In 2013 I decided it was time to set up camp in my own little corner of the wonderful online sewing community.

I thought it would be a good idea to blog to help me both log my dressmaking exploits and pattern cutting pursuits, as well as keep track of important tips, tricks and techniques I learn along the way. I was also drawn to the blogging world as, I suspect and fear, my real life friends just feign interest when I give them a run down of how I'm getting on at understanding dart manipulation.

I first decided I wanted to make my own clothes when I lived in my native Scotland as a Journalism student so I took a basic pattern cutting night class circa 2007/2008. After the class I sewed on and off but I felt like I never really got off the ground. But in late 2012 I decided to finally get serious and since then have been happily trying my best to hone my skills from my adopted home of Brussels, Belgium.

Although sewing can sometimes be no walk in the park, with frustration, anger and tears all par for the course, when everything works out as you wanted it to it is magical.

I think sewing is very good for mental health as it involves making something with your hands, problem solving, seeing a lengthy process through, creativity, fun, as well as dealing with and overcoming feelings of inability and a lack of confidence. With so much demand on our bruised attention spans, sewing helps train the mind to approach a project that might take weeks (or months!). Sewing can also be a beautifully individual activity. If you have hermit tendencies and enjoy spending time on your own then sewing is an enjoyable way to disconnect from what is going on outside your sewing area. I also love that dressmaking is at the same time creative and methodical, and, if you take pleasure in clothing and getting dressed then making your own attire is a natural progression of this interest.

And in a world where we have less and less connection with where the things we use, eat and wear come from making clothes can be ... political! Yes! Making your own clothes is way of showing your disdain with the dirty uncomfortable relationship between the fashion industry and the global south. Making your own clothes might not change the world but to me it seems like a good enough place to start! And while sewing is, arguably, no more or less expensive than shop-bought items, I'd say that in the long run it makes sense economically: you need to make a few big expenses in the beginning but you don't buy everything in your arsenal all at once and the big expenses will pay for themselves over and over again once you get going.

Happy stitching!


p.s. Write to me here: bonjourbelgianseams (at) gmail.com