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Two Years Later and Still Wearing Handmade

2_years_later (5 of 8)

What was the catalyst that caused you to pick up a needle and thread, buy a sewing machine, or get into this hobby? For me, the first motive was to be able to hem my jeans, but as I got more into it, it became more about building a wardrobe that was timeless, my style, and fit my body. That first reason is a topic a lot of sewers talk about because many take up the trade to save money and to remove them, at least somewhat, from the gluttonous world of fast fashion. Some people doubt that sewing is a way to spend and buy less, and they’re argument is that instead of shelling out money for clothes, sewers spend all their dough on fabric and trims. Well, I’m here today to tell you that sewing can be used as a way to one, save money, two, create clothes just for you, and three, achieve an good fit. Two years ago, I made this dress for a friend’s wedding and it was based off of a BHLDN dress that retailed for more than $1,000. I drafted the pattern, and it took me 3 months to complete the project, but I still cherish it. This holiday season, I decided to whip this baby out and use it as my holiday dress. I wore it to 3 holiday parties, including my work’s annual Christmas bash. Now, if that isn’t a testament of the longevity of home sewn clothes, I don’t know what is! Go me-made!

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  1. Reply

    Susan Skalak

    I started sewing again after my daughter was born. My family was invited to a brunch to celebrate the induction of friend into the National Academy of Science and I needed to put something on my daughter other than her brother’s hand me down shorts and t-shirts. I went shopping and found a cute dress but it was $40. I refused to buy the cheap glittery stuff I found in the big chain stores and ended up at a local store. I thought, I could make this simple dress for a lot less than $40. I hated paying that much for something she was going to wear once or twice. I have been sewing mine and her clothes ever since. Although as she enters her tween years she wears fewer of the clothes that I sew and more t-shirts and pants. But I remember doing that with my own mom. But, I also remember as I because a teenager i went back to my mom and requested that she sew me unique clothes that no one else had. So, she may not be wearing much of what I sew now, but she’ll be back. In the meantime, I sew much of what i wear, or if I don’t sew it from scratch, I pick up pieces at resale stores and modify the pieces to fit me better or just change them into something I like.

    Love your blog.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      First, thank you for the compliment on the blog. It means a lot. Second, I also believe that your daughter will be back for me made clothing in the future. My step sisters is a teenager and everything her mom does is sooo uncool. In a few years though, she’ll realize that her mom and the things she suggested are actually trendy and most importantly, timeless. Mom knows best!

  2. Reply

    Kate McIvor

    You are right about homemade garments — they are high-quality and they fit! Your dress is beautiful and so are your words.

  3. Reply


    You are so right! I sewed my first pair of pants when I was 13 years old, and I still wear it at 25 years old. It’s one of my favorite pair, and they’re still going strong!

  4. Reply


    Beautiful dress!

  5. Reply


    I still love this dress! It’s absolutely gorgeous!
    I started teaching myself to sew after finishing my MFA in Painting (after 6 solid years of art school), moving halfway across the country with a man I loved, but wasn’t sure what our future was (hint: it turned out okay, we’re still going strong) leaving behind all my friends and family and my support network, and struggling to find enjoyable and meaningful employment. So basically I started sewing after having a MASSIVE quarter-life crisis/breakdown/what have you! I’m totally not joking when I say that I think sewing saved my sanity and sense of self.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      sewing has done for me the same thing it has for you – saved my sanity!

  6. Reply

    Sarah @knityorkcity

    That dress is so gorgeous! Especially in the snow, amazing photos! I love my handmade clothing more than I could ever love anything store bought and I think that cherishing my wardrobe and thinking of it in that valuable way is really important.

  7. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    Beautiful dress, and the photos are just stunning 🙂 I always admire and look up to the way you know your figure so well and are able to dress it perfectly 🙂 I aspire to that in my own sewing.

    I took up sewing when I was particularly struggling with self image and could not find clothing that fit – particularly in the bust area. Learning how to make an FBA literally changed my life, and now I’ve taught my mum how to do it as well. Sewing for me is imperative – it gives me the means to create beautiful, classic pieces that suit me, and fit me, in colours I love and in fabrics that are of the highest quality… something you rarely find in RTW 🙂

  8. Reply


    The sewist part of me is admiring — beautiful dress, ethereal photography. The mom part is screaming — get out of the snow! your feet are wet! you’ll catch your death! Sorry.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      my dad said the same thing to me when he say the photos!

  9. Reply


    That’s a beautiful dress. How cold were you? 😉

  10. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    For me it’s a natural instinct to want to provide for oneself. I can afford to buy but I don’t want to.

  11. Reply

    Brenda Wall

    Beautiful dress!

  12. Reply

    Kirsty Bunfield (kbfield)

    These are amazing photos!! I started sewing when I found fabric and fabric stores and became interested into tapping into my own creativity.

  13. Reply

    Jennifer, Workroom Social

    This is the most beautiful photo shoot. Such a special dress.

  14. Reply

    Jess Abbott

    this is absolutely stunning!!! Merry Christmas to you too!

  15. Reply


    The photos look AMAZING! I love this shoot.

  16. Reply


    that dress is seriously stunning and very much does look like a $1,000 dress to me. the confection is just stunning and really something i forget about in the world of haphazard thrift store shopping. the details are perfect, like the pleats in the front, and that belt/sash is perfect. and… you look gorgeous in it & in these shots! wonderful you’re getting such good use out of it.

  17. Reply


    So beautiful! Just curious, is the belt added or a part of the dress? Either way, the styling is gorgeous, I love the back bow.

    • Reply


      The belt is separate!

  18. Reply


    Hi! I know this is an old post, but I’ve just discovered your blog as I’m trying to teach myself lingerie sewing – beautiful and inspiring! Re: saving money, I think it’s a question of like for like – I’m able to sew clothing with details that would put them out of my price range, and, as you say, build a special wardrobe. Is it the absolute cheapest way to clothe myself? Probably not, but that’s apples and oranges!

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