I’m often asked why so many ladies (sorry, that is a bit sexist I know but it is predominately ladies) are picking up the needle and thread, dusting down or investing in a new machine and making their own clothes.

Why make your own clothes? The simple answer would be that they like sewing but it is a much more than that. In fact, I regularly encounter the new sewer who had a horrible experience at school. There must have been some sewing dragons out there!

Often someone has had a long love affair with the needle and thread but they’ve had an enforced break because of work or family commitments. Now they have the opportunity to get going with their sewing again when the children have flown the nest or they’ve retired. Making clothes in a class is a great way to make new friends – just ask the Sewing Bee ladies (and Christian our current gentleman sewer).

New sewers of all ages are seeking out classes. They perhaps didn’t do sewing at school. They often come from a household of non-sewers so can’t go the traditional route of picking up skills from their Mum or Grandma.

Then there are the sewers of all ages who want something different, want to express their individuality, want to be ‘green’, or are kicking against mass manufacturing and reported exploitation of clothing workers.

Some ladies have had life-changing events that have affected their wellbeing. What can be better than connecting with a group of like-minded people sharing a passion for creativity and fashion? Busy hands calm the mind.

It was an article by India Knight in the Sunday Times magazine (23.4.17) entitled “Middle age isn’t’ frumpy anymore. Why can’t high street stores find the clothes to fit?” that got me thinking.

ndia Knight editorial - Sunday Times Magazine

India Knight editorial – Sunday Times Magazine

I’m reading ‘fit’ in a variety of contexts; don’t fit our lifestyles, don’t fit our perception of who the modern middle-aged woman is, what is ‘middle-aged appropriate’ and the biggie – mass manufactured clothes don’t fit. Standard size woman, you are a rare beast!

I did tweet India. My comment? this is why women are turning to dressmaking and that we definitely don’t do frumpy! I got a ‘like’ from her (well I’m telling myself it was from her personally not her social media team).

Sew, if you want to wear clothes you feel great in, that don’t conform to the ‘middle-age’ image, that fit you beautifully, are in a colour that suits you rather than being stuck with the current trend or black, you crave clothes that are figure flattering, the length you want (I make no presumptions with this one, short can look amazing whatever your age) with sleeves if you’d prefer, you want to make friends, you want to relive your sewing youth, learn a new skills or you just want to express your individuality, making your own clothes is the way forward.

Oh,  I’ve missed one. My fabulous PA Sharon and I have a pact. We might be over 50 but we are not going down without a fight and making our own clothes is our weapon of choice!

If you would like to join the Sewing Bee Sewers for friendly fun and plenty of tea and coffee have a look at the Sewing Bee Workshop page.

There is also my Sew Short Course programme with everything from Dressmaking for Beginners to Couture Sewing Skills. You can also book a Sew Personal session with Jane.

Featured is Sewing Bee sewer Eileen who started sewing 6 years ago when she retired. Not a hint of ‘frump’ in sight!