We’re well into 2016 now and I finished my #1Year1Outfit makes last month, but I’d like to write a recap about the experience and what I learned.
Sourcing fabrics and haberdashery for the challenge was both interesting and a joy. I’ve relished the detective work in tracking down all the elements for my makes. Here’s a summary of all the resources I used in my projects:
- Organic peace silk fabric from Majestic Silks
- Ceramic buttons from Poppy Ceramics
- Irish linen fabric from John England Irish Linen
- Hemp fabric from Herts Fabrics
- Goldschild linen thread from Atelier
- Stage horn buttons from Abbey Horn
- Hair canvas from local Fabric Land
I have cut myself some slack and tried to source everything from the UK rather than just the local area, but there have been some difficulties even when widening my net. I sourced my linen thread from Europe and I don’t actually know the origin of the hair canvas, but I do know it was a cotton and horse-hair mix (so natural fibres at least from a local fabric store). I’ll keep searching for sources for threads and tailoring supplies nearer to home.
The project has opened my eyes to non-traditional resources and my finds have included buttons from a local maker and fabric used as Viking cloaks for re-enactments!
There has been a notable missing material from my project – wool. Wool is by far the easiest to find, locally produced fabric in the UK. It has been a deliberate omission on my part and something I will be addressing in the coming year. Firstly, I can’t knit….yet. I’m not a natural knitter by inclination and although I tried to knit when I was a kid, somehow I never seemed to get beyond a knotty mess. In contrast I took to sewing like a duck to water and have always stuck to it. My aim is to give knitting another go and I’m taking the KnitLab Craftsy class at the moment. We’ll see what happens! Secondly, the much anticipated Bristol Cloth will be available soon. This fabric will be virtually weaved and dyed on my doorstep and the wool sourced from less than 15 miles away. You can’t get more local than that!
These garments have also steered me towards many traditional construction methods too. I am a great fan of French seams anyway, and having only fairly recently bought an overlocker it wasn’t difficult to return to zig-zagging seam allowances. But I have learned a tremendous amount about tailoring with the construction of my jacket. It took about three months to make the jacket. There were several times when I just wanted to throw in the towel, not because it was going wrong at all, but simply because the process was so long-winded and I was losing heart. However, my stubborn streak won through and with dogged determination I finished it. I am proud of this jacket and you wouldn’t believe how warm it is to wear, perfect to wear under a coat on a winter’s walk.
I must admit that this is probably the only time that I’ll wear these three garments together. Although they probably look fine as an ensemble, the silk top and trousers lean more towards summer and the jacket is definitely a winter item. I’ll bear this in mind with this year’s #1Year1Outfit. By the end of this year could I have a winter and summer outfit?
I’ve also kept a tally of the price of this outfit. I’m a bit shocked at the expense! However, I still have left-over silk fabric, linen fabric and linen thread. Certainly there is probably enough silk for another lining. The remaining linen would be good for embroidery. Perhaps if this were taken into account the price tag wouldn’t be so horrendous. Although, if I was to put it another way, this was my clothing and craft budget for three months. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who spend more than this on clothes, especially in the run-up to Christmas!
I would like to mention Charlotte of An English Girl at Home who has been creating a list of British Fibres, Fabrics and Haberdashery Suppliers, which is well worth a look should you be interested in embarking on your own locally produced adventure.