Dressed and me – Virginie

Written by Camille
December 9 2019 | Featured garments, Inspirations

For the release of our new book, we’ve decided to interview a few of our reviewers to learn more about how they think about their sewing practice and wardrobes in light of the method presented in Dressed. Today, let’s have a chat with Virginie from Avril sur un fil.

I started sewing 17 years ago, back when it was considered completely has-been… But I really wanted to make my own clothes! I saw it as a way to stand out, and to add a touch of originality to my outfits. I sewed based on inspiration, impulsively, without thinking it over first or considering whether I needed the garment or not. There was no common thread in my wardrobe, and sometimes I found myself looking at an overflowing closet thinking I had nothing to wear!

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A few years ago, I decided to change my habits, a little bit on all fronts, to try to be better. For the future, for my daughters, for the planet, for me as well. In that spirit, 4 years ago, I challenged myself to stop buying clothes and sew my whole wardrobe. A huge challenge for the shopaholic I was!

Since then, my approach to sewing has completely changed! Gradually I learned to plan my projects beforehand, anticipate my needs, and most recently and importantly, think about how to combine garments I have in my closet and clothes I plan to sew. I got to know my body better, I learned to accept myself as well. This is invaluable when choosing a pattern or making adjustments.

I plan several projects at once, even if in the end not all of them see the light of day! I sometimes even sew several projects at the same time, as I sometimes need to take a step back on some garments, think through what changes to make… I’ve always worked this way!

I don’t lose sight of the fact that sewing is a hobby, but I slowed down! I try to limit my purchases and avoid synthetic fibers. By the way, one of my goals for the first Dressed piece I made was to use the fabrics I had in my stash. I plan several projects at once, even if in the end not all of them see the light of day! I sometimes even sew several projects at the same time, as I sometimes need to take a step back on some garments, think through what changes to make… I’ve always worked this way!

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I had some difficulties wearing my handmade clothes at the beginning, due to a lack of a coherent style and not-so-great fit. I was a Japanese sewing patterns aficionado, even though I’m far from the typical Japanese body type! Sewing lets us adapt our clothes to our own body, so why not take advantage of that? Adjustments are an integral part of a sewing project and they make all the difference. I hadn’t realized it at the time. To be fair, resources to adapt patterns, FBAs for instance, were limited back then. Today, I wear my handmade clothes everyday, because with all this work, I only have favorite garments, or close!

Dressed is THE book I would have dreamed of having when I started my no-buy challenge. It would have saved me from so many questions!

Dressed is THE book I would have dreamed of having when I started my no-buy challenge. It would have saved me from so many questions! It summarizes in one book all my desires for responsible sewing and a sustainable wardrobe. Because in the end, there is a counterpart to fast-fashion: fast-sewing. And just like with fast-fashion, clothes from fast-sewing often end up in the back of the closet, never seeing the light of day. It’s really hard to resist the siren call of fashion and Instagram.

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The book insists on a point that we all too often forget: it’s not because we like a piece of clothing or a pattern that it will suit us. Not just regarding body shape, but also how we feel wearing it. Who has never felt costumed while wearing a garment? Because it didn’t fit our style, because we weren’t comfortable wearing it, because we felt self-conscious about the print or color? The method guides us, page by page, towards a sensible wardrobe that feels like us, up to choosing the right fabric. This is a crucial step when sewing a project, and it is a real difficulty when you start. I learned a lot from reading this chapter, about structure and material.

The book insists on a point that we all too often forget: it’s not because we like a piece of clothing or a pattern that it will suit us. Not just regarding body shape, but also how we feel wearing it.

The book contains easy and versatile patterns, for everyday wear. Good basics for an infinity of possible combinations. Quick projects to sew in many different ways. The main difficulty I encounter in my challenge to stop buying ready-to-wear is how much planning ahead it requires to replace existing garments in my wardrobe. With the promise of clothes I can sew in one afternoon, this book will be a great help!

I have a huge crush on the jacket, which fits my style perfectly, and the button-down blouse that is so feminine. But I could also mention the T-shirt, the pants, the mockneck, the culottes… I can’t wait to make the most of all the possibilities offered by this book.

Thanks again Virginie! Check out her review of Dressed on her blog, and get the Dressed book (FR) in our online shop!

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