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The Importance of Sewing

It’s time to get your serious hat on. This one’s a bit heavy going, but it deals with what I think is a pretty important topic, so please keep reading.

The inauguration of Donald Trump has led to a lot of discussion around the subject of global warming and sustainability (among other things). Trump has made it abundantly clear that he thinks that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”. Okay hun.

‘Fast Fashion’ is essentially the idea that trends that appear on the catwalk are quickly used by designers and appear in high-end and high street shops. As a result, we have trends coming in each season; for Autumn/ Winter 2016 it seems to be embroidery, crushed velvet and off the shoulder garments. And as soon as something becomes ‘so last season’, it’s thrown out of the wardrobe and is replaced by the current obsession. Fast fashion is everywhere – Primark, Topshop, Asos, H&M, and pretty much every clothing shop you see in town.

Unsurprisingly, the garment industry accounts for 10% of all carbon emissions, and is the second largest polluter, after oil. There are a lot of sustainable brands in the fashion world, but there are easier ways that you can have fab clothes that are a bit kinder to the environment.

  • Shopping in charity shops/ thrift stores – you can get great clothes from charity shops and find pretty much anything – including things that are still in season; just pre-owned!
  • Sewing your own clothes – you can find ethically sourced fabric, and by making something yourself, you know that it hasn’t been made in unethical conditions!
  • Customising clothes – if you have something in your wardrobe that doesn’t quite fit, or isn’t really your style, you could try to jazz it up yourself.

By shopping in charity shops or making your own clothes, you can develop your own style rather than just wearing something because everybody else is. When you make something yourself, you’re more likely to really love it and keep it for longer – plus, you can impress people when you say ‘why thank you, I made it myself’!

If you don’t have the money to buy fabric to make your own garments, you can find a lot of material in charity shops – you just have to be a bit inventive! A lot of second hand stores have curtains and duvet covers – or you could find a garment that doesn’t have many complicated seams and in a big size – like a skirt. If you’re creative with your unpicking and pattern piece positioning, you’ll be able to make something new. I’ll be writing a blog post with an example of this soon – subscribe to email notifications to make sure you don’t miss it!

The YouTube sewing community has started a project this year called #SewMyStyle. Each month, vloggers involved all make the same pattern and reveal their finished garments at the end of each month. The idea was started by Alex from Bluebird Fabrics – if you want to read more about it and see what patterns are being made, or even join yourself, click here!

If you’d like to learn more about the sustainability of the fashion industry, I’ve included a list of the sources I’ve used below. Tonight’s episode of Dispatches (23/01/2017) is on channel 4 at 8pm, and is called ‘Undercover: Britain’s Cheap Clothes’ – let me know if you watch it!

SOURCES:

Guardian article on Donald Trump and global warming

Donald Trump’s tweet on global warming

Forbes – The fashion industry and global warming

Forbes – Making Climate Change Fashionable

5 thoughts on “The Importance of Sewing

  1. Very thoughtful writing Harriet. Another excellent piece. I look forward to watching Dispatches with you later this evening.

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  2. So very true! Although I got back into sewing because I thought it might be nice to have an entire wardrobe of clothes in crazy prints (and it is nice, but it’s also really hard to coordinate), I keep doing it because I feel I’m making a small contribution to not junking up the planet with clothes in landfill. One of my current projects is a top made from fabric I bought at an op shop using a pattern I also bought in an op shop (that’s the Australian term for charity shops). It feels great to be making a cute top (hopefully!) from items that were someone else’s cast-offs.

    Here’s to the dressmakers saving the planet one garment at a time!

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    1. So true! I have the same problem with prints, I get all excited when I see a cool one and then once I’ve made it into a cute top I never know what to wear it with :/

      It’s so fun getting fabric offcuts in charity shops (the fact that you call them op shops made me smile), at the moment I have a project waiting to cut out where the pattern fits almost exactly onto the fabric! So satisfying 😮

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