It’s been 5 years since I last bought ready to wear/RTW. That’s 260.8875 weeks. “Hi my name is Karina. I used to spend so much money on clothes, then on 24 September 2016, I went cold turkey – I made my last purchase”
And that includes bras, undies and yoga gear. I clearly remember handing over my moolahs for that last purchase. 24 September 2016. About 4pm. And I clearly remember thinking never again! That’s a bold thought don’t you think. I’ve often thought never again about things. Never again to putting weight back on, never again to cleaning the house, never again to cooking dinner (oh wait, I have stopped cooking dinner lol). But there’s a huge difference between thinking and doing. I’ve always been more than capable of making my clothes. In the past I had a wardrobe that was a great mix of RTW and memade. But I also used to love shopping for clothes. But did I? I mean I hated trying stuff on and it not fitting right. And I hated feeling less than human when sales assistants looked down their noses at me because I didn’t fit their demographic or size ideals. I have been laughed at by a shop assistant when I asked if a shirt came in a size 14 because the 12 just wouldn’t stretch over the twins (or boobage), it fitted everywhere else – except across the chest. And not just a little laugh, she actually said “oh, that designer doesn’t make sizes to fit people like you’ and laughing at the same time – loud enough for everyone in the shop to hear. Bitch! And I was positively skinny back then (but I didn’t realise it at the time lol). I actually cried in the car on that way home that day.
I’ve always been a shape that doesn’t fit RTW. Skinny legs, flat butt, round in the tummy, waist almost the same measurement as my hips, with big boobs and broad through the back. Think potato on toothpicks.
I actually got told by a guy that’s what I looked like in shorts, a fucking potato on toothpicks!
I used to buy men’s shirts for my corporate days as they fitted better than shirts made for women. I mean really, does RTW do anything for self-esteem LOL.
I decided back in 2014 to start working towards a total me-made wardrobe. It took a good couple of years to get to the stage that I could wear a fully 100% me made wardrobe from head to ankle. Not head to toe, I don’t make shoes or socks. I have taken to wearing Hubs socks on occasion – I found a pair of fab merino ones in his drawer that were a bit too out there for him! So I snaffled them, and he noticed!! He always notices lol.
I often get asked – but no, I don’t save money having a memade wardrobe. I spend too much on shoes, fabric and sewing machines. My love for shoes spans plenty of kilos gained and lost! They will always be my friends, shoes, no matter how much I weigh – they still fit. And fabric is not cheap. I’m trying (one Sewster at a time) to get peeps to realise that good fabric costs around $20, $30, $40 or more a meter. Sure, you can get bargains or buy at sale time. But quality fabric costs, especially here in NZ. We don’t have the population to get the prices down. You can absolutely make for less than buying from a designer store, but you can’t compete with fast fashion RTW. And who would want to – who wants to look the same as everyone else. Who wants to wear a t-shirt that will last only a couple of washes? That is just false economy. And there is nothing more disheartening than spending hours making something for the fabric to let you down. Ugh! Quality over quantity Sewsters – everytime.
But back to me (always back to me lol). I love wearing 100% memade. I’m not a size based on some unrealistic industry standard. I’m just my size.
My business is teaching peeps to sew. I have committed to putting my money where my mouth is and I wear everything I’ve made.
I am a walking billboard for my business – 100% all of the time.
I love it when new Sewsters (and peeps in general) ask where I got something from “thanks I made it. It has pockets”. I did a pattern drafting course about 5 years ago (I think that was course number 4 over the last 30 years, always tweaking – love learning. Ironically I nearly always go back to the first method I learnt in 1990). On the first day, the tutor stood at the front of the class and said, pointing to her top “this top cost me $10 from The Warehouse. Why would you make something when you can buy it for $10??” In my head I was actually screaming. Like WTAF. In my head I was screaming “it looks like a fucking $10 top” and then I screamed (still in my head lol) “why the fuck are you teaching us to draft patterns if you can’t walk the talk”. She was a useless tutor, which I paid over $1200 to learn from – but that’s a whole other post.
So, 5 years of no RTW. I personally think that is a pretty marvellous milestone. Sometimes it is so hard though. There are a couple of NZ designers who I just love, and I follow them on SocMed. It would be so, so easy to just pop out and buy that new navy, oversized blazer with white piping than add it to the never ending queue of things to make. But. I. Just. Can’t.
I just can’t buy RTW anymore. Because I say to myself and out loud sometimes too “I could make that”. Yes, yes I can. Once it gets to the top of the queue lol.
I can no longer bring myself to buy when I am capable of making. I also make for Hubs too. He wouldn’t wear things I made him when he was younger. But he does now. I’m not planning on having him all memade. Goodness, I don’t have time for that sort of malarkey. Just a nice mix for him.
I love making with all my being. Not just love it a little bit. But every fibre of my being is totally devoted to being me made head to ankle. 100%. 100% of the time (expect for when it’s raining – my old bright pink raincoat is RTW, but watch this space – I have the fabric & the pattern, and it’s still on the list to be made).
5 years. That’s pretty bloody amazing! Even if I do say so myself.