Second Hand Sewing, by Rosie (@rosie_sews_vintage)
This year I’m embracing second-hand September wholeheartedly. My own sewing journey began with me wanting to make a particular type of clothing that I couldn’t really afford to buy. Armed with the belief that I was saving money I soon got totally sucked into spending a fortune on sewing supplies.
Initially some items didn’t come out as I’d hoped, and I was so disappointed that I’d spent money on fabric only to be left with an item I wasn’t going to wear. Luckily I soon found out through the wonderful online sewing community that upcyling fabric, making garments out of sheets and buying fabric second hand was a great way to keep sewing costs down especially for toiles or other practice runs.
Before long I was making a great deal of my fabric purchases from second hand sources including charity shops (also known as thrift stores or op shops depending on where you live), online marketplaces and de-stashes from real life local sewing groups and friends. I do still buy new fabric but now I am much more mindful to only buy something I really want.
As well as the financial savings I was also pleased to be making my sewing more sustainable. Textile production for fast fashion is a big contributing factor in climate change. Reusing existing fabric is an easy way of lessening that impact. Every year Oxfam promote Second Hand September in a bid to encourage consumers to reuse existing items instead of buying new. This year I have made a pledge that for the month I will only sew with second -hand fabric and where possible second-hand notions, such as zips, buttons and thread.
My first project for the month is this lovely dress from Vogue 8211 published in 1953 (so it’s safe to say that I’m not its first owner!) The illustration instantly reminded me of a patterned sheet I’d bought from a charity shop for £4. The double sheet was more than big enough to make up a dress which called for 4 yards of fabric (that’s about 3.5 meters). The colours in the print are perfect for September as the leaves begin to change but the dress is cool and light enough for the temperature.
The dress was an easy make and came together very easily. If you’re not used to sewing with vintage patterns they can seem a bit dauting. However, you can find ones labelled “easy to make” or “quick to sew” where the construction is kept simple. I sew almost exclusively with vintage patterns as I adore the style.
I’m really pleased how this dress came out and the ethos behind how it was made. Aside from the main fabric, the contrasting sash and zip used were both second-hand. My shoes are from a charity shop and this adorable little vintage hat I found at a car boot sale for £1. I hope that this project inspires you think second-hand this September and maybe beyond!