In lockdown, thousands of people began making their own clothes for the first time – a movement born of creativity and conscious consumption
My foot hovers nervously over the sewing machine pedal. I am cautiously working my way through a sew-it-yourself kit produced by Pattern Project, a “microfactory” startup in south London. It has pioneered a laser-cutting machine that can cut patterns on demand, with minimal waste. The pieces for the dropped-sleeve dress that I am sewing have been snipped to my precise measurements by a zippy little laser, which whizzes over the crisp Irish linen, scorching faint seam guides into the fabric so I know exactly where to sew.
Pattern Project’s founders, Shruti Grover, 34, and Simon Johnson, 35 – partners in life and in business – are seeking funding for their first shop. A “22nd-century” vision of fashion, says Grover, it will hold no stock, but will sell custom-fit clothing that is laser-cut in front of you within minutes, out of local, ethical and sustainable fabrics – and then sewn by you.