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Five places to find free sewing resources

Monday, 18 January 2021

Source: Unsplash

I’ve mentioned sewing a few times on here, but not too often. It’s a hobby I really got into last year, though not so much in lockdown as you would probably expect. Last year I had university things to do, so this is the year, the lockdown I have decided to use to bring my sewing to the next level. One of the problems with sewing though, is like any hobby the costs can quickly add up even after you’ve bought some of the necessary equipment the extras can quickly add up. With material, patterns and the wishes to purchase everything available in haberdasheries to make the most beautiful garments, a sewer can quickly find themselves out of pocket. In light of this, today I thought I would share some of the best places to find free sewing resources.

Puffin embroidery from Hawthorn Handmade

Embroidery hoop patterns

Now embroidery is something I’m still learning as I think it could really add a little cottagecore aesthetic to homemade pieces, plus embroidery designs really make the most beautiful pieces of home décor. If you’re just starting out then I really recommend getting an embroidery kit since they come with the hoop and threads included as well as the design printed on the material. Searching for patterns though, I came across Jessica’s blog post with her own embroiderydesigns, all you need to do is just print off the pattern and get to work! If you have a little money to spare though I have found some great kits on Hawthorn Handmade. If you are feeling a little more political, then I recommend checking out the amazing kits on hellotreacle, both embroidery and cross stitch. 

mood fabric pattern

Mood Fabrics

Sadly, due to customs charges the fabrics on moodfabrics are kind of pricey for those of us that live in the UK. That doesn’t stop me from singing the praises of this site though, especially since they are one of the best resources for free dressmaking patterns. From cosplay to cloaks, there are a wealth of designs to choose from! All you need to do is input your email into the design you wish and a PDF is sent across straight away, all the designs even come with a handy guide of how to tape the papers together once you print all the pieces of the pattern out. The patterns all range in difficulty so you can pick and choose what you fancy trying, coming with a handy tutorial on the site as well as a guide of what sorts of fabrics are best suited to your project.


Pinterest is a wealth of everything, sometimes a pain to navigate and also awkward to increase traffic on. (At least in my experience) For sewing though, the site is fantastic. There are countless resources on the site, both free and paid for so it depends on what your after. I’ve created a board dedicated to sewing, both patterns and tricks to improve my garments. It’s also brilliant for looking at older patterns that may not necessarily be available since they’re vintage, you can study the images available to possibly draft your own patterns. On my board I’ve also created a smaller sub-board (no idea if this is their technical names) too where I have started collecting my sewing resources that are specifically free or blog posts created by others that could build my own skills.

The Victoria and Albert museum

The V and A museum is one of my favourite museums to visit when I’m in the city, their cast collection is phenomenal as is their fashion gallery. Second only to the costume museum in Bath, the V and A is the place to go if you want to lose yourself looking at fashion through time. This is why I was so excited to find sewing patterns inspired by a few pieces in their own collection on the make and do section of their site. Browsing the designs has me itching to use my sewing machine to make the Mary Quant inspired dress and to learn to knit so I can try to do the 1940s knitting patterns justice.


Nowadays youtube is the place for everything, honestly I think there are enough niches to definitely fill a lifetime of viewing content. Sewing youtube is my new obsession, to both switch off and to add to my own skillset. There are plenty of youtubers I could recommend for both entertainment and teaching, so much so they could be their own blog post. (Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in reading). For teaching though, I can promise you even the most niche sewing technique will have a video on it on the platform. Sometimes I find the video format is the best to learn as they can be the easiest to follow as you watch the person assembling the garment, just simply search whatever you are struggling with to find the free tutorials to discover on the site.

Sustainable fashion in Lockdown: Three ways to dress sustainably whilst staying at home

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

I’ve spoken previously about trying to be more environmentally conscious when shopping for clothes, and my own journey to a more ethical wardrobe this year. That post was before the pandemic and lockdown though so I thought I’d look at what’s changed and how we can make more ethical choices when buying over lockdown as we obviously can’t leave the house at the moment.

What has changed since my last post?

As I previously said, my last sustainable fashion post was written before the pandemic and lockdown meaning that now all non-essential shops are closed. Therefore, most charity shops are out of the equation unless you go on the company’s general online site. I know from researching this post that Oxfam have an online clothing store and the British Heart foundation also have an ebay shop so it is possible to peruse some of the goods, but the prices are a little higher than average since they are the more quality pieces you’d find in higher end charity shops. Not only that, but there are some brands who have previously described themselves to be more environmentally conscious that have been exposed to not care for workers as much as they care for the environment. The creator of reformation earlier this year was accused by many employees of racism in the blacklivesmatter protests back in June, Reformation has since apologised and made a large donation to the ACLU with the founder stepping down from her role as CEO. Moreover, other brands have been shown to be careless with those who make the garments, paying only enough to not be a sweatshop and leaving the workers in appalling conditions. These practices highlight the importance of transparency from the brands themselves, and how in the modern society we need to value the lives of the workers as much as the environmental impact of the resources used to make the cloth.

Other online charity shop retailers:

Barnados - Have a fantastic yoga selection of both vegan and non-vegan products

Fashion For change - A brilliant online boutique that specialises in high end donations, including a lot of designer goods

Sense - They have an excellent ebay shop

Thrift+ - A brilliant site that works to bring the online platform of charity shops, donating money to charity with every box of clothes that's donated. So far they have raised over £400,000 for various charities

How can I buy clothes more ethically with the shops shut?


It is so easy to buy any clothing these days, nearly every shop has an online store or at least an online presence. In the last lockdown, I saw ASOS hauls on most of my feeds and as convenient as the store is, it isn’t the kindest to the environment. Instead, I would suggest researching the brand you are buying from before you buy any new pieces for your wardrobe. It is obviously a little more time consuming than buying outright, but you can see where the clothing is coming from and the actual cost of the piece in relation to human lives and the environment. Two websites that are great resources for this are (BLANK BLANK) since they are updated constantly and explain the unethical practises of each store meaning you can make a calculated decision if you are unable to buy from ethical brands and want clothing that is not pre-loved. Obviously, this can take some time thought, and I am aware of the increased cost of more ethical clothing, and that it isn’t something afforded by all.

Ebay and depop


A haven of all things, ebay and depop are great for getting specific pieces you’re after and just as fun to browse as asos in my opinion. By purchasing from the sellers, you’re either supporting small businesses or just individuals. Yes, some of the clothing may not have the best origins but by purchasing second hand you’re not actively contributing to the supply and demand of the fashion industry. Buying pieces from these sites to is an excellent way to find good quality essentials that will last for a reduced price, obviously sometimes it is hard to work out sizing, but it is a great way if you can buy from here. I would always recommend sizing up on these sites, especially with coats since it means you can still layer up and wear jumpers to keep warm!


Make do and mend


Now this is probably not what you want to hear, but the old World War Two slogan does come in handy sometimes…. This would not count as a form of retail therapy at all, but sewing is a great way to maintain your wardrobe. Mend pieces if they’re broken, or even try your hand at creativity to revive old pieces that you just don’t wear anymore. Sometimes all you need is a button change and it just transforms a coat or a shirt, I know tortoiseshell buttons have been in for the past few seasons and these are easy to pick up in online haberdasheries. Mend rips, or just flip pieces to completely Just altering clothes as well is a brilliant way to make item yours, second hand or brand new, whether the alterations are completed to completely transform the garment or just make it better fitted to yourself.

I plan to do another post on some of my creations of thrift flipped clothing and alterations made from what I already have soon. I just think this is a great way to improve your sewing skills and create a wardrobe you truly love, plus shrinking my fashion carbon footprint is always a bonus. One of my aims this year is to be better to the world in general so this suits me perfectly, after all if we all start small, we can help the bigger picture. (Ultimately, it is the big companies and oil industries that need to change the most, though our changes can help too.)

I hope you’ve liked this post starting off 2020! I look forward to hearing about your sustainable swaps this lockdown if you decide to update your wardrobe!