Sarah Gunn – Life Force Behind Goodbye Valentino

Sarah Gunn at Edisto Island wearing Style Arc "Elle" slim leg pants and holding SCHMETZ needle packs.

Sarah Gunn at Edisto Island wearing Style Arc “Elle” slim leg pants and holding SCHMETZ needle packs.

Goodbye Valentino

Before she became the life-force behind the popular sewing blog, Goodbye Valentino, Sarah Gunn was a busy wife and mother with a successful career as the Executive Director of the Spartanburg Music Foundation.  One of the things she was really good at was shopping.  She was a big fan of Diane Van Furstenberg, Milly, Nanette Lepore, Lilly P., Kate Spade — anything at Nieman Marcus or Nordstrom’s. Her two twenty-something daughters, Katie and Mimi, shared her love of high end ready-to-wear and shopping was a joyful mother-daughter bonding activity.

At some point, Sarah felt like she was spending a lot of money on clothes, but had a closet full of nothing to wear . . . too many special occasion dresses and a lot of black and white. By August 2011, after a series of graduations, weddings and other special events, she’d been on a six month spending spree.

Her “ah-ha” moment came at a home “skirt party” she attended with her daughter Mimi. After trying on several styles, and looking at the fabric samples, they ordered three custom skirts. The bill was nearly $700. When the skirts arrived, Sarah looked at the simple skirts — and she KNEW she could have made them herself.

She felt such tremendous buyer’s remorse — that’s when it happened.   She snapped.

On that day — August 31, 2011,  Sarah vowed to go on a Ready-To-Wear FAST. Her intention was to not buy a thing for one year. She would sew her own clothes for one whole year. And, to hold herself accountable, she would blog about it. She named her blog, “Goodbye Valentino”. Initially, she didn’t tell anybody what she was doing.  She wasn’t sure she could do it, and she didn’t want additional pressure from her family.

PATTERN: Vogue 8750 FABRIC: Wool Houndstooth, Mood Fabrics leather upcycled from thrift store skirt.

PATTERN: Vogue 8750
FABRIC: Wool Houndstooth, Mood Fabrics leather upcycled from thrift store skirt.

Sarah dusted off her seldom-used sewing machine, reorganized her abandoned playroom — and started SEWING. Using an Amy Butler pattern and a Laura Ashley dress (circa 1987) from her closet, she made a really cute skirt.

Sarah had no way of knowing that she was starting a revolution . . . .

She learned to sew in high school and after college she sewed for herself for six or seven years. But after the birth of her first daughter, her focus shifted. Between her family and her career — she had little time to sew. Other than clothes for her young daughters, a few quilts or simple home dec projects, she had taken a 25-year break from garment sewing.

BGoodbye_ValentinoWhen she started Goodbye Valentino, Sarah had no idea about the sewing world that existed on the Internet. As it happened, she enjoyed writing the blog as much as sewing her new clothes. After three months, she told her husband what she was doing. He was incredulous and quickly became her biggest fan.  After five or six months of blogging, Sarah began to receive comments from other women who had been inspired to sew by reading Goodbye Valentino.

In JUNE 2012, after only TEN months of blogging, Sarah was invited to join the Mood Sewing Network. She was honored to be one of their original bloggers because the mission of the Mood Sewing Network is to inspire fashion sewing. When asked about the benefits of sewing her own clothes, Sarah answers thoughtfully, “I started the RTW fast to save money, and I celebrated with a trip to the Mediterranean at the end of my fast!  An unexpected benefit is that while

PATTERN:   Butterick 5683 FABRIC: Faux leather/ faux fur backing

PATTERN:
Butterick 5683
FABRIC: Faux leather/ faux fur backing

sewing my own clothes, I learned how to fit myself. Because of that, I am much pickier about ready to wear. Also, I’ve discovered my own style which includes a love of color, a fondness for ruffles and classic feminine lines.”

“My sewing skills have also improved, and I’ve learned the little things can make a big difference in my end result. For example, I used to be one of those people who only changed my sewing machine needle if it broke! But now I actually enjoy sewing on knit fabrics because I know there is a specific needle for that purpose. Using a topstitch needle has made a huge difference in the quality of my garments. I’ve also developed a little finesse with the iron.”

Sarah Gunn has always been determined to live creatively, but the reaction to Goodbye Valentino has been more than she ever imagined.  During her first RTW fast, she made 64 garments, and it changed her life.  As it happened, it also changed the lives of thousands of other women who were tired of spending too much money on clothes.

BRTW-2014-LogoGoodbye Valentino convinced them that they could do it, too. In January 2014, Sarah decided she needed to go back on the wagon, so she started another RTW fast. This time, she invited her readers to join her — and 277 of them are along for the ride.  To follow their progress, there is a page on the blog, “2014 RTW Fasters”.
http://goodbyevalentino.com/2014-rtw-fasters/

Sarah believes:  If you can read a recipe, you can read a pattern. If you can drive a car, you can operate a sewing machine. If you can shop, you can sew.

www.goodbyevalentino.com