As a rule of thumb, women don’t usually buy clothes without trying them on first. We also tend to settle for fits that are just irritatingly imperfect…

I challenge all you model-esque readers to walk into a clothing store and take note of how long it takes you to find that perfect pair of jeans. Now lets compare that with the time taken by those of us who are not blessed with divine proportions. For those of you who happened upon that hip-hugging, butt-lifting pair, I commend you.

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As for the rest of us, perhaps it’s time we invested in a sewing machine. And maybe a couple of lessons to help acquaint us with said purchase. Jodi Wade, who has stopped buying clothes for herself for a year and a half now, has done just that (minus the occasional exception from 2nd hand shops). The 27-year old dressmaker from New Zealand has been making her own clothing since she was 11 years old, receiving her first lessons from the perfect candidate; her grandmother.

The accumulation of Jodi’s skills progressed throughout school and enabled her to assemble entire outfits custom sewn for her own body. Currently, Jodi has taken part in ‘self stitched September’ an avid sewing blogger’s program which challenges participants to wear nothing but self-made clothing for the month. “The task is demanding but I like being able to wear what I want to wear.”

Not relying on shops to dictate a certain look has allowed her own style to develop independently. Choosing not to sew for other designers has also helped her stay true to her own vision. Jodi’s eclectic taste in clothing depicts her love of playing dress up. Taking inspiration from the past for her 50s style dresses and sewing blogs and websites such as, Jodi creates a look that is hers alone.

“It’s fun knowing that I’m probably the only one in the city wearing a petticoat.” she says with unpretentious pride. Now don’t get me wrong, I make this sound simple. It’s not a skill to be mastered overnight, but with a little commitment and a good mentor, you can easily take your first steps in the process.

So when you are next thinking about a trip to hopelessly scour the endless rails of garments, with intermittent fruitless trips to the changing rooms, maybe it would be better investing your time behind a sewing machine. A stitch in time saves nine, but who knows, in this case, maybe a trip to the mall.

Text and foto: Zsuzsi Pal

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