Sustainable wardrobe challenge – Audrey Fixation

This is the third in my series of wardrobe challenge posts. The first posts are published in the blogger network section of my blog.

In this series of blog posts I have invited fellow sewists to create a new outfit from one of my patterns and gifted fabric from my shop with the following brief:

The Brief:

Choose a Bobbins and Buttons pattern and fabric from the online shop selection to make it in. Choose an item/s of unloved clothing or unused textiles from your home to create a new outfit.

The outfit can be for you or a member of your family.

The pattern can be from the range or one created for Love Sewing magazine. It can be hacked or adapted to suit your requirements.

The unloved clothing or textiles could be just bought back into circulation by becoming part of a new outfit or upcycled into something to wear with the new piece or as part of the new piece. It might be clothing or table linen, curtains or other unused textiles. Think as creatively as you like!

sustainable blog challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Audrey Fixation

Hello Audrey can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your sewing. How did you start sewing?

Hello there!  I’m glad to contribute to your sustainable sewing series.  Currently, I have the privilege of hosting Project Run & Play, an online version of your Great British Sewing Bee, but for children’s clothing!  I have been sewing since my teens because at 6 feet tall (1.8m) I was unable to find clothes that fit my tall body!

Sewing your own clothes can be everything from a practical solution to a mindful, creative practice. How do you feel about the process?

I love sewing my own clothing for every reason.  As I just mentioned, buying clothing for myself is really not an option in most scenarios, so sewing it is!  Since it is a necessity for me, I’ve learned to really enjoy the process, delighting in hammering rivets into denim, matching stripes on knits, and making sure to pair interfacing to the fabric I’m using.

When you need or want a new item of clothing what are the deciding factors for whether to make or buy?

I also sew for my children, but not because it’s a necessity.  They often fit into ready to wear clothing, so when I sew for them it’s for other reasons.  Can I create it better, to last longer or fit better?  (Since they somehow seem to all have inherited my tall and lanky frame, the answer is often yes!)  However, because I have 9 children, sewing all of their clothes would be a full time job.  So the criteria for sewing for them becomes a calculation of fit, quality and time.

sustainable blog challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Please tell us about the outfit you have chosen to create and the unloved items you have used.

For my daughter, I chose to sew a Becky Skirt.  This lovely dragonfly fabric is such a beautifully large scale print, I had to deviate from my original plan of making her an Alice Dress after I made the muslin.  (Read about why I make muslins for my children in this post.  No worries, the Alice muslin I sewed is completely wearable, and used leftover fabric from sewing her older sister a blouse.  Often, I save the remnants of fabric from sewing for myself and older children to use when sewing for my younger children.  They adore matching their big sibling, and I’m excited to use fabric instead of throwing it away!

So why wasn’t the Alice pattern suitable for this fabric?  The Alice has quite a few seam lines on the bodice that are really beautiful when using a solid fabric to accentuate them.  But when using a patterned fabric, the seam lines would get lost and the gorgeous dragonfly print would get cut up, especially on a smaller size, like I was making for my 5 year old.

sustainable blog challenge Bobbins and Buttons

And why is the Becky pattern suitable for this fabric?  It is a circle skirt, and therefore basically a blank canvas for those fun dragonflies to cavort and fly around!  One thing to note, the Becky skirt is drafted for knit fabrics, but I’ve actually sewn it from woven fabrics twice now!  The elastic waistband and ease of a circle skirt mean you can sew this fun pattern from either knit or woven fabrics.

And as you can see for yourself, Alice and Becky play together very nicely.

sustainable blog challenge Bobbins and Buttons

One of the issues I often hear about making children’s clothing is about the cost and time taken when children grow so quickly. What are your thoughts on this?

It could be that I’m mistaken, but I actually think it takes less time and cost to sew for children.  They are smaller, so there is less fabric used.  Yes, they do grow quickly, but after sewing all these years for all these children, I’ve come up with quite a few ways to extend the wear of their handmade clothes.  My 5 favourite are found in this post.

Do you think it is possible to make children’s clothing sustainable?

When you sew clothes for your kids, you are awakening in them an awareness of quality clothing, good fit, plus the time and effort that it takes to create a garment.  And that can grow into an appreciation for those things which could eventually grow into a generation of people who make conscientious decisions about their consumer choices.  Who knows, they might also grow up to be producers of clothing like you!

sustainable blog challenge Bobbins and Buttons

What do you do with items of clothing that no longer fit or serve a purpose?

Hand me downs!  One beautiful thing about having a large family and making good quality clothing is that they last so much longer than store bought clothes.  And when you deliberately choose patterns (like the Joseph Joggers with knee patches or Alice that can be transformed from a dress to a blouse) you are building into them the ability to last beyond one child usage.  If you do not have more than one child, you can donate them to another family with children or a thrift store.

Another thing we love to do is use old jeans to make quilts!  We’ve made 2 so far here and here.

Do your children like to get involved with what you make for them?

Yes, for sure.  This is one way to guarantee that they will wear what you sew for them.  If they have also spent time and effort, they are more likely to appreciate the final garment.  In another way, I’m teaching each of my children to sew their own garments and thereby influencing the next generation as mentioned above.

How do you manage unsuitable or impractical ideas?

Sometimes I end up making something impractical!  For example, one daughter wanted the most extravagantly puffy sleeves which would be totally unwearable outside of the home!  So we decided to sew up something for the dress up box.  And you know what?  It’s still being used a couple of girls later!  (You can see it here)

Do you have any tips or project ideas for using up scraps of fabric?

By it’s very nature, sewing for kids often uses smaller cuts of fabric or scraps.  I’ve also made a quilted jacket  which is very on trend right now.  In fact, I’m so passionate about using scraps (or maybe just a serial hoarder!) I’ve written up 2 different posts about my favourite ways to use scraps here.

And over at Project Run & Play we have tons of ways to use scraps!  You can find some really good ones by searching for scraps.

Thank you so much for having me, Julia.  I hope something I’ve shared inspires someone to sew for a child…or teach a child to sew for themselves!

sustainable blog challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Where can readers find out more about you?

Project run and play 

Skirt fixation

Please follow and like us:
Posted in

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...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.