Recently I have seen terms that have come more into vogue in the sewing world as well as the fashion world. For example, slow fashion, sustainable sewing, eco fashion. #slowfashionoctober caught my eye in October:
#slowfashionoctober celebrates the small batch, handmade, secondhand, well loved, long worn, known origins wardrobe.
It is a catch-all but I quite like it as it covers a lot of different “sustainability” angles in terms of actions we can take to minimize our wardrobe footprint.
Is handmade equal to slow fashion?
From a sewist perspective I think we like to use “slow” because we made it ourselves. But the reality is every garment is handmade. Just not by ourselves and the majority in a factory far away with low paid workers.
So am I participating fast fashion because of the amount of fabric I have use and hoard? Debatable. In addition, not all fabric in my stash is top quality or made from more eco fibres.
Do sewing meet ups and challenges encourage over buying?
A couple weekends ago I went to SewBrum in Birmingham. I had a fantastic day meeting my IG friends in real life and the organisational skills of Charlotte and Laura are amazing. However, most of the day was focussed on fabric shopping. Not saying this is a bad thing. After all, realistically speaking, what other activity would you arrange for >100 people if not trawling the streets of Birmingham for nice things before finishing with tea and cake, a raffle and fabric / pattern swap at a beautiful store like Guthrie and Ghani?
Given the rising popularity of sewing in the last few years and use of social media, I question whether we egg each other on excessively when we are in groups or doing sewing challenges. I have never been to a big show like GBSBLive, but I have it on good authority that the buying action there is pretty intense.
So it is probably reasonable to think that we might end up at least buying more than we need. During SewBrum I think the Liberty stall man had all his Christmases come at once…
But then it has been pointed out to me –
You don’t sew to save the environment, and its nice to sew and enjoy the things you have sewn.
Do you think about when a lot becomes too much and if you do “fast sewing”?
So far I have only talked about my feelings. I hope to shortly cover a bit on fibres and textiles, and what happens to clothes when we throw them away.
Sewing meet ups undoubtedly encourage excessive fabric buying as do the big shows, as to any creative person it’s addictive. I always go to these things saying ‘I won’t buy anything as I don’t need it’ or ‘I will only get what I absolutely need’, the reality is like being a ‘kid in a sweet shop’ scenario. However, the social element is a massive bonus to meet people face to face and interact with others in the community and make contacts. Sewing in the main is a solitary hobbie so events like these have a great mental health benefit. Like with everything in life there is a trade off. I need to work on my strength on only buying what I actually need rather than what I may want on these events. I am getting better though.
I think we are all guilty of overbuying at these things, you aren’t the only one. And I am glad its not just me thinking the same thing! x