RTW Fast 2014 – Achieved! (and stuff I made in 2014)


2014 is over and it’s the end of the RTW Fast 2014 (Ready To Wear). I’m confident to say that I achieved the goal of avoiding buying any ready to wear clothes in 2014.

I will come clean, there was one item I did buy, a pair of waterproof reflective cycling over trousers from Aldi for my commute to work. I think these can be excused as they were something I couldn’t have made myself and in the couple of weeks before Christmas were definitely needed. So I reckon that these don’t count.

I found it quite easy to avoid shopping, since having children & less money (due to having children) I don’t often get the chance. It did make me focus on what I really needed in my wardrobe. If I hadn’t been on the fast I’d have bought some new jeans at the beginning of the year as my current two pairs are a bit scruffy but this pushed me towards wearing more skirts and dresses.

There isn’t an official RTW Fast 2015 so I’ll see how long I can go on.

Did I save money?
This wasn’t the main incentive but it would be interesting to know. Roughly totting up what I’ve spent making the items just for me and not including socks I’ve spent about £190. Add to that about £40 on patterns, Coco and Renfew patterns are a large chunk of that but I know that these will be used again and again. So I think I probably did save money. Some pieces were real bargains like this black wool Renfrew with fabric at £4 per metre at the other end of the scale was the Coco where I paid over £17 a metre along with an expensive pattern.

Sewing in 2014
The fast pushed me into making clothes I really needed and in 2014 I managed to make myself 14 items of clothing and knitted myself 3 pairs of socks. This included 3 shirts, 3 dresses, 2 skirts & 6 jersey tees / tops.

I also made 2 items for the children and during May I made 4 bridesmaid dresses, that was one stressful month!

4 bridesmaid dresses - hard work but they looked great finished

4 bridesmaid dresses – hard work but they looked great finished

The overall winners have got to be the 3 dresses, the lady skater, the Lucian Day dress & the Lady skater with the Renfrew cowl. I made the striped Lady skater too late in the summer for it to get much wear but it’s something I know will get a lot of wear next year.

from left to right: Lady Skater dress, Luciene Day dress, Lady Skater with Renfrew Cowl

from left to right: Lady Skater dress, Luciene Day dress, Lady Skater with Renfrew Cowl

There’s no real losers but if I had to pick it would be the red and black Maria of Denmark Kimono tees and the polka dot Renfrew. The issue with all 3 is that the quality of the fabric let them down. The Kimono tees looked saggy after a few washes. The grey tee I made last year still looks fine, as the fabric was a sturdier cotton jersey. The fabric I used for the Renfrew faded really quickly which was a real disappointment.

I was also a bit unsure of the ponte roma skirt when I finished it at the end of November but it’s turned out a surprise hit. It looks great with the black Renfrew and the grey tee. I took it away with me on a business trip and the fabric was great, no creasing.

I am completely converted to hand knitted socks, I still have some shop bought ones but I hardly ever wear them. Hand knitted are more expensive but they will last so much longer. I seem to be relying on self patterning yarn for interest rather than knitting a pattern. I think I need to stretch myself a bit but I can see the love of self patterning yarn continuing. Actually my favourite pair of 2014 were these plain grey socks with the contrast heel and toe.

Hermione's Everyday Socks, toe up with a short row heel

Hermione’s Everyday Socks, toe up with a short row heel

Sewing for 2015……
After all of this year’s makes my wardrobe is looking quite healthy so I don’t feel the need to put myself under too much pressure to get sewing. One thing I’d like to get to grips with are trousers. I’ve recently bought the Craftsy ‘Jeanius’ course and I’m going to tackle copying my Levi’s. I’m a bit apprehensive about this, I really hope they are a success or else it’ll be the thing to break my fast!

Many thanks for reading during 2014, I love being part of the blogging community and keeping up with what you are all making  – Happy 2015 🙂





A New Lease Of Life For Favouite Jeans

I have two pairs of jeans which I wear a lot. Both bought in January of last year. One pair of Levis and the others from Gap. I like dark jeans but after 16 months both pairs were looking really faded at the knee. Other than that they are still in good condition and fit really well. Jeans were the only item of clothing that I thought I could have problems with signing up to the Ready To Wear Fast. I know there are some out there who make really successful jeans but it’s not something I want to tackle but saying that I am curious about the Crafty ‘Jeanius’ course.

2014-05-12 19.12.40

faded Levis

So as I wouldn’t be buying any jeans this year I decided to dye the Levis back to a dark indigo colour.

I used the Dylon Jeans Blue dye and followed the instructions to use in the washing machine. I bought this from John Lewis for £6.75.

2014-05-12 19.15.04

household salt and Dylon Jeans Blue fabric dye

You can dye up to 600gms of fabric. My jeans weighed nearly 400gms so I decided just to do one pair and get a strong colour.

You need to add 500gm of normal salt in with the dye and wash on a 40 degree cycle. Then wash again using detergent. Remove from the machine and run the machine empty to clean. I also then used one of those washing machine cleaner packs just to be certain there was no residue left. Dylon do guarantee that the dye will not damage your machine.

The jeans have come out really indigo and they look great and no patches at the knees! With the orange thread being polyester it doesn’t take up the dye so you still have the contrast topstitch. One note is that the colour is darker than is shown on the packet. I think that if I had dyed both pairs at the same time the colour would have been lighter as the total weight would have been over 600gm.

dyed jeans

dyed jeans

The rubber seal of my machine does seem to have taken up dye but it is an old machine and I’m not too bothered. A friend tried this after I told them about it and their machine was fine.

stained rubber seal - never mind!

stained rubber seal – never mind!

Now I’ve done this once it’s something I will definitely do again.


The Seamless Pledge and RTW Fast 2014

During 2013 I wondered if I would be able to get through a whole year not buying RTW (ready to wear) clothes. If I wanted anything new I could make it myself so I thought I’d give it a go during 2014.
I came across the Seamless blog which had a pledge you could sign up to.

I, Helen, I'm taking the Seamless Pledge for the whole of 2014

I, Helen, I’m taking the Seamless Pledge for the whole of 2014

The rules are :- No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. Underwear is an exception.

RTW Fast 2014
A link on another blog led me to Goodbye Valentino which was signing up bloggers for a RTW fast for 2014 so I have added my name.
The rules are :- No shop bought clothes – shoes, socks and underwear permitted.

I’m all buoyed up for this and hopefully in a years time will be able to report a success.

Anybody else taking part?