The RTW Debate

I’ve been enjoying a little RTW indulgence since completing my three month fast at the end of the year. I justified this by buying things I couldn’t actually make for myself: namely a couple of pairs of Winter boots, one or two (ok so maybe three of four, Chris of handmadebychris I’m invoking the ‘cashmere rule’) cashmere cardigans from the Boden sale and a couple of pairs of high-waisted jeans (the only type of jeans I’m buying from now on). So far, so good! These are all investment pieces that will last me for many years and they’re totally plugging the gaps I’d identified during my fast.

In theory, although I’m not (yet) placing myself on another RTW fast, I shouldn’t need to buy anything else for the next couple of months and then I’ll reassess what gaps there are in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and take it from there. Although living in Northern England doesn’t require a great deal of warm weather clothing sadly…

But then whilst browsing the end of the sales rail in my local M & S, I came across this. And I was annoyed because this is exactly the kind of dress I’m make for myself. It’s blue 😉 (and black and silver), a knit fabric, super comfy (kind of stretchy sweat-shirting) and really easy to wear (with black jacket for work or cardigans for casual). I could totally make this, but for the lovely price of £9.99? Probably not. And could I actually find this fabric? Possibly something similar if I had the time to look around for long enough, but in the short term probably not. So I bought it, and it’s been worn and admired already (it’s incredibly warm too). But I’ve broken my rules and feel like it’s a really ‘naughty’ purchase.

So I’m interested to hear your views on this readers 🙂 Do you apply similar rules to yourself, banning any purchases you could easily make for yourself? Do you find this ‘price and time’ problem too? And should I be so annoyed with myself for buying such items?



RTW Three Month Fast Done and Dusted!


So I’ve made it to the end of my self-imposed fast. With the exception of a pair of pyjamas, matching dressing gown (which I did have an excuse for: Children In Need day at school) and one reversible sports bra (no excuse for this one, just shouldn’t have looked on that sale rail…), I’ve  managed to avoid all RTW purchases, including shoes which I was originally going to allow myself. It turns out my will power is a lot stronger than I thought it was. Oh, and I didn’t actually need any 🙂 It didn’t surprise me that I lasted the first month absolutely fine, but two and eventually three months? Oh, yes, now that did surprise me!

So, did my fast actually make me wear my own makes more?

Without a doubt, yes! Forcing myself to have a massive clear out at the same time as my fast enabled me to really see what I actually had and wore frequently, and also to discover a few forgotten items lurking beneath my poor, overloaded hangers. I forced myself to wave goodbye to a few of my earlier makes which saddened me, but it was time to go.

I  forced myself to wear more of my ‘best’ makes: for work or just casually running errands. Getting rid of so much old stuff made space for better items to become more every day. I’m really pleased I’ve managed to change my mind set on this: a pleasantly surprising outcome to the fast.

So, what else surprised me?

Well, I actually really enjoyed the process. As did my husband who is delighted with the (very small, granted 😉 ) extra space I’ve allowed him in a joint wardrobe in our spare room. It’s also been refreshing not to have to hide certain bags (ahem… Now I can’t be the only one guilty of this) before his arrival home.

Because I’ve been saving a little money it’s been nice to treat the kids to lunch or cake when we’re out and about a bit more. I’ve also enjoyed buying a few well-chosen accessories which I’ve needed for a while.

I’ve finally realised that buying/owning too many clothes is actually ridiculously overwhelming and impractical. I’ve enjoyed experimenting more with putting well-loved items together differently and I really have a clear idea of what my wardrobe is now missing. Namely, really well-fitting, high-waisted jeans (which I have no intention of attempted myself, I know my limits), a couple of ‘coloured’ dresses (far too much black and grey) for work would be nice and I can sew myself, and some self-made, evening tops.

And finally, because I couldn’t buy clothes it’s made me really consider my own makes far more carefully. I’ve been so pleased with the recent makes I’ve created and know that they’ll be worn lots (even that Bristol skirt). This is a huge improvement and has really made me far more practical with my sewing projects. Having a little extra to spend on nicer fabrics has helped with this too.

Did I run to the shops as soon as November was out?

Not really. Timing was on my side and the avalanche of Black Friday/Weekend offers in my inbox totally put me off any shopping last week. However I have found, and ordered, some lovely jeans. Fingers crossed the fit will be right…

And finally, advice for anyone else thinking of giving it a go?

Just go for it! It’s incredibly liberating and if I can do it… Giving myself other wardrobe ‘projects’ to busy myself worked really well. As I mentioned above, a massive clear-out was really therapeutic. I also appreciated unpacking my Winter woolies just as I was getting bored of my newly pared down wardrobe.

Avoiding clothes shops totally really worked for me. As did cancelling a fair few mailing lists I’d got myself on to. Keeping temptation firmly in check kept me focused.

And my monthly, fabric treats (final one featured above, this time from Aberkans in Manchester) really helped to motivate me. Although I now have plenty and need to stay well away as I’m aware I’m just replacing one addiction with another 😉


So I’m going to enjoy a little break from fasting and see how I do. I’m hoping my shopping habits have changed for good, but I’m well aware I’ve timed this badly with the end of year sales looming… I’m going to see how I go, but there’s always January to put myself on another, longer stint…

Anyone else tempted to give it a go?  Or any advice if you’ve completed a fast yourself?

RTW Fast, Two Month Treats


Hurrah! I’ve managed to go a whole two months without purchasing anything RTW. To celebrate, I put in another, little order to Guthrie and Ghani. I also purchased the lovely fox and anchor fabrics for my son’s two shirts, see here and here if you haven’t already seen them (still very proud sorry). The above two I purchased originally to have another attempt at Tilly’s Agnes top, after my last attempt didn’t quite go to plan…

However while the inky-spotted fabric would make a perfect Agnes, the black-and-white-striped fabric is much thicker than I’d anticipated, so I’ve changed my plans accordingly. Despite my misgivings about how flattering my Coco dress was around my middle section, I’ve been surprised to find myself reaching for it again and again. I guess comfort won out on this one 🙂 So as this is the perfect weight for another, I’m going to go ahead and make one! One of you was kind enough to send me a link to a blogger who’d added bust darts to her version of the Coco, so I’ll definetly be looking back at this again. I do also think that the solid, black blackground of this fabric will be far more flattering than the off-white of my previous one, despite the horizontal stripes.

Next Friday my school, like many others up and down the country, will be celebrating Children-in-Need day (an annual, televised charity event for those of you outside of the UK) which requires us to wear onesies (errr, never going to happen) or pyjamas to school. Unfortunately I really don’t think I have a pair that are passable for wearing out in public and I promise I have had a good look through. Now, I’ve given this a lot of thought and while I could have purchased some flannel fabric (harder to source than I’d thought) to sew myself a pair of pj trousers to match either my failed Agnes or my Savannah camisole, this kind of seemed almost as frivolous as buying RTW ones as it wasn’t part of my reward pile. So I’ve given myself permission to buy a pair and a matching fleecy gown. In my defence I’ve purchased a pair that I don’t think I could have actually sewn and this is a considered purchase not a rash one. Am I forgiven?

The last rather random shot below (and OK, yes I might be trying to change the subject super fast) is a very cute selection of knitted toys that D (our lovely reprographics lady), who helps with our knitting club at school, bought in on Friday to show us. I thought I’d share them with you too 🙂