Withnell blog post versatile, sustainable  garments

Versatility, Comfort and Longevity

I’ve always  loved garments that are comfortable, easy to wear and look great on.  Versatility sums it up. I like to breathe and eat and not feel conscious about my clothes.   I like the comfortable, the  non - restrictive pieces that let me move freely and do whatever I need to do. These are the garments that I cherish.  
This has influenced the shapes of my patterns and the dual sizes I chose to use at Withnell so that you can feel comfortable even with fluctuations in body shape. There is nothing more damaging to our self confidence than  thinking ‘when I lose a bit of weight that will fit.’  There is nothing more damaging to the environment if we purchase a garment, wear it once and then throw it away because it doesn't fit correctly, it's uncomfortable or just doesn't look great. 
In this post I explain the processes involved in bringing a design to life from just an idea imagined to a physical piece.  Leila (my daughter) showed great patience being my model for each and every sample at the development stage. 


When I dress in WITHNELL garments, they make me feel comfortable and free.  I feel at ease and ready for the day.  Whenever we  reach into our wardrobe we should feel confident about our choices.   
The starting point was to develop my own  blocks. The building blocks of the business literally.   A block is a foundation pattern that you can use to create your design patterns. It is usually closely fitting and based on the body shape.  It is a flat 2 dimensional model of something that will become 3 dimensional.  Ease is added for comfort across the bust, hips and waist at about 10%.  You then make your patterns from the block and add in the features of your design. At this point we  add much more ease around the body as Withnell patterns are dual sized so need to fit the largest size whilst still looking good and retaining the design shape.  
Once I have made the pattern I will mock up the design in some calico material. This is often called a toile or a prototype.  The name toile comes from the fabric originally used to make first samples.  I can use this again and again for different samples.  At this point I can see how the garment fits on the body and where I might need to make some adjustments. I then go back to the pattern and adjust it as necessary. 
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   We want to make a positive impact by following mindful practice and making considered choices every step of the way.  Women deserve to have options where they don’t need to compromise their values or their style.    I consider minimising waste as much as possible. I use pattern cutting techniques to create shapes that will use the fabric wisely.  I consider how to cut out the pieces without creating  lots of waste.  Any waste we do create is used to make our repair kits.
Sustainability is about keeping things in circulation for as long as possible without the need to constantly use raw materials.   Slow living encourages us to be mindful and think before we purchase.  Repair and mend before throwing away and sharing with others if we fall out of love with our pieces.  We are working hard to encourage this through our choice of designs, patterns, materials and  our  repair kits. All promoting durability and longevity. 
Helen dress being packaged together with bespoke repair kit.


A ribbon is inserted inside every Withnell garment to embroider the name of the owner. This is our way to state that each garment carries  value and we value the memories of those who progressively wear it. Both should be cherished  and  not discarded. 

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