Making your own clothes is better than shopping – No Contest!
September 21, 2020
Sometimes people say to me, “Why bother making clothes when you can buy them so cheaply?”
Now I guess the people who think that are never going to be the sort of people who would “get it” but there are so many reasons that sewing my own clothes beats shop bought clothes, hands down.
Nobody is a standard size! You are very fortunate if you fit into your favourite shop’s size parameters perfectly. Clothing in shops is designed so that each size fits as many people as possible and in doing so they fit hardly anyone perfectly. Although the same is true for dressmaking patterns, a dressmaker has the option to play about with the sizing/fitting before committing to cutting their fabric and therefore have much more flexibility to getting the perfect fit.
As we all know, a well fitting garment can make you stand taller, give you heaps more confidence and make you feel a million dollars.
There are endless alterations and fit adjustments that dressmakers can do to fit their unique shape. It can be a simple as lengthening the torso or grading between sizes at the waist and hip. Or can get as in depth as adjusting for a full bum or a forward shoulder, or a small chest.
With time and experience dressmakers get to know their own body quirks and how to allow and adjust for them to get a bespoke fit that they would never be able to get from off the rack clothing and for a fraction of the price of a made to measure garment.
Making your own clothes means that you can make clothes in just your style whether that is “in fashion” or not. If you gravitate towards vintage styles or are a hippy chick and love to dress accordingly, but struggle to find anything that suits your style on the high street, then making your own is the perfect solution. There are so many pattern designers out there, there is bound to be something that suits your chosen aesthetic and if not, you can always tweak and hack patterns to get the effect you want.
You don’t have to have way out style for making your own to come to the rescue. For example, if you find skirt lengths too short this season, you can make your own in a length that works for you. Or you like to keep the top of your arms covered but can only find sleeveless styles in the shops, you can make your own version of a style you like but with sleeves.
You don’t have to look like a fashion victim in a colour you don’t like or wouldn’t wear, when you can make your own in any colour, even if you only wear black!
Personally, I can’t wear yellow, I find it totally washes me out and leaves me looking a bit off colour! When yellow is the colour in all of the shops, I could find that a problem – but no! – because I can make my own in whatever colour you choose!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years, then the issues with sustainability in high street and designer clothes is becoming more important in helping people decide how and where to spend their money. When you know how your clothes themselves have been made, because you’ve made them yourself, it removes some of that eco-guilt. Making more sustainable fabric choices will also do your bit too. We don’t need a few people being perfectly sustainable, we need millions of people making more sustainable choices every day.
When you have made your own clothes, you care for them that bit more because you know the effort that’s gone into making them. How you wash and dry them as well as taking the time to mend them when it’s needed will help your clothes last for longer and be more cherished in your wardrobe.
A stitch in time saves nine, after all.
Relaxation & stress release & joy
The mental health benefits of making your own clothes cannot be overstated! I regularly hear from my students that sewing is their therapy and how much it’s helped through stressful times such as during 2020 so far.
Getting engrossed in a project that engages your brainpower and your hands, helps to switch off the parts of the brain that are prone to stressing and it helps to soothe a troubled mind. A hobby like sewing is just the refuge that some people need to escape from their troubles and find joy.
You totally cannot beat the feeling of receiving a compliment from a stranger and being able to say with pride, “Thank you, I made it!”.
Sewing friends are the best friends. Whether they are an online community though Instagram or Facebook or people you’ve met in real life at sewing classes or in a fabric shop, it’s great to have someone you can connect with through a common interest, bounce ideas off and who understands your sewing highs and lows.
I realise that not everyone is going to want to make their own clothes or clothes for their family, but if it’s something you have wondered about, then what are you waiting for?! Let’s get started!
You can join my Learn to Sew Membership Club online with exclusive member only content such as Sew Alongs and Video Tutorials to help make you a better dressmaker.