Fashion trends and sewing

I have this theory about fashion trends and sewing. Being able to sew amplifies any trend (well, it does in my closet anyway!).

I’ve always been interested in fashion and I’ve always followed trends to one degree or another. But ever since I began sewing, fashion trends have been so much more pronounced as they’ve worked their way into my wardrobe.

In 2012 (pre-blogging photos from the archives), I made peplums. There were more than these, but I can’t find the photos right now.

pep

Next, I made drop waist dresses. There were more here too.

dw

Then I made culottes, which gradually progressed to wide leg and gaucho pants.

culotte

Now, I’m working through the off-shoulder/cold-shoulder trend. There have been other trends along the way that also managed to captivate my interest. I seem to make between 3-5 garments that are in line with any trend. In my pre-sewing days, I’d have purchased 1-2 trend-driven pieces and otherwise kept to classic staples.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why sewing enables me to do this. Here are my ideas:

  • Sometimes it takes more than one go to get a handmade garment right. A wearable muslin first, followed by a better version immediately doubles the number of items. Maybe I would have bought one RTW item in the past, but I would have had the opportunity to try on several first to find which one worked best. You don’t get that opportunity with home sewing.
  • If the design worked and it fitted well, of course I’ll want to sew it again. And sometimes it’s simply easier to sew repeats than to work through new designs and muslins, particularly if the garment was seasonably appropriate and nice to wear.
  • Sewing means that I can refashion, recycle, and reuse old fabrics and old clothes. It means that I can also make more trend-driven items without spending more, or expanding my wardrobe. I don’t have to be as sensible with my clothing choices, because I can always refashion back to sensible if need be.
  • Sometimes (if I really like a style) I might decide to digitize a pattern, which means I have to test the pattern and make it perfect, thereby making multiple versions of the same style.
  • It usually costs me next to nothing to sew a few extra pieces. This wasn’t always the case though. When I was a beginner, there were so many wadders and ho-hum makes that it cost more to sew than to buy RTW (just check out those peplums!). These days, it’s very economical for me. I spend well on fabric for classic, long term pieces. I save a fortune by making swimsuits and leotards for myself and my girls. And for the trend-driven items that I know will only last a season, I’ll often use thrifted, upcycled, or economically priced fabric that is nice enough to produce a quality garment, but costs a tiny fraction of RTW. For example, the entire fabric cost of all the cold-shoulder makes below was about $18 (the largest portion coming from the $10-15 white linen tablecloth of which I still have a lot remaining). I also know that I’m very capable of cutting up any of those tops and dresses to refashion into something new down the track.

download

  • I can make it so I can do it. And I can do it now! Sewing gives me freedom to follow a trend and make something immediately. Unlike RTW shopping where I’d have a vision in my mind but never be able to find exactly what I wanted, sewing enables me to make a garment to match my vision. It also enables the power of now. I can cut up an old sheet on the spot and make something at midnight, before garments hit RTW shops or are even available online. I’m not saying I do this, but I could!

So I think this explains how I end up with so many trend-driven pieces in my closet each year. It may seem like I have a lot of clothes, but I take a lot of care (via refashioning) to make sure that my closet doesn’t expand too much, despite sewing all year round. I’m also lucky to have a lot of girls to sew for. In any case, I think I’m just about ready to move on to my next obsession. I just have to figure out what it will be!

 

 

11 thoughts on “Fashion trends and sewing

  1. Oh my, I love the open check skirt and have just the fabric in my stash to make one similar. It was earmarked for a shirtwaist dress, but a skirt is so much easier to pattern match.

    Theresa in Tucson

  2. Sewing is a wonderful gift! I am still a big shopper. I think that comes from lack of confidence on being able to execute something as I’ve seen it in the shops. But I do love the aspect of finding a fabric and thinking “this would make a great BLANK”. My husband has actually just put me on a shopping ban so I’ll be shopping my fabric stash to make myself a few new things over the next couple of months.

    1. It’s never a true shopping ban when you have stash though ;-). Looking forward to see what you make!

  3. I totally understand your reasoning and isn’t that the beauty of being able to sew for yourself! I’m looking forward to your next trend obsession! While I’m not influenced to sew some of the trends, it is fun to see them on others!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! I’m so easily influenced ;-). Sewing is such a great creative outlet, whether you want to follow trends or not!

    1. Haha, sorry Andrea! I think it’s just a shed load of practice, and no-fear to cut up the wadders and turn them back into something good. 😉

  4. Pingback:Tidbits #2 – Sewing Tidbits

  5. Can this pattern be downloaded in a file format to be printed at a printing copy shop rather than on a home printer ( to get the pattern pieces on a large paper format as is done with Tessuti patterns)?

    1. Hi Joan, I assume you are referring to the Chloe dress? It is in a print at home format only at this point. I usually make copyshop versions too, but the dress is too long on this one.

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