Welcome to my dressmaking and textile blog. I plan to use this space to chart my progress as I work with slopers and garment blocks to create my own designs using as wide a variety of fabrics as I can.

Although I am not formally trained in fashion design, I have been cutting patterns since childhood, albeit with long gaps due to my previous career in healthcare. It is a great pleasure to be able to return to this full time though I am well aware of the steep learning curve ahead of me.

Aside from the joy of making things, there are two other reasons why this project is important to me. Firstly, I am truly fed up of ready-to-wear clothes that do not fit me properly, even though I have such an ordinary physique. I believe we have become so accustomed to wearing ill-fitting, shop-bought clothes that we no longer know what well-fitting clothes feel or look like.

Secondly, the appetite for cheap clothing, especially in the West, has spawned a fast-fashion industry that is environmentally unsustainable and encourages poor working conditions, even child labour, in the developing countries where most of our garments are made. As a result of our throw-away attitudes, our landfill sites are also becoming clogged with discarded clothing that will take decades to decompose.

I made a pledge in September 2016 to buy no brand new clothing, apart from underwear and shoes, for at least a year. I have kept my pledge for six months so far but see no reason why this should not be extended indefinitely. From now on, I will only wear clothes that I previously owned, or that I have made myself from scratch, or that I have bought from thrift shops and refashioned. Ultimately, I intend to source plain textiles from environmentally sound sources and create my own printed fabrics.

I have separated this project into three phases.

  • Phase One – the completion of a set of working sloper patterns.
  • Phase Two – designing and making a garment every week for a year.
  • Phase Three – designing textiles with which to make my own garments
  • Phase Four – who knows!