Sustainable Sewing

So we’re now into the swing of Me Made May, having just come through Fashion Revolution week, and seeing all the posts on Instagram of the people who are taking part makes me realise that:

  1. I really do make too much stuff that’s impractical for everyday office wear (Alexander Henry dresses, I’m looking  at you), and
  2. There are ginormous gaps in my wardrobe that need to be filled before I can successfully rock a mostly me-made closet (even just for one month of the year)

Just a selection of my makes that are totally unsuitable as office wear 🤣

Sustainable and responsible fashion is always a hot topic around this time of year, and it’s got me reflecting on my own personal sewing journey.

Sewing for me is just a hobby – in ‘real life’, I’m an accountant and work full-time in finance in an advertising agency in London. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to have a creative job, but life hasn’t worked out that way (yet). I’m grateful at least that I get to work in a creative industry, even if it doesn’t directly apply to my role (let’s not get confused with ‘creative accounting’ here, which is a term used to describe some accounting treatment or reporting which is slightly dodge and/or illegal, lol 🤑). I’m fortunate that my career allows me the luxury of being able to buy materials to indulge my passion – had I have pursued a more creative career, I may not be in this same position. So you know, swings and roundabouts and all that.

I started this blog in January 2017, when I hadn’t been sewing clothes very long (yep, true – I’ve only been making for a couple of years), and had only made a handful of things. I arbitrarily decided that I’d post once a week, on a Sunday, not only because I felt that would give me the weekend to put the finishing touches to the post, but also because I didn’t really have a better plan. I was new to the blogging lark and didn’t really know what the norm was. And still don’t, so I’m just gonna carry on doing my thang.

As I already had a handful of garments that I’d made in the couple of years prior, a head start if you will, I went out and photographed them all in preparation for the launch of the blog. Three posts in the bag with no sewing required – boom. Almost a year and a half in, I’ve never missed a weekly post. BUT – is this sustainable? One garment a week, for the foreseeable future? And it’s not just the sewing, it’s the photographing (and scouting a good location), and the writing of the blog post that goes along with it. I don’t do things by halves, so you’re not going to see any living room or back garden shots from me – a photoshoot means finding a location that compliments the colour/style of the outfit, and then getting the husband-slash-photographer out with his DSLR to take some shots. I’m aiming to rival Vogue’s photoshoots with mine, dahling 💁‍♀️

Photography is another hobby of ours, so it made sense to incorporate this into the blog too – but it does increase the maintenance levels. Which I realise is by my own choice. On the flip side though, it’s time that we get to spend together – outdoors, the husband gets to improve his photography skills and I get to enjoy matching outfits to locations, which for me is as enjoyable as matching fabrics to sewing patterns.

Vogue Badgley Mischka V1534 black satin and gold sequin dress

Probably my most favourite photo shoot to date – it came out exactly as I imagined it in my head! It was bloody freezing though

Early on in this blog’s life, I’d only work on one post at a time – whatever I fancied posting on that coming Sunday. Then after that was live, I’d start to work on the next one. It wasn’t until quite a way in that I decided I should really have a schedule, so that I’m not photographing short sleeve shirts in the freezing cold (yep, that happened). I realised that this approach was reactive rather than proactive, especially with the unpredictable British weather which in a matter of minutes could destroy all plans of photographing finished makes. There had to be some sort of wiggle room, in case of a sudden downpour or even snow.

I discovered that I’m much better off having as many posts on the go as I have sewing projects – and updating them each week as I make progress on the garments, that way I don’t forget the struggles and little niggles that I had with each because I can write as I go along, when it’s more fresh in my memory. And batch-photographing once a month, rather than having to go out every week, seems to work out better. Yes, it does mean a whole day out traipsing round London finding places to change (usually public toilets – I know, ewwww – but I have been known to change (v quickly) hiding behind corners in not-so-busy areas). If you see a half-naked girl in a corner of Brick Lane on a Saturday, it’s probably me.

I also learned that you absolutely, positively must have a backup stash of posts, should things take an unexpected turn.

At the start of January this year, I suffered a serious head injury. A very dark (and reflective on how lucky I was to be alive) few weeks followed this. There was no sewing, because of both physical and mental conditions – once the initial concussion subsided, I had muscular injuries and couldn’t sit at the table to sew, and I couldn’t concentrate. Even if I could, my mind wasn’t in the right place at that point in time. As well as no sewing, there was also no blogging. I couldn’t stare at a screen for very long, and my cognitive capabilities at that time were equal to that of a rubber band. Thankfully, I had blog posts already written and photographed, so that all that needed to be done was to make them live – cue the husband 😘 – and to you guys, the blog carried on as normal while I focussed on healing myself. If I was still following my old approach to blogging – writing one post at a time and finishing it off right up until the wire – the whole thing would have ground to a halt.

Once all this was over and things began to return to normal, I thought – should I set myself these targets? One post a week? Or should I aim to post only whenever I’ve made something? Do we really need to put more pressure on ourselves, in an already ridiculously pressured existence?

Posting once a week, that’s 52 blog posts a year. Let’s say that 45 of them are actual garments. Do I need 45 new items of clothing a year? How many garments is too many for one person? Does this go against the idea of ‘sustainability’ – consuming more than you need? I know we’re all guilty of being underwhelmed by some of the things we’ve made, and having them sit at the back of wardrobes unworn, or given to charity. How do I minimise the impact of these? Recycle them into pocket linings? It’s harder when you’re first learning, when you’re trying out different styles and trying to find your vibe and improve your skills. There will inevitably be garments that don’t work out. Even thought I feel like I’ve made so many things, I’d take a guess at saying that only 60% of them now have a permanent place in my wardrobe. Obviously I’m hoping that with time, I’m getting better at choosing colours, fabrics and styles so that I can boost that success rate, but what happens in the meantime?

Burda 6772 Red and Gold Damask Coat

The first coat I ever made, which does not get worn. The construction is rubbish, and the fabric is horrible – but I learned a heck of a lot from it.

I’m also thinking about sustainability in a more selfish way, and that’s sustainability for me personally. One year ago, I started an Etsy shop – WanderStitchStudio (which you can check out here, if you fancy a nosey). We invested £500 into buying materials, and sewing up an initial batch of items for sale. At the time, I was reluctant to start the shop because I thought that we’d never see that £500 again, and that’s a lot of money. Sales were slow to begin with, and we sold less than 10 items a month. But then it got to December, and the Christmas rush brought in over 80 orders that month. We were not prepared for this, and our days consisted of working our regular full-time jobs, then coming home and sewing and packaging up the orders until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer.

 

I looked forward to January, when the sales would drop off, as this was wonderful but most definitely NOT sustainable. Except the thing is, the sales haven’t dropped off as much as I was expecting – we’re still getting in over 30 orders a month, which for simplicity’s sake let’s say is one order per day. That means that most evenings, I’m getting in from work and sewing orders for the shop. This used to be my blog sewing and writing time, so it goes without saying that my wonderful plan of writing and photographing in advance is starting to fall behind. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the shop is doing well and am so grateful for it – never in my wildest dreams did I expect success – but as my time is a limited resource that means that something has to give. And that something has turned out to be my personal sewing time.

But is this a bad thing? Do I really need to make that many garments a year? At the moment, I’m still lucky that there are DEFINITELY some gaps in my wardrobe, which I’m aiming to fill with me-mades. Jeans and trousers are a very large hole, and sewing for the husband is also something I wanted to expand on. But what happens when we have everything we need? I LOVE making coats, but what happens when I have more than enough? How many coats is too many? Making items for the sake of making them isn’t aligned with the idea of sustainability. Should I feel guilty that I have such a consuming hobby?

8 coats and counting… I’ve got at least another 5 planned :/

I could say that these garments are ‘learnings’, but then what happens when I reach a standard that is ‘good enough’? Should the making then slow down, and garments only made as and when they are required? Like when things wear out? Or should I mend and repair those things, rather than making new? Sewing is a very consuming hobby, not like the other things I enjoy. If I want to learn a new piece on the piano, all I need is a book and my hands. I theoretically could get to a professional level by only ever consuming sheet music. If I wanted to get better at running, I just put my shoes on and move my ass faster. Ok so with running I’d consume trainers and clothes (and a fancy GPS watch perhaps 😍), but the consumption of materials is still less than with sewing. (On a separate note, I’m considering buying a coverstitch machine and making my own running clothes , thus tying my two interest together).

I sort of reached this same point with cross stitch – I’ve done several pieces over the years, some of which I’m really proud of, but have not yet been framed and hung on the wall. That’s part of the reason I sort of stopped doing them – what happens when you run out of wall space? What do you do with the finished pieces, other than stand back and admire your achievement?

Here’s a couple of my faves:

(yep, I love Japanese stuff)

I would like to get to a point where my wardrobe is 100% handmade, or as close to as possible (because I do actually love some of my RTW stuff), but when I’ve reached that point – then what? Do I just keep making things and infinitely expanding my wardrobe, just because I enjoy it? or do I move onto making shoes, or bags? What happens when I have enough of those?

Which brings me back round to this blog, and trying to alter its path a little to keep it sustainable. Various approaches have been going through my head, to try to keep it going but in a more sustainable way. ‘In progress’ blog posts are one option I’m thinking about, especially with larger and more complex items like coats. More details-focussed posts are also good, I really must take more pictures of the garment in progress – it shouldn’t just be about the finished item, as this doesn’t help with learning techniques or understanding what goes in to constructing a garment. Pretty photos are nice to look at but I want my blog to cover everything up to that point too – the choice of fabric, the construction techniques, what went right and what was an utter shambles.

The husband is also learning to sew, so I’ve promised him that he can be a ‘guest blogger’ with his makes from time to time, giving a male – and also a total beginners – perspective on making. It turns out he has extremely expensive tastes in fabric and has bought a remnant of Prada silk to make a top for me (a Grainline Scout tee, *if* we have enough fabric), and some Versace jersey to make himself a T-shirt with this Mimi G pattern:

I’m also going to do more posts around what things are currently on my sewing table and how they’re going, what I’m thinking about sewing, which of my makes have been a success and earned a regular place in my wardrobe (and which have not, and why), and maybe a monthly roundup of what’s happening in Wanderstitch-land. Because let’s not forget, successful finished garments are great but they are only the tip of the sewing iceberg. And I’m saying that to remind myself, more than anything.

How do you guys feel about the future of your sewing? Is it ok to keep making purely for the enjoyment, rather than the necessity?

Do you have a blog? If so, do you have a schedule? Do you only post finished projects or talk about other things as well?

If you don’t have a blog but you’re a reader, what do you like to read about?

Do you buy fabric as and when it’s needed, or do you have a ginormous stash of fabric?

What do you do with all your makes – do they mostly all get worn? Do you gift the ones you don’t wear? Donate them to charity?

I’m really interested to hear from you all, give me your two cents in the comments 👇🏻

Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… an uber-posh black satin skirt in Prada crepe 😍 Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!  

Simplicity 1099 skirt in black Prada satin

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22 Comments

  1. Angela Dent
    May 13, 2018 / 7:26 am

    I’m a newbie sewist who can totally relate to your thoughts. I try to make clothes for endurance rather than quick fashion pieces and try to recycle fabric for toiles or donate it to charity shops for them to weigh in. It is a big dilemma though. I love your idea of posts on your progress and details of your making . I love to read your posts and love the inner details and thoughts that go alongside a project and hopefully it could make the blog more sustainable for you. Whatever you decide I really thank you , and your husband, for all the effort that goes into this incredible blog and hope you get as much enjoyment from making it as I do from reading it.

  2. Sam
    May 13, 2018 / 7:53 am

    Hi Sarah, I only found your blog recently on an IG recommendation about your post about setting up a blog, which was really useful but I still haven’t done it yet as I fear blogging will eat into my sewing time! My wardrobe is now mainly handmade and I have the same thoughts about how many more dresses can I make but I just love the creative process & I consider I’m doing my bit towards sustainability & the rest of it by not buying from the high street.
    As a reader I like to hear about the nitty gritty of the struggles of a particular pattern or fabric, looking back that is why I started reading blogs, finding someone who already had made it for particular techniques or approaches, so in progress blogs would be useful as would fails. And maybe one at the end of Me Made May on your thoughts – although I’m joining in MMM, I’m not posting my outfits, as I don’t have the benefit of either a talented photographer/hubby or tripod, so can’t be bothered with the faff but what I will be doing is seriously culling the stuff that remained at the back of the wardrobe despite them being weather appropriate, whether that’s to the charity shop or repurposing.
    As for fabric stash, I reckon if I stayed at home for a year & sewed I wouldn’t run out of patterns or fabric, I bought 5 pieces yesterday but only spent about £30, so I think there are worse habits!
    Glad you’re not giving up on the blogging & thinking of different ways to approach it & that the Etsy shop has taken off, maybe you could do a post on the struggles of setting up an Etsy shop & why you think it’s suddenly taken off?

  3. Helen
    May 13, 2018 / 8:06 am

    My handmade wardrobe is only small but I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the amount if things I was sewing that just sat in my wardrobe. Me made may has made me feel better as I’m now going to treat some of them as “every day” rather than “special occassion”. I’m also thinking if different ways I can enjoy my sewing without increasing my wardrobe. I’ve slowed down recently and I’m also looking at other things I can make such as bags and may be patchwork (I have a growing collection of leftover scraps which I’d feel better if I could use up in some way!)

  4. May 13, 2018 / 8:10 am

    I really don’t see why you can’t wear those dresses to work. It would certainly liven up the workplace.😜😜

  5. Cindy
    May 13, 2018 / 8:33 am

    Hello , my love, you are this 60 year old guilty pleasure, I run noahsark87 see Facebook animal abuse farm, I sew at night, mainly dog coats and doggy nappies for very sick abused dogs.
    I have 20 mins in bed with a coffee , on a sunday then it’s up, cleaning up and ‘re setting hospital pens, giving drugs, cleaning bums etc etc then the days rescues and treats for our guests a walk a 5 min cuddle just for them and a DOGGIE choc.
    Please don’t stop once a week, I adore your makes and you spur me on to sew a dress for me at 3am ….
    Take care and have a Gin… I find one a night helps no end x
    Cindy

  6. May 13, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Me too. I think just finishing a garment to show is a lot of pressure for anyone., especially working full time.

  7. May 13, 2018 / 8:51 am

    Hello Sarah, I have been following your blog for a while and find your writing most enjoyable and though-provoking. I am in my late fifties and had to give up work after a brain injury which led to a year in a rehabilitation clinic, A few years on, I am just getting back to sewing, knitting and painting and showing myself a bit more self-care. I love seeing how colourful your makes are and I especially enjoyed your husbands ‘fur’ coat which I wanted for myself – and might make for winter. You have had a difficult time and should take the chance to re-evaluate your priorities. Whatever you decide to do, I am looking forward to your writing and long may it continue. Thank you for your blog and your deep musings. Hugs and much love to you and your hus-beast.

  8. Nancy May
    May 13, 2018 / 9:11 am

    I enjoy reading your blogs, you have a great writing style, which is easily readable. Please keep it up. Hope you are much better from your injury….. You have spured me on to make for my self and my granddaughters, so I have lots to do yet.

  9. May 13, 2018 / 9:37 am

    Make what you want, as long as it isn’t making you feel bad [and it sounds as if it might be starting to do that]. It’s early days for you still- I’ve been sewing for forty years, and can only really think of myself as being any good, or knowing what will work, in the last five or 6 years! I made about 40 items last year, most of them much loved and much worn. 2 or 3 are sitting scowling at me from the wardrobe though…I would normally send them to the charity shop, but having heard recently that most handmades get shredded, not sold, I may try to recycle the fabric where feasible.
    Allow yourself to make on impulse with cheap fabrics, but keep the good stuff for real consideration. Enter SWAP or similar, it forces you to plan and think about a collection, which is good discipline [not always, I still like me some impulse sewing]. Don’t stress the blogging, or the photography- sheesh woman, control fiend or what? Chill, enjoy. Maybe do a deal with yourself and set up a ratio for your indulgences…bread and cake?
    I love your posts but I certainly don’t follow any blogs by thinking ‘tut tut it’s Saturday shouldn’t xxx have posted something?’ I blog randomly, no one seems to mind!

  10. May 13, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Because I like to do things in an orderly fashion, I’ll just answer your questions in the order in which they appear:

    – I am not a fast maker, unless I get a wild hare and stay up all night chain-sewing 3 of something. That happens about once a year. Because of my lack of speed, it is unlikely that my making will ever out-pace my wardrobe needs.

    – I have a blog. I tend to forget about it. I post random things. I avoid posting finished projects because it requires me to take photos, which I hate doing, and usually photos of myself, which I hate even more.

    – My list of blogs I follow is based more on the voice/tone of the blogger than it is on what they post. That said, I do enjoy a variety of posts – finished object, planning, in-progress, technical tips, etc.

    – I have a GIGANTIC stash because I have been sewing for like 26 of my 33 years of life. Unfortunately that means that a good chunk of that stash is no longer to my taste. Or, to be honest, was never my taste to begin with but OMG SALE. I’m sure you know what I mean. I have been trying to use up the ancient pieces on muslins and test runs.

    – The only garments that I’ve made and kept are the ones that have sentimental value (e.g., the dress I wore to my friend’s wedding), but I honestly will probably drop those off at the donation center soon; I have no problem with donating the clothes that I make and then decide not to put into constant rotation. Clothes are clothes, and the ones I make are probably of much higher quality than a lot of the crap that gets donated. And rag bales make money for nonprofits, so if that’s the fate of some (or all) of my makes, then at least it was for a worthy cause and got them out of my house. =)

  11. May 13, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    I’m having a similar ethical quandry with sewing. My wardrobe is mostly handmade at this point so what to do? So far I been using my remnants for little projects and scrap rugs. As for new items, I’m focusing on replacing older items that aren’t as well made and still filling those pesky gaps! I do have a small blog and I post finished items when I please but I’m wondering if process posts aren’t a better way to go, too. Less pressure to have finished garments for posts. I like reading your blog and I’d be interested to see how you fill out your wardrobe for everyday wear.

  12. May 13, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    I do have a ridiculously large fabric stash in relation to how fast I sew that’s for sure! I’m struggling to stop that habit because honestly I just don’t have the room for it. I do blog but post once a month. I have 4 web sites to attend to, send out a newsletter every month and honestly that’s enough writing for me. Since returning to sewing 3 years ago (after more than a 40 yr hiatus!) I’ve gotten much better at planning my sewing, not buying ANY rtw, and better able to vision beforehand things I need and/or like to wear. I always do a practice run with thrifted fabric affording myself ample opportunity to flub to my heart’s content and means my final makes do get worn. I don’t produce typically more than one garment a month and I don’t buy any rtw so honestly 12 garments (including undies) does not cause my closet to overflow 🙂 My husband decided he wanted to learn to sew too but when I realized he actually wanted to make clothes for ME I nixed that idea immediately. No way do I have anywhere near the opportunity to wear clothes someone else makes for me AND what I make for myself. Nor would I want to deal with the aftermath if I don’t like what he’s conjured 🙂 Peace is far more important to me than tons of clothes 🙂

  13. Rebecca in SoCal
    May 13, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for just a short while, and have been impressed with the discipline of the weekly post!

    Backstory: I am 60 years old; I used to sew clothes when young because it was often cheaper AND I could make better quality than I could afford. Plus there was the unique factor…I’ll never forget the day I showed up at work wearing the same shirt as an older, dumpier woman. The “cheaper” part changed, and so did my body, becoming larger and harder to fit. I switched to quilting. For a couple decades, I learned many techniques and produced a LOT of tops (or flimsies) that now need quilting. When that seemed too difficult, I somehow started to see and follow garment sewists. It only gradually seeped into my mind that many who blog or Instagram produce for the sake of producing and showing, which doesn’t enthuse me.

    Regarding “stash”: I have several cuts of fabric I bought several years ago with specific plans that I never carried out, but do not buy garment fabric without a use in mind. I have been buying patterns, though (on sale on the Big 4 sites…so inviting). Also, my quilting cottons stash is another story. I was always amused when someone would ask what I was going to do with a piece. Why, fill in gaps in my stash, of course!

    I have been enjoying you and your colorful self-expression. I’ve been telling people about how impressed I was that I found this creative person who sustains herself with a practical job. I wish I had buckled down and done something like that instead of swanning about trying to decide my destiny, and am very glad my only niece is working a steady job which can support a life she likes.

    Your “impractical” Alexander Henry dresses hark back to one of my original motivations; uniqueness! They are such fun, but I hope you’re not making them to provide blog fodder. I would be interested in progress reports, good or bad. I’m wondering why you feel the pressure to do weekly blog posts? It seems an arbitrary goal you set for yourself. (Ooh, I just re-read, and that’s exactly what you said!) I doubt you would lose many followers if you slacked off a bit.

  14. Brenda Holmes
    May 13, 2018 / 10:29 pm

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and am constantly amazed by what you manage to get done, with a full time job and a commute. I sew mainly for charity, but do make clothes for myself now, after years of buying RTW. I found I couldn’t find styles and colours I liked, nor were many items made to a standard I could live with. I’ve made mainly casual wear, tunic tops and leggings, as I’m retired, so don’t have a need for professional looking clothing or ball gowns :-). I have never tackled a coat, but I’m tempted to make a fitted jacket. Next on the agenda are some summer dresses, but I’m currently losing weight, so need to wait for a bit.
    I have quite a large fabric stash, but mainly quilting cottons and some silks. I tend to buy fabric for clothing as and when I need it, as I’m fussy about matching the right kind of fabric for the garment. I don’t have the budget for your husband’s tastes, sadly. I look upon my stash as an investment, since fabric has risen in price so dramatically recently. At least that’s what I tell my hubby!
    I don’t believe it is possible to make a new garment every week. There is so much more to sewing than completing a garment and I’d love to read about the process, your learning, your mistakes (we all make ’em), fabric, haberdashery and pattern choices and all the paraphernalia that goes with sewing – including the help from your pets. I get lots of ‘assistance’ from my five cats. Last week I was cutting out on the floor, while one of my cats was stretched out on my cutting mat on the table. I know my place.
    Of course it’s okay to sew purely for enjoyment, rather than need. If we only fulfilled our needs, life would be terribly dull. Life should be fun, provided it’s not at the expense of others and that brings us back to sustainability, which relates to several areas in relation to sewing. One being the throw away fashion items generated by cheap garments that are causing such waste. Our sewing does not come into that category, we throw nothing away; I sew up my scraps and donate the smallest ones to a school art department where they make collages, and think of all the jobs we are sustaining with our purchases. When things go awry I remake items where possible.
    So glad you made a good recovery from your head injury.

  15. May 14, 2018 / 12:08 am

    I loved reading this post! I started my own blog a couple months ago (meganmakes.com/@doublebassgirl) and i debated for a long time about starting it because I didn’t want it to turn into a chore. I’d been sewing seriously for more than two years, and make lots of things (for myself and others, when I choose, not commissions) so I wasn’t worried about having enough things to post about. I just didn’t want a schedule! I do exactly as you used to do, writing one post at a time, and I figure if something happens and I’m unable to make things, I just won’t post anything. I think it’s a matter of why anyone chooses to blog, and your personality and what you want to get from it. For me, it’s a place to say more things than on Instagram and it’s for fun! If I don’t post regularly, I’m not fussed about it because I’m doing it for me, not for a higher propose like building a brand or gaining a following. And those reasons aren’t bad ones either – lots of amazing businesses in the sewing community have started that way. It’s just not how I want to make a living. I’m a musician and a music teacher who happens to be obsessed with sewing! The other thing is that I post in progress stuff on bigger projects, and I post things I’m baking, and also plan to post about my music things. So it takes the pressure off of a sense from garments. I know I’ve been long-winded, so I’ll shut up, but I think in progress stuff is just as interesting as finished garments! It feels like behind the scenes to read about to me.

  16. May 14, 2018 / 4:01 am

    Hi Sarah!

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as well. I also run the once-weekly blogging gig simply because that’s what I decided when I started. I like holding myself accountable to the schedule so I think it helps me to have a deadline, but on the other hand it does sometimes feel stressful, and I try really hard to make sure I’m never only making something ‘for the blog’. As a result, my blog goes on vacation when I go on vacation, and that happens about 3 times a year. I’m starting to struggle with it a bit more now because I’m working on my wedding dress, which is (obviously) taking longer than a week – so I’ve taken to posting updates on that project, but of course I’m behind anyways. I still haven’t worked out a rhythm for posting ‘unfinished’ things, even though I feel like I should sometimes because techniques I want to talk about in depth just get buried in everything else.

    I definitely think it’s important that you sew because of the enjoyment – necessity is one thing, but people do plenty of ridiculous things as hobbies in the grand scheme of things, and if yours means you’ve got twenty seven coats in your closet but you loved making all of them, then that rocks. Don’t let things that make you happy make you feel guilty. Like, at least you’re not into ice sculpting.

    If you want to keep the blog timeline but make fewer items, then talking about individual techniques, progress updates, and other things going on in the sewing community that you’re interested in are all great topics, and I love reading that stuff on other people’s blogs! I also really like reading posts on how garments have worked for people after the ‘new and shiny’ phase has worn off.

    Re: the stash – I tend to stash shiny things but I also try to only buy with an end goal in mind. I’m stash-fasting right now because there’s literally no more space for me to put fabric, so I have to turn some of it into clothes before I can buy more. I live in a small house, though, so I have a small stash. (there’s fabric in the hatch under the window seat, under the bed, stuffed in suitcases, under the couch, on the shelves under the dining table… not to mention the stuff that’s in the actual designated fabric storage location…)

    I used to hang on to things I’d made even if I didn’t wear them (and some things I still do) but for the most part if I don’t like it it gets repurposed into something else, given to someone, or donated. I had a stroke of luck last month when my sister came to visit – I had a bag of about 15 things I hadn’t been wearing, or that turned out not to fit, and she took 12 of them and loved them all! I know that doesn’t happen every time, but it felt good knowing that they’d be getting the love I couldn’t give them. I think the longer I’ve been sewing, the more ruthless I’ve gotten with things that came out wrong. That said (like you mentioned) the longer I sew, the better my success rates get.

  17. May 14, 2018 / 6:47 am

    I always enjoy to see what you’ve been making. You’re fabric choice, finished clothes and shower are always well combined. I started making my own clothes about four years ago after not finding fitting clothes anymore. My first makes are still in my closet and I still wear them.
    Sewing for me is making wearable clothes for all I do during a day. It must wearable anytime and any place so I sew for necessity. The only things I sew for enjoyment are soft toys (they are made of leftover fabrics and discarded clothes and go to charity) and usable objects (bibs, baby clothes for charity as well and chemo caps for a hospital. All are made of leftovers).
    My blog is a kind of diary of my sewings, my experience with the pattern and the fabric, sharing my alterations. I also write about holidays buy also visits to fabric shops and fabric markets. I try to avoid a fabric stash and only buy what I need. Recently I made a coat out of fabric that was for about four years in my stash and it has some wear.
    Besides making all kinds od stuf for charity and a hospital I also sew for my husband, our youngest daughter, my mother and good friends as well.
    I always wear all my clothes. Sometimes fabric is the issue why one of my homemade garments has got to go. Pilling is the mean reason but also printed fabrics can sometimes easily fade.
    Recycling and up-cycling discarded clothes into new wearable clothes is for me a way to give RTW a second change and shaving valuable materials. Sometimes one of my own homemade clothes are getting a make-over as well. I made the GBSB Drapey Knit dress and it really didn’t suit me. I did a re-fit and now it’s a great wearable Summer dress.

  18. May 14, 2018 / 8:21 am

    I love your first coat – I will take your word on the fabric not being comfortable to wear, but the cut looks great.
    I started blogging to help me focus a ‘pet project’ which was to see if I would resew charity shop buys. The blogging was great as it helped keep my focus and I also felt obliged to finish everything even if they were really going ‘south’. Equally important, was that by blogging I felt part of an online sewing community, and find it so inspiring to read other sews and makes and also find how some patterns really look made up. When I used sew as a teen, a lot more of my friends would have been making – part financial (i used make dresses from sheets and dye ’em all black) and part creative (clothes shops didnt really have the stuff we wanted).

    When I started blogging I felt I had to post regularly, which I did at first and after a while I blogged when suited, as a new make a week was too much for my wardrobe, and also the blog became about developing and drafting patterns to share online for upcycling.

    I cant believe how much you fit in – etsy running music sewing full-time work, I went back to work full time last October and am still feeling so time poor!

    Sorry to hear of your head injury – It cant have been an easy recovery – A former work colleague was once recommended embroidery after a brain aneurysm and told to avoid cross words! I know for me, when my concentration was shot after my dad died, I was shown how to crochet, and I always believe it ‘got me through’ as all i had to do was concentrate on one stitch and if my mind wandered, I could resume whenever.

    Really enjoy your posts, love your makes, and the colours you use.
    Best of luck

  19. May 14, 2018 / 9:37 am

    I never really saw my blog as something that needs a schedule or a ‘plan’- but then again, I’m using it mostly as a way to document the things I make, and if others like to follow along they are welcome to do so! So if I don’t have anything to post about (long project, no time to sew, working on something I can’t show yet or don’t necessarily need to blog about) there’s no real pressure to go and create content.

    As for sustainable sewing, in a way I’m ‘lucky’ because my body shape has gone through a pretty big change over the past few years, so I have definite gaps in my wardrobe because my older clothes just don’t fit me anymore! This, combined with a bit of a style change, meant that I just had a major closet clear out, and it was a huge relief.

  20. May 14, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    First off, they’re beautiful cross stitches – you should definitely get them up somewhere 👍👏

    I try to only make what I need, and if I really feel like making something but don’t need anything… I’ll make something I think someone else needs! 😅

    I’m getting to the point where I don’t need many more of certain things, like I need more underwear, tshirts and swim shorts if I’m going to completely rule out store-bought (except everyone needs cotton socks!!) I think one I reach ‘everyday wardrobe’ saturation I can slow down and take my time over some serious formal wear… spend the time on some pricier fabrics🤞🤞🤞

    Moving on I’d love to see more of your construction, those mitred seams are 👌 And I don’t think it’s possible to see too much topstitching being laid down! You know me, I love a step by step!

    Serious photo envy! I love your shoots… iPhone 6 & overexposure are the best I can hustle up 😅😂

    • May 14, 2018 / 1:08 pm

      I hit send too early!

      I’m sorry to hear of your troubles at the beginning of the year and glad to hear it is in the past 🙏

      I need some of your organisation… I flit about all over the place!! 🤪

      👍🙏😊

  21. May 15, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    Hey Sarah, reading through I felt like I had a whole lot to contribute to the conversation, but realized my whole comment was a whole lot of “I, Me, My”. The most important thing I needed to say to you is—

    I’m so sorry you had to go through a brain injury. Those are seriously no joke, but I’m so happy to hear that you’re healing up and getting better. It’s hard to balance taking care of yourself even without a serious injury like that. The blog can and should take a backseat to your well-being, and all of us are here following you because we love tagging along on your creative journey; the beautiful clothes are just a bonus. And by that I mean, don’t feel you’ve put yourself in a box, please feel confident in sharing your other creative endeavors. I’ll still be here every sunday! xxoo

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