Sewing your own wardrobe has many joys – as well as frustrations of course.
Making your own clothes means you get to dress how you like without being a slave to current trends. You can also achieve a fit that suits your body type – and furthermore, you are unlikely to bump into anyone else wearing exactly the same garment or outfit in the street… Bonus!
But if there is a down side to sewing your own wardrobe, it could be a perceived economic one. In contrast to cheap, fast fashion, hand-made clothing can be a relatively expensive affair.
There is an investment of time. Learning how to sew is time intensive – often expensive if classes are taken and costly mistakes are often made in the process of learning.
There is the investment in tools and equipment – Machines and other sewing accoutrements are a necessary and unavoidable expense.
There are also the costs of materials required to make the garments… It all adds up.
I would imagine if the costs were calculated, a self-sewn wardrobe would be considered relatively expensive in terms of cost per item compared to a ready to wear / fast fashion wardrobe.
But are we really comparing apples with pears?
Viewed over the long term, a cheap fast fashion wardrobe actually becomes more expensive because as time goes on, garments are made redundant, fall apart or are replaced in rapid succession over many months and years.
On the other hand, if planned well, a self-sewn wardrobe can be a valuable investment – able to be built on and improved year after year… a sustainable wardrobe full of trusted and valued pieces to treasure for years to come.
When I think of wardrobe staples or basics, I think of timeless and universal styles that never let you down. I look to classic styles, which are often understated, yet desirable. Classic dressing is all about confidence. There is no pretence or theatre about it and it always aspires to superior cut and quality – an aspiration of any self-sewn wardrobe.
Classic dressing often takes its cues from the impeccable style of women of film such as Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn to name a few. Their style of dressing is almost undefinable – and always a je ne sais quoi applies. I believe that classic dressing owes its success to the fact that the styles are never obviously identifiable with any given season. They are the core collection of shapes that form the basis of any good wardrobe.
Images from Paper Scissors Pins Pinterest Board Classic style inspiration
It then makes sense to me that if one is to spend time, money and creative energy on sewing a garment, it needs to work hard in terms of being flattering, stylish and long wearing – everything classic dressing represents.
Of course I’m not suggesting that we all completely abandon those crazy icing projects (v’s cake as originally coined by Tasia), that’s a heap of fun – and let’s face it, fun is what it is all about. But just as the ideal sustainable wardrobe has a healthy percentage of investment pieces that will take you through a number of seasons, the Self-sewn wardrobe also needs to be considered in this way. This is what I believe to be ‘investment sewing’.
Looking to the classics in terms of garment inspiration is a good way to sew a wardrobe full of pieces you will love forever. So, through Paper Scissors Pins I plan on exploring the various ‘classic’ garment shapes that can help underpin any investment wardrobe… Stay tuned!
Sew, Wear, Love