Understanding Grain Line

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One of the most important aspects of sewing and working with fabric and patterns is the grain line. 

Grainline is the line that the threads of the fabric run in, and is observed differently in woven and knit fabrics. Fabrics like felt do not have a grain line and can be cut in any direction but materials like leather or real fur have “non-traditional” grainlines that are not hard and fast and change from one material to another. 

With both woven and knit fabrics, the grain of the fabric runs in line with the selvedge (the edge) of the fabric. On woven fabric this is referred to as lengthwise grain or the warp of the fabric. On knit fabrics you can find the grain by observing the pattern of the knit – if you look closely you should be able to see little ridges that run straight in one direction and in the same direction as the selvedge – this is the grain. 

With leathers it is recommended to consider rather how the leather naturally bends and folds (and how it would have moved on the animal) as well as considering the nap of the fabric – especially with suede type leathers, as you want all your pieces to run in the same direction (as you would a one-way print). 

Some pattern pieces are cut on different grain lines. With woven fabrics you will find pieces cut either lengthwise (the warp), crosswise (the weft) or on the bias. With knits it is important to note the grain but also which way the fabric stretches too, as sometimes you may want a piece to stretch across the body, or down the body. You can cut pieces on the grain, across the grain or on the bias as well. Felt type fabrics can be cut in any direction which can be extremely handy for minimising waste. 

It is extremely important that pieces are cut properly on the grain otherwise they will not sit or fall right – we’ve all had that t-shirt that twists after a couple of washes and then never sits straight and swings around the body, making it uncomfortable to wear. This happens when the fabric has been cut slightly off grain. 

If something is cut “on the bias” it generally refers to the true bias, meaning it is cut on a 45 degree angle to the grain. Pieces that are cut on the bias allow woven fabrics to have a little more stretch and mould around the body than it would if it was cut on the grain. Bias is used for finishing necklines and armholes, creating draped areas like cowl necks and for making slinky skirts and slips. It allows more flexibility in the fabric and adds a edge of luxury. Bias can be more challenging to see if you are unfamiliar with it as it has a tendency to stretch and move out of shape easily if not stored flat. When you do cut something like a slip dress on the bias you should hang the fabric before hemming as the fabric will drop and you can end up with an uneven hemline.

In summary, understanding the grain line is an integral part of learning to sew. If you do not cut your fabric on the correct grain your garment will become misshapen and can be uncomfortable to wear – then all your efforts will have been in vain.

Post in the comments below if you have any more questions about grain line or want clarification on anything I have mentioned above – otherwise happy cutting and sewing!

15 of my Favourite Sustainability X Fashion Quotes

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I love finding wise words to inspire me on my sustainable fashion journey, so I hope that these will do the same for you! From iconic activists, to fashion designers and scientists these people come from all walks of life but love the same thing you and I do – sustainable and ethical fashion. Please enjoy their wisdom.

“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”

Mahatma Ghandi

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you express by the way you dress, and the way you live.” 

Gianni Versace

“It isn’t enough just looking for the quality in the products we buy, we must ensure that there is quality in the lives of the people who make them.”

Orsola de Castro

“As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy”

Emma Watson

“The best way to make a contribution in fashion is to promote the idea that a fundamental interest in preserving the environment is in itself fashionable”

Giorgio Armani

“We carry the story of the people who made our clothes.”

Ali Hewson

“Sustainable Fashion is not a trend but the future.”

Antonia Böhlke

“There is no such thing as “away”. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”

Ali Hewson

“Call it eco-fashion if you like, I think it is just common sense.”

Livia Firth

“Ethical and sustainable fashion is not a product. It’s a practice. Everyone is invited to participate. There’s no obligation to buy. And you can get started right now. Today.”

Elizabeth L. Cline

“Good design is a sustainable design.”

Imran Ahmed

“Demand quality not just in the products you buy, but in the life of the person who made it.”

Orsola de Castro

“Fast fashion is not free. Someone somewhere is paying” 

Lucy Siegle

“Slow clothing is a philosophy. It is a way of thinking about choosing and wearing clothes to ensure they bring meaning, value and oy to every day.”

Jane Milburn

“Slow fashion is also about returning to a personal relationship with fashion. One where trends and seasons don’t matter, but where your ethics and aesthetics seamlessly unite, and you can escape the stress of constant consumption, focusing on the style that truly appeals to you.”

Emilia Wik

Fashion, Fish & Microfibre-Plastics

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Put your hand up if you’ve heard of microplastics. Now keep it up if you know what they are. And keep it there is you know what fashion has to do with it. If you hand is still up I’m impressed!

It’s a topic I’ve seen some commentary around, but really not enough as it deserves. Today I’m going to share with you a bit about what microplastics are, where they come from, how the fashion industry is involved, if they are harmful and what we can do about it!

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic that are less than 5 millimetres in diameter. They can be defined into two categories – primary and secondary. Primary microplastics come from the production process of goods such as cosmetics and textiles; while secondary microplastics are the result of the deterioration of plastic products such as water bottles, take away containers etc. Sadly these microplastics have reached the depths of the seabed, even in the Mariana Trench as well as locations such as the Arctic and the Italian Alps. 

So how is the fashion industry involved? As I just mentioned, the textile and clothing industry is a significant contributor to this form of pollution. When garments that are made from synthetic materials (think polyester, acrylic and nylon) are washed, the friction and turbulence in the machine cause tiny microfibre-plastics to come loose and wash away in the machine. There is also of course the particles that are produced from textile manufacturing processes and garment production too. Surprisingly, our synthetic clothes also shed microplastics into the air as we wear them!

It is estimated that the microfibre-plastics washed off of synthetic clothing and textiles contributes to around 35% of the primary microplastics in the ocean – this is the highest contributor, followed by vehicle tyres at 28% and city dust at 24%.

The problem with these microplastics is that marine life consumes them, which we then in turn consume. But microplastics are not just a danger from the consumption of seafood, or other meat products, they have been found in drinking water and cannot be completed filtered out. They are even found to be a pollutant in the air! We are consuming them daily without even knowing.

While at this stage we don’t know exactly what effects this may have on our health, both long and short term; there is plenty of research happening and people are also working towards prevention and solutions. It is known that as microplastics are derived from petrochemicals they can be toxic carrying contaminants such as trace metals and may potentially be carcinogenic and mutagenic (damaging to DNA).

With all that scary information what can we do to limit our exposure, reduce our contribution and make a difference?

The first action you can take is to wash your clothes less, and with lower water volumes and less spin. If you reduce the friction, you reduce the amount of microfibres shed. And on this note, line dry rather than tumble dry.

Switching to only natural fibres may reduce the microfibre-plastics that come out of the wash, but do not be deceived, natural fibre textiles also shed microfibres that pollute the ocean and may pose similar health hazards to wildlife and humans.

But we do need clothes, and they do need to be washed so we cannot avoid the microfibres entirely – what we can do is install a microfibre filter into our washing machine. There are some great products out there that have been shown to reduce the number of microfibres in a wash as much as 87% (Lint LUV-R). And if you want a simpler solution you can try something like the Cora Ball that you can just throw in the wash although it isn’t as effective (26% – 31%) at filtering out microfibres as the filters are. You can also check out this filter by Planet Care. In saying this, any small action has an impact, if we all make a little difference that adds up to a lot!

Forecasting Fashion

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The trends seem to change so fast these days, one minute we are wearing skinny jeans and the next they’ve been “cancelled” and flares are back in! But who decides these trends, and how do they decide? Let’s talk about fashion forecasting.

Fashion forecasting is a method of predicting which trends will be popular based on world events, economic climate, previous trend cycles and the forward thinking of the mood, beliefs and habits of consumers. It is more complex than a few people sitting round a board room table and saying “I think next summer we should all be wearing the colour apricot and be wearing tank tops”. They take into account what is occurring socially, culturally, commercially and what is being felt and said in the group psyche.

While the process does involve looking at emerging designers and trends, what innovations are being developed in textiles, manufacturing and design; it also involves consideration to the changes in colours and styles as well as buying patterns and shifts in the ways of living. A sharp eye for emerging trends as well as plenty of research and customer data analysis forms the foundation for the trends moving forward.

Many forecasting companies are based in Europe, specifically Paris, however there are plenty of smaller forecasting houses setting out their trends for the upcoming seasons. Trends for textiles are forecast as little as 2 years ahead – it allows time for production and manufacturing of the textile before it is turned into garments, homewares or accessories.

Colour forecasting is an integral part of the process, although there is little documentation on it we know it is based around creating “colour stories” which are palettes that are aesthetically pleasing and meet the client where they are. Colour talks so much to our emotions and memories that it is important these things are considered in the forecasting process. Print and textile development is heavily influenced by the colour forecasting. 

Styles are forecast from the mood of the seasons, partially influenced by weather patterns (spring/summer and autumn/winter) but also by the mood of the global seasons, for example whether we are in a hopeful mood looking forward to the future or a retrospective and reminiscent mood reflecting on the past. Other aspects of fashion that are impacted by trend or fashion forecasting are garment details and trims as well as of course which silhouettes will be “on trend”.

There are two levels to forecasting – short term and long term. Short term is based on micro trends for each season, based mostly around colours, current events and pop culture while long term is the macro trends which are the more over-arching feelings and shifts in the industry and world including changes in lifestyle, demographics, buying habits and innovation.

This broad look at what is happening in the world as a whole, while also zooming into the details and key themes of social and cultural shifts is what makes trend forecasting such a magnificent and yet at times overwhelming concept. An experienced forecaster looks at the shifts in industry while considering consumer habits, values and motivation and leaning into the world of innovation and technological advancement – a skill I believe requires much balance, clear vision and a strong sense of intuition.

Forecasting is an insightful tool for designers to know what people want in the upcoming seasons, to create fashion you want and will love to wear, and that is suitable for the world we are moving into. These trends make their way onto the runways and then into our stores and finally onto our backs and down our streets. 

The Politics of Pockets

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Did you know that pockets weren’t always common place in clothing, especially in women’s wear? 

Now I hear you saying “we still don’t get pockets a lot of the time” and I know! But let me tell you a little history about the humble pocket. 

You might not believe it, but the history of pockets is considered to be both sexist and political. Originally there was no such things as pockets. Everyone, men and women alike carried their belongings in a pouch they wore tied around their waist and under their clothes which they could access through small slits. 

It was in the late seventeenth century that men’s wear began to include sewn in pockets. Featured in waistcoats, jackets and trousers. Yet women still needed to carry their belongings in bags or pouches which were neither small nor light as they could carry a multitude of things including money, writing materials, sewing kits, keys, perfume bottles and even snuff boxes. 

When the French Revolution rolled round the full and wide skirts with yards of fabric slimmed down and became more figure hugging. The waistline move up and a slender silhouette was in vogue – this of course meant no room for the pocket-bags but still there were no pockets! So women began carrying small highly decorated bags called reticules. And soon after this came the chatelaines which were decorative chains that held all the necessities on display.  The significance of this might be easily overlooked. A pocket allows someone to carry things privately, whether it be money, personal writing or even simply keys. If you take away pockets, then the ability to travel unaccompanied decreases, and therefore the amount of freedom you have decreases also. 

Christian Dior once summed it up nicely “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration.” This says to me that for a long time men’s clothing has been designed for functionality, while women’s has been designed merely for aesthetics (which I believe to be so very true!)

So when did women start to see pockets sewn into clothing? 

During the late 1800’s the Rational Dress Society and the Women’s Rights Movements worked together to bring more functionality into women’s clothing – condemning anything that impeded movement or was injuring to health. Small and discreet pockets began to appear again in women’s clothing. Significantly the “suffragette suit” featured as many as 6 pockets!

But it wasn’t until around world war 1 when women started working in roles that had traditionally been held by men that pockets really came into women’s clothing. The circumstances necessitated that women’s fashion become more functional, so many things were adapted from men’s clothing and you can see that as women started wearing trousers and suits. Once the men returned unfortunately women were expected to go back to form fitting and “flattering” clothing – with again little space for pockets.

While we do have pockets today, they are still significantly smaller than our male counter parts pockets- a survey conducted in 2018 suggests they are as much as 48% shorter and 6.5% narrower! Or worse – the pockets are fake! Either way we still have to carry a handbag – and while a handbag might be nice – in the words of Charlotte P Gilman “… a bag is not a pocket.”

Quintessential Australian Style

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The land down under, a place like no where else on earth. We have unique wildlife, incredibly diverse landscapes from deserts to rainforests, snowy mountains to white sanded beaches and a climate to match. 

For a long time fashion has been mirrored the world over, what happens in the European fashion houses has been reflected through brands the world over – but Australian fashion houses have been growing and finding their own unique take on fashion and building an aesthetic that is distinctly and undeniably Australian. And I don’t mean rugby shorts with muscles shirts and thongs! 

So what is Australian fashion, outside of a brand that is designed and made here – what makes it reflect our country, our values and how are we defining our own path in style. 

I believe Australian fashion reflects our lifestyle and approach to life – laidback, effortless and allows for individuality and expression of our authentic selves. As large parts of the country live in mostly warm weather with short and mild winters, many of our styles would be classified as resort wear in other cultures – but it’s a perfect fit for our climate and our love of outdoor living. 

Our fashion has a simple, unsophisticated style that oozes ease, elegance and quiet glamour. The inspiration for many is drawn from our unique and diverse landscape, and a respect for the traditional owners of the land. With designers lifting inspiration out of deserts, rainforests, aboriginal artwork and of course our wildlife – both in colours, prints and styles. 

When you think of a classic Australian fashion style think light and airy with a twist of luxury and the ease and grace you’d think only a model could pull off – but it’s the 60 year old fashion influencer who lives in the outback and her style is effortless and too cool. 

Coastal shades of beige, white, sand and all the blues are forever popular to keep us cool in our sunshine filled days, but our fashion isn’t bland. There are jewel toned greens from the rainforest, the warmth of golden sun-beating yellows and the dusty oranges and reds of desert sands. Our prints are bold, bright and energetic, depicting the classic Australian optimism and hour of living. You’ll find we are as much a rainbow nation when it comes to fashion as South Africa is with its people. 

What I love most is there is space for everyone, for their individual tastes, preferences and their own lifestyle. There isn’t a blanket approach or style guide that you have to follow. Building your own approach and finding what works for you is part of the Australian style way; we don’t expect each other to all look alike – just as our environment is so varied and we appreciate that, we recognise and appreciate it in each other. 

I think the real key to our unique style is our authenticity and our desire to stay true to who we are as a nation, respecting and honouring our history while looking forward with excitement through innovation and the changing landscape of fashion. Our fresh perspective brings something to the fashion world that hasn’t been seen before and our dynamic and innovative approach is especially what it needs as we all seek answers toward sustainability and growth in our ever changing world. 

And just like we love a good parmi at the local on a Friday night we love our fashion to be fuss free,  rich in texture and flavour and always delivered with a smile. 

My Favourite Seamstress Tools

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As a seamstress there are so many tools I use frequently, so I thought I would share my favourite, most used and “I can’t live without” tools (apart from my sewing machines of course!). I do have a few links to some of my favourite stores, but I am not receiving any commission or kickbacks for linking to them – so my recommendation is genuine!

1. Dressmaking Scissors 

I was gifted my scissors by my previous employer, and they are the best dressmaking scissors I’ve ever owned! They cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter and are gloriously smooth! 

You can get a good pair of scissors at a reputable sewing store or scissors store like The Scissorman

2. Snips 

Staying in the same line as before, my snips are tiny scissors I use for cutting loose thread tight against the fabric. I also use them to remove loose threads after unpicking, snipping into curves or cutting the excess on corners. If you do any kind of sewing or embroidery you need sharp little scissors like these! 

I get mine from Sewing Machines Australia

3. Grading Ruler & French Curve 

These two rulers are a must have if you do any kind of pattern making or grading of sizes. To create the perfect curves for armholes, necklines or across the hips you need a French curve. The grading ruler is used for all straight lines and to make sure when you grade sizes you are getting an exact increase or decrease as needed – down to the millimetre! 

I get mine from M.Recht

4. Tape Measure

My trusty tape measures are always at hand! Used for measuring clients for custom orders and for measuring when doing alterations. 

I get mine from my local sewing store 

5. Tailors Ham & Sleeve Roll (or sausage) 

These supports for ironing are essential if you want beautifully pressed seams especially on sleeves and curves like bust seams and hips. 

My mum made mine for me as a gift – but you can get them at most sewing stores 

6. Quality Pins (and hand sewing needles) 

Quality pins are so important – you don’t want to pin your fabric together only to have the pin put a snag or pull in your fabric. The same goes for hand sewing needles – you want to ensure they are smooth and won’t snap too easily in your hands.

The best pins I’ve ever used, and like to recommend are glass head pins. They last longer and don’t melt if you accidentally iron them. 

I’ve just topped mine up from The Drapery

7. Tailors Chalk 

I prefer the chalk in a piece than in a powder. I find the powder falls out the container when I don’t want it to, and it never comes out the roller! I use it mostly for marking during alterations, not so much in dress making. 

Again it’s something you can get at a local sewing supplies store. I bought a box of different coloured ones but generally only use white or yellow!

8. Rotary Cutter 

This is a newish tool to my tool belt but now it’s a go to! I used to think rotary cutters were just for quilters but I’ve learnt they are incredible tools for dressmakers too. Fantastic for cutting silks, stretch fabrics and tulle, they are great for getting a perfect cut on armholes and other tight curves as well as bias binding! 

I bought mine on sale from spotlight, but you can get them at any local sewing store. 

9. A Good Iron

My current iron is actually on loan from my mum (her spare one), after ours got dropped and broke! A good iron that doesn’t spit water but has a steam setting is great especially if you want to work with silk and other light weight fabrics that need a steam. 

You can purchase a quality iron from home living and appliance stores 

10. Overhead Lighting 

Excellent lighting is so so important if you are going to be sewing – especially if you’ll be working at odd times of the day like early mornings or late nights, and if you don’t have any natural light over your work area.  

I bought my light from Amazon and it’s definitely saving my eyes already. 

Bonus 11 – My Tripod 

I literally couldn’t do any of my content without my tripod – I film everything myself mostly with my phone and tripod. I have a fantastic one with bendy legs that I can wrap to any spot and get great camera angles! 

I bought mine from officeworks 

And that’s a wrap up of my top tools as a seamstress! Let me know if any of them surprised you. 

The Truth About Fabric Softener (and why you shouldn’t be using it)

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Fabric softener makes our clothes smell pretty, keeps the towels fluffy and prevents wrinkles and static build up – but at what cost? 

The way that fabric softener works is it contains a lubricating ingredient that coats the fibres of your clothes, towels, sheets etc. It also adds a positive charge to oppose the negative charge created by static. This makes your clothes more slippery which reduces friction. 

The problem is that the lubricant leaves a waxy coating on your clothes, which is not good for athletic wear, towels, waterproof clothing or anything that is meant to be fire retardant (ie children’s pyjamas). The coating stops absorbency in towels, prevents water wicking and breathability on sportswear (and can cause it to smell even after being washed!) and covers the waterproofing and fire retardant coatings on fabrics. The ability to wick away sweat and allow breathability is also important for undergarments and bed linen – so while the softener might smell good and soften the fibres, it isn’t good for your clothes!

When the softener builds up on your garments over time, it can also create stains, which are difficult to get rid of. And you can imagine, if its building up on your clothes it will be building up in your machine too! Which means that even when you wash without it, you’ll be getting residue in every wash.

Studies have found that liquid fabric softeners can make garments more flammable, which is not great, especially when you’re talking kids pyjamas.

One of the ingredients in many fabric softeners is QAC’s – or Quaternary Ammonium Compounds. These help reduce the static but are known to cause skin irritation and respiratory difficulties. QAC’s are also toxic to sea life and aquatic organisms like fish and algae – and there has been an increase in antibiotic resistance in micro organisms due to the increase of use of QAC’s in household products.

This might sound like lots of science – but it’s important to understand what fabric softeners do, and why they do it. This way we can see why they aren’t good for our clothes, our bodies or the environment. But what is the alternative?

Air drying your clothes when possible reduces static (and saves money and electricity), there’s less wear and tear, less fading and shrinkage from heat and I find they always smell wonderful coming off the line (and you can use a linen spray to spray them before bringing them in if you want to make them smell fresher). They will definitely be a bit crunchier than clothes coming out of the dryer or without fabric softener.
If you do want to use a dryer, try woollen dryer balls. they soften your clothes, reduce drying time and also help with static. You can add essential oils to the dryer balls too if you want.

Let me know your thoughts – are you someone who uses fabric softener and will you try something different? Or have you already ditched the softener?

What is all the hype about silk pillowcases?

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Silk. It’s luxurious, shiny and highly coveted; and it’s made by little worms eating mulberry leaves… well that’s the silk worms I grew up with! 

It’s soft on your skin and your hair – so let’s talk about why it’s so good (and why everyone is going crazy for silk pillowcases!). 

Most of us use cotton (or linen) for our bed linen. During the night our faces and hair brush up against the fabric and the texture of the fibres can cause friction and your hair to become entangled in it. This causes broken strands, split ends, frizz and fly aways. 

The benefit of moving to silk pillowcases is that the fibres are so smooth and soft that there is little to no friction or risk of entanglement, so you hair will not be damaged by your rolling round in your sleep! 

Another wonderful fact about silk fibre is that it doesn’t draw moisture or the natural oils away from your hair like cotton (which is more absorbent) does. If you’re prone to dry hair then grabbing yourself a silk pillowcase might just be the next step in taking your locks!  

These same benefits apply to your skin, this means a silk pillowcase is a cleaner and after place to rest that pretty face overnight. The pillowcase will be cleaner because it hasn’t absorbed the oils and moisture from your face as much, and won’t pull and cause friction on the tiny hairs on your face – meaning it’s less likely to cause acne to flare up, dry out your skin or maybe even cause wrinkles! (Here’s me wishing I had a silk pillowcase through my teens!) 

And even though there isn’t a lot of science backed evidence out there, dermatologists still say that silk pillowcases are better than cotton and definitely recommend them to those with sensitive skin. 

How to Curate a More Sustainable Wardrobe

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So you’ve set a New Years resolution to buy less fast fashion, to buy pieces that are more sustainable and want to follow in the wise words of Vivienne Westwood “Buy Less, Choose Well & Make It Last” but you don’t even know where to begin. 

And whether you’re just starting out, or have been slowly building and curating your ideal wardrobe for a couple of years I’ve compiled some great resources to refer back to throughout your sustainable wardrobe journey.

The Basics
Do a stock take of what you already have – are there pieces you own that you wear loads and some you don’t wear at all? Those that you don’t wear, work out why you don’t wear them – is it the colour, cut or style, the fit, does it not work with any other pieces, does it need repairs or maybe you feel you’ve “over worn” it. Decide if you’re willing to pay to repair, mend or alter these pieces or if you’d rather they be donated/ gifted to someone who will love them or if they need to go in the rag bag (or can be composted – read all about that here).

Do a similar process with the things you love – but work out why it is you love them – is it the colours, the styles, the ease of wear, the flexibility to be worn with anything, the sentimental reasons – and take note because these things will help you in curating your wardrobe to be a collection of pieces you love and feel great in.

Think practically. What activities do you do regularly like work, exercise, outings etc and what sort of clothes do you need for these activities – there is no point in having a wardrobe full of beautiful fitted and frilled or lacy pieces that you love but are not practical or allow the movement you need for taking your dogs down to the dog park or going hiking in etc. Also think seriously of how many pieces of each item you realistically need – if you live in jeans and hate skirts – then it’s clear to rather invest in a few pair of good jeans and not buy skirts. And of course consider your climate – no point in having 4 or 5 big jumpers when it only is cold for 2 weeks in the year.

Is there anything you need but don’t yet have? Some timeless and well wearing pieces like denim or leather jackets are worth saving up for and investing in good quality, well made versions. And if you need to replace staples then make sure they go on the list too. Clothing does eventually wear out and need replacing so it’s inevitable you will need to replace some things no matter how well you choose and care for your clothes.

A fantastic free resource to help you take stock of your closet is the Closet Audit Guide from Alyssa Beltempo.

Adding into your collection
When you do need new pieces think on these things from the above activities. You can even keep a note on your phone or in your wallet if its helpful. Some people use apps to track their wardrobes and create their outfits which I haven’t tried but think it could be a helpful tool. You can see an analysis our friends over at Style Within Grace did on a few different apps here and here.

I always take my time in deciding on new pieces to avoid impulse buying and buyers regret, but also to make sure it is something I need and that I’m not adding something into my wardrobe that I either have already or doesn’t fit with what I’ve got (I’m often guilty of this one! loving a top but not having any pants to wear it with or vice versa). I find browsing online and then shopping in person (where possible) is handy because it breaks the “desire” away the purchase. Consider setting yourself a fashion budget if you have a tendency to impulse buy. This can help prevent you from buying things unnecessarily and encourage you to really consider each purchase intentionally – especially if you want to save up for a special piece.

Consider who you are buying from. Every company would like to be perceived as being “green” these days to get a slice of the “sustainable pie” but we really need to be careful of greenwashing (I’ve shared tips to avoid being a victim of greenwashing here). There are plenty of things to look out for in sustainable companies – the top being transparency. If they are transparent about where their garments are made, who makes them, what their policies, values and ethics are and if they support other green initiatives then you are probably in the right place. A few excellent resources to check the true sustainability efforts of companies are the Ethical Fashion Guide, the Good On You Directory, Ethical Clothing Australia and the Sustainable Brand Index. These resources can help you make decisions on which brands you would like to support – because at the end of the day we vote for the future with where we spend our money.

Other Considerations
Some other things you may want to consider is the fibre content of the garments you purchase – it doesn’t have to be all organic cotton or linen, but purchasing natural fibres over synthetics aids the environment in reducing the amount of micro plastics that will go into water resources every time you wash. Synthetics are made from petrochemicals, so you are also aiding yourself by putting naturally derived fabrics on your body – they breathe better, allow airflow so sweat etc doesn’t get trapped. Synthetic fibres have also been linked to increased risks in numerous health conditions.

If you are open to the idea, consider shopping second hand or hosting fashion swaps with friends where you trade pieces in your wardrobes to keep your wardrobe feeling fresh without having a massive impact on the environment – because the most sustainable fashion are pieces that are already made and owned. You can also alter or upcycle pieces you have in your wardrobe to give them a new life. Repairing clothes as soon as they get a hole or are torn is the best action as it stops the damage becoming worse and harder to repair. Caring well for your clothes is the best way to make them last (I talk about some good ways to care for your clothes here).

Don’t be afraid to rewear! It is unfortunately designed into many garments today that they are expected to be worn only 7 times! The more times you wear a garment, the more sustainable your choice becomes as the cost per wear decreases and your environmental impact also decreases. Think of it this way – if someone loves the outfit you are wearing they will probably want to see you wear it again, and if they don’t remember it then they don’t know you’re re-wearing!

If you would really love a new piece for an event but don’t want to buy then there is the option to hire fashion – our friends at Love Me & Leave Me have an incredible selection of high end fashion you can hire for a day or a few days for the fraction of the cost of buying it new – this is another fantastic way to be more sustainable in your fashion purchases (rather than buying a dress for a one off function that then just sits in your wardrobe and makes you feel guilty for spending so much money on it!)

Lastly I recommend not buying into trends for the sake of trends. Stay true to your personal style (which will change and evolve – that is okay!) and buy pieces that reflect your personality and make you feel comfortable and yourself. Your wardrobe will be a reflection of colours you love, clothing that works for your lifestyle, pieces that hold sentimental value and beautiful memories.
Remember, as Yves Saint Laurent put it “Fashion fades, style is eternal”.