fashion,  sustainability

Making And Customising Your Own Clothing

In times past, making your own clothing was not just something to enjoy, it was a necessity. Most houses had a sewing machine (I remember my nan had a really big one that used to scare the life out of me – far too many pedals and a pretty evil looking needle), and old clothes were re tailored, altered to be passed on to someone else, and repaired to get extra wear out of them.

In our more throwaway society, we had lost the art of creating our own clothes. Fast fashion can be picked up cheaply and easily, worn a few times, and then discarded. But programmes like the Great British Sewing Bee, a renewed interest in vintage styling, and a more sustainable approach to clothing and fashion has got many people interested in making their own clothes again, particularly the young. Designing and making your own clothing allows you to be creative, to make something unique and special, something you won’t see someone else wearing, which is not something you can say about an item you’ve picked up in Primark. It can also allow you to create something very special at a fraction of the price you would find in a High Street or a Department store.

So, if you are thinking about taking the plunge and making your own clothing, what do you need to do to make the process stress free.

Source your fabric supplier

If you want to make your own clothing, you are going to need some good quality fabric. Finding a good supplier is very important, and Fabriclore is one of the best around, with a fabulous range of fabrics in many different colours and patterns. Their cotton fabric in particular is perfect for smart work style shirts and pretty summer dresses that will catch the eye and have everyone asking ‘where did you get that frock?’

Fabriclore doesn’t just have cottons though, there is also rayon fabric, silk blends, chiffons for those floaty evening styles and thicker weaves like denim and corduroy, showing that handmade clothes are not limited to summer dresses, but could work for your winter wardrobe too.


One of my main tips for making your own clothing, especially if you love vintage styling, is to trawl the charity shops for vintage patterns. Vogue patterns in particular, have been around for years, and you can often find patterns from the 1960s and 70s in charity shops for a few pounds. These designs can be adapted to bring them up to date and will help you create unique, beautiful looks.

A good quality sewing machine

A workman is only as good as his tools, so getting a good quality sewing machine that suits your needs is an absolute must. Singer has been the mark of quality for many years, and you can consult the experts by checking out the Good Housekeeping guide for more opinions about the best machines here.


Creating yourself a bank of useable resources is also a good idea. When you discard old, worn clothing, take off the buttons and zips as you may be able to use them on new designs. Look for interesting detailing on second hand clothing – could you reuse that fur, or those feathers, or even that unusual trim?


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