We all have too much stuff, and in a world of ‘fast fashion’, it’s easy to fill your wardrobe with unworn, impulse purchases.

In an effort to reduce both spending and environmental impact, I set myself the challenge of not buying any new clothes. If I wanted something new – I would have to make it for myself. Having only started sewing in March, this was a slightly daunting prospect, but one filled with possibility. The sewing world is a slightly eccentric but endlessly charming place of (mostly) female solidarity. One of the things I love about sewing is the lineage of it, the tradition of one generation teaching the next – using old machines, and discovering vintage patterns.

My Mum taught me to knit and sew as a child and I confess I was a reluctant student, but 20 years later thought it was worth giving it another go. It is not all retro though, there is a growing community of indie pattern designers, creating modern silhouettes and embracing collaboration and pattern hacking. Nottingham has a fantastic network of independent fabric and haberdashery shops that have been a joy to explore. When you venture into a sewing shop, the staff without fail take the time to discuss what you need and why you need. When I’ve been stuck on a technical aspect with a project and YouTube has failed me, the women in The Sewing Box on Carlton Square have had all the answers! I’ve enjoyed making wardrobe staples, such as dungarees and pinafore dresses.

High waisted shorts have become a particular favourite pattern, as I never find shorts that fit quite the way I want them too, and of course, this fantastic weather has called out for a sun-dress to drink gin and tonics in! So why not give it a go? It doesn’t matter if the final result is a bit rough round the edges, you don’t live in an Instagram filter, and it will be a hundred times better because you made it – even if it’s terrible, especially if it’s terrible – because it’s yours. The pride of completing your first wearable garment is incredible. And yes several months on the finishing of my seams is still a bit shoddy, and the hems aren’t that straight. But, that doesn’t really matter. Wearing something you made yourself, truly makes you feel a million dollars – and I encourage you to try, trust me it’s worth it.


Style By Catherine (Catherine makes stuff) @catherinemakesstuff