First of all I want to say that I don’t think any way of sewing is the wrong way. I think this amazing online community of sewing men and women is creative, supportive and inspirational and I don’t think any one of us is doing it the right or wrong way. There is nothing wrong with buying the latest fabrics and patterns just like there is also nothing wrong with sewing with only old tea towels!
Having said that, I am changing some of my own sewing habits this year and want to define what I mean by ‘Sustainable Sewing’ in the hope that it helps me keep my goals in mind and gives me something to refer back to as I go on this journey.
Firstly, I want to try working with more sustainable fabrics this year. I want to look into buying more organic fabrics that are kinder to the earth and more ethically produced fabrics which are kinder to the workers producing them, I think the excellent selection at Offset Warehouse will be a good starting point. I also intend to investigate what fabrics are produced locally to me that are likely to have been produced in good working conditions (I live in the UK) and have the added benefit of travelling less miles to reach me. These options all come with a high price tag that I am unlikely to be able to afford regularly so I expect the majority of my efforts in being more sustainable to come from finding textiles second-hand. I am hoping to try my hand at repurposing clothes this year and finding unloved textiles such as old tablecloths to use in my sewing.
I don’t think it is reasonable to expect any sewist to be completely zero waste – I cannot think of any earthly use for a broken machine needle or a bent pin! BUT I do intend to try and put my scraps to good use as much as I can. I’m thinking slippers, hats, clutch bags, oven gloves – A LOT of people are going to be getting handmade gifts this year!
Finally, I want to produce less. I want to focus on making items I need, and when I am making something I don’t need then I intend to sew slowly, enjoy the process of making it and take care to produce the garment to a high standard so it will last me for years to come. To complement this, I have joined the #sustainablestylechallenge over at the My Eco Edit blog and am pledging not to buy any ‘Fast Fashion’ items of clothing at all this year. I intend to use this challenge to inspire me to make anything I need or buy second-hand/from an ethical company if I can’t make it (I’m looking at you jeans, bras, socks and shoes! – Do you make any of these already? Sewing jeans and bras scares me!).
Well done if you got to the end of all that! I promise my next post will actually include some sewing – I’ve got a couple of lovely makes to show you!