Time for some slow sewing

It feels like a long time since I sewed anything. It’s partly down to a conscious decision to do some slow sewing, even though I’m sure it doesn’t make for an interesting sewing-centric blog!

Slow sewing

We need some slow sewing

There’s a reason I’m not sewing a constant supply of new clothes. I think constantly churning out garments to wear a handful of times is every bit as harmful as fast fashion. Ok, so sewing your own clothes means you’ve removed garment workers from the equation and there are plenty who pat themselves on the back for this. But what else has changed? Your textile consumption is likely to be fairly voracious, and probably undiscerning in terms of supplies and how ethically produced they are. How many handmade garments are worn just a couple of times, or sewn to join in with an Instagram challenge? How many handmade garments are languishing in wardrobes as we move onto the latest “best ever” pattern?

I love Instagram, but nearly every day I see a post proclaiming someone’s newest handmade garment to be their favourite thing ever. I get it, I’m equallly as excited when I make something and it fits properly, but if the next day you’re working on your next “best make ever” there’s something not right. Let’s face it, we need a finite number of clothes.

My slow sewing plans

My plans for slow sewing

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I think that using the handful of fabrics I already have is the most eco-friendly thing to do. When I bought my fabric, mostly cotton, I didn’t know enough about cotton production or why sustainable fabrics are a more ethical choice. Having said that, getting rid of this fabric and buying again isn’t an environmentally sound decision. As I tend to buy fabric with projects in mind, I’m going to use it up before I start shopping for more.

First on my list to sew is a cropped navy blue sweatshirt, which I’m personalising with some embroidery. I just can’t decide what to embroider on it! I made one for my friend as a birthday present, so I’ll be using the leftover fabric for mine. The idea for embroidery it came about because I don’t want us wearing the same thing! Plus I love a bit of embroidery. It definitely falls under the remit of slow sewing.

I’d also like to sew a few bits and pieces for my girls. Their wardrobes are definitely due a good sort out after recent growth spurts. Sewing less for myself does free up time to sew for others!

Why slow sewing?

I think there are a number of benefits to slowing down our handmade output and being more conscious sewists.

  • Considering whether we want a garment in our wardrobes vs the need to sew it to join in on social media
  • Taking the time over a garment and making something that will last
  • Appreciating the finished garment more because it took time
  • Creating a wardrobe of items that work together and get worn regularly
  • Using less fabric and other supplies

A comment on a recent blog post sent me off reading about Natalie Chanin, a huge advocate of slow fashion. Her work is certainly worth reading about if you’re interested in slow sewing or sustainability.

What are your thoughts?

Toria

4 Comments

  1. Sherri
    26th July 2017 / 7:44 pm

    I’ll admit I do like reading sewing blogs. My own garment sewing skills are still at a beginner stage so sometimes it takes me a month to sew something from start to finish. Still, as long as I like it, I’m not comparing myself to other sewers. As for your sweatshirt, that could be a good candidate for some Alabama Chanin type embellishment. On the website, there are a few free downloadable patterns to use as templates for the applique. One of my favorite embroidery websites is Urban Threads.

    • 26th July 2017 / 8:12 pm

      Oh I love reading sewing blogs, I follow loads through Bloglovin and goodness know how many sewists on Instagram! I just get a bit bored of seeing everyone sewing the same things as quickly as they can, to declare it their favourite thing ever, to move onto the next big thing straight after. Or maybe that’s just me being grumpy 😉

      I think I’ve come up with an idea for my sweatshirt now, but I will check out Urban Threads. Thank you!

  2. 27th July 2017 / 9:15 am

    I think once you start being aware of certain practice in the textiles industry you can second guess yourself a lot. My sewing slowed down a lot in the last year as I seemed to not need so many new clothes as my thought-out-me-makes had plugged a lot of gaps in the wardrobe, having said that, I try not to feel guilty about experimenting on new patterns and shapes or else I would never make again – I suppose its all about regaining balance.
    A recent tee I upcycled (it was prob destined for shredding -charity shop could not use it so it was sent to the community sew room) was done on a whim to show teens how to try gathering on jersey, I ended up wearing loads (I was ready to redonate it back to the charity shop as it was wearable again!)
    I am now stashing any knit scraps as I intend to use them for stuffing for a footstool, my shirt scraps (finally working on a pattern to put online) will go for a quilt
    Like Sherri above, I like urban threads (used their mexican theme to do a top which my hairdresser now wears) and also the DMC website has lots of free designs-https://dmc-usa.com/

    • 27th July 2017 / 10:04 am

      Balance is absolutely the key, you’ve hit the nail on the head. We need to try new things, I guess my bugbear is people that try all the new things and then never seem to wear them. Of course, Instagram is probably 70% fiction anyway, what’s to say those clothes aren’t worn by someone else at least?

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