Since starting here at CULTED, I have been engulfed, every day, by every aspect of fashion. I sit in awe sorting through countless new, daring fashion campaigns or bold, memorable runway shows and with each crumb of the industry I so eagerly digest, my hunger to learn more is never satisfied.I have dreamt of making my own clothing for as long as I can remember – be it in the form of a brand or actually designing and creating garments. When it came to college though, I took a different route into graphic design and a more media focussed side of things (which later proved to be quite helpful, obviously).
I later combined this with what little fashion knowledge I had, to create a small brand at the age of 17 that (to put it nicely) flopped. Following this came a long (very long) line of rebrands, redesigns and a whole load of stress, only for me to realise that all I really wanted was to wear my own clothes. I was focusing way too much on selling a product than actually caring for what I was doing. So I did what anyone would do in my situation – I bought a sewing machine from ebay. I’d never been so excited in my whole life to start a new venture – no hassle with manufactures, just me, some fabric and my machine whirring away – It arrived… and it was broken.
Over a year later, working at CULTED reignited my excitement for fashion, so I got it fixed and took to YouTube to learn how to sew. I started a bit ambitious and decided to make a shirt. Yes, a shirt, with a collar. I found this great, in depth tutorial that came with a free printable pattern (that’s the pieces of paper you use to cut around the fabric, i’m not sure why it’s called that either) so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Sourcing fabric was a blast. Instead of spending a whole load of money on a project that had a very high probability of going hilariously wrong, I had the great idea to use an old CURTAIN to make this piece. Though I do suggest using actual fabric, I used a black-out curtain and it’s very well insulated to say the least. If I learned one thing during the process, it’s that making clothes is not easy at all. There are so many working parts that need so much precision. The sleeves, for example, need three tiny little slits to be able to fit to the body piece correctly and to also allow you to move your arms around freely when you wear it. I did this part three times for the first sleeve, but sadly I ran out of curtain.
I always wondered why shirts had that weird piece of fabric going across the shoulders, but i learned that it’s called a yoke and it serves to provide support for the shoulder and upper back, and allows the fabric at the shoulder to lay comfortably under a suit jacket, shifting the seam off the top of the shoulder. Crazy. After four days, a lot of swearing and an equal amount of seam ripping – I had a shirt. The sense of achievement I got (and still feel) was phenomenal. I have a whole new appreciation for fashion, designers and those who make the garments – because I needed a break after just one piece of clothing.
For my next project I’m currently making a pair of wide leg pleated trousers. My mum said: ‘Sam why don’t you just try something simple, that sounds awfully complex’. She’s right, but where’s the fun in that? For this I’m following a pattern that I bought, which consists of the pieces to cut around and very weirdly illustrated instructions on how to put the whole thing together. I was quite amazed when it came to doing the back pocket, I had to sew the pocket to the outside of the trouser then push it through to get a clean finish on the edges. It really is as complicated as it sounds. After a lot of confusion, it turned out great but it just blows my mind how someone worked out how to do that.
I really recommend trying your hand at sewing, even if you do what I did and print out the pattern yourself and steal your mum’s curtains (they’re free). In just a few weeks I’ve learned a ridiculous amount and had so much fun whilst doing so. I’m probably not the best person to give out any sewing advice, so take everything I say with a pinch of salt – but if there’s one thing you should take away from this, it’s that it’s never too late to learn something new.
See you on the runway in 30 years.