How much of your clothes do you sew?

I’m more than a bit ambivalent about the current bewailing of fast fashion that’s been happening in sewing circles. I know that everyone’s been reading Overdressed and talking about it (I haven’t had a chance to read it yet) and part of me is happy that people are thoughtfully rethinking their habits of consumption. But part of me is more positive about what fast fashion reflects: a multifaceted multinational industry that gives people a lot of options of what to wear, for a low cost relative to cost of living. It does give me pause when I go to the thrift store and there are brand-new items that no one’s ever worn, and perfectly good items that aren’t getting used. But I also remember what it was like when I was a kid (and I’m not /that/ old), when clothes were a lot more expensive, there was less choice, and only a few stores to choose from.

I’d like to know where my ready-to-wear is made, absolutely, and I’d pay more if I knew it was more sustainably sourced and ethically produced. But I’m not so sure that there are reliable mechanisms in place to make that happen right now. And I know for sure that there are people for whom Walmart etc. clothes are truly the only choices for their budget.

Anyway, this is all a long lead up to an interesting idea I found on the blog of a local yarn and fiber store – the idea of pledging to make 25% of your clothing. She calls it the Seam Allowance pledge. I know there are many folks who make all of their own clothing, but I’ve never aspired to that, nor are my items of high enough quality (fit, construction, fabric, the whole shebang) at the moment to make that a pleasant experience. But 25% might be achievable, or even 10%, which is higher than I probably do in most categories of my everyday wardrobe.

I think my resistance to this idea is that I sew primarily as a creative and intellectual exercise, more than as a means to produce wearable items. That’s nice as a side effect but it’s not my first priority. What about you – do you try to sew a certain percentage of your clothes? Would you commit to a 25% pledge?

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2 thoughts on “How much of your clothes do you sew?

  1. I did read Overdressed and didn’t find much to be positive about with regards to fast fashion. As for myself I make or thrift about 80% of what I wear. OK maybe 70%. I make clothing much better than what retailers have to offer. And, if I find something at the thrift store I can easily revamp it into something better fitting etc. Nice post.

    • Wow, 70%, that’s very impressive. I would guess that a third to a half of my clothes are thrifted or sewn depending on the season. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to sew enough street clothes that last, so most of that is secondhand stuff. Most of my sewn clothes are basic tops and elastic-waist bottoms, or pajamas/loungewear. I’ve not learned enough skill and technique to make more complicated clothes that look decent and wear very long at all.

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