Fast Fashion & Sensible Sewing

A bit of a change of pace today lads (if there are lads? make yourselves known!) and lasses – I’m not sharing a make this week! Not that I don’t have makes to share (believe me, the backlog is real), but I wanted to take this chance to reflect a little bit on clothing and fashion, and what the year holds in store for me πŸ™‚

I talked a little about discovering my personal style last week, and how mind-blowing (and fun!) that proved to be for me. It also changed the way I shopped and considered clothes a lot. I’ll freely confess that I was something of a fast-fashion addictΒ prior to stumbling across the majestic wonder that is Dior’s New Look. I was constantly buying new clothes, everything from t-shirts to party dresses to shoes, taking home with me any pretty thing that caught my eye. I tried out a lot of different shapes, colours and styles during that time, which certainly wasn’t a bad thing. But after a few wears, I’d tire of them, or decide I didn’t like how they looked on me, and to the back of the cupboard they would go. I also wanted clothes as cheap as I could get them, so many didn’t survive the scant wears they got terribly well either. Sometimes, they didn’t even get worn – I sold a dress at a second-hand market a couple of weeks ago that still had the tags on.


What my wardrobe looked like before the purge…

But everything changed once I actually knew what I liked to wear. I could now be more discerning in my choices while shopping, knowing that no matter how pretty a dress is, I won’t like wearing it if it doesn’t have a nicely defined waist. And almost automatically, I was buying better quality – more classic retro and vintage looks tend not to appear as often in the cheapest shops. Between the better quality and my genuine love of them, my new clothes got more wear and I was buying less. Then I started sewing, and that changed everything again! I hardly ever buy clothes anymore, generally only doing so if I have a voucher to spend or it’s something I can’t or would prefer not to make – for example, I still buy most of my knitwear, because I’m not quite up to producing it myself yet (though I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…). Sewing is obviously more time-consuming than shopping, and it’s generally a more involved and thoughtful process, so my consumption dropped again and my appreciation for my clothes grew even further, knowing exactly the work that went into them πŸ™‚

My Taste in Clothes

I think my “Fashion” pinboard makes my personal style preferences pretty clear!

This isn’t me making some big statement about consumerism, calling big clothing retailers evil (though you have to admit, they are a little morally dubious), or criticising anyone who buys inexpensive clothing (I live the student life – believe me, I feel the budget constraints). But it is a little reflection of how I have come to appreciate my clothes more, and where they have come from, whilst enjoying them more and feeling better wearing them than I did before. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a capsule wardrobe person – I am way too much of a frosting sewer (and proud of it!), and I see nothing wrong with having a top that only goes with one skirt, so long as it’s one damn fabulous top that you love and wear with that skirt all the time πŸ˜‰

That being said – IΒ am moving towards my wardrobe having a greater proportion of, if not entirely, me-made clothing, so a bit more cake will be required (although I am sort of looking forward to that, given I’ll be acquiring an overlocker this year!). To help me keep on track with that, I thought it might help if I posted my sewing goals for the year; that might help me commit to them a bit, instead of tossing them to the side every time I see a shiny new dress pattern πŸ˜› So here goes!

In 2016, I want to sew:

  • At least three new shirts. I’m definitely going to need them, as I’m at the hospital almost every day, and I already have the fabric and patterns for them, so really no excuse! I’ll be sewing Butterick 6133 and a pattern from Boundless Style πŸ™‚
  • Netties! I want to have a go at both the dress and bodysuit versions, just waiting on that overlocker πŸ˜€
  • I’ve already sewn one pencil skirt from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing (post coming next week!), and I’d love to make another. Just as soon as I can justify splashing out on some more nice wool…
  • A super-cool woollen pinafore-type dress, like the variation in the Gertie book; will be sewn once budgetary restraints allow the purchase of above-mentioned nice wool.
  • Another shirtdress! I love my red Simplicity 1880, so I can’t wait to sew it up again –Β I’ve even found the perfect green rayon for it too! πŸ˜€
  • COATS. 2016 is going to be the year of coats I’ve decided. I already own B5824, I have bought some *gorgeous* silk twill destined to become the most hectic Robson ever, and I have my eye on some amazing houndstooth for a Clare. This isn’t going to be a cheap undertaking though – I am reaaaaally hoping I get some fabric money for my birthday this year πŸ˜›
Coat Inspiration

I’m definitely not obsessed with coat-making.

That’s some heavy-duty sewing right? Especially all those coats. So please meet my new toy: a gorgeous vintage Singer 201P!


The new bae ❀

I snapped this lovely up on eBay for the outrageously good price of $50. Its vintage is approximately 1956-62, and it’s in excellent working condition, with all its original feet and accessories πŸ™‚ It’s a solid little thing too, and I can’t wait to see it properly in action on some of the bigger projects I have planned. The woman I bought it from was absolutely lovely, and seemed pleased it was going to a good home and destined for lots of use. I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots of it in the year to come! The only thing that has required maintenance so far is the power cord/foot control wiring – the electrical parts hadn’t faired quite so well as the mechanical. But Dad helped me fix it up so it’s all good to go now πŸ™‚ I’m still sewing on my little Janome too, of course – I couldn’t live without my automatic buttonhole function, and it’s much better for sewing lingerie. But just you guys wait till I have my serger too – then I will be truly unstoppable πŸ˜‰

Of course, I’m allowing myself plenty of frosting sewing, too – I’m planning dresses for both my birthday party, and my university ball again, and I’m really looking forward to sewing up some gorgeous tropical print cotton I bought whilst on holiday in Rarotonga. And I’m sure I don’t even need to say it, but there will be *plenty* of lingerie makes featuring this year too.Β Finally, I’m excited to say that this year I’ll be participating in the Vintage Pattern Pledge! I have a few repro and true vintage patterns I’d like to sew up this year, as well as more vintage fabric to use – pair that with my new-old machine, and I think I’ve got some #vintagepledge triple threats on the way πŸ˜› I’ll be aiming to sew up at least three of my vintage/repro patterns, so let’s see how I go!


So, a big year ahead! What have you guys got planned for 2016? I’d love to know!

Until next time,

Miss Maddy xx



  1. SofΓ­a · February 9, 2016

    I loved reading your sewing plans for this year!! I now I’m going to love all the vintage dresses! And that Robson coat is so darn cute! I want to sew some Netties too, I already have the pattern but I’m having so much trouble finding a suitable fabric! Can you believe that there’s no fabric shop in Barcelona that sells cotton jersey at this moment? They say that it’s a “spring fabric”, so I should wait for spring to buy it! It’s so frustating…

    And I share your feelings about fast fasion vs. a me-made wardrobe. When I started sewing, I also began to appreciate more the quality of RTW garments. When I have to buy something now, I want to make sure that it’s the best quality that my (so limited!) budget can afford! πŸ˜‰ I’m slowly increasing the quantity of me-made clothes in my wardrobe: sewing has been such a good way to help me figure out my personal style! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 11, 2016

      That IS frustrating! I’ve had a lot of bother trying to find specific fabrics lately, it’s so disheartening to go to four shops in one day and not find anything! Still, persistence is key – and I’m not shy of visiting a lot of shops! πŸ˜‰

      I definitely understand the budget limitations (especially seeing as I’ve spent so much on fabric lately!) still I like knowing that what I’m wearing is the good stuff, so it’s a worthwhile investment πŸ™‚


  2. Nathalie · February 9, 2016

    ah I love to see al those vintage dresses, but my personal style is a bit more modern. They just are not practical form my everyday life. Sewing also helped me a lot to discover what I like to wear. When I just started out sewing I made a lot of bright dresses that I would never wear. Regretting the time spent on sewing items that I didn’t wear enough I very quickly discovered what I did like to wear. More solid colours a lot of black and simple silhouettes. The robson coat is also on my to do list. Now my most worn and loved items are the once that I made myself. And I think most seamstresses care a lot more about the fit and quality of their RTW garments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 11, 2016

      I definitely agree! For me it’s the opposite: I love seeing chic modern designs, but I know that they’re just not me! And I definitely agree, I think even if we don’t all have completely me-made wardrobes, we wear the best quality we can get πŸ™‚


  3. Emma @ A Hand Stitched Life · February 9, 2016

    I love your thoughts on this Maddy. I’ve been contemplating lately how my wardrobe works with me made and purchased clothing.

    I’m guilty of not wearing my me made clothing as often as I should. Any lingerie I’ve made gets used but I still have a lot of RTW lingerie in regular rotation. I guess I’m lucky in the sense that I can often pick up RTW bras in my size on clearance and I do love a good bargain. It’s more any clothes I’ve made that don’t get worn as much as they should, normally it’s a fit issue or a style issue or I just don’t have anywhere to wear it. I work in the construction industry so I would look quite out of place if I started showing up every day in dresses. Saying that I think I might have to try it just for fun :).

    I’ve also become a lot more conscious of buying better quality than I had been previously. I’ve fallen hard for anything Review over the last six or so months. Thankfully it’s normally out of my price range but I did manage to snag a few bargains over Christmas (2x new dresses and a coat). When you combine clearance + 30% off clearance + a voucher it becomes too good to pass up.

    I love the list you’ve got going here and can’t wait to see the backlog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 11, 2016

      I love the idea of you showing up in dresses everyday – maybe you should try it as an experiment πŸ˜›
      And oh, I love Review too!! I get so much inspiration even just walking through the concession in Myer (a very dangerous place!). I have a couple of dresses from there for formals and things over the years, and I think they too probably helped me work out that I loved Retro styles ❀


  4. Elizsews · February 9, 2016

    What a great read Miss Maddy……..2016 promises to bring many blogs detailing your creative sewing adventures throughout the four seasons……looking forward to them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 11, 2016

      Thank you!! I’m looking forward to get started on it too πŸ™‚


  5. emeralderin · February 10, 2016

    Great post Maddy! I find that I really struggle to find my style, and since I haven’t made any clothing for quite a while, I really don’t spend any time figuring it out. But it’s amazing to be more socially conscious of how our consumer choices impact the world- I know that I hardly ever buy new clothing anymore, and I really think twice before I do!

    It looks like you’ve got quite an amazing line-up for the year! Can’t wait to see it all unfold! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 11, 2016

      I know what you mean – it can be tough too when you just have an appreciation for good design, and you can’t tell if you like something because it’s beautiful or because you want to wear it! I definitely agree though, I would rather spend more money on clothes and other things and know that they’re making the world a fairer place πŸ™‚


  6. colormusing · February 10, 2016

    So interesting to hear about your process in the pursuit of personal style! Bravo! I’m not sure I’m in total agreement that sewing takes more time than shopping– considering transportation/parking time, trying things on, going to other stores and trying more things on, only to decide that going back to the first store is your best bet, then having buyers remorse and returning items– guess it depends how fast you sew, but I much prefer the process of sewing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 11, 2016

      I guess it’s different for everyone – I tend to make reasonably complex garments, and don’t have a serger; I often spend more time pressing and finishing edges than actually constructing the garment! I’m a very efficient shopper too, I can leave home and be back two hours later with two shirts, a dress and a pair of shoes – but I agree, sewing is a lot more fun, and it’s what I’d rather be doing! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • colormusing · February 12, 2016

        I agree, to each his/her own process! Most of my garments have something about them that requires more than basic sewing skills; I tend to use fine fabrics that deserve special handling and finishing (silk chiffon springs to mind). But I always think in terms of comparing apples to apples– if I had to shop for, say, a designer silk chiffon dress, first I’d have to find one that I liked, in a color I like, hope they have it reasonably near my size, then get it altered for a custom fit… well, for me, knowing how picky I am (probably a result of making most of my clothes for most of my life), I tend to believe it’s more efficient (and definitely money-saving) to make it myself. This is possibly even more true for me when it comes to making lingerie! And P.S. Kudos on your shopping skill!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Jillian - SewUnravelled · February 13, 2016

    Well done on finding your style! How liberating is it? I found mine too, and whilst I now mainly sew and wear trapeze/sack style dresses (and I’m very slim and didn’t think they’d work on me). I still like to try other styles from time to time, if for no other reason than to prove my love of sacks LOL! Sew on and enjoy that vintage Singer. They are truly the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 14, 2016

      Thank you! Yes, it makes both shopping and sewing so much easier and enjoyable! I am absolutely loving the Singer, we are on our way to becoming very firm friends πŸ˜‰


  8. poppykettle · February 16, 2016

    Entirely Excellent sewing plans as far as I’m concerned! I’m much like you – would rather have a much beloved top that only goes with one skirt, over sewing basics (easier to buy them and more sewing time for frosting!). Bring on all the coats – my favourite things to sew!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · February 17, 2016

      Thanks so much! I’m so excited about the coats, I’ve almost gathered all the supplies for my Robson, so expect to see that soon! πŸ™‚


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