Fabric Shopping versus Sewing

Have you have read Kestrel Makes recent post on fabric consumption. When I read her paragraph

Personally, I’ve found that decreasing time to sew has led to an increase in my stash. Online shopping takes much less time than sewing and provides some of the same excitement, allowing you to make a connection with sewing and with your creative side, planning projects and talking to fellow sewers on Instagram.

I must admit I have to put my hand up and say Guilty as Charged. Recently I’ve been struggling to start projects. I wash the fabric, adjust the pattern pieces, maybe cut it out and then I stop. Ideas a plenty but no action. And my fabric buying has definitley increased!

I don’t sew to “be sustainable”, I sew because I enjoy it. Now, that doesn’t mean that sustainability and the impact of my lifestyle isn’t important to me, because it is. But while my views impact on my sewing (for instance I make things like t-shirts that I wear and then wear them, rather than one off fancy dresses that then sit in the back of my wardrobe, I try and use up all my scraps, which is where small people come in handy), the sewing is the primary motivator.

I have come to terms with this. There are more wasteful hobbies to have. But whilst I know my homemade clothes haven’t been made in sweatshops, I usually know nothing about the production of the fabric I’ve bought. And I’m painfully aware that I can never be as efficient as mass produced clothes. All those odd left over bits of fabric that are kept to a bare minimum with clever cutting layouts in mass production. The muslins and mistakes that I make as I improve my skills. The garments that didn’t turn out as I hoped and don’t get worn. On the plus side, I’m learning new skills, rediscovering what my grandparents new. But if my primary goal was sustainability, would this be the best way of going about it?

For instance, I know someone who doesn’t sew, who is on a low income and buys himself a clothes from places like People Tree. How does he afford that? Well, he doesn’t buy very much, for instance 1 pair of trousers a year, he shops the sales and he makes clothes last (he’s the only person I know who darns socks).

I know someone else who has decided not to buy any more clothes. She is using up the ones she’s got. She told me that the downside is that she has worn out many of her favourites beyond repair and is now having to wear less favourite things.

These two people make wardrobe choices based on primarily on sustainability. I sew, because I enjoy learning new things, the challenge, the creative side, being able to make things that fit, that I want to wear, without being restricted to what’s in the shops, the online connections. I am happy with that. But I don’t want to be complacent and tell myself that all handmade clothes are “good”, regardless, and turn my conscious off.

Woah, this post has gone slightly off track. I don’t mean to preach and I certainly don’t mean to judge.

But for me, I need to find a way to stop buying and start making again!

4 thoughts on “Fabric Shopping versus Sewing

  1. When you find the answer please share! I’m guilty as charged too. I think so much inspiration from blog land fuels my problem, (is it a problem?!?!) but I’m happy and if my stash is out of sight from my hubby it’s ok! 😀

  2. I think we are by nature hoarders and on top of that we get a sewing/knitting/whatever fix when we’re not making by purchasing supplies. So we are fighting out psychology, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight. Well done for highlighting the issue.

  3. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Half way house

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