I predict a huge rise in rag market trading. People will want to start making their own clothes again. We’ll be sharing patterns (or guarding them with our lives), cooing over new materials, fantasising about florals and seeking out ways to stop our fingers from bleeding so much after multiple needle-pricks. This is all due to TV’s growing collection of crafty competitions. We’re already overloaded with bake-offs and shouty chefs teaching talented people how to transform ingredients into something that at least looks edible but now we’re into a new era of craft: sewing.
The Great British Sewing Bee, during which eight varied representatives of the brilliant British public compete to win the title of Best Amateur Sewer, started last week. Much like the Great British Bake-Off, there are three challenges which are individually assessed before the judges decide which contestant must go home. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a well-structured programme that makes the garments look achievable with a bit of effort. It definitely made me want to go out and buy a few metres worth of material, invest in a sewing machine and get my head round a pattern. In inspired me so much that I actually scoured the Great British Internet to see how much it would cost me.
It is certainly possible to get material cheaply at a market. Getting it at a market also means you only buy as much as you need and you can form a relationship with the seller to request a certain pattern, colour or style, rather than waiting for something to come along. Sewing machines aren’t necessarily expensive and the maintenance of them doesn’t put a hole in your wallet either. But small costs do add up. And if you’re inexperienced, like me, to actually save money you have to get it right the first time. Making mistakes might mean having to start again and buy more material, thread and time. So is it really worth it?
If you’re the kind of person who loves creating things and feels a huge sense of pride with a good quality end product, making your own clothes is for you. You’ll have to invest a lot of patience but not too much money. It might be cheaper to go to high street shops like Primark or the sale racks in New Look or Miss Selfridge but there’s a huge chance you’ll see others wearing the same thing. If you want to be individual, show off your personality and be the only one wearing your outfit, making your own clothes is for you. But if you lack patience, time and a bit of spare cash to invest, maybe you’re more suited on the sofa watching the experts do the job. To support others, etsy and eBay always have a colourful array of excellent quality homemade clothes ready to wear.