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S.I.Y - "Sew it Yourself"!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

As the celtic tiger whimpers softly in its cage, Ireland's cubs are adopting a "make do and mend" attitude when it comes to their attire.

Why is it Relevant Today?
Towards the end of last year it was reported in the press that sales of sewing machines were up as much as 500%, with people clamouring to create knockout outfits at knockdown prices. The credit crunch has curbed people's willingness to fork out for designer creations, with an attempt to do it themselves.

Donna Walsh
26 year old Donna took up sewing a year ago in an effort to do something more productive with her evenings. She has always been interested in fashion and thought dressmaking would be a great place to start. Whilst she does alterations and is often called upon to mend/adjust friends' clothes, Donna much prefers the buzz of making things from scratch. She never really makes anything fancy, just simple things that she can get plenty of wear out of.

While Donna says there are some initial costs -sewing machine, patterns, fabric etc- it definitely proves quite cost effective in the end. Once you have your set of patterns, you can make a whole host of pieces. The cost of fabric depends on what you're looking for, but there are some great sales on at present in fabric stores.

Donna started as a beginner and although she still classes herself as a beginner, she's actually been taking classes for almost a year. Donna believes that making/ customising your clothes has become much trendier lately with an emphasis on individuality.
Donna is showing us two of her lovely creations today.

Laura Hollingsworth
28 year old Laura used to watch her Nana sew and always thought it would be kind of cool to be able to make/alter your own clothes but took it up in earnest after travelling the world and returning to Ireland last year. Laura loves to both customise and alter shop-bought clothes as well as make certain pieces from scratch. She shops for unusual fabrics and patterns online, sourcing curious and inexpensive remnants for as little as €4 per metre.

Many say that buying ill-fitting clothes on sale is a false economy but for Laura, it's no hassle as she simply takes them home and alters them to fit her shape perfectly. She also loves to take something previously worn like an old dress and turn it into a funky new skirt

Laura is also showing us two of her creations today.

Faith & Jeannine

For more information:

With sincere thanks to Suzanne Marr of the Grafton Academy for her kind help.

Dressmaking at the Grafton Academy:-
"This course caters for those who wish to learn how to make up a commercial pattern in a fabric of their choice. Students are shown how to cut out, sew fit and finish. Teaching is by individual attention to meet different levels from beginners to advanced. Beginners are advised to choose a simple pattern of a skirt or trousers to enable them to learn basic sewing techniques while students at a more advanced level may choose a more complicated pattern eg. dress, suit or coat.

Students may join at any time, booking for a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks. Classes are held on Wednesdays, Thursdays 7-9pm and Saturday mornings 10-12.30pm."

Address: 6 Herbert Place, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 6763653/6767940
Fax: +353 1 2899945

Additional / Misc' Info:

Sewing machines make a comeback as sales soar 500%
By Marcus Dunk

If more proof was needed that we are living in a brave new world since the recession, consider the success of the humble sewing machine.

For years, sales to grandmothers and home economics teachers were steady, but unspectacular. Cue the credit crunch and the sewing machine has become a must-have accessory.

Tesco has reported a 198 per cent increase in sales since this time last year - selling two every minute. Sales of Argos's cheapest model, at £69.99, have risen by 500 per cent, while Singer and Brother models are up by 50 per cent.

Read more:

In this new make-do-and-mend world, the rise of SIY (sew-ityourself) is a sign of the times, with people clamouring to join courses in sewing and garment design around the country.

'Why waste money buying lots of clothes on the High Street when you can make something that looks better and lasts longer?' says PR manager Helen Bird, 32, who bought a sewing machine a few months ago.

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'It's fun, creative and, once you get the hang of it, really not that hard.'
No doubt this comeback would have pleased Thomas Saint, who invented the sewing machine in 1790, and Elias Howe, who patented the first automatic machine in 1846.
In 1851, Isaac Singer came up with the first portable sewing machine and soon every home had one.

Now, it seems that history is about to repeat itself.

Read more: