I’m Char and I blog over at t*rexes and tiaras. I wasn’t quite sure what to write when Haydy asked for a guest post, but the thing I get asked the most is my handmade wardrobe, so I figured I’d start there.
Having never really been one for “fitting in” when I was a kid, I would always look for ways to alter, embellish or change the way my clothes looked. When I was in my teens, I’d try to make the things which I’d imagined, but having no background knowledge of textiles or garment construction, they never quite turned out how I’d imagined.
When I finished Uni, I took evening classes in dressmaking and it was as though something had suddenly clicked. I traded in my Nan’s ancient Jones machine and armed with a new machine all of a sudden, this language of pattern symbols and markings made sense to me and I was ready to make the sorts of clothes I wanted to wear, but had never managed to find on the high street.
I have always been drawn to quirky prints, 50s styles and shopping for my own patterns and fabrics enables me to make exactly what I want. I tend to share my makes on my Instagram page. Another benefit for a self-confessed shopaholic like myself, is that it can work out so much more cost-effective to make your own clothes, particularly if you have access to decent fabric shops, markets or know the places to shop online. As a serial high street shopper, I’d often spend £60+ on a cotton dress, whereas I’ll tend to spend less than 1/3 of that on the materials needed to make one of my own, which I know is likely to fit me better as it’s made to my actual measurements.
I’m quite a creative person and always like to be *doing* something, so it’s great that I can spend a couple of hours cutting out and putting together something new to wear at the end of it. I also love the fact that there is always something new to learn, be it tackling a new garment, some new method of finishing off, or getting to grips with a new function on my sewing machine.
With the recent popularity of the Great British Sewing Bee, Pinterest and handmade in general, dressmaking has seen something of a revival recently and it’s a lot easier to get started than it once was. So many haberdashery stores now run, or at least can advise you on classes and local teachers.
In terms of sewing machines, I believe it’s always best to go for the best that you can afford. I bought mine on offer last year and it’s a lot more fancy than I’d planned to go for, but I’m slowly learning more about it’s functions.
Hopefully that’s given you a couple of the reasons why I like my hobby so much, and maybe even inspired someone else to give it a go.