Unpopular Opinion: Tailoring ≠ Alterations

I recently read a blog post on ways to make your clothing look more lux on a budget. 
While the tips were good, what really irked me was the person who wrote it is a real industry insider – and when she was talking about altering your clothes for a good fit she referred to it as tailoring and then claimed that “tailoring is a really easy skill to pick up” and I would have to disagree! 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We often interchange the terms tailoring and alterations – but they actually mean different things.  
Here’s a super quick history on the word origins – 

“to alter” comes from the Latin “alter” meaning “other” 

“to tailor” comes from the Latin “taliare” meaning “to cut” 

A tailor designs, cuts and creates custom clothing (generally referring to menswear and suiting), and they may also offer alterations to existing garments. But tailoring is not having your clothes altered. 
Alterations is having existing garments altered to fit you. 
Tailoring is having something custom made to fit you. 

As someone who has 10 years experience in creating custom garments and alterations (but I refer to myself as a dressmaker & alterations specialist), I can tell you altering a garment correctly and neatly isn’t always easy for someone inexperienced. I’ve seen countless garments that people have taken to cheap alteration places (or DIYed) where they have done the wrong thing, damaged the fabric or just had no clue how to actually complete the job; which they’ve then brought to me to fix up. 

It’s the same as saying anyone can paint – well true – anyone can paint, but can they paint well?
Sure I painted the walls in my house and it looks okay – but is my job as good as that of a professional painter? – no, I can promise you it’s not. I don’t have the same tools they do, the experience they do, nor the training and knowledge. 

Now, I’m not saying don’t give it a go yourself, because I’m all for people learning how to sew, care for their garments and give them as long a wardrobe life and as many wears as possible. But please be aware that doing it at home from a YouTube tutorial and having it altered professionally can look like two very different things.
You might just run in that side seam on your jeans with a straight stitch to take in the waist and leg and wonder why a professional seamstress charges so much, but they won’t alter your jeans that way. 
They will take in the back seam, the inside leg (and not necessarily the same amount on both the front and back) and possibly even adjust the rise on the crotch so that the depth is still comfortable; and they will do it in a way that you don’t lose details of the garment and so that it looks like your garment was a perfect fit when you bought it. You can hardly see the work of a good seamstress, because it is professional and blends with the original construction work. 

When I do alteration work, I don’t just refer to my knowledge of sewing, or garment construction. I refer to my knowledge of pattern making and grading – how and where patterns change between sizes, and how a garment that may be pulling in one area is actually influenced by somewhere else. What you see as the problem may not actually be what is going on. I have to consider different body shapes, the way the fabric is cut, the type of fabric and of course the garment details (like pockets). And that is all before I consider the most effective way to complete the alteration, finding the best way to make the changes, opening the right seams and closing them back up so you’d never know – like a delicate kind of surgery. 

So please don’t say (or ask if) my work is easy or simple. I make it look easy, because I have the knowledge and experience, not just of myself, but of those who have mentored me. And most importantly, it looks easy because I love it – I receive so much joy in altering and creating your clothes so you can look good and feel good every day! 

If you have questions about the services I offer, or would love to get in touch to chat more you can drop me an email through the contact form, or pop into my messages on social media – I promise I’ll answer as soon as possible! 

Why Mending Matters

Photo by Teona Swift on Pexels.com

Did you know that the average garment is only worn 7 times before being thrown away into landfill?

I genuinely couldn’t believe it when I read it. In saying that, I am someone who has owned shirts and pants for over 10 years with no need to mend or repair them, so to me throwing garments out is just absurd. I donate them to charity because they are almost always still in good condition – regardless if they are cheap clothes or more expensive so its not the quality of them, I believe its the way they are cared for (which you can read more about here)

So then why would I say mending matters? Because plenty of garments get thrown away when they could simply be repaired; split seams, broken zippers, missing buttons, or tears or holes – all totally fixable if you know how (or know someone who can!)

I think we are so conditioned by our “throw-away society” that we feel the time to repair something is more costly than to throw it away and buy something new. But I think we should be looking beyond cost, and considering our impact. Besides the environmental impact which you will often hear me talk about (how long things take to breakdown in landfill, micro plastics from synthetics in the ocean etc) we can think about how our clothing is our second skin and the impact it has on our lives.

If we take the time, money or effort to mend our own clothes, it’s as much an investment into ourselves as is our skincare routine, or going to the hairdresser, or getting our nails done. We should care for our second skin, our clothes with the same love we give to our selves, after all it is a representation of who we are. Taking the time to care for your clothes, repairing them yourself where possible is a kind of mindfulness practice, a way of giving yourself time to slow down and focus; in the same way that colouring in mandalas or gardening are great for your mind so is mending your garments.

Taking time to slowly mend or repair your garments will also bring a new appreciation of them to you. Not only are you investing your time and focus into them, but you will remember the next time you wear it that you repaired this bit, or patched that bit, and the garment becomes more of your own than of someone else. We might wear the stories of the people who made our garments, but when we repair and mend our clothes, we weave our own story in and build a stronger and more lasting thankfulness for what they do in our lives.

Now not everyone might be able to repair their garments themselves due to ability, resources etc, so in this case I still recommend asking someone else to repair for you – and if you would like to learn ask if they can show you how its done. Remember that a loved garment lasts, and the more love and care you put into your wardrobe the better and longer it will serve you.

Five Ways I Choose Sustainability in My Business

Today being World Earth Day, I thought it would be fitting to share 5 ways that I choose sustainability in my business – so lets dive right in!

1. Eco Friendly Packaging All of the packaging I use is eco friendly. I use compostable mailer bags that meet the Australian, European, American and International Standards, meaning they will breakdown in a home compost system within 180 days leaving no harmful residues. The custom printed tissue paper and stickers we use is also environmentally friendly. It is both acid free and is Forest Stewardship Certified. This means that the paper is sourced responsibly and sustainably. It is also printed with soy based inks. Soy based inks do not leave petroleum based products when decomposing and have reduced VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that equates to less air pollution during the drying process.


2. Using Deadstock, Vintage and Reclaimed Fabrics
Rather than buying new fabrics, I prefer to use what others have discarded, or reuse what is no longer being loved and turn it into something fresh. There is plenty to say here on the sustainability of fabrics, but I’ve done another post on that here – so feel free to check that out.

3. Small Batch Production I make all of our designs in small batches. Small batch production is where products are created in runs under 500 units – for me this is more like under 20 units. This means I can control the amount of waste produced. I choose the pattern lay plan to minimise waste and can choose to work with any offcuts to reduce the waste even further.


4. Business Cards
My business cards are multi-use. They are business cards, swing tags and also appointment cards for clients. As a bonus they are made from recycled cotton t-shirts! How awesome is that!


5. Low Waste Cutting Techniques Where possible I create and design patterns that have low or zero waste. It is a very different way of pattern making from how I was trained, so I’m learning more every day. It takes a fair bit of trial and error, but I think in the long run its worth the effort if it means I can make pieces that leave nothing on the cutting room floor! I hope this gives you a little insight into the behind the scenes of my business, and why I’m so proud to call myself a sustainable business owner. Sustainability for me and my business isn’t about an end goal on the top of a mountain; it’s a journey we take, ever improving and growing and learning. I would love to hear how you choose sustainability in your life or business!

How can I care for my garments and the environment?

Lately I’ve seen so many posts on mindful mending. Some of the mends are so beautiful and inspiring it makes me wish I had holes in my jumpers or jeans to be able to mend them in such unique and stunning ways. And while mending is an important part of sustainable fashion, taking care of our garments so they don’t need mending comes first. So How can we take care of our garments and the planet together? Here’s my top 5 tips for sustainable garment care. 1 | COLD WASH You might often see on garment labels that it says “care for our planet and wash cold” or something to that extent. Why does it matter if we wash hot or cold? If you use a hot wash up to 90% of the energy used is used to heat the water, only 10% is used to turn the motor! (i) Hot water also can damage the fabric of your clothing with shrinkage, fading, colour runs and wrinkling being some negative impacts. (ii) It is important however to always read your care label and follow the instructions – some fabrics need warm water to be cleaned properly especially if you are wanting to sanitise. 2| LOW SPIN Spin speed during your washing cycle impacts how dry your clothes come out at the end of the wash; but spin speed can also be damaging for fine and delicate clothes and creates more friction between the garments. Friction can cause pilling but also shedding of micro plastics that end up in our waterways, oceans and ultimately in the mouths of sea creatures and even our drinking water. (iii) By reducing our spin speed, we reduce the friction and the shedding of micro plastic. (iv) 3| LINE DRY Where possible, line dry your clothes. There are so many benefits to line drying your clothes. It reduces odours, can help remove stains and reduces the stress put on your clothes with a tumble dryer. Tumble dryers cause extra stress on your garments with the heat that is applied and the fact that garments are tossed around with each other – zippers can become caught, buttons snagged and anything with elastane in it, the fibres break down faster. Not only will you save money on not buying dryer sheets, not using as much electricity or on garment repairs – you could also be reducing your carbon footprint by approximately 1.8kg of C02 for each cycle! (v) 4| NO FABRIC SOFTENER What did you say?! Yes, I said no fabric softener. Firstly fabric softener puts a coating on your clothes, clogging the “pores” of the fibre – especially important to note if you are washing towels, athleisure garments or anything that is designed to wick moisture away, or be water resistant. This coating also builds up and eventually makes it difficult for water and detergent to clean your clothes! Fabric softener is also bad for the environment and your health! The ingredients used in fabric softener (and dryer sheets!) can be derived from petroleum, highly toxic to aquatic life and has even been linked to an increase in asthma in people who are exposed regularly. (vi) 5| HANG OR FOLD
This one is quite simple and easy to see the benefits. As soon as you bring your washing in off the line, hang it up or fold it. Not only does it save you time later, it saves the need to iron which in turn saves electricity! It also means your clothes stay fresh, clean and won’t accidentally get stepped on or messed on meaning they need washing again before wearing! Let us know your favourite garment care tip, or if you have any that we haven’t mentioned and need to know about!

(i) https://blog.epa.gov/2014/04/30/earth-month-tip-wash-your-clothes-in-cold-water/(ii) https://www.geappliances.com/ge/lifestyles/6-reasons-to-cold-water-wash.htm (iii) https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/microplastics/ (iv) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200114173110.htm (v)https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2008/may/02/treadlightlyswitchofftumbl (vi) https://mygreencloset.com/never-use-fabric-softener/

Finding Joy in Your Wardrobe Again

It’s been a little while since I really took stock of what is in my wardrobe, a good few years actually. I was working full time and had a great style “blueprint” that I followed. It worked for me, I felt good in it and it suited my lifestyle of working in the city, fun dinners out with my husband and friends and going out on the weekends. Then I had a child, and a couple of years later another one, life was full and I was working from home, caring for my boys and trying to run a small business in a pandemic.

One morning I found myself standing in our walk-in-robe thinking ” I can’t believe I’ve got nothing to wear!” To be very clear, I had plenty to wear, I just was struggling to see how to put it together. I wasn’t sure what fitted anymore, what would work with what, what even suited my lifestyle or how to find things that I liked. I’d been following this blueprint for so long I was just buying things that fit with that, without seeing if I really liked them. I had to stop and take stock.

I had clothes of all different sizes from before pregnancy, to during pregnancy, post birth comfies and a whole lot of everything in between. A lot of it was quite baggy, and I was “comfortable” with that, because I could breastfeed in it discreetly, you couldn’t see my “mummy-tummy” and I didn’t feel pressured to get back to the same pre-baby size, no-one would know. But I didn’t like how I looked, I saw myself in the mirror and thought how did I get to looking like this? I just felt frumpy and sad, to the point I dreaded leaving the house looking like that. I didn’t feel like the young, fun Mum I wanted to be.

Having two young children to keep up with meant some pieces I had really loved and relied on were just were not practical anymore, namely fitted skirts and short dresses. Having a postpartum body meant that my favourite skinny jeans just weren’t going to do up over those childbearing hips anymore, and breastfeeding meant button up shirts were still good, but I needed to go up size… and no more tight tees!

As you can imagine it was really disheartening and it made me start to not love myself. My other issue was that this year I”ve decided not to buy any new clothes… If I want it, I have to make it! So I couldn’t just toss everything and start over. I had to commit to making new things with the fabric I’d bought… But I didn’t even know what I wanted to make and I didn’t want to waste fabric either, so I stayed wearing things I didn’t love.

Finally I decided to take decisive action. Doing nothing wasn’t getting me anywhere and I really needed to snap out of the funk I was in. So anything that didn’t fit me (or I didn’t want to alter to fit me) went straight to the donation pile, as did anything that I put on and wasn’t comfortable in or didn’t love how it looked. That helped to clear the way for me to see what I had, and felt good in. This is a bit of an on-going process now – I am still removing unwanted, ill-fitting and uncomfortable pieces as I go, so it doesn’t build up again.

Next I begun hunting on the internet for style advice, googling “redefining your style” “what to do when you don’t like your clothes” and I found a few people with style webinars and blueprints, but they all suggested having a neutral colour palette with one or two colours for each season, and that is really not my cup of tea!

Then by chance I found a stylist on facebook, she has a free group to help you “Shop Your Closet” as she calls it, and I thought “Perfect!”. With her guidance in the group and a few suggestions on posts to read and things to try I began to remember the things I loved in my clothing: well fitting and tailored garments, plenty of colour, sleeves, pieces that define your waist etc. From this I’ve been rebuilding my style, but to suit my life. It’s still a work in progress, I haven’t figured it all out yet but I’ve remembered that your style evolves with you in your life, it’s not static!
Now I want to share some of the biggest things that helped me rediscover my style and a love for getting dressed in the morning (instead of throwing whatever on!).

1. Play with what you already have Playing “dress-ups” with your own wardrobe can be fun. What have you already got that you don’t wear. Try mixing up your usual outfits by putting different pairings together – you never know what magic you find! This will also help you find your favourite necklines, lengths, silhouettes and shapes.

2. Try different colours and patterns Look at what colours and patterns you already have in your wardrobe and then when you go out shopping – at least try on something totally different. Always ask why not?

3. Don’t worry what others think Who are you dressing up for? I always think getting dressed up for others is over-rated. Why wear something because everyone loves it, when you don’t. You don’t have to buy into a trend if its not your thing!

4. Quality over quantity It is always better to have fewer good staple pieces than lots and lots of different garments. Something I learnt from one of the style webinars I attended was that more pieces does not mean more options! It is more stress for you when getting dressed and you only end up wearing, at most, about 60% of your wardrobe! So choose well, and you won’t need to shop often.

5. Have fun Enjoy getting dressed, put on your favourite song while you pick out the day’s outfit and be fearlessly and unashamedly you. What you choose might not be what your neighbour chooses, but it will be just right for you. I don’t believe there are any mistakes when it comes to expressing yourself through fashion. After all, as Diane von Furstenberg put it: “Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” So be yourself and find joy in your wardrobe again!

Sustainably Sourcing Fabric

We’d like to take a bit of time to share with you how we source fabrics with a sustainability mindset and environmental focus. First lets look at what we mean when we say we source fabrics sustainably. What we refer to as sustainably sourced fabrics, are generally pre-loved fabrics. These are often vintage fabrics, de-stashed fabrics, dead-stock fabrics or reclaimed fabrics. Other sustainable fabrics we source new are organic or natural fibre based fabrics.

Often we get asked where do we source our fabrics from, and there are quite a few different places we go “fabric hunting”. We have a few great vintage fabric sellers we follow on instagram and etsy who do the hard work of rummaging around to find amazing fabrics. Some of our favourite fabric buys have come from international etsy sellers who have a totally different selection of places to buy from. What we love about instagram and etsy sellers is that through them we have a wider selection of secondhand opportunities to source through, and we get to support other small businesses too! The only down side is that often the fabrics are only available in short lengths which means it isn’t always suitable for dressmaking.

There are a also couple of stores we love checking out for dead-stock fabric – The Fabric Store which is mostly a brick and mortar store (they do offer phone orders, but you really have to go in to see the fabrics!) always has an incredible selection of natural fibre fabrics and dead-stock fabrics from designer runs, we love having access to such great quality fabrics in shorter runs but with plenty of meterage. Another awesome store we love is The Remnant Warehouse who are conveniently online as well as having a physical store. Their selection is next level and I have found some incredible things there that I haven’t even been able to find anywhere else online!

Sometimes we do purchase fabric new out of necessity. When this is the case we do our best to source organic fibre or natural fibre based fabrics including silk, cotton, linen or occasionally wool. When purchasing new we like to support independent designers and small fabric producers and resellers.

Other options for sourcing fabric include op shops and garage sales. We don’t just look for fabric, but also old garments we can turn into something new, as well as tablecloths and sheets that need new life breathed into them. The same rules apply here as they do to our purchases through instagram and etsy. We call this “reclaimed” fabric, and we do recommend giving this fabric a good wash before cutting in to it. The difficult thing about buying fabric secondhand is that you cannot guarantee you will know the fibre content. You will often see on our website that we give our best estimate of fibre content where our fabric has been sourced secondhand and we are not 100% sure of the content.


The things we look for when sourcing fabrics are first and fore-mostly fibre content. Where we can, we find out the fibre content of the fabric and try to stick with mostly natural fibres. This ensures that at the garment’s “end of life” it can decompose easily. Unfortunately blended fabrics and synthetics do not decompose in the same way natural fibres do (but this is topic for discussion on another post). Another thing we look at is the quality of the fabric – does it have misprinting, staining, moth holes, wear and tear from storage or any pilling. Sometimes this is a difficult task to complete as we don’t always get to view our fabrics in person before purchase.


Lets move to talk a little about dead-stock fabric. There’s a bit of discussion around whether its actually sustainable or not. Dead stock fabric is fabric that was ordered by a designer or supplier that is excess to their needs, so it is on sold to smaller brands and designers. The debate about whether it is sustainable or not comes from the fact that the fabric mills traditionally produce excess knowing that it will eventually be purchased, so in buying dead stock fabric we are actually supporting over production in the fabric industry. We still think it is a good option when sewing sustainably, especially if you are looking for something a bit special and don’t have the luxury of time or convenience of local upshots to hunt through for just the right thing. It is still seen as sustainable, but its just not the most sustainable option.

If you are wanting to buy new then considering the lifecycle of the fabric is important. Is the fabric sustainably harvested? How much water is used in production? What chemicals are used to produce the fabric? Are the people involved in production part of ethical practices? How does the fabric break down in the environment after the garment is worn out? These are just a few questions to ask.

There is lots of innovation in the industry moving to closed loop or circular fashion economies where waste (both textile and plant) is recycled into producing yarn and textiles that are quality cloth and good enough for clothing use. There is also movement to increase circular fashion trimmings such as elastics so that entire garments can be recycled or composted when the fabric is worn out. Another great concept we have seen is the recycling of plastics into synthetic fabrics, so while we prefer the natural fibres, if you do wish to work with synthetics there are greener options out there than buying new.

We hope this article has helped you in understanding a little bit more about fabric sourcing and sustainability, and maybe it has inspired you to look in a couple of different places to find your next cloth to cut into. We know researching for this has helped us find some new great things that are happening in the industry that give us great hope for the future of the industry to be greener and more sustainable.

Sometimes we do purchase fabric new out of necessity. When this is the case we do our best to source organic fibre or natural fibre based fabrics including silk, cotton, linen or occasionally wool. When purchasing new we like to support independent designers and small fabric producers and resellers.

Other options for sourcing fabric include op shops and garage sales. We don’t just look for fabric, but also old garments we can turn into something new, as well as tablecloths and sheets that need new life breathed into them. The same rules apply here as they do to our purchases through instagram and etsy. We call this “reclaimed” fabric, and we do recommend giving this fabric a good wash before cutting in to it. The difficult thing about buying fabric secondhand is that you cannot guarantee you will know the fibre content. You will often see on our website that we give our best estimate of fibre content where our fabric has been sourced secondhand and we are not 100% sure of the content.


The things we look for when sourcing fabrics are first and fore-mostly fibre content. Where we can, we find out the fibre content of the fabric and try to stick with mostly natural fibres. This ensures that at the garment’s “end of life” it can decompose easily. Unfortunately blended fabrics and synthetics do not decompose in the same way natural fibres do (but this is topic for discussion on another post). Another thing we look at is the quality of the fabric – does it have misprinting, staining, moth holes, wear and tear from storage or any pilling. Sometimes this is a difficult task to complete as we don’t always get to view our fabrics in person before purchase.


Lets move to talk a little about dead-stock fabric. There’s a bit of discussion around whether its actually sustainable or not. Dead stock fabric is fabric that was ordered by a designer or supplier that is excess to their needs, so it is on sold to smaller brands and designers. The debate about whether it is sustainable or not comes from the fact that the fabric mills traditionally produce excess knowing that it will eventually be purchased, so in buying dead stock fabric we are actually supporting over production in the fabric industry.

We still think it is a good option when sewing sustainably, especially if you are looking for something a bit special and don’t have the luxury of time or convenience of local upshots to hunt through for just the right thing. It is still seen as sustainable, but its just not the most sustainable option.

If you are wanting to buy new then considering the lifecycle of the fabric is important. Is the fabric sustainably harvested? How much water is used in production? What chemicals are used to produce the fabric? Are the people involved in production part of ethical practices? How does the fabric break down in the environment after the garment is worn out? These are just a few questions to ask.

There is lots of innovation in the industry moving to closed loop or circular fashion economies where waste (both textile and plant) is recycled into producing yarn and textiles that are quality cloth and good enough for clothing use. There is also movement to increase circular fashion trimmings such as elastics so that entire garments can be recycled or composted when the fabric is worn out. Another great concept we have seen is the recycling of plastics into synthetic fabrics, so while we prefer the natural fibres, if you do wish to work with synthetics there are greener options out there than buying new.

We hope this article has helped you in understanding a little bit more about fabric sourcing and sustainability, and maybe it has inspired you to look in a couple of different places to find your next cloth to cut into. We know researching for this has helped us find some new great things that are happening in the industry that give us great hope for the future of the industry to be greener and more sustainable.

Sustainable Gift Wrapping Guide

I don’t know about you, but I get a bit anxious about all the waste in packaging and wrapping paper when it comes to gift giving – especially at Christmas.
I have been known to reuse wrapping paper that’s in good condition, but with little children that’s pretty rare these days. I’ve tried the gift bag thing, but people like to peek at their presents, and the bags tend to come unglued at the side so I’m not really a fan of those either – and it just feels lazy!Gift boxes are good, but you either have to store them away for next year, or find a new use for them, and they inevitably get damaged along the way.
So this year I decided to explore some more sustainable gift wrapping options. Here are 4 Sustainable Gift Wrapping Ideas to help you be a little more eco-conscious this Christmas (and any other gift giving moment that pops up in the years to come!)

1. CHILDREN’S PAINTINGSMy son has really got into painting lately, so now I have a growing stack of paintings and I don’t want to throw away, but can’t keep storing them forever (sorry Mr. B!). So I thought cutting some of them up to wrap smaller gifts would be the perfect way to upcycle the artwork, give a beautifully wrapped gift, and double gift really – they are receiving not just a gift but a piece of artwork too.

2. NEWSPAPERIf you’re an avid reader of the daily or weekend paper, you might have a few newspapers lying around – if you haven’t got a compost bin to throw them into that is! Why not wrap gifts in the newspaper sheets – you can decorate them by drawing on them, using stickers, or write a secret message by highlighting or circling letters or words. This could be a really fun way for children to get involved in the gift wrapping process. I think the best pages by far are the comics and the crosswords, but you can use any page really – just be aware if you use a regular page, to take note of what the article is about, you don’t want to send the wrong message with your gift!

3. FUROSHIKI FABRIC WRAPSomething I’ve seen plenty of and have tried a couple of times (but haven’t mastered yet) is the Furoshiki fabric gift wrap. Furoshiki is a Japanese cloth used for wrapping gifts, or any goods. You could easily use a scarf or any piece of square or rectangular fabric to give this a go. The great thing is – this gift wrap can definitely be used again and again! Be sure to include some instructions on how to use the Furoshiki (unless you are using a scarf!) so the recipient knows how it works too.

4. FABRIC DRAWSTRING BAGSomething a little more involved is making drawstring bags. This might be right up your alley if you’re not a fan of wrapping oddly shaped gifts. Make sure you get the measurements of the gift, and include the width of it too – you don’t want to make the bag up and it ends up too short! What I love about this is you can use the bags again and again for years to come, or if you are gifting the item, the recipient gets a bag they can use year round (depending on your fabric of course) or they can use it to wrap another gift. It’s really wrapping paper that keeps on giving! We have a free pattern available for download on our website if you would like to make your own gift bags. Be sure to pop over to www.raspberriesandsoda.com.au to grab your free copy today!
We hope this list has helped make your Christmas gift giving a little less stressful and a lot greener. Let us know in the comments if you try any of these ideas, or if you have any other eco-friendly gift giving ideas – we’d love to hear them!

Dopamine Dressing

Photo by Padli Pradana on Pexels.com

If you’ve had a rough few days lately (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) then this might just be the answer you’ve been looking for, for a way to pick up your mood and brighten your day; and it could be as easy as changing up what you wear!

What are we talking about? Why dopamine dressing of course!

Dopamine dressing is the idea that wearing bright, fun and colourful clothes will lift your mood and spark more confidence. Could it really be this simple? And is there any evidence behind it?

So what is dopamine? In a nutshell dopamine is a neurotransmitter that signals to the brain whether something is desirable or not and pushes you towards or away from something.

What does that have to do with colours and clothing? Let’s dive into a bit of psychology on the four basic colours.

– Red is said to produce a physical response: it increases our heart rate, can activate our fight of flight response and can make time feel as if it is passing quickly.

– Blue calms our minds. It creates an intellectual response; it can help us to reflect and have more clear thoughts as well as increase our concentration. It is a colour of trustworthiness, logic and communication.

– Yellow is the colour which brings forth an emotional response, as is considered to be the strongest colour psychologically. It is considered a colour of confidence, optimism, creativity and friendliness, and can increase our self esteem and help us to appear more approachable.

– Green brings us balance. It is a colour of harmony, rest and peace. Green is refreshing and helps to reassure us that we are safe and cared for, that there is plenty of all we need and that there is hope in the future, and a steadfast and stable environment around us.

– All other colours are combinations of the basic four ie: Orange is both a physical and emotional colour; it brings physical needs to the forefronts of our minds such as food, warmth and intimacy. It also is considered to be a fun and frivolous colour, bringing out joy and happiness. (1)

Having looked at how colours unconsciously affect us, it is quite probable that what we wear has an impact how we feel, and how other perceive and thus treat us. By choosing colours that increase our pulse, or that make us feel more confident, we are communicating these messages subconsciously to our brain. The dopamine will pick up whether of not this concept is appealing and then push us towards a positive outcome or away from a negative outcome. Essentially, by wearing something that makes us feel confident, we convince our brain that we are.

Another aspect of this is how other people perceive you. If you are dressed in bright and colourful clothing, people will receive your message of fun, confidence and joy and reflect it back to you. Not only are you lifting up your own spirits, but you are being a ray of sunshine in other people’s lives.(2)

Now if you do a google image search for dopamine dressing then you will find plenty of wild and bold colour and pattern inspiration. If you’re thinking “um no thanks, I don’t want to wear bright yellow shoes with leopard print pants and a fluoro jumper over a polkadot blouse!” or maybe you can’t wear bold and bright colours because of a work uniform. Well then you are not alone!

The real key to dopamine dressing is wearing pieces you love that make you feel good as well as embracing the coding in colours. To start you can add it into your accessories (or your underwear!), but make certain you are enjoying your clothes and feel great in what you wear. There is no point wearing a bright yellow dress if you hate the colour yellow, or avoiding navy blue if you feel best in that colour and think it makes your eyes stand out.

Why not give it a try and let us know what you think! Pull out those bright colours and bold prints and wear what makes your soul sing! We think we might just start looking through our wardrobe and have a go too. (1)

http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/psychological-properties-of-colours (2) https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/feb/03/dopamine-dressing-can-you-dress-yourself-happy https://www.womenshealth.com.au/can-dopamine-dressing-make-you-happier

Sustainable Fashion – What Is It Anyway?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

We’ve all heard the term “Sustainable Fashion” being thrown around; on social media, in the news and in brand advertising – but what does that even mean?

If we head to the dictionary sustainability is defined as “The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”(1) and Wikipedia tells us that “Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.”(2)

But with fashion being a consumed good, having an after life, and the care and maintenance of it requiring water, electricity and cleaning products as well as producing microfibres, can fashion ever truly be sustainable? This is a question that many are working hard to answer with a confident yes.


There are so many issues and complexities within the industry that need work – from raw materials to garment cutting and production through to packaging, distribution and seasonal drops of new styles; its hard to address all of them together and create something we can define as being genuinely sustainable and environmentally friendly.


For us to get a better understanding of what we can currently define as sustainable we can look to Green Strategy’s definition of “More Sustainable Fashion”: “More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components.”(3)

This means we need to be looking at the whole life cycle of fashion. Some of this responsibility falls on the brand and manufacturer and some on the consumer.

So what does it mean for you as a consumer? How can you tell if something really is sustainable? We recommend looking at the transparency of the supply chain of the brands you are shopping with. Where do they manufacture? What sort of fabrics do they use? How far does the garment travel before it reaches you? Do they pay their staff a live-able wage? Do they do mass production or do they work in small batch production? When you bring your garment home how will it be cared for? hand wash, machine wash, dry clean only? Will it be a piece you can wear for many seasons to come, or will you be donating it next season? These are just some questions we can ask in our search for more sustainable fashion.


As brands we have a massive responsibility to you, our clients. We need to produce our garments in a way that honours people and the planet. We need to be conscious of how our design and fabric choices impact the environment from the beginning of the process until after its lifespan has been worn out. As well as how our business practices including shipping, packaging and marketing are leaving a footprint on the planet.


Now we don’t want to take all the fun out of fashion! After all it is an important part of our self expression, bringing us joy, excitement and often something to look forward to. Personal style is so important, and we definitely aren’t telling people to ditch their love of fine fabrics and glamorous style! You don’t need to be wearing an unwashed hessian sack to be making environmentally friendly fashion choices (in fact we don’t recommend this – hessian is mighty uncomfortable! Don’t ask us how we know!).

There are plenty of amazing designers out there doing great things in the world of sustainable fashion. From upcycling clothing into new life, recycling old fabrics into new ones and reducing waste in the design phase by using creative cutting techniques there is so much positive movement in the way we are approaching the fashion industry with the environment in the forefronts of our mind. The key is to be supporting those designers when and where we can so that the movement can become more far reaching and impact future trend forecasts. What we buy tells manufacturers what we want to see more of. So the question really is what sort of future are your choices leading to?

We here at Raspberries & Soda are playing our part by sourcing pre-loved, reclaimed, vintage and short end fabrics to create designs that are pattern-made and cut with low or no fabric wastage. We take great pride in creating quality garments that will last through the seasons. We also offer mending and alteration services and take bookings for custom designed garments. If you are interested in any of our services, please pop us a message in the contact form on our FAQ page and we will be in touch with you soon.

(1) https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sustainability?s=t(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_fashion(3) https://www.greenstrategy.se/sustainable-fashion/what-is-sustainable-fashion/