The Joy of Casual Sewing

Currently, I make clothing so frequently I hardly purchase any. I’m a former style enthusiast and I believe making your own clothes is so much fun even though occasionally you’ll stab yourself with hooks.

If I had been a film star on a runway being requested that ridiculous “who are you wearing?” Question, I really could very honestly state: “Well. I’m wearing me, really.” Knowing my luck, the camera will then zoom onto a stray thread or a wonky hemline, but I might still seem just a little bit happy with myself for a minimum of five seconds.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t so long ago I could hardly sew a button, let alone a buttonhole; I wasn’t one of those girls who did textiles and had a year 11 tutor who could teach me, at the time my priorities lay elsewhere. Today, I make the majority of the clothing in my wardrobe. The very first thing people say to me once I tell them I make my own clothing is generally something along the lines of: “Oh I WISH I could do this!” Nonetheless, it’s actually not as tough as you might believe.

Before sewing, I had been hooked to quick trends. My wardrobe overflowed with ill-fitting and cheap brands that looked about as good on me as my boyfriend’s basketball shirts. If I could get it for under a tenner, then I was happy. Now, I hardly buy anything.

It all started one summer, I believed it’d be interesting to get out the old sewing machine in the family attic. Without a user guide to hand, I very nearly broke it in the first hour I spent trying to thread the needle. It took approximately five YouTube videos, some help from my mother and a great deal of swearing until I finally got there.

Afterward, I not just sewed the waistband of my first-ever skirt on back to the front, I also stitched in the zipper the wrong way around. However, after a great deal of seam ripping, I had my very own, somewhat wonky, tulip skirt. All made by yours truly.

In the past few years since, I have stabbed myself using a seam ripper, pushed my housemates to insanity by leaving needles everywhere (sorry guys) and left a trail of lost thread where I go. I walk into stores and do not buy anything since I presume: “Eh. I could make this.”

Welcome to the lifetime endeavors of this casual sewist. You would think we are a rare Breed, but that isn’t so. The entire reason I got to stitching was since I had been so motivated by the vibrant neighborhood of innovative sewing bloggers on the market, whose woven wardrobes are like nothing you will ever find on the high road. In the classic couture of Gretchen Hirsch into the anyone-can-do-this vibe of Tilly Walnes, there’s absolutely no lack of inspiration out there for the budding sewer.

Should you sew enough, it turns into a lifestyle in itself. I’ve hardly Purchased new clothes for about three years now, relying rather on what I could make and what I could use in charity shops. Sewing makes second-hand shopping so much easier. Really like the print but despise the form of the garment? Take it apart and make it into something brand new. Once you can sew, there’s no end to the innovative ways you can upcycle clothes; from basketball hoodies and other sports apparel to hideous dresses and fascinators, anything can be changed into a beautiful garment through the power of sewing.


And last month, countless stitching bloggers, myself included, have been taking part in a month-long struggle to wear only the clothes they have made, created by the great sewing blogger Zoe Edwards. If you have ever believed you did not have time for stitching, do check out their instagrams. We are a diverse bunch with active lifestyles — Zoe for instance, makes clothing not only for herself, but also for her little girl.

There is always quite a great deal of pride when it comes to something you have created from scratch. I would not be caught dead in a number of the things which I made while I was a student and english tutor but in the moment, despite the fact that they were fraying and bunching and seemed somewhat like potato sacks, there was absolutely nothing greater than wearing something I had made myself.

Additionally, it makes you realise exactly how much work goes in the clothing you wear. Think placing in a zip line is tough? Just remember: there are an infinite number of garment employees doing just that to get barely a dollar a day.

Like anything, the more you sew, the better you get. I have gone from a wonky tulip skirt to my very first pair of pants. Back at home, I’ve got a jar filled with stuff I claim I cannot sew written on pieces of paper. In the future, I hope it is going to be empty.

Right now, I am unashamedly a maid of honor dress for my buddy’s wedding in June. Each time I post an update on Facebook or even Instagram, the grooms get fairly excited, I cannot wait to see how they respond once it is finished.

Obviously, I needed to go the extra mile for my very Best friend’s big day and, if you ask me, I much prefer this procedure compared to some mind-numbing day of searching the high road for the best dress to decide on their color scheme. It is likely to become a strapless piece in burgundy, created from polka-dot flocked tulle over crepe-back satin. Do not worry if this sounds like complete nonsense — you become accustomed to the sewing talk after a time!

Hopefully one day, I will no longer need to buy clothes at all…. But for now, I’m a casual seamstress!