There's this thing in the sewing-blog world called "Me-Made-May" where people who make their own clothes make a pledge in an effort to fully utilize and be more mindful of their handmade wardrobe items. I am planning to partake! Due to the wedding (Oh my god, one month away!) and a new job that requires only black and red clothing, I probably won't be able to wear handmade clothing every single day. The idea of the challenge is to pick something that is challenging to YOU, so I think 5 days will be challenging for me, since I only just started sewing my own clothing!
I wanted to talk a little bit about fast fashion and how my feelings towards my clothes have shifted in the last few months. I feel like buying ready-made clothing makes sense for a vast majority of people, because purchasing clothing is less time consuming and often cheaper than constructing it yourself. I guess each person who starts sewing their own clothes does so for their own reasons, but here are mine:
- Fit. I have struggled most of my life with the sizes and shapes of ready-made clothes. As a teenager, shopping for jeans had me in tears in the middle of a mall every time. I am very tall for a woman (6'1"). I am also curvy, pear shaped, and slope-shouldered. I feel like over time I got so used to not fitting my clothes quite properly that I just accepted that trying on 50+ shirts in order to find one that fits is something normal. And if that one shirt that fits was the wrong colour/pattern/style/quality, I just had to live with that.
- Style. I am drawn to fit-and-flare (fitted top, flared skirt), bright colours, florals, polka dots, lace, bootleg jeans, and button-down shirts. While all these things exist in ready-to-wear, they rarely exist with more then one of those elements in the same garment. And, for me, if they do it isn't in a fit that I can find easily. I used to relentlessly stalk the Anthropologie website and drool over items that had only two of the features I like. Since I started sewing again, the websites that had me salivating before are leaving me inspired, but not excited enough to purchase anything. Now I find myself thinking "I like the shape, and the lace hem, but that colour would be hideous on me. Maybe I will make something similar in a deep blue!"
- Ethics. I feel weird about this one, because it definitely wasn't ethics that got me started sewing my own clothing. In fact, I didn't think about that AT ALL. Similarly to how I can't handle thinking about where my chicken dinner came from, I blocked my feelings about clothing manufacturing practices from my mind completely. But the more I have been sewing, the more I am aware of how much effort and time goes into a shirt that I would previously wear a few times and then throw out or give away. The downside to this kind of thinking is that I probably will never COMPLETELY phase out ready-made clothing. I still like store-bought tights, and bras, and socks. I also don't think that buying ready-made clothes is always bad. There are other solutions to this problem, including buying vintage/previously owned clothing, locally made clothing, or just spending more money for higher quality items that are classic instead of trendy and wearing them for years instead of a season. The more I live with Jay, the more I am embracing his DIY attitude towards life. It just feels right for us to make or grow what we can, fix things ourselves where possible, and carefully source our other goods and services to be local/organic/high quality.
Phew! Long story short, I feel like this process has been really good for me. I am excited to keep going with the learning process... every project I make, I try to challenge myself a little bit more. I have been thinking about making jeans lately... which I always thought was a ridiculous waste of time, but I've apparently lost my sense because suddenly the perfect-fitting jeans seem like a totally attainable goal? After the wedding, of course...
The girls at Needlework are doing Me-Made-May, too! Although I may not document every outfit, I will be instagramming some of my favourites, and maybe I will do some progress reports on the blog. What are your thoughts on fast fashion? Have you thought about making your own clothing?