Wednesday 4 March 2020

#MIYMarch: Week 1 - Getting to Know Each Other

I can't believe another year has flown by and it's #MIYMarch again. This is the 6th year of this challenge, initiated by Wendy Ward - check out her introductory post here. In the past, MIY March has been a marathon of themed photos posted on Instagram every day of the month - and I was delighted to see the different approach this year (the daily obsessive photo op scramble may or may not have put my marriage at risk in the past..)

This year the theme is Sustainable Sewing & Making. I think we can all use a bit of that. Personally I plan to take this month to reflect on my most loved hobby, especially how I can make small changes towards being a more sustainable seamstress. I also realized I have lots of readers here and I haven't properly introduced myself for a while, so:


My name is Julia, I live in Dubai with my incredible husband (who is also my highly capable photographer), I have an office job in technology (mainly to finance fabric purchases & world exploration), and in the evenings and on weekends I get lost in my universe of Martini & Sinatra-fuelled, self-drafted sewing experiments. That ↑ is my sewing space. When the weather is nice, I open the window and that room becomes an alfresco oasis of happiness. There are also moments when experiments fail, bobbin thread runs out in the most critical topstitching moment, the sewing machine is ready to be thrown out the window.. And from those moments, over the years, I've learnt more patience than any mindfulness practice could ever teach.

1. Why is sustainable sewing important to me?

Sustainable everything is important to me, and I think should be to everyone. We have one planet, we have too much stuff, and new stuff is being pumped out faster than we can comprehend. The environment and our disrespect for Mother Earth are topics I often find myself anxious over. The fashion industry, fast fashion specifically, is killing our planet. We've doubled clothing production since 2000, 85% of textiles end up in landfills every year, and fashion even contributes to an estimated 35% of microplastics (through the laundering of synthetic fabrics like polyester), a lot of which ends up in the oceans. Generally, the fashion industry is f***ed up.

But I love beautiful things. I enjoy fashion, I get a lot of joy (and confidence) from dressing up. So for me, making my own clothes is a way to slow it down. When I invest my time in making something, the whole process is more thoughtful - How wearable will this be? Will it go with the rest of my wardrobe? Can I wear it all year? These are questions most people don't concern themselves with when buying mindlessly off sale racks (today's influencers regularly promoting their shopping 'hauls' makes me sick to my stomach). 

I'm of course no saint in all this - Fabric is also made somewhere, and often not sustainably or by respecting basic human rights. I try my best to buy second hand fabric when possible, not to buy without a plan/just to grow a stash, and to focus on sourcing material made in countries where I can trust minimum wages & environmental standards are at an acceptable level. I also avoid synthetic fabrics and focus on natural fibres that decompose.

2. What are my main motivations for sewing and making?

I reflected on this question back in 2015, and not much has changed since then. The simplest reason is that I love to sew. I love the creative process, designing a piece from scratch, figuring out the puzzle of how to construct it, learning new techniques.. It's so incredibly rewarding. 

There are also practical reasons; it's difficult to find ready-to-wear pieces that fit my proportions, and I have expensive taste - if I were to buy all the designer clothes I lust after, I'd be in jail for not being able to pay my credit card bills:) Making allows me to wear what I want, without going bankrupt. 

3. Why am I taking part in MIY March?

It's always healthy to reflect on the impact you're having, and this less photo-focused format really spoke to me - it's great to have a trigger to pause and think, and ask yourself if you can do better. I definitely can - I can buy less, I can focus more on mending & redesigning, and be more strict when it comes to sourcing materials. I'm looking forward to an illuminating month, reading the thoughts of others on this incredibly important topic.

4. My most and least worn makes

While doing an inventory of my makes, a clear most worn winner emerged quickly: the Midi Skirt. Probably most of the things I've ever sewn are midi skirts - I enjoy this garment so much for its versatility, comfort, elegance, and ease of making.

So my pick for most worn make is the basic, solid colour silky midi. I currently have it in 6 colours, and I wear one at 2-3 times a week. It's the perfect piece you can dress up or down, great for the office, and so, so comfortable.
For least worn, I was proud to realize I don't really make stuff I don't end up wearing. I'll usually realize I'm going in the wrong direction, and pivot my plans. I'm often removing sleeves to make dresses more heat-proof, chopping pants into shorts, adding extension pieces.. Anything to maximize wear. 

But if I must choose, it's this Dior- inspired gown - Only because it's occasion wear, and there are only so many occasions. I've worn it to 2 weddings, my husbands work gala, and also as part of my Evil Priestess costume last Halloween. It's coming out again as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
That's all I got! Looking forward to reading all the MIY March posts these coming weeks - If you write a full article, please comment with the link below so I can check it out!




  1. Great introduction!
    I enjoy your blog and really admire how creative you are whipping up clothes, it seems effortlessly.
    Also, it's so interesting that you live in Dubai. If you get a chance, maybe you could share more day to day vignettes of your life in Dubai in future posts.

  2. Thank you so much!! I hadn't thought people would be interested in the Dubai life but I'll definitely keep that in mind:) maybe next time I go fabric shopping!


I would love to hear what you think and learn about your DIY adventures! If you use one of my tutorials, tag me on social @contour_affair, I'd love to see!


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