Sally Reay rediscovered the joy of making your own clothes and hasn't looked back since.

“Over the last couple of years, I've really got back into dressmaking, sewing, mending and embroidery. When I was younger, before Google and YouTube, I attended a regular dressmaking group and learnt the basics of how to make clothes from patterns. It's amazing how much of it came back to me when I decided to dig out my sewing machine and bought a pattern and some fabric.  

First steps

It can be quite daunting when you first unpack a dressmaking pattern and are faced with the flimsy pattern pieces and the near-impenetrable instructions that go with them, but once you get the hang of the basics it's really absorbing and immensely satisfying. 

I often search on Google for YouTube 'How-to' videos when I can't figure out a particular technique or set of instructions - there are loads of incredibly helpful, free, short tutorials available online.  You can even find some free patterns online too, for example I made all my family washable face masks using offcuts of fabric and this great YouTube video tutorial -

The eco-friendly way to dress

I decided to get back into dressmaking for several reasons: to be creative, to make unique things for me and my family, and to be more environmentally friendly by using eco and organic fabrics or end-of-lines - and are great for this.

Sewing with others

I’ve also been taking part in regular Make Meet Mend sessions with the fabulous Saffron Darby from the Bristol Textiles Quarter.  We’ve been meeting up on Zoom to mend and darn our much-loved clothes.  We share mending and darning techniques and just hang out, it’s great fun and I’ve met loads of interesting people who are passionate about sustainable fashion.

If you're interested in taking up dressmaking, then take a look at Stitch Sisters who offer some free online sewing classes, as well as paid classes and patterns - "

[ Photo: Sally wearing a top made using The Assembly Line Puff Shirt sewing pattern - ]