Tag Archives: thrift

Love What You Wear – A Year of Not Buying Clothes

Some of you may remember that last November, I signed up for the Love What You Wear Project – a challenge not to buy any new clothes for the duration of a year (except underwear and shoes!). The challenge ran from 1st November 2012 until 1st November 2013. Next Friday the challenge ends and (assuming I don’t go on a mad spending spree between now and then) I will have successfully completed it. Woohoo!

Initially, I was hoping that the challenge would spur me on to start making my own clothes. And it did, sort of, but then I got a bit disillusioned when making my own clothes failed to result in anything that I would actually consider wearing. There was the skirt that made me look like a lego figure:

front of skirt

Then the top that made me look like a milkmaid:


Oh, well, at least I did get some bargains from charity shops, like this Monsoon top:

thank goodness for oxfam monsoon

And a Boden one:

thank goodness for oxfam boden

And luckily, my mum rekindled her dressmaking and made me several garments including this fabulous Vogue dress:

vogue dress

All in all, I’m glad I undertook the challenge. I have had fun hunting down charity shop bargains and I think it has definitely altered my attitude towards buying clothes. I think I will be a lot less impulsive with my purchases and carefully choose those clothes that I think will fit in with my existing wardrobe and that will last well. Having said that, I am looking forward to shopping for a brand new frock for my Christmas night out with the girls ๐Ÿ™‚

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Love What You Wear Update: Thank Goodness for Oxfam

In November I signed up for the Love What You Wear Project, the aim of which is to avoid buying new clothes for a year. So, just over three months later, how am I doing?

sad about polka dot top

The good news is, I finished sewing a garment. Properly, with seam finishing and a hem and everything. The bad news is, I don’t like it. The only time I can imagine wearing it would be if I was pregnant. Mum – if you’re reading this – don’t start knitting booties, I have no intention of getting pregnant ;-). It is not flattering at all. And I have come to the conclusion that threading elastic through casing is the most tedious sewing task in the world, and this little beauty has four lots (two sleeves, a waist and a neckline). So I think it’s fair to chalk up McCalls M5050 as a fail. Ho hum.

On the plus side, I have managed to grab myself a couple of charity shop bargains in the last couple of weeks. A beautiful lightweight cotton Monsoon blouse, and a super-comfy-but-with-nice-finishing-touches green top by Boden.

thank goodness for oxfam monsoon
thank goodness for oxfam boden

And I am *NOT* going to give up on dressmaking (though I may take a little break to get on with some other sewing stuff, which I’ll post about soon). This week I have aquired two more sewing patterns. The Vogue one I won from Jenny over at Pattern Pandemonium. I must admit I was drawn to the polka dots ๐Ÿ™‚ and the McCalls skirt I bagged for 99p from Oxfam. So I have to decide whether to do one of these next, or to make a start on the Deer & Doe. Decisions, decisions.

two patterns

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Charity Shop Treasure Hunt

This morning I had a couple of hours in town to myself. I took the opportunity to trawl the charity shops for books for my treasure hunt reading challenge. I was pretty pleased to find a few:

treasure hunt books

So, I’ve got
The Girl with the Pearl Earring (clue: a precious stone)
Love in the Time of Cholera (clue: an illness)
The Fifth Mountain (clue: a geological formation)

Nice ๐Ÿ™‚

For the most part, the fiction I read is from the library. However, because I like to read in the bath, it’s good to have a few owned paperbacks on hand too! Looking forward to reading these.

I also picked up a pretty flowery sheet, which I am going to use to make the muslin for my next garment:

flowery sheet

The pattern I am planning to use is New Look 6095, a simple shift dress.

New Look 6095

I am also planning to have another go at McCalls M5050. Hopefully this spotty green fabric will be perfect, and nothing like a milkmaid ๐Ÿ™‚

dotty green fabric

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Binding & Bargains

Quilts: I like thinking about them; I like looking at them; I like designing them; I like piecing them; I like quilting and embellishing them. I do NOT like binding them! Luckily, my rather awesome and talented mum DOES like binding quilts so it would be rude not to give them to her to bind ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s the “What a World” panel which I have quilted and embroidered, and my mum has beautifully bound:

what a world

I had thought this would make a wall hanging, but it drapes so beautifully and is snuggly, that I think we will use it as an extra quilt for keeping knees warm when we are sitting on the sofa. And maybe our geography skills will improve at the same time!

I wrote a week or two ago about signing up for the Love What You Wear Project – a commitment to not buying any new clothes for a year – and in the meantime, I have been looking at lots of dressmaking books and patterns, trying to summon up the courage to start work on a garment for myself. Today, when perusing the charity shops, I found this fabric for sale for ยฃ4. It’s 60″ wide, and there’s almost 3 metres of it – bargain! I think it will be just the thing for making an A-line skirt for the summer:

bargain fabric

I also picked up this amazing Anatomy Coloring Book for 50p:

anatomy coloring book

A valuable addition to our homeschool library!

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Love What You Wear Project

Just lately, I’ve been reading a bit about the fashion industry and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading. I started with Elizabeth Cline’s “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” and I have now nearly finished Lucy Siegle’s very thorough expose “To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?”ย  I’m not totally naive.ย  I did realise that the fashion industry wasn’t what you’d call ethical, but I must admit I didn’t have a clue just how bad it was.ย  Exploitative labour practices; a total disregard for the environment; shocking wastage…not a pretty picture.ย  The more I read about it, the less I want anything to do with it.ย  As well as supporting such organisations as Labour Behind the Label and the Clean Clothes Campaign, I feel that I want to change my own relationship to clothes and clothesย  buying.ย  So when I read about the Love What You Wear Project, I thought “Yes! This is it!”ย  In a nutshell, the project involves a commitment to buying no new clothes for a year, running from 1st November 2012 to 3oth November 2013.ย  So, we’re looking at buying secondhand, mending or repurposing what we’ve already got or making clothes ourselves.ย  Just what I had been wanting to try in any case ๐Ÿ™‚


I want to use this opportunity to really learn how to look after and mend my clothes.
I want to use this opportunity to think more about my consumption.
I want to use this opportunity to learn a new skill – dressmaking.

First things first, though, I have to finish Waif’s pyjamas. Then, I have promised some pyjamas to my husband. After that, maybe I’ll have a go at making myself a skirt with this pattern:

butterick skirt pattern

Watch this space ๐Ÿ™‚

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