John-Paul Flintoff: Sew Your Own

John-Paul Flintoff

Sew Your Own

The true story of one man’s attempt to survive economic meltdown, tackle climate change and find the meaning of life – by making his clothes

John-Paul Flintoff sew in copyright Dwayne Senior

Photo: Dwayne Senior

INCLUDING: why his wife won’t always allow him to wear his home-made clothes in public.

FEATURING: film stars Richard Gere and Daryl Hannah, politicians and campaigners, criminals and priests, the Victorian essayist John Ruskin, injured New York-based sweatshop operatives, British TV’s celebrated petrol-head Jeremy Clarkson and the anti-road protestor who stuck a pie in his face, members of the ancient guild of spinners, dyers and weavers, the Quaker philanthropist Elizabeth Fry, call-centre workers in Bangalore, the author’s wife’s 98-year-old great aunt Peggy Parker, a “naked yoga” teacher, prince Charles’s own Savile Row tailor, a “personal shopper”, the German army of the First World War, Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha, Jesus Christ and Vivienne Westwood.

Be the change

I’m sitting on the Northern Line, on the City branch, in the middle of rush hour, on a carriage crowded with people dressed in smart clothes, with expensive accessories.

I used to be just like these p…

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Fashion Revolution Day

Do watch this film, about a fantastically important campaign I helped to launch:

Sew Your Own: the pop-up book

As a keen book maker, I have become increasingly interested in how physical books are different from ebooks, and one of the best examples of that is the pop-up.

Handmade Sew Your Own fully open

Exponents of origami will share my enthu…

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Thank you, Peggy

Today is Fashion Revolution Day – and we’re asking you to think / post pictures asking #whomademyclothes – in hope that a stronger connection between makers and consumers might prevent abuses of the…

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Sew Your Own: What is it?

BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

Listen to me explain myself to Jane Garvey.

Cor, look at this fine bit of sewing

I hope she isn't reading this

For a long time, I have taken the view that it would not be a good idea to sew anything for Harriet. She might not like it, and then she’d feel bad, and I’d feel bad and it would generally be bad all…

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Warning: Sew Your Own can change your life

Sew Your Own reader Joe McAllister with his treadle-powered machine.jpg

“Look what you’ve done to me!” wrote Joe McAllister, of north east London. After finishing Sew Your Own, he went out at once to buy a hand-powered sewing machine.

“I bought it off eBay for 99p, picked…

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Er, I don't only make clothes

Home made sourdough loaf

When I wrote Sew Your Own, I tried to make it clear that sewing and knitting aren’t the only craft skills I wanted to learn – and that others could enjoy. I also built a bookcase, and wrote about that…

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Ten smiles an hour zone

Ten smiles an hour zone

Some time ago, I came across some fascinating academic research suggesting that people reported higher levels of happiness in an area where somebody had put up signs reading: “10 smiles an hour zone”.

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Why hand-made matters

A few years ago, I made a decision: I would never again buy anything “cheap” if I could help it. In other words, I would buy less than I had bought in the past, but it would all be good quality.

Home decorated plate, "Eye love you", by Nancy

The i…

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Sew Your Own : Reviews

Sew Your Own book cover

Buy a copy here

“What a great read!” – Blue Peter

“Very funny, I hope it does well” – Jane Garvey, Woman’s Hour

“Meet the man who made his underpants from nettles” – Mary Ann Sieghart, BBC World Service

I couldn’t put it down. It was moving and utterly brilliant” – Rachael Matthews, Cast Off

“Wonderful, amazing, funny and warm! And inspiring!” Tom Hodgkinson, author of How To Be Free

“Accessible, funny, well researched, and an inspiring pleasure to read” – The Ecologist

“John-Paul Flintoff can do things with a sewing machine other men could only dream of” – Daisy Green magazine

“Charming… As an intellectual might say, it works on lots of different levels. There is a spiritual journey here, but also lots of hi-jinks and good jokes” – Molly Scott Cato, author of Green Economics

“He makes yarn from plastic bags and sews his clothes on a Twenties treadle-powered Singer machine. Now he wants to take on climate change and anti-social behaviour with crochet hooks” – Evening Standard

“Excellent account of making his own outfit (even down to woollen underpants)” – Susie Forbes, Easy Living magazine

“I laughed loud and wonderfully… utterly delicious!” – Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company

“I love the book. It’s a really thoughtful read and [Flintoff] turns a lovely phrase” – Anne Caborn, Make It And Mend It

“His sometimes oddball thirst for self-reliance is by turns funny and touching” – Tony Rollinson, Permaculture magazine

“Take my advice and read this book – you’ll feel all the better for it” – Richard Barnett, Ethical Pulse

“I really enjoyed it” – AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

“This is one hell of a book and I did not want to put it down” – Michael Smith, Green Review

“Compelling… For Flintoff, enlightenment comes neither through religion nor political affiliation – but in making clothes… an inspiring eulogy to DIY” – Emmanuelle Smith, Financial Times

“Brilliantly heart-warming, laugh-out-loud story… the kind of book that word of mouth can’t spread fast enough” – Katy Evans, Knitting magazine

“People are changing the world by small actions, but Flintoff finds that that’s the only way to make effective change” – Dan Thompson,

“Very honest and human and moving” – Nick Rosen, author of Off-Grid

“I think it is chic to have darned your own clothes” – India Knight, author and journalist

“Don’t expect to finish it in a hurry – your head will be filling up with Things You Can Do, and you’ll be jumping up to get on with them” – Emma Cooper, Eco Crafts

“I don’t really understand what you are doing, but I wish you every success” – Vivienne Westwood

“It seems, and I’m grinding my jaws as I type this, that his time has come” – Harriet Green (the author’s wife) quoted in The Observer

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