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My handmade wardrobe year – February

The end of my second month of not buying ANY clothes and so far not even a glimmer of temptation  I feel like I am doing quite well. It has bought on new feelings towards clothes, I don’t feel like I am trying to be good. I feel like I have opened up a whole new world of possibilities, which are actually less restrictive than trying to find what I want in the shops. I can pretty much get exactly what I want!

I do kind of feel like I’ve discovered a new shop, one that I wished I’d always known about but only just discovered. That said I havent been faced with the 2 weeks away function or party and nothing to wear scenario yet. Or seeing a top or trousers that I totally love just the way they are.

Of course the downside of making your own clothes is that you need to be uber organised and commit time and effort to getting it right, and things that go wrong feel far more devastating than if you bought something and wore it twice before realising it was a mistake.

This month it has been all about skirts. I’m not normally a massive  skirt lover but since running classes for my flat fronted skater skirt and my reversible wrap skirt I have become more interested. Both these shapes are so easy to wear. The same shape in different fabrics or lengths makes the shape feel like a whole new style. Since teaching these classes I have seen such a range of ages of customer and range of fabrics that you really see how the fabric can make so much difference.

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I found this blue linen blend at Stuarts on Leicester market and decided to rustle up another flat fronted skirt. In contrast to the original sample I made in Japanese printed linen, this one is just plain. I like this with thick black tights and boots for now. It has made me want more tops, an interesting print for a top would be a useful addition to my wardrobe 🙂

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This reversible wrap skirt was inspired by one of my customers who used this exact combo of fabrics for her skirt, although she used a taupe colour of the bird print. The fabrics were also from Stuart on the market. I really like the print and green is my fav colour. The weight of cotton doubled up like this makes a great weight for a skirt. I am really happy with this project. I wore my origianl denim and cotton real print version alot before xmas. I dont think it will be my last one of these that I make. I cut this one knee length, I like both lengths.

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While on the subject of wrap around skirts. I was a little ambitious in my timings when I developed the reversible wrap around skirt for classes and had to admit it couldn’t be squeezed into the time slot I had allowed.

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So as not to disappoint those still keen to make a skirt in one session, I decided to do this single sided version, ideal for the summer and simple tie side makes it easy to adjust. Its a bit early I know but it could be made in fabric more compatible with the season. And as far as my version is concerned, I have something new to look forward to when the summer arrives 🙂

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A couple of revamps….this was my ultimate favorite tee shirt last year and I still love it. It had a small stain on the pocket so my simple update is quite subtle but as well as refreshing my fav tee it covers the stain!

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Another skirt…again a really simple thing to do to update it. This was a beautiful wool skirt I bought in the toast sale a few years ago, it was one of those slightly impulse buys because it was crazy cheap. However apart from the fit and quality it was a bit boring even for me! I chopped it off and made one fat quarter into bias binding and bound the edge.

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This was cut out last month but I decided to use contrast binding on the neck so it didn’t get finished until the binding arrived in the post. I can’t say I am bowled over by this, maybe even thinking I should have not done contrast binding. What do you think?

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The biker jacket, has turned into a bit more of a project, while shopping at Stuarts on the market I spotted some pale blue wool which I was not looking for. However I have always fancied a pale blue biker jacket. I decided my love of jackets means it is worth making a personal block to base my styles on. I am starting from scratch, instead of just cutting a biker jacket pattern I am going to start with a jacket block to fit me and then make the biker jacket. It will give me a good starting point for future jackets.

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This is a calico toile for a woven semi-fitted t-shirt. I am planning an advanced pattern cutting introduction class with this. More details to follow and first real top next month hopefully.

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This is another toile for a wrap back tunic top/dress. I want to make this in some dark grey linen I bought from Stuart. I think this might work as a reversible garment and a possible class project too!

Several things remain unfinished. The jacket I was reshaping and relining is no further forward and apart from cutting out my curtain trousers, they remain unfinished. Therefore the month ahead I dedicate to completing unfinished projects and not starting any new ones!

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This shirt was a bit of fun that I had planned to wear to my launch party last year. However I found that I threw away the collar by mistake and ran out of fabric. I did find some more fabric but never finished it.

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This was another unfinished shirt cut out as a cutting exercise in class but not sewn up.

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This left of fabric sadly turned out to be to small to make even a short skirt, so it is now ear marked for a bag!

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This shirt has been in my box of tricks for button replacements apart from that its a nice vintage shirt. This and my other heap of unfinished items are all I am attempting in March. Lots of new ideas are popping up but I know I should be good and tackle the unfinished first!

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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