Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sewing


Eek, where have I been? I've been sewing.
Furiously, obsessively, with every spare moment. I like to sew. I don't think I've mentioned that on here, because frankly I hadn't done any since F was born, (just couldn't find the time or motivation), but it was probably my first creative love and it's a hobby I always return to. I learned from my mom when I was little, so I've been doing it a long time, but I am perhaps more confident than I am skilled - there's usually one big, stupid error per project. So I'd been thinking, fast fashion bums me out. How can a person (probably a woman) earn a decent living making clothes that are eventually sold for so little? That little label that says 'made in Bangladesh'? Bangladesh has one of the lowest minimum wages in the world. It's not a coincidence. When you sew your own clothes, it becomes clear that clothes are made, somewhere, by a skilled human being (whose skills are outrageously undervalued - again, because 85-90% of them are female?). We know this, as we know that the pay is likely to be low and the conditions less than ideal, but we forget somehow, as we do with the horrors of animal agriculture. Deep down I think we all know it's probably bad, but it's normal, and anyway, what can I do? Well, I can opt out, even in a limited way. I have an option that many people don't; I can make some of my own clothes. I'm not going to set some crazy goal, or pretend that I'm not just as bad as anyone. I checked my clothes earlier - made in Cambodia and China. But I refuse to let perfect be the enemy of good, so I'm just trying to make more of my clothes these days. I don't expect everyone to do this - as I said, I like to sew, and I'm going to ride out this creative wave while it lasts (I know from past experience that the fever will pass, and hopefully I will have filled my closet and set a new habit by then) - but in general I'm unapologetically in favour of conscious consumption. Secondhand is another (probably even better) option, or more 'ethical' brands. The big brands can do better, governments can do better, but in the meantime, I can do better. So I'm trying, but not martyring myself if you know what I mean.

Anyway, on to the actual sewing! I've been a fan of Colette Patterns for a while, and own several of their original (now 'archive', 'cause I'm old) patterns, and they now have a pattern magazine called Seamwork. It's a nice read for it's own sake, but subscription also gets you two patterns a month from their library. The patterns are all simple, easy and, typical for Colette, they are contemporary with a whiff of vintage about them (their main collection patterns are more complicated and detailed, with lovely vintage details). So I'm building a small pattern library of basics, and a capsule wardrobe that meets my current lifestyle requirements: 1. Nursing friendly 2. Comfortable 3. Not sweats. And I've made loads! So far, my current binge has produced two pairs of trousers (Seamwork), two skirts (one vintage Butterick, one Colette), three robes (Seamwork, two for me and one for my mom), two tops (Seamwork), two dresses for me (Seamwork), and a dress for F (self-drafted). The only downside is putting the damn downloadable patterns together. Ethical considerations aside, I think it's time to rethink my wardrobe. I've been dressing like this mom gig is temporary, just throwing on whatever is clean and sort-of fits, and I really ought to accept that this is my life for now (which I love!) and commit to some clothes that make sense, but make me feel good. So I'm learning a lot, as you always do when you sew, getting more confident with knits, and sewing more separates than dresses (boob access). Although, I did see a '30's feedsack dress in the magazine that I MUST copy - the straps attach by a front button, which means you could nurse in it! I've pinned it to a board called Garment Sewing if you're on Pinterest.


Trousers and skirts.


F's little eyelet dress. She loves it. 


Same. 


Seamwork Catarina. Check out those adjustable straps! Pretty pleased with it, but won't get to wear it much until next year. 

What about you, do you sew? Why? For yourself, or for others? My mom is a crazy-good quilter - the stitching is in my blood!

2 comments:

  1. I love sewing too, mostly selfishly and for many of the same reasons as you, but I also love giving handmade gifts :)

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