I recently whipped up a comfy ensemble for our annual trip to CHSI Stitches trade show and it went down a storm.
I was overwhelmed with the positive comments and support from so many people, people who are long time customers and followers but also people who had never laid eyes on me before and that is why I love this community. But there’s a bit more to this suit than anyone knows… grab a cuppa, this might be a long one.
We attend CHSI Stitches trade show every year to meet up with our suppliers, see what’s new and make new relationships with creatives and suppliers. It’s where we started 13 years ago, back when hardly any suppliers would even entertain talking to us (but that’s another story).
Every year, I like to make sure that whatever I’m wearing to the trade show is me made but this year, despite having a decent me made wardrobe, I hadn’t considered what I would be wearing. As a general rule, the creative community is amazingly supportive but I have in the past been marginalised because of how I look, my size and of course my age by both suppliers and customers. I’m a very confident person but sometimes I wobble and at the risk of being vulnerable I think it’s good to share these thoughts. I see numerous people coming into the shop with hang ups about their body, their look and their general presence. Of course, wouldn’t it be wonderful if none of these things were an issue but they are for so many.
Knowing that I have had body confidence issues, as do many of my customers, I feel it’s really important to try and combat this. Body confidence is often centred around a person’s body size, a comment that I often get is… “It’s okay for you, you’re tiny”. And I am pretty little, I can’t change that and it took many years for me to accept that this is my body and I love it. That being said, as I said in this recent Hunts Post article, no one is “off the peg” size. I’m a firm believer in working with what you have and loving yourself.
Now, I’m a tailor by trade and the aim of tailoring is to fit you with a garment that makes you look the most aesthetically perfect shape… in women this is the hourglass. We’re looking at clothing that balances our natural shapes and fitting here and there sometimes within in mm to give that “perfect” hourglass shape. I don’t want to be an hourglass, I want to be me. We see women coming in having been told things don’t suit them and to stay away from certain colours and prints even though that individual loves said colours and prints. The key to an amazing outfit is feeling like a Queen (or King) in said outfit, not other people’s opinions.
There is only one person that knows your body 100% and that is you and only one person that truly knows your style, also you. We like to break the rules here at Habbydays, making dresses originally cut for Jacquard fabrics out of scuba (as pictured below), mixing patterns that maybe shouldn’t be mixed, finding alternative uses for textiles by understanding the fundamentals of their manufacture (which we teach in our Fabrics seminars) and helping people to make garments that are truly custom made.
I believe in wearing whatever you want, whatever makes you feel comfy, whatever makes you feel amazing… even if it’s jogging bottoms. Which brings me back to the suit.
Trolls: Grey Melange Cotton Jersey
We’ve had this fabric in the shop for a little while and I’ve been chomping at the bit to make something from it. It’s trolls so of course more aimed towards children but having an alternative taste, it spoke to me. You can find the awesome rainbow trolls fabric here.
I suddenly had a burst of sewjo on Saturday evening after we closed the shop for the weekend and decided I needed a suit made from the grey trolls melange fabric above. I’m still not 100% sure where the inspiration came from but it was definitely an itch I had to scratch. I knew I only had an evening to complete my new hairbrained project and so quickly rifled through my mental Rolodex of patterns which would give me my desired look in my tiny time frame.
All in all this outfit took me 5 hours total.
These are the considerations I had to make in choosing my patterns: comfortable, something I already own, work with stretch cotton, smart but casual, my style and quick to make!
Comfort is key in this outfit, I’d be walking around or sitting in a car for most of the day. I have spinal and hip issues which can mean that clothing can make or break my day, so i decided to make a slim fit pair of jogging bottoms. Specifically the Loggers pattern from Patterns for Pirates. The blazer was a self drafted pattern but based on a duster cardigan which you can find patterns for in most places. I recut a slightly different collar and added pockets.
The part that probably took the longest was piecing my PDF pattern together and of course cutting out. A lot of the sewing was done on my overlocker but I also used my machine on a stretch stitch (my favourites are a basic zigzag and triple straight stitch). I had a slight hold up in that I needed to grab some ballpoint needles but once I had those the rest of genuinely easy.
Now, I’ve had lots of people say that of course I’d find it easy. I have over 30 years sewing experience under my belt and have worked professionally in the trade for many years but this outfit was genuinely very easy to put together and although the patterns weren’t designed to go together, the fact that they were made from the same fabric made it so.
Patterns are a great source of inspiration but it’s you as a creative that makes the garment special.