At the start of this year, I decided to set myself a challenge- I am not allowed to buy myself any new clothing for the whole of 2021. This was for a few different reasons. Firstly, as a way to reduce my carbon footprint. One of the things that I love about vintage and pin up fashion is the move away from 'fast fashion'- clothing that is made and sold cheaply, often in an unethical way and not made to last. Even aside from that fabulous moment when you find the perfect vintage dress, coat or skirt, retro style can be sustainable in other ways. I tend to find dresses and other items of clothing made by reproduction brands are well made and last longer than a lot of high-street options. They often have a good resale market within pin up communities, meaning that dresses are often re-loved and things are less likely to be thrown away. Even with this in mind, I sometimes find myself buying cheap clothing on impulse (for example crop tops to wear with high-waisted skirts etc) and I felt that having a blanket ban on buying new clothes would make me more conscious of this.
My second reason for this new year's resolution was to encourage myself to sew clothes again. It's something I'd done a while ago, but since becoming a parent, I hadn't made time to do much personal sewing. To add to this encouragement, I have also signed up to a sewing Patreon for vintage inspired patterns. This particular one is called Gertie's World and comprises of patterns designed by Gertie Hirch. She also sells patterns under Charm Patterns and worked as a designer with Butterick. If you have an interest in sewing reproduction vintage, I would absolutely recommend checking her out. The patterns are fun and totally wearable and many of the patterns include videos showing you how to do some of the sewing techniques. There are also a lot of Facebook groups where people ask questions, swap tips and show pictures of their finished creations, which I love.
I have done a handful of sewing projects so far this year and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them, even if I few of them aren't quite stitch perfect! I sewn with stretch fabrics for the first time, made my first ever capelet and pair of trousers, and made a dress from upcycled sheets, one of which I think is older than I am. I've loved learning new techniques and it's reignited my passion for sewing. I have a few weddings coming up this year (yay! Anyone else remember those?) and I'm feeling much more confident about making my own outfits to wear to them. I've certainly not had as many new clothes this year as I would normally had, but it just goes to show that I haven't needed them, although I have of course been to far fewer events this year than I would have done normally so that does also play a part. But I'm nearly half way through my sewing challenge year and I'm determined to carry on with it. In fact... I may already be eying up patterns for Christmas outfits!