The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment)

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

When I’m not sitting behind the sewing machine, I work full-time as a psychologist. This is why I every once in a while share a mental health-related post on this blog. Please grab a coffee and join the conversation!

***

Which one of you considers themselves a hoarder? An addict?

Add the word fabric and I’m all in.

I’m definitely guilty of having a slightly unhealthy relationship with buying fabrics. I have all the cute postcards, signs and coffee mugs about how fun my fabric shopping addiction is.

Fabric shopping is amazing: I get home from a long and exhausting day at work. I could sew now to feel relaxed, empowered, fulfilled and productive and just generally good about myself. Instead I decide to flop on the couch with a glass of wine, get inspired by Instagram makers, feel bad about neglecting my hobby and then decide to check out some cute fabric online shops for a little inspiration. Browsing through endless creative possibilities I finally feel connected to my favourite pastime again, I get the happy sewing feels, I get a rush and decide to spend just a little more than I planned to spend after I decided to skip not spending anything altogether. Seeing the order hitting my inbox makes me happy. I will sew again, very soon, I promise.

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Fabric shopping – It’s a trap!

Our brain makes us feel happy when we shop. When we buy ourselves things our brain’s reward centre jumps into action and releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, that makes us feel good about what we just did and makes it more likely that we’ll do it again. Like when eating chocolate, or having sex. (Or taking drugs.)

Dopamine isn’t just released when we get a reward, but it’s also actually released in anticipation of a reward. Thus enters the joy of online shopping. It’s TWICE THE FUN! A couple of clicks and we get ourselves a double dopamine hit! First, when we order and second, when our order finally arrives in the mail. So in a way, online shopping isn’t only easily accessible it’s more exciting for our brain than shopping in person.

Finishing a project or buying fabric both triggers a dopamine response reward.

This is the reason why fabric shopping feels just as fun as sewing itself. It’s a pretty good substitute in the short term. But that’s about it. It’s a trick of the mind, and induces the feeling that we’re doing something for our hobbies, when we’re actually just lying on the couch stressed-out and scrolling through online shops. It gives us pleasure, we feel connected to our hobby without actually engaging in it. So it feels like a pretty good alternative when we can’t muster the energy to get immersed in a project.

Shopping for our hobby can feel like a pretty smart shortcut to calming our conscience, upping our mojo, feeling creative and engaged

Problem is, this only lasts for a pretty short time. Long-term – that’s not hard to guess – it doesn’t get us any of the benefits we achieve when we sew, make, create stuff. (Read more about the benefits of sewing here.) In our fast-paced lives we sometimes struggle to find the time and motivation to immerse ourselves in a slow-paced, mindful activity like sewing, embroidery or knitting. So shopping for our hobby can feel like a pretty smart shortcut to calming our conscience, upping our mojo, feeling creative and engaged.

I love fabric shopping. And I’m not saying that fabric shopping is a bad thing. But gaining pleasure from unnessecary and unsustainable fabric shopping instead of getting into action and sewing with the fabrics we already bought last time kind of defeats the purpose of sewing as a mindful and sustainable activity.

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com
The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

‘Lifetime’ stash – pleasure or pressure?

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about having a stash of five different fabrics at home. I’m talking so-called “lifetime stashes”, stashes so huge, we will never have the time to use them up while buying more fabrics in the meantime. I’m a fabric hoarder myself, let’s get this out. I buy fabrics because I like them, not because I need them urgently for a particular project. Lifetime stashes are fun. We pride ourselves with them on social media. I tell myself I’ll never have to leave the house or wait for an online order, because I always have everything I need for any project right at home with me. Does this keep me from adding to the stash? Hell, no! The sad thing is: I started to feel pressured by it. It’s not a trophy, more like a silent reproach. It’s a constant reminder of all the things I haven’t made yet.

Fabrics are not environmentally “neutral”. Polyester fabrics are one of the major sources of oceanic pollution and microplastics in our waters.

Furthermore, I turn my sustainable hobby into a hoarding business. I bought more than I will ever use (if I don’t stop buying). Fabrics are made from natural, animal or artificial fibres. They’re not environmentally “neutral”. Demand determines supply. The more fabrics we buy, the more fabrics are produced, using cottons, wool, all sorts of fibres and – sorry to break it to us – non-recyclable materials and a lot of microplastics. Polyester fabrics especially are one of the major sources of oceanic pollution and microplastics in our waters. But even natural fibres – cotton, linen, wool – are made by cutting down plants, animal farming and exploiting poorly paid workers in developmental countries.

I always took pride in the fact that I am independent from having to shop for my own clothes, that I support slow fashion and sustainability. Instead, I have been fooled by my own laziness and my brain’s reward centre into hoarding materials.

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Realising this, I have done two things:

First, I stopped buying fabrics. I actually haven’t bought any fabrics in almost a year now. More than a year, if I do not count the fabrics I bought as mandatory souvenirs on my last holidays – but I do. Instead, I’ve only used fabrics from my stash to sew and have been able reduce the amount of fabric in my sewing corner to some extent (probably only visible to my eyes if you ask the Mister). It feels really freeing to destash and I got inspired by the limits I set myself to up my creativity game. More often than not I feel happy going through my stash before the next project instead of feeling guilty. I try to be more conscious about fabric choices and and my own impact on the fabric industry.

Second, not being able to online shop instead of sewing, I finally had to tackle my inner conflict when I was just too lazy or tired or exhausted to sew and felt bad about it. That was interesting! Why do I feel guilty about not engaging in a self-imposed activity that is meant to promote relaxation and general well-being? I had to learn to tell myself that it’s ok to take a break from a thing I love every now and then. It doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped loving sewing and need to get stressed about it. It just means that I do not feel like sewing and not need to get stressed about it.

Since I stopped substituting sewing with fabric shopping, I haven’t actually sewn that much more. I read a lot. I knit. I took up spinning wool (it’s amazing!). It’s been a lot of fun!

The other day I wanted to make a dress and didn’t have the right kind and amount of fabric I needed at home… I made something else instead.

The Fabric Shopping Trap // Why buying less fabric is good for your mind (and the environment) by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Allowing myself to do what makes me happy and to take a break from it when it doesn’t make me happy reduced some of the time I spend sewing or taking pictures of finished projects. Instead, I’ve been really enjoying blogging some other content, posts like this one and articles about mental health.

Are you enjoying reading these? What’s your relationship with fabric shopping like?  I’d love to hear from you and get some feedback!

xx

Charlie


Happy sewing!

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Makeshift Masks and Mental Health

Makeshift Masks and Mental HealthMakeshift Masks and Mental Health

When I’m not sitting behind the sewing machine, I work full-time as a psychologist. This is why I every once in a while share a mental health-related post on this blog. Please grab a coffee and join the conversation!

***

Hello there! I hope you’re all healthy and doing fine considering the circumstances. It’s hard not to lose the spirit these days. 

I’ve been thinking long and hard about chiming in on the handmade face masks topic. I had a pretty divided opinion on this and the (scientific) benefit of using them until I was asked by my employer to make some for our team. This quickly spiralled into making them almost full-time for the care workers and children and adolescents in our institution. 

You cannot sew face masks full-time without believing in it if you want to stay sane. 

I tried to find as many articles and input by virologists and medical personnel on the topic as possible and read as much as I could. I don’t want to go into too many details on the medical side of things other than that wearing a mask, even a makeshift cotton face mask, is better than wearing none. 

I could go on endlessly about the benefits of sewing in general, but today we will talk about making face masks. If you want to learn more about how sewing impacts your mental health, I’ve written some articles that you can find here

Makeshift Masks and Mental Health
Makeshift Masks and Mental Health

Grab a coffee, here we go!

So, let’s talk about the psychological effects on sewing and wearing makeshift fabric masks. There are some seriously brilliant benefits of sewing/wearing your own masks! I’ve also included some critical thoughts though, as I believe looking at an issue from as many different angles as possible is more valuable and helps to gain a more holistic understanding.

The benefits of sewing your own fabric masks:

  • Get away from the constant feeling of helplessness: In a global crisis like this, we can easily feel overwhelmed and absolutely powerless. Actively doing something gives you a sense of control and self-empowerment. You’re not stopping the crisis by making a handful of masks, but being able to help even the tiniest amount, can be really beneficial to your own mental health in the current situation.
  • Feeling productive! A sense of accomplishment is invaluable for our self-esteem. If you are out of work right now or working a lot less than before, major changes in daily routines and productivity can lead to stress and feelings of anxiety. Getting involved in easy, fail-proof little projects like sewing some fabric masks can really make you feel a little better. Obviously, if you are really struggling with your workload right now, it might not help to add even more to-dos! If you are interested in reading more about how sewing increases mindfulness, reduces stress and might help with your self-esteem, have a look at an article I wrote about the mental health benefits of sewing in general. 
  • Active solidarity can really help lift up your mood: Take part in mask sewing actions if you feel like it! Any solidary action will also make you feel a little less alone. This can really be helpful when living in constant isolation.
  • Give some away to the elderly in your family, your parents and friends. I’ve gotten some really great feedback. No matter whether they wear it or not, everyone loves a little care package.  Being pro-social and helping others reinforces your sense of fulfilment and purpose as well as relatedness to others. Altruistic behavior has been proven to help with depression. Your brain’s reward system causes a neurotransmitter release that makes you feel happier and more content. Our brain is amazing!
  • De-stash and declutter your fabric pile! Use up all those cotton scraps from your last quilting projects or summer blouses. Decluttering frees up the mind as well as your home. I find heaps of material and huge fabric stashes really stressful. They’re a constant reminder of what I haven’t done yet! I also struggle getting rid of scraps and smaller pieces of (perfectly good) fabric. These fabric masks are perfect for that!
  • Let’s make the current situation a little less scary! Making your own masks, you can use whatever print you like. I’ve made a point of using only very cute or funny prints for the masks I’ve sewn for the kids at work. It’s a scary time for kids that have difficulty understanding the circumstances. Special needs kids or adolescents with mental health issues might really struggle right now.  Making your own masks gives the opportunity of making them fun and not-scary. They might give a little comfort in a very uncomfortable situation. Getting kids engaged more easily by having fun masks makes it a lot easier to educate them on necessary hygiene rules and social distancing.

 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • For everyone who wants to donate:
    Before donating any masks blindly to hospitals or other medical institutions, please ask for specific requirements for materials and construction. Some of them might not accept makeshift masks, some of them do. Get as much information as you can!
  • Please do not feel pressured into sewing masks, just because you’re a sewist. It’s absolutely understandable if your resources are needed elsewhere or you simply don’t feel like it. Just because you know how to sew, does not mean there is any obligation to jump on the mask-sewing bandwagon.
  • Sewing a lot of masks can feel very repetitive and draining. Stay realistic about how many you can and actually want to sew. Take breaks, be creative with colours and prints, take good care of yourself (e.g. stop if you feel physical discomfort or pain!). 
  • Also don’t forget: Making your own masks will help prevent systemically relevant workers from running out of much needed protective wear. The worst thing you can do at the moment is buy up medical protective equipment for your own personal use. If you’re part of the at-risk group and rely on PPE for some important reason – wearing a makeshift fabric mask over your PPE can help getting more wears out of it.

Makeshift Masks and Mental Health

Whether you’ve made your own or not…don’t forget to wear them!

Although wearing makeshift masks isn’t even nearly as effective proper PPE masks, there are some really helpful psychological and social benefits that you should know about:

  • Wearing a mask yourself is a helpful reminder at all times to not touch your face and keep your distance.
  • You are a constant reminder to everyone around you that we’re in a very serious situation at the moment. People will automatically keep more distance from you and be more careful when they interact. Try it! You’ll be surprised how many people will steer clear of you in the supermarket aisle. At the moment, this is a good thing! 
  • When you wear handmade masks with fun prints you will make yourself and others smile! Again, any comfort helps in this uncomfortable situation.
  • Someone who is very scared and anxious to go out at the moment, but might have to leave the house urgently might find wearing a mask a little more reassuring.
  • Peer pressure might be good for once! Wearing a mask, you’re immediately an example for others. The more people wear masks in public, the more will follow. This simple concept of peer pressure can really help right now.

 

Further thoughts on wearing masks and some downsides: 

  • Wearing a makeshift mask can give you a false sense of security. Be aware that these masks are not equivalent with proper medical PPE. Washing your hands regularly and keeping your distance is still the most effective way of staying healthy right now.
  • For those of you struggling with anxiety: Seeing others wearing masks or wearing one yourself can be a constant reminder of a very anxiety-inducing situation. It might be very difficult to stay calm and focus. Getting used to breathing through one or more layers of fabric is not easy. Especially for people with panic disorders this can trigger panic attacks. Try to get used to wearing them before you leave the house the first time. Take something to distract you – e.g. play a game on your phone or do breathing exercises while you have to wait in line.

By the way, losing you sewing mojo over sewing face masks non-stop is a real thing. I haven’t touched my sewing machine at home while I was sewing at work. Don’t worry, your mojo will come back. Don’t stress about it! 

Makeshift Masks and Mental Health

What are you doing for your mental health these days? Are you sewing up a storm  or have you lost your sewing mojo? I’d love to hear from you!

Stay safe & stay home.

xx

Charlie


Happy sewing!

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Picking Plums in France

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyoAu.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Another Doris Dress

Hi there! After walking about in full-blown winter wardrobe for about two weeks now I’m mourning all my summer dresses I won’t be able to wear in the next few months. One of them is this cute red Doris Dress (by Sew Over It) I made this summer and took on our road trip to France.

I intentionally chose a colour that would also be great for autumn and I’m planning on wearing this dress with tights and boots and layered jumpers before winter really hits.

pattern: The Doris Dress (Sew Over It), Version 1 (size 10 graded to 12 below hips)
fabric: lightweight cotton viscose from a tiny sewing shop in Sweden
amount: 2,20m non-directional print
cost: bundle price per kg, less than 10€ (+ zip from my stash & handmade self-covered buttons)
duration: ~5 hr (incl. cutting out)

As you know, if you’ve been following this blog a while, I’m a huge fan of Sew Over It patterns. The Doris Dress was one of my favourites last year and the first version I made had lots of outings to weddings and summer parties. I immediately set out to make another one after last years trip to Sweden. It sat on my desk with just the zip left to put in for half a year and I finished it just before our holiday in August.

The fabric is a floral viscose I bought in Sweden last year, in a tiny shop that sold fabrics per kilogram! Viscose is the perfect fabric for this dress in my opinion. The way the skirt panels are cut works best with drapey fabrics. I used a bit over 2 metres, cutting out a UK size 10/12. I did not make any changes to the pattern, except that I cheated a bit and made a fake button placket. Since the dress has a invisible side zip put in, there really is no need to insert buttonholes, at least for size 10/12. I’d be curious, does this work for all sizes?

Anyway, it’s obviously way faster to construct if you just sew on decorative buttons. I made self-covered ones again as I could not find any buttons that worked with the style of the dress and fabric. If you look closely you can see I used the blue/purple flower print from the fabric to place on the 20mm buttons.

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comDoris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comDoris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comDoris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Just as I did with the other one, I love this dress to bits! It’s beautifully femine, classic and works for almost any occasion. I’m also a really big fan of viscose fabrics, especially for your summer holiday wardrobe. The fabrics are really lightweight, a cotton-blend is perfect for hot summer days. Viscose does crease quite easily but I also find that the creases go away without pressing just by hanging it in a moist bathroom (hang it in there while you shower!) or when you spray it with a diffuser water bottle and hang it up to dry.

Doris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comDoris Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

To be able to wear these lovely viscose dresses over tights, I will have to make a few more slip dresses or skirts to help with the static. I only have one so far, which does not work with all my dresses. Do you have any pattern or fabric recommendations for slip dresses?

xx

Charlie


Happy sewing!

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Florence Dress & Vineyards

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comFlorence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comFlorence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

SUMMER IN SWITZERLAND

The official first day of autumn has passed already. Although it’s still warm enough to live in t-shirts and dresses, foggy mornings and falling leaves indicate the cold season is just around the corner. Perfect time to share one of my favourite summer makes and vacation pictures. I’m feeling a little wistful summer is ending again…consoling myself with butternut squash and pumpkin soup really does help, though.

We spent part of the summer vacation at Lake Geneva, Switzerland. We took these pictures on one of several trips to the gorgeous vineyards near Grandvaux. Hot summer sun, breathtaking view and hazy mountain tops above the lake – a place of quite unbelievable beauty.

pattern: hacked Florence Dress (Sew Over It), size 10
fabric: 2+m of printed viscose (gifted)
cost: next to nothing: fabric was gifted, 70cm elastic (1.99€/m),  matching thread from my stash, fabric covered buttons (handmade, base from stash)
duration: ~4 hours

This maxi dress I made especially for our vacation, as I wanted to take something lightweight and pretty that would get me through the very hot end-of-August days in Switzerland and France. It’s made from a very ligthweight, soft viscose with a cherry blossom and butterfly print. It was gifted to me by my mother-in-law, so I can’t tell you where it was bought and how much it cost, unfortunately. I love viscose for travelling as it does not take up much space and weighs next to nothing. The fabric wrinkles quite easily, but I usually spray it with a bit of water after taking it out of the suitcase and hand it up to dry on a hanger. It pretty much looks freshly ironed afterwards!

For the pattern I used the Sew Over It Florence Dress, one of my favourite patterns last year, and added a few minor changes to the pattern. For the most part, I sewed a UK size 10 straight from the envelope and ditched the sleeves. By the way, this really helped with the fit of the bodice. I did have some minor fit issues with the 3/4 sleeve version last time. Since they were a tad tight, the whole bodice sat a bit tight around the bust when I moved. Making it sleeveless solved the problem for now, I will probably have to return to that pattern and fit it properly at some point. I bias bound the edges of the armscye.

I had more than 3 metres of fabric to play around with, and with all the Myosotis Dresses around at that time I was inspired to add some ruffled tiers. ( I actually found a print copy of the Myosotis Dress pattern in a tiny sewing shop in France and treated myself to a copy!) Here’s the two versions I sketched out before cutting out:

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

I really dig the right version, but the hubby had a vote and set his mind on the left one. Which was probably the only reasonable choice anyways. I later thought the horizontal seams might not have complimented the soft drape of the viscose fabric. What do you think? Should I try the other one, too?

To make the left design, I shortened the skirt panels and cut out two rectangles twice the width of the skirt’s hem. I gathered the fabric with two rows of stitching and overlocked the raw edges after sewing the gathered tier to the skirt. The added panel was cut out generously so that I could shorten it to the perfect length after the dress was finished and waiting to be hemmed. It hits at just the right height, so that I can wear it with both flats and high heels.

I tried quite a few options for the buttons and couldn’t find any that matched the style of the dress or pattern of the fabric. It’s quite a busy print already. This seems to happen to me with all the button-down-front dresses I made over the last year. I always end up making matching fabric covered buttons instead, and it always turns out to look best this way.

This dress is so versatile! I pretty much lived in it throughout the vacation. It’s perfect for every occaison and I wore it at home, in the restaurant, for shopping trips etc. I have a navy blue cardigan that matched perfectly for the cooler days and evenings. It’s a lovely pattern and changing it up a little this time only makes me want to try more hacks in the future!

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comFlorence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comFlorence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comFlorence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Florence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.comFlorence Dress Sew Over It by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Aslan not only enjoyed the long vineyard walks but also the making of this dress. He has a bad habit of stepping on carefully placed fabric or even falling asleep on it while I’m in the middle of cutting out my patterns. He might have been a cat in a former life, I think.

I’m still dreaming about making all those summer dresses while the leaves start falling outside…Do you have any pattern suggestions for starting an autumn wardrobe to get me out of this wistful mood?

xx

Charlie


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A Floral Agnes Dress

Agnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.comAgnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Agnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.com
Agnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Agnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.comAgnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.comAgnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Oh, hello there!

It’s embarrassing how long it took me to write up a post this time! I have to blame a whole new bunch of hobbies for it. I’ve discovered wool spinning and all that comes with it and have spent the last couple months pretty much doing nothing else than handling wool in all shapes and forms. It’s really fun and distracts me from sewing at the moment. I’ve been making all sorts of little projects for the kids in my family, as well. So I’ve been very much involved with all things creative. People ask me all the time how I have the time to do so many things at once and, well, I haven’t. I really have to make time to be able to explore so many creative activities and some things have to get pushed to the bottom of the list. In the last few months it’s been mostly working out (the most likely candidate) and blogging. Preparing a blog post eats up a lot of time and, to be honest, isn’t always the most creative part of the process for me.

Just before discovering the joy of old spindles and raw fibres I finished a couple of really cute outfits which we photographed months ago. One of these was this really lovely jersey dress, which I’ve worn endlessly since then.

pattern: hacked Agnes Top (Tilly and the Buttons), size 10
fabric: 1.5m of printed jersey (gifted)

cost: next to nothing: fabric was gifted, 10cm elastic (1.99€/m), 
matching thread from my stash
duration: ~2 hours

I used the Agnes Top pattern by Tilly and the Buttons and lengthened it into a dress. It’s the third time I made myself an Agnes dress, the other two dresses (here and here) are some of my favourite garments to date. It’s fairly easy to do this freehand. I usually use the Sew Over It Cowl Neck Dress as a base for the skirt part, since I really like the fit and length. As I said, you don’t necessarily need a skirt pattern for this. You could simply drop the hem down to knee-length and curve the side seams a bit following the shape of your thighs. 

An Agnes dress is super comfy, but doesn’t look too slouchy. You can easily dress it up with some heels or dress it down by wearing trainers. It’s also one of my favourite garments to take on holidays, as it’s such an allrounder and fits easily in any bag without creasing. 

I love the feminine shape of the neckline. It’s such a simple, but effective trick to use a short length of elastic to ruche the centre front and turn it from a scoop neck into a pretty v-shape. This technique is included in the pattern booklet and can also be easily applied to other garments. You could also use this trick on other tops you would like to update. Any scoop neck would be perfect for this. The elastic is stitched down with a zigzag stitch, which only takes a minute or two.

Agnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.comAgnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.comAgnes Dress by thisblogisnotforyou.com

I would really love to get my sewing juices flowing again! I’ve been browsing a bit for new indie sewing patterns and bought a couple Sew Over It dress patterns recently. I would really like to explore other brands as well, since I feel I’ve been missing out on all the latest pattern crazes (Myosotis Dress anyone? I’ve been eyeballing you!).

Do you have any recommendations for patterns and indie pattern designers which I should check out? Please let me know in the comments!

xx

Charlie


Happy sewing!

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