Sew be it: The new eco-fashion brand that helps you make your own clothes

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Selkie hasn’t just created its own beautiful London-loving fabric but it’s also created three simple patterns that keen eco-fashionistas can follow to make their own clothes.

Georgina Wilson-Powell 21 October 2018

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“Sewing has an air of mystery around it, a hobby from a bygone era,” says Alexandra Bruce, co-founder of Selkie. 

“Your mum or even your grandma used to sew but with the decline of British clothing factories and cheap fast fashion dominating the high street, people don’t think about picking up a needle and thread or sitting at a sewing machine. Before fashion was fast, fabric shops were part of the high street stocking stylish sewing patterns and quality textiles. Today sewing is no longer readily available.”

That's the status quo Selkie are here to change.

Never read a sewing pattern or sewn on a button? Don’t panic, Selkie aren’t expecting anyone to be anything other than needle-newbies.

“Sewing patterns can be challenging to follow as they are written for a generation who already knew how to sew. We create versatile stylish patterns made for the modern woman,” says Bruce, who started the label with Caroline Akselson, after a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.

Selkie combine an obvious love of vintage tailoring with clean Scandinavian inspired lines so that its patterns can be made by someone who wants to make their own clothes without giving up every hour of the day for weeks on end.

“Our London skirt has a vintage nod with clean modern drafting, as well as being a great item to sew. Skirts are one of those items you can add to your wardrobe and pair with things you already own,” explains Bruce. “By making your own skirt you can have it the exact length you want as well as the right fit on your waist."

Selkie Sewing3
“The great thing about dressmaking is you are making it for your body and your shape. You are not fitting yourself into the garment, rather the other way around”

That personalisation of your clothes is something we’ve sacrificed on the altar of high street shopping. 

Have a problem getting shirts, skirts or dresses to fit? By making your own clothes, you’re making them to fit your shape. Sounds slightly revolutionary doesn’t it?

“The great thing about dressmaking is you are making it for your body and your shape. You are not fitting yourself into the garment, rather the other way around. You can make your skirt the perfect length for you. You can bring in a waist if you want a super fitted look," says Bruce.

“With our sewing pattern we have created a sizing system different to the standard market, with sizing increments that work better when women go up or down in size. You measure yourself and compare it to the finished garment measurements to give you a bespoke fit. You can even grade between sizes if you are larger at the top and smaller at the bottom. Gone are the days of ordering multiple sizes online as well as being squashed in a hot changing room.”

Embracing your own style away from fast fashion trends also helps combat one of fashion’s biggest problems – overconsumption.

“We are bombarded with trends and celebrate looks which can be inspiring, but finding your own style really gets you thinking about what works for you,” says Bruce. “It's about having items in your wardrobe you love and cherish and mend, and that are worn year to year and season to season in different ways.”

Selkie Sewing Patterns

Selkie's top fabric is hand-painted in London and made of bamboo for a silk like feel

Selkie don’t assume you’re a fabric nerd either. Shopping for the right fabric to make different clothes can be as difficult as shopping for different yarns when knitting – their own fabrics are designed for people who want to make their own clothes.

It's also refreshing to see that each step of the process has been thought about impact wise, and while there's always more to do, this new brand is off to a cracking (green) start.

“All of our fabrics contain natural fibres only, so they don't pollute the waste water when washed, and our inks are chemical free. We are working on collaborating with an organisation for fabric scraps, to close the production loop at the end of a fabric or garment's life,” explains Bruce.

Each of the Selkie fabrics has been hand-painted in London by Alexandra and digitally printed in the UK with eco-friendly processes, which means there’s no waste and no toxic chemicals being used. The original fabric is sourced from ethical and organic sources, while the sewing patterns are printed on FSC paper and and our pattern printer is a member of the Woodland Trust.

What are you waiting for? Now where's that sewing machine.

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