I think one of the common misconceptions around sewing is that making your own clothes will always be cheaper than buying RTW. This is categorically not the case! Yes, you can often pick up bargain fabric at the thrift store, rag markets or ebay and find a fab pattern in a charity shop. But if you have a specific print or good quality fabric in mind (£30+), invest in a decent sewing machine (£200+) and go to buy an indie sewing pattern (£8+) then remember it needs a zip (£1.80+) you realise that a dress that is £20 in New Look could cost you £40+ to begin with and that’s without the machine!
When sewing is much cheaper than RTW, and in my opinion the most satisfying, is when you can look at a really expensive garment and think, I can make that!
The new Rouje x Liberty collaboration made me think just that. As I’ve written before I love Rouje’s designs and have even had a go at making my own DIY versions. The latest Rouje collection is a collab with fabric powerhouse Liberty in their flagship tana lawn, a high quality cotton lawn. In the collection are summery pieces that scream French summer picnic, from sun dresses to shorts and cute shirts.
The collection is new – in fact, so new that the majority of pieces aren’t on their website yet but instead are being hinted at by influencers on Instagram in what will likely be a social media takeover!
However, they are spenny. Like, 115 euro for a pair of shorts expensive. Whilst I believe in getting what you pay for in haute couture for example or small designer collections that are produced in house and individual tailoring; Rouje is one of the companies that does not disclose where their garments are made and, from what I read the majority are made in large production in China so I would assume a lot of the markup goes into marketing and retail.
Knowing that Liberty tana lawn retails at £25pm, someone handy with a sewing machine could easily make a pair of short for £40 rather than the retailed £140+. Here are some of Rouje’s latest collection and patterns to sew them yourself!
Pauline Shirt vs McCalls M7811
The Rouje Pauline shirt features a close fit, princess seams, button close and back yoke with a waist tie.
There’s not too many princess seam shirts around but I think view A from the McCalls M7811 fits the bill, with a princess seam, button placket and if you were to shorten the sleeves and add a waist tie you’d be very close!
The Rouje Maggie top is a button down close fit top with a shirred back and wide straps.
The Ariana dress by Style Arc would be a great match for this top. To hack the pattern to match you’d just need to widen the straps and use larger buttons!
Jurgen shorts vs Arden pants by Helen’s Closet
The Jurgen shorts appear to be a very simple elasticated waist cotton lawn shorts. The Arden Pants are one of my favourite new patterns and Helen recently hacked them into shorts which I think look great and would work so well in a cotton lawn!
Shirt dress vs Sew Over it Penny
I don’t know what this dress is called yet, but it looks like a shirt dress with a tie around the middle
The Penny dress by Sew Over it is one of their most popular patterns, it is such a gorgeous vintage style and would be beautiful in a cotton lawn. Add a waist tie to complete the Rouje look.
Rouje blouse vs Fibremood Norma
Another as yet unnamed blouse I can’t find on their website BUT this blouse just screams Norma, doesn’t it? With a relatively high neck and voluminous sleeves these are a great match.
Loulou scrunchie vs your own pattern
This is the piece that made me want to write this blog post. A scrunchie is 17 euro. SEVENTEEN. To make this, you need a 40cm x 15cm strip of fabric. Liberty is £25 a metre. This is a pattern accessible to even the most beginner of beginner sewists. Do the math.
Match the fabric
Liberty lawn is not a cheap fabric by any means but can be purchased very easily especially in the UK and around the world. Liberty are of course a huge stockist and in general you will find it retails at £25 per metre both with them and in their stockists. However some places such as Abkahan and Fabric Chicks have sales (I recently found lawn in Abakhan at £10pm) and you can also find a HUGE selection, the biggest in the UK in fact, at Shaukat fabrics. I’ve had a look and found the following similar prints to the Liberty x Rouje collection (click the image to go through)
I hope you found this blog post useful! By writing this, I am not saying people shouldn’t buy Rouje or that their pieces are overpriced. But as someone who loves to take inspiration from RTW fashion into home dressmaking, I couldn’t look at a 17 euro scrunchie and not know I could make it for about a £1!
If you have any ideas or inspiration off the back of this please let me know and if you like DIY designer roundups, Alice May from @thestitchedit does a weekly round up on a Sunday helping you to recreate your favourite brand looks!