist in fixing the bad habits. . The one main ‘caveat’ was to finish everything I made even if I thought it was not going anywhere – even to a tacked hem stage as there is really nothing more de-motivating that a bag full of unfinished sewing projects.
So piece by piece my wardrobe is now nearly me-made. Some of the items are bought a long time ago and I still love and wear them, others I have bought from the charity shop and they were fine as they were, and in all I figure 75% of what I wear is me-made. I bought no new clothes since 2013 (besides shoes) and I have not felt the need to either. I try and buy from the reduced rail in the charity shop as I figure it’s nearer landfill, and I am not taking a ‘good wearable item’, and in turn this becomes a challenge in itself! I generally remake, but I will also make from fabric lengths if I can get suitable fabric, as I love to experiment with vintage patterns and cuts.
When choosing clothes to remake, I generally try to stick to natural fibres as they will work well. Fast fashion labels I avoid as the fabric is often too thin, and as I intend to get years of wear from my remakes, these fabrics don’t quite cut it.
Remaking has many advantages –
- the fabric has already proved it durability and laundering (so no shrinkage)
- The hand/fall/hang of the garment is evident so its easier to assess suitability
- its an inexpensive way to learn and perfect sewing techniques
- its an inexpensive way to build a basic wardrobe
- its a good challenge for sewing and pattern making skills
- and the environmental aspect of saving garments from potential landfill/down-cycling, not buying new, and the hand made is potentially better made and longer lasting.
I am also now developing a range of sewing patterns suitable to use for ‘upcycling’ as I found adapting commercial patterns was not always suitable.
Thanks for dropping by,