Would you ever sew a wedding dress for someone?

Sometimes, I forget how few people actually sew these days – at least, in comparison to those who regularly buy from the high street.

Unsurprisingly, it often leads to a request or two from friends and acquaintances to fix a pocket here, hem some trousers there or just sew on a button. I’m more than happy to help out with a loose notion or two, but there are some projects just too big for my sewing machine alone to handle.

Picture by Beamillion

Hands up who’s had the wedding dress conversation? You know the one, where a friend jokes they’d like you, you stitchery type, to whip up a beautiful gown for their special day. Don’t get me wrong, I’d happily undertake such a project for any of my close friends – so long as they don’t go Bridezilla on me when they realise sometimes I have a hard time sewing in a straight line.

But, every now and then, the “joke” comes from an acquaintance and you think… oh wait. They’re being serious, aren’t they?

I can see why it’s tempting. Wedding dresses are bloody expensive. With a talented pal and a sewing machine on your side, you can cut costs and spend that money on more wine at the reception. And I am always, ALWAYS, in favour of more wine.

But this is a task so phenomenally huge – what if you were to get it wrong? I’m not sure I could handle the weight of one bride’s expectations on my amateur sewing. I suck with slippery fabrics, I don’t *do* buttonholes and me and lace aren’t talking at the moment. I would be the WORST wedding-dress-maker candidate, really.

The only serious wedding-related request I’ve ever had came during a curious conversation with a friend from school who’ll be getting married soon enough. Up she popped on my Facebook chat, asking if I still made my own dresses, then how expensive it was… and then how expensive it would potentially be to make say two or three bridesmaid’s dresses.

Perhaps she was genuinely curious about if it would be cheaper to buy fabric and get them made, but she fell silent as soon as I asked her if she was trying to hint she wanted me to make them for her.

Long to the short, I won’t be taking any wedding commissions anytime soon. That is, unless some fella manages to keep me still for long enough to put a ring on it (not bloody likely) – then I’ll probably nab some lace curtains from a charity shop to make my wedding dress for the princely sum of £5. It does mean more money for cake and wine, after all.

Challenge Accepted.

pincushion

Three years ago, I saved my sewing machine from the attic and taught myself how to thread a machine and wind a bobbin via the wonders of the Internet. Since then, I’ve used the bustling online sewing community to navigate the ins and outs of home sewing.

So I like to think I’m a dab hand with the sewing machine, even if sometimes I can’t quite manage to sew in a straight line. Let’s not even get started on the evils of buttonholes.

You’d be forgiven for thinking my mad skillz with a needle and thread (but not buttonholes) mean my wardrobe is full to the brim of self-stitched clothing. In actuality, my self-made items take up only a tiny part of my drawers. I’d estimate I made or refashioned about 5% of my wardrobe.

There are plenty of excuses I could give for this, but it’s a pretty poor statistic for someone who goes on about stitching as much as I do. Lately I’ve fallen into a sewing rut and back into my lazy clothing habits, and our generation is pretty lazy when it comes to clothing. “Make do and mend” was the motto during the second world war but nowadays we’ll settle for something which will fall apart in a matter of months if it’s colourful and cheap enough. Fast fashion reigns supreme on the high street and in our wardrobes, and mine is no exception.

Yet across the blogosphere there are plenty examples of people who have put down the shopping bags and picked up their needle and thread instead. Take Mena Trott of The Sew Weekly. In 2010 she took on the hefty challenge of filling her wardrobe solely with clothes she had sewn herself. A year on, she’s encouraging a whole communityof sewers to do the same.

Then there’s Zoe of So, Zo…, a seamstress very much concerned with sustainable fashion. You name the garment, she’s probably made it. We’re talking coats, dresses, jogging tops and even pants. In March, May and September she challenges her readers to join her in a month of wearing nothing but self made garments.

simplicity 2591

In more productive sewing days...

As for me? For the past few months I’ve been in somewhat of a sewing rut, to the point where I’m at the risk of edging out the me-made side of my wardrobe completely. This will not do!

So I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge.With the Interwebs as my witness, I plan to spend the duration of my postgraduate diploma at Cardiff, which ends in July 2012, sewing or refashioning all of my clothes. Under no circumstances am I allowed to purchase ready-made garments from any shops unless they are bonafide vintage or second-hand.

This blog will serve as evidence I’m keeping up with my pledge meaning you can all tell me off if I end up slacking. If I fail miserably, then you’re all entitled to point, laugh and tease until you’re red in the faces.

So what can you expect here at Seamless? I want to explore the avenues outside of mass made clothing, whether that’s through sewing, knitting, trawling through charity shops, gawking at vintage wares or using good old eBay. Wish me luck!