Let’s build a meaningful wardrobe together! | Sewrendipity blog relaunch

Let’s build a meaningful wardrobe together! | Sewrendipity blog relaunch
After 3 years and a bit of blogging, someone asked me one day why do I blog?
 
The answer that came to mind was not actually to the intended question. What I answered instead was the question ‘why did I start blogging in the first place?’. 
 
In 2014, I had finished my stint on the UK Great British Sewing Bee Season 3 (although it was only shown in February 2015), and I was feeling totally useless. I got eliminated in episode 2 (of 8) and I was convinced I had made a fool of myself on national television. Although I had only been sewing for three years at the time, I felt I needed to prove myself to the world.
 
I really am NOT a (sewing) idiot.
 
I CAN sew an invisible invisible zipper.
 
I CAN pattern match (though to be honest, I pretty much darn hate patterns).
 
And if I want to, I CAN make kids’ dress-up costumes in the shape of a cupcake – but to this day, that need never took me.
 
So it was a bit of a negative start, a sort of ‘Alex against the world’.
 
And then the blog went live and the show aired, and I was amazed at the warm, lovely, accepting, embracing social sewing community that I actually never even knew existed.
 
Welcome sewing positivity *trumpets blowing, clouds parting, light shining*!
 
And for the past three years, all I wanted was to make, write about and share my projects with the sewing community, and my lovely sewing friends, to inspire and be inspired, to learn from and teach.
 
And I still do.
 
But three and a bit years later, I keep getting this nagging feeling of SO WHAT? Is this it? Just make, shoot, write-up and move on? What’s my value added? How do I contribute to the sewing community, and dare I say it, to the wider world?
 
Some of you may know that I work in sustainability, focusing on sustainable textiles. I tried to bring this into the blog in the beginning, and I had lofty aspirations to sew only with sustainable fabrics. Well, that proved more difficult in practice than I thought and I quickly fell off the wagon and wrote pretty much exclusively about what I sew with whatever fabrics I had in my stash or caught my fancy in the shops.
 
However, at the beginning of 2015, I decided to slowly walk the talk and stop buying RTW clothes. I wrote about how much this contributed to my mental wellbeing in my #SMYLY2018 post.
 
But what more SHOULD I do? What more CAN I realistically do?

So now what?

In the last year, I came across more and more the concept of ‘slow sewing’. But this is just a piece of the puzzle for me. It’s not enough to sew less and sew slower. It’s also about where the resulting garment fits in my wardrobe, how much do I wear it, how long will it last (both physically and morally, as in how long do I actually want to wear it for), what do I do with it when I no longer want it and also, do I actually need to make it in the first place. So sustainability comes into play, minimalism, living with less, but also more frivolous things like styling and wardrobe management.
 
And so here we are, the third reincarnation of Sewrendipity, with a new mission:

To provide inspiration, education and support for sewers and fashion lovers who want to live more sustainably, by sharing my style experiments, sewing passion and sustainability knowledge.

That’s right, I am not just talking about sewing a me-made wardrobe, shock! horror! 
 
Yes, dear readers, shop-bought clothes are not the enemy here. Buying a well-curated selection of clothes you will love and cherish for a very long time, that will make you feel amazing and that will complement your existing wardrobe is less bad than churning hundreds of handmade projects that you will never wear. If you can find and can afford some that are either from more sustainable brands or even second-hand, all the better!
Sewrendipity - a UK based blog about style, sewing and living a sustainable life
 
That is why I want to inspire you to build a wardrobe in the way that suits your life, that is as sustainable as it is stylish and creative. Non-sewists are also welcome! You can find inspiration in items that may be me-made and be able to source them from an ethical company even a good quality high-street brand. Or maybe I can inspire you to start sewing, it really is a lot of fun! 

And just how are you planning on doing that?

Well, leading by example is one way to do it.
I feel I have already started on my own personal meaningful wardrobe journey and I want to keep sharing it with you. I am often inspired by other bloggers, sewing ones, but also more and more, sustainable style, ethical, minimalist and simple living ones as well. So I want to share and inspire as much as I have been inspired myself. 
 
If you were following me because you are passionate about sewing, don’t worry, I am not abandoning that at all. I am still 100% in love with sewing and I cannot imagine not spending loads of time in front of the sewing machine. So there will still be plenty on sewing post on the blog, as I am still continuing my RTW fast that I started in 2015.
 
However, I so want to have more focus in what I sew and be more purposeful in my choices, with more thoughtfulness around what makes it into my wardrobe. Check out my new ‘About’ page where I’m explaining it.

What’s changing then?

As you might have noticed in my new logo, there will be three key content areas at Sewrendipity: Style, Sewing and Sustainability. I do want to achieve a good balance between them from now on. I have been writing a bit about sustainability a few years ago, and a lot about style lately, but I do want to have a more thought-out spread between these content areas. Blogging calendar is the way forward, my friends!
 
What will be included in each content bucket?
 
‘SEWING’ is quite self-explanatory and those of you who have been following me for a while know what to expect. Mostly, it will be about the clothes I sew for myself (My handmade wardrobe), as well as sharing my sewing tips and tricks, sewing tools, books and classes reviews and anything else I come across worthy of recommending.
 
‘STYLE’ is a bit more confusing, as it really can be anything, right? I’m not trying to become a style blogger with a new outfit every week. In fact, my goal is quite the contrary. I see styling as a tool to help me love the clothes that I have even more and push me to discover new combinations that will make me as excited about old clothes as I would about brand new ones. I am embracing minimalism and capsule wardrobe with relish, as you might have noticed lately, and it feels just the right amount of challenging, whilst still fun! I am planning two types of posts under this header. One will be about capsules trying new combinations over a given period of time. The second would be about styling a given (me-made) item in a few different ways to explore how versatile a particular patern+fabric combo can become. I would also like to look more at the theory of style and explore, review and try out various style discovery systems (like Wardrobe Architect, Unfancy, Curated Closet, etc) and of course, share my impressions with you.
 
‘SUSTAINABILITY’ is of course about sustainable textiles, sustainable living and sharing what I have learned about the environmental impact of textiles and what can we do about it. I would love to hear from you what are you most interested in so I can research and bring you information from the behind the scene of the industry. I hope to strike a healthy balance between telling you interesting stuff and sharing opinion pieces to start conversations.
 
You will also see a category called ‘ACCORDING TO ALEX’, where I am grouping life updates, stories and other posts that don’t naturally fit in the other areas.
 
Of course, I will continue to update the ‘FABRIC SHOPS DIRECTORY’, but there will not be any dedicated posts as such. If you want to keep up to date with the latest additions, please subscribe to receive email updates.

Don’t talk about the £££

Another change that I wanted to share with you is that I have moved to self-hosted WordPress, which means that it is no longer free for me to run the blog. The reasons are many, most important of which is the flexibility to customise the look&feel. I hope you have noticed the brand new template and the new logo, but there are a lot more exciting things going on under the bonnet. I do hope you like it and I would love any feedback, be it on the navigation, look, structure, etc. If you spot anything untoward, please give me a shout!
 
However, this means that I need to get creative with financing these fancy new changes on an ongoing basis. So I will start monetising the blog in ways that I hope are unobtrusive and will not detract from your experience. I will continue to produce the content with the same honesty that made me worthy of your trust so far and hopefully, I will continue to warrant it going forward. Please read more in my Disclosure Policy.

Thanks and acknowledgements

The blog revamp took so much longer than I planned, but it was just my procrastination more than anything. I worked with some fantastic professionals to make it happen and I want to give them a big shout out here, in case anyone would like to make sure of their services.
 
My shiny new template is from Pipdig and I could not recommend Phil and the team more. I have never met a more helpful, knowledgeable and responsive IT specialist ever! He was absolutely fantastic in helping me get everything just right and customing the template to be just as I dreamed of! If you would like to move from Blogspot to WordPress or from Squarespace to WordPress, he is your man. Best money I ever spent!
 
I also worked with a fantastic freelance graphic designer, Sean from Palma Bay Creative, to come up with the visual identity. I was convinced that it would be a quick and easy process, but I got to version 8 because I can’t make a decision to save my life. I am so grateful to Sean for his patience, and working with me to make my dream logo happen. He also pulled together a complete brand pack, with colour scheme, fonts and the logo, of course. If it hasn’t clicked yet, the logo is a stylised S (from Sewrendipity, but also from Style | Sewing | Sustainability) in the shape of a clothes hanger. I absolutely squealed with delight at how clever this was! I cannot speak highly enough about what a great experience I had working with a professional.
 
As to the unsexy stuff, my hosting is with Siteground and I am very happy so far. If you see any other aspects of the blog that you like, please ask, as I have loads of super cool plug-ins to share if you are interested.

Sewrendipity - a UK based blog about style, sewing and living a sustainable life
Thank you so much for reading this to the end! It means so much to me to have your trust and your continued readership! I hope you will enjoy this new incarnation of Sewrendipity and you will continue to share my journey!
 
Let’s build a meaningful wardrobe together!
 
I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THE ABOVE. PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT ABOUT THE NEW MISSION, THE STRUCTURE, THE LOOK & FEEL AND WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT. OR ANYTHING ELSE, REALLY :)!
IF YOU ARE FEELING INSPIRED, HOW ABOUT JOINING MY MAILING LIST TO MAKE SURE YOU RECEIVE EVERY POST RIGHT INTO YOUR INBOX?
SEWRENDIPITY BLOG SEWING | STYLE | SUSTAINABILITY

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36 Comments

  1. 26 July 2018 / 4:43 PM

    I’m so excited to watch (and learn!) as all of these wonderful changes unfold!
    I loved you on The Great British Sewing Bee, by the way! <3 Thanks for the reminder that I need to rewatch the show over again, especially series 3!

    Lots of love!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      26 July 2018 / 4:45 PM

      Thank you so much, it really means a lot! I’m so glad to have you reading the blog. Please pass on any feedback, I am very keen to continuously make improvements.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 12:58 PM

      Thank you, Alison! I really appreciate you reading the post and commenting.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 12:59 PM

      Thank you, Di, for all your support and encouragement throughout the process! It means a lot to have you as my sewrious blogger friend ;)!

  2. 26 July 2018 / 5:53 PM

    As someone who has only been sewing their me made wardrobe in the last month but someone who embraced and loves the slow knitting movement, the craft field I’ve come from as a designer, the slow sewing movement seems like the most natural place for me. Creating pieces with thought and consideration to not only how they are put together but how they will work and be worn and what will ultimately happen to them within my wardrobe is very important to me and I want to learn more about. I will be following with great interest.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:01 PM

      Thank you for your comment, Ruth! I would really love to hear more about your slow knitting learnings. I must admit, though I used to knit when I was younger, I always preferred sewing clothes as it’s quicker. I think I will absolutely have to reconsider this now. I bought a starter kit of recovered yarns and I’m really looking forward to getting into knitting again.
      Looking forward to your thoughts along the way!

      • 29 July 2018 / 7:56 PM

        Slow Knitting is essentially about putting thought, care and consideration into your knitted piece right from where your fibre comes from, how it’s manufactured and the conditions for the animals to enjoying taking those fibers and creating a piece with purpose and care. For me I like to add in thinking about how each knitted piece is going to work into my wardrobe, how it is going to be used to get the most out of it so that may affect the fibers I use and the colours. But Slow Knitting just like Slow Sewing is about taking the time to enjoy the process of creating and making that piece, to take delight in each stitch, to end with a completed piece that has been enjoyed from beginning to end. If you want to read further on it there is a wonderful Slow Knitting book by Hannah Thiessen you can get to read further on it.

        • sewrendipityalex
          Author
          29 July 2018 / 7:58 PM

          Thank you for your wonderfully detailed reply! This all makes perfect sense and a lot to learn for us sewers too!

          • 29 July 2018 / 8:11 PM

            Your very welcome. I think when following the movement in one field it’s easy to transition it over into another, or at least for me it is carrying it over into sewing.

  3. 26 July 2018 / 6:20 PM

    I had no idea you were on the British Sewing Bee! We don’t get all the shows here in Canada – I don’t even know if I was able to watch the ones you were on! What an accomplishment to even GET on that show! I would be beating my chest like King Kong if they had even considered me 🙂 I always enjoy your posts – your garments, how you pair them with accessories like belts, shoes and scarves – your style is always chic and such a great reflection of YOU. I look forward to reading more about what your thoughts are on sustainability which is a big thing for me too 🙂

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:03 PM

      Thank you, Kathleen! It seems a bit unreal now, and although it was an interesting experience, I’m not sure I’d put myself through it again.
      I really appreciate your thoughtful comments each and every time, you really are the embodiment of what is lovely and amazing about our community.

  4. Elaine Marsh
    26 July 2018 / 6:31 PM

    Good read, I’m always de-cluttering, and if I haven’t worn something in my collection of clothes, it gets me thinking , why? usually it’s either fit or out of current fashion. Reacting to fast fashion…..I simply can’t do it anymore. I don’t buy. If I can refashion the item I will, if I can’t, I give it away to charity shops. People who sew their own are in the minority, my sewing has taken a new route now, I do embroidery which salves the creative itch but without creating unnecessary clothes that I will never wear enough. Love your emails and your ideas.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:15 PM

      Hi Elaine, thank you for reading and commenting! That is so interesting about embroidery. Is it machine or hand? I have always been a bit on the fence, as my style is quite minimalist, but I am really interested in new ideas. Is it decoration on garments or a sort of textile art?

  5. Melody Srygley
    26 July 2018 / 6:35 PM

    It sounds like a grand adventure! Sign me up. Oh yea, I am signed up!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:16 PM

      Hi Melody, your comment made me smile! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

  6. 26 July 2018 / 9:41 PM

    OOOOOH loving the new look and fancy logo! I’ll definitely keep reading as your posts are always interesting! Good luck on this new path!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:18 PM

      Thank you, Abbey! So glad you like it! It’s been too long a process, but I’m so glad it’s out there. Now I just need to keep on the wagon and post regularly, no biggie 🙂

  7. 27 July 2018 / 7:45 AM

    Exciting stuff! I have very much enjoyed your styling posts and I’m curious about the sustainability.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:19 PM

      Thank you, Catherine! If there is anything in particular you’d like to know about sustainability, let me know, I have too many ideas and not sure where to start.

  8. 27 July 2018 / 9:34 AM

    Very excited for your new direction and wishing you all the best with it. I’ve always loved following your work since the sewing bee and can’t wait to see what is next. Congrats Alex!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      27 July 2018 / 1:21 PM

      Thank you so much, Coralie! I feel the same about you! I love your aesthetic and the patterns are so well drafted. I can’t wait to see the next one.

      Btw, I am coming to Geneva on Sept 15th! I don’t know if I’ll have too much time, but maybe we can meet up for a quick coffee, I’d love to meet you IRL.

      • 27 July 2018 / 2:29 PM

        Thanks Alex! 🙂
        Great! I would love that too and I’m definitely keeping a spot free for you on Sept 15th! 😀
        I’m going on holiday at the end of the week so right now, I’m in packing mode but will write to you as soon as I get back in mid-August. Very much looking forward to meet you IRL!!!

        • sewrendipityalex
          Author
          29 July 2018 / 2:58 PM

          Have a great time on your holidays and I hope we can make it happen!

  9. 27 July 2018 / 1:39 PM

    Hi Alex, Congratulations and well done on your new direction. You are much braver than I am. I have a project, 80% done which I am dreading putting out there. We share the Sewing Bee experience, but I still have the fear of my failure on national TV. The funny this is I have mastered my enemy since then, in a big way but nope you’re still 100% braver than me. I love your new direction. It makes a lot of sense and it is exciting!!!! Have fun with it. x

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      29 July 2018 / 3:02 PM

      Thank you, Ghislaine! I have really learned lately that done is better than perfect, and although it took me 5 months to sort out the relaunch, and there are still things I’m tweaking behind the scenes, I am so relieved that it’s out there now and I can actually start posting new content and take on new projects.

      Re Bee, just let one more year go by, time sorts it all out. Plus, a new series is out so there will be a new lot out there to be judged :).

  10. gilliancrafts
    27 July 2018 / 10:18 PM

    I love this! (The only thing I would love even more is if you and Kate Ng would start a Sustainable sewing community, a la Sewcialists, perhaps?) I would never have guessed you started blogging for the reason you did – you are always an inspiration to me with your style, talent, and insights!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      29 July 2018 / 3:04 PM

      Thank you Gillian for being your wonderful self and bringing so much inclusivity and acceptance to the sewing community. I was actually speaking to Kate (we are friends IRL now) about that project, and I think it might actually happen. We’ll keep you posted.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      29 July 2018 / 3:05 PM

      Thank you Linda for taking the time to write so many thoughtful comments all the time! I hope you will continue to find inspiration and interesting things here.

  11. 29 July 2018 / 10:15 AM

    Love the look of your website(clean and stylish). I always enjoy reading your posts as they are so informative. I look forward to read your future posts on style and planning your wardrobe items. I’d love to be able to do the same but I am way to impulsive when it comes to my sewing that I feel for me this kind of approach will be too stressful. Any tips on how to make the process fun I’m all ears (more like eyes).

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      29 July 2018 / 3:06 PM

      Thank you, that’s what I was going for, ha ha! Never say never, my dear, I used to have insane amounts of clothes, the more the better, and one day I just changed direction. You never know what will trigger something different for you too!

  12. Kathy Zachry
    31 July 2018 / 3:04 AM

    I’ve enjoyed your blog but find the new font to be very hard to read – maybe too small but mostly too light, or lightweight. 73 year-old eyes, you know! I greatly admire the new direction of the blog.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      31 July 2018 / 6:58 AM

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Kathy! Someone else mentioned this as well, I’ll have a look to see if it’s possible to tweak it

  13. 31 July 2018 / 12:17 PM

    It’s going to be fabulous to follow your journey. Loving the new blog style!

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