General ramblings, No Clothes Challenge!

A New Challenge!

Hey everyone!

Apologies for the complete and utter lack of any blog posts over most of the Summer holidays.
Suffice to say that attempting to keep up Make Do and Mend-able, and this blog, as well as keep the Smalls vaguely occupied, was more than I could manage.

Tomorrow marks the THRID anniversary of the start of My Make Do and Mend Year-our life changing year of Buying Nothing New.
It totally changed the way we view ‘stuff’, and the things that we buy, and although we are now less strict, we still very rarely buy brand new things, and when we do, we make sure they as ethical as possible.
But I am feeling in need of a new challenge…!

I read this article on the 1 Million Woman website, about a woman who didn’t buy any new clothes for a year, and it got me thinking…
I haven’t bought any brand new clothes for three years now, with the exception of underwear, and a waterproof coat (it’s organic cotton, and we funded it’s Kickstarter 🙂 ) but I love the idea of a year with no new to me clothes at all.
So basically Making Do with what I already have.
It appeals I guess because I don’t really see not buying any brand new clothes as a challenge anymore. It’s just become something I do.
I have read so much about fast fashion, and it’s impacts on the people working in the supply chain, as well as the environmental costs of the textile production, that I don’t really think I could ever bring myself to shop from the High Street again.
But I’ve kind of fallen into a comfort zone, and with prices in charity shops so much cheaper than on the High Street, I think I have probably bought far more clothes in the last 3 years, than in the 3 years before that, all be they secondhand.

Dresses collage

The FOUR new (secondhand) dresses I bought within a month of starting My Make Do and Mend Year!

However, there is still an environmental footprint attached to secondhand clothes.
Yes, once I am bored with them, I can donate them back to charity shops, or Swish them.
And once they are beyond wear/repair, they can be chopped up for cleaning rags etc.
But ultimately, they will end up in landfill. And most modern clothes are made from synthetic fibres, which don’t break down easily, and when they do, they release chemicals.

I really want to challenge myself, and my Making Do skills, and my Mending skills, to see if I really can spend a whole year without buying clothes.
I floated the idea on Facebook last week, and Nicola from A Lifetime of DIY is joining me. It would be awesome if there were a group of us, so we could all support and encourage each other!

So here’s my rules:

  • No new clothes-so that means no buying brand new clothes, and no buying secondhand clothes. It also means no swapping or swishing!
  • No new underwear-again, that includes brand new and secondhand. Is it wrong that I’m quite looking forwards to having a go at making some ‘new’ pants from old t-shirts?!
  • I can make myself new clothes, but ONLY from the fabric I already have in my possession. So no new fabric either..!
  • No new shoes or accessories/bags etc

Here are my exceptions:

I’m going to stick to this as much as I can, but the only things I can forsee that I might need, would either be trainers and/or running gear.
So I’m making an exception for these.
I’m sure I can find running gear secondhand, so I’ll do that, but trainers I think I will have to buy new.

These are my rules, for me. If you wanna join in, you can make your own rules, based on what you think will work for you. For example, you might want to exclude underwear, or work wear etc.

So there we go.
A new Make Do and Mend challenge!
This has got me really excited, and I’m really looking forwards to sharing with you my attempts at repairing and Making Do as the year progresses 🙂

Do shout if you want to join in too, and if there is a crowd of us, I’ll start us a Facebook group, so we can all keep in touch!
UPDATE: We have a Facebook group! AND there are FORTY members already-so pleased it’s not just me being the crazy one!
Here’s the link if you’d like to join 🙂

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  • Reply rose September 22, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    I’m in on the fun, too. I started this on 8/24/2016… For an American woman’s closet, it should be an easy challenge. Interesting how the mindset shifts!

  • Reply We Dare You to Go a Year Without Buying Clothes | iFixit September 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    […] are the rules to the new Make Do and Mend Challenge (though participants are encouraged to come up with rules […]

  • Reply Deb Baker September 5, 2015 at 6:29 am

    I started reading this and got more and more excited as I went. I (unintentionally) have not bought new clothes for a long time now. More out of necessity and laziness than anything else. And I look at my wardrobe FULL of clothing, all in good condition and realise I don’t NEED anything else. I have more than enough to make do. So I would love to join this challenge. I have cupboards full of fabric and a head full of ideas on how to update old clothing. This has me so excited! I do hope you start a Facebook group for this as well. It would be great to check in to see how everyone is going. Great stuff! PS : the only thing I really need to buy this summer is some new bathers. But that’s all!

  • Reply Katie Waistell September 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Jen, I did a similar challenge a year ago (ending this time last year) it was great fun and I quite miss it! I blogged about it – you can read about my journey here:
    I’m just about to start a new blog about making do/mending/ sewing etc and would love to share ideas or exchange blogs or have you as a guest blogger. Will keep you posted. Katie

    • Reply Jen September 5, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Hi Katie
      That sounds fab-will check out your blog!
      Do keep me posted on the new blog 🙂

  • Reply Confessions of a Charity Shop Addict | Joelleharris September 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

    […] post over at Make do and Mend has prompted me to look back at numerous charity shop bargains and consider where I went wrong. […]

  • Reply isa1 September 1, 2015 at 7:54 am

    I have for many years now only bought items of clothing in bootsales and it is a way of life.I only buy an item and then have the rule one new thing and one out.I do buy shoes,bras and swim wear there too but the shoes have to be new that is my only rule.Also the clothes I always smell them as sometimes where they have been stored they can smell ugh.Of course as soon as I am home they are washed well.

    • Reply Jen September 1, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Sounds like a great shopping philosophy Isa!

  • Reply September 1, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Awesome! Best of luck with the challenge. I am so addicted to clothes shopping (albeit at op-shops) that I have been thinking of doing this to try and break my habit. I haven’t bought many things this year at all, but I still love nothing more than spending an afternoon op-shopping for the thrill of a new find. Got to stop this!

    • Reply Jen September 1, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Hi Angela
      I think I will miss mooching around the op shops too! It’s silly, but it feels like such a thrill when you find something you like, and it costs next to nothing :/

  • Reply Rae Hodgetts August 31, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I’d have been up for this – honestly I would! But I’ve lost a few clothes sizes recently and still aim to lose a couple, after having a real purge of stored clothes over the past couple of years. I shall probably need to get through a couple of new bra sizes before I settle. So I shall watch and read with interest and perhaps follow your example twelve months later!

    • Reply Jen September 1, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Join us at any point Rae!

  • Reply Tomorrow | alifetimeofdiy August 31, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    […] looking for a new challenge, 3 years after having spending a year buying nothing new, suggested a buy no new clothes challenge and I was very keen to get on board with this. Starting tomorrow I will buy no new clothes for me, […]

  • Reply Joelle Harris August 31, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Interesting, I was thinking along the same lines recently. Buying nothing new lead me to acquire an assortment of stuff from the charity shop, that really didn’t enhance my wardrobe or get worn much, most of which has been returned to the charity shop or worse, I have started to alter it…..and abandoned it half way through when I realized it wasn’t really going to work how I wanted it to (I feel a blog post coming on ;0)) I’ll join you on the new journey although I think I could do with a new winter coat :0/

    • Reply Jen August 31, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Yippee! That’s great Joelle 🙂
      I’ll get a Facebook group going tomorrow, so will try and tag you with the details!

  • Reply Heather August 31, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Can I tag along too Jen? Must have missed the post on your FB page 🙁 I’d make an exception to ‘sports’ gear, I run, swim, cycle and spin and have plenty of gear, I know my swimming costume won’t last a year, although I already have a spare 🙂 my other exception would be to excepting t-shirts given out at events such as a triathlon, which in turn stops me buying a new top anyway 🙂 when are you starting the adventure?

    • Reply Jen August 31, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Yay! That’s great Heather 🙂
      Welcome aboard!
      I’ll get a Facebook group started tomorrow.
      Nicola and I are starting tomorrow (1st Sept) but whenever you are ready!

  • Reply Nicola August 31, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I’m about to write my post this evening. We have very similar rules. Running clothes is out for me too. I will not scrimp on running shoes. It’s not worth risking injury for. I will let you know when my post is up.

    Good luck Jen xx

    • Reply Jen August 31, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Yippee! Good luck for you too Nicola-I just checked out your post, and you’ve included the whole family-eeeeek!

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