In 2021 I did a lot of sewing for work, and you can hardly call that contributing to a sustainable wardrobe (depending on your definitions). So what is going to happen in 2022? After chewing on it for some time I think I’ve sorted out my thoughts on this.
Sewing work in 2022
There will be less work-related sewing when it comes to garment output. I have a full-time job so there is less time to make for examples as many tutorials as I did for Minerva in 2021. Also there are fewer sewalongs for Fibre Mood (affiliate link) … don’t know the number but definitely less than the end of 2020/beginning of 2021 where it felt like we were doing a sewalong once a week!
I still do technical editing work and occasional sample making as part of that so there will still be garments. If I can give them away, so much the better as these are not necessarily pieces I adore having in my closet. Which brings me to …
The word sustainable has lost so much meaning for me, in the years I’ve been reading and writing about it. Guess it is a symptom of overuse and how it has been abused for greenwashing purposes which annoys me no end.
For clothing, I still enjoy the Fashion Revolution 30 wears idea of sustainability. Some sustainable fashionistas I know that don’t sew often think of sewing as naturally being sustainable. But they are also not aware that you can run up a t-shirt or basic jumper in an hour if you really wanted. I was thinking that knitting is probably a good way to slow down, but my knitting addiction is really speeding up so maybe not! Anyway, I digress.
For my own closet I’d rather think of my ideal sustainable wardrobe in 2022 as being filled with things I like to wear, things I keep for sentimental reasons, or that might be nice again one day. Call me a borderline hoarder but I’ve regretted letting go of things on too many occasions! To be honest, my wardrobe needs nothing for the next 5-10 years so anything I do is either a job, a gift, or something I really fancy making for the heck of it. Like this knitting bag I made for a friend earlier this year. Have seen it in action multiple times so I’m very happy about it!
Sewing for leisure to align with a sustainable wardrobe
For sewing with leisure, I’m putting my mindset into trying to reduce capitalist tendencies / excess consumption, and also not spend my limited free time sewing things I don’t want to sew. That’s a slight shift from thinking about sustainability in terms of sustainable production, or trying to use up scraps and leftovers for the sake of it, or sew my stash because I bought something once upon a time. This year there really has to be a bit of fun in sewing, otherwise for me there’s not much point. So what that means ….
Stash sewing vs new fabric
Even though I’ve run stash sewing challenges (#MakeMyStash a few years back and #SewWhatIHave last year), looking into my stash I have felt some pieces I bought a few years ago don’t feel like me anymore. Or that I have so many orange garments in my wardrobe I really don’t feel like having anything more in the same colour family for awhile. On the other hand, I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by the things I have found and liked!
The lesson here: I’m going to stop beating myself up about not exclusively sewing my stash. But, I also don’t want to be buying tons of fabric “for later” because it is nice. Better to leave it behind and buy only when I want to make it immediately so that the fabric doesn’t have time to enter my stash!
Neutrals look good and go with everything, but sometimes I feel a bit beige and bland when I wear them. Therefore: fruit and food prints for fun – and matching outfits with my kids also good – and then carry on with the brighter and bolder colours in solids. In the last few years I found prints a bit challenging. They are super fun to sew but trying to put outfits together effortlessly hasn’t worked out particularly well for me.
Different and unexpected styles
One nice thing about working for pattern companies is that I often have to try things out that I would not normally wear, including trend styles. This keeps a bit of the sewing fun, even if I don’t necessarily want it in my wardrobe (often I’ll give it away to a friend if I’m filming a tutorial). Maybe I’ll even try the shirred or smocked trend this year?! Fibre Mood always has a lot of options with 60 patterns a year and by now I’m well versed in them, having sewed 23 of their patterns last year.
Bottoms and outerwear
I don’t foresee a huge increase in trousers / skirts / outer wear in the near future. It is winter here in The Netherlands + full work from home. So my uniform is 4x pairs of RTW jeans in rotation, paired with tops and jumpers. So what am I making? Tops and jumpers! And knitting sweaters and cardigans.
The likelihood of adding more trousers/jeans to the rotation isn’t super high, since I’m really happy with the 4x things in rotation. But I do have a couple of pieces of bottom weight canvas so I guess I’ll make trousers at some point, maybe the Modern Sewer Worker Trousers which was gifted to me last year.
Having mentioned that a classic wool coat wasn’t on the cards, I did make a coat/shacket from boiled wool because I wanted to have a camel coat … pics of that to come. Normally I’m wearing a puffer 90% of the time! Sadly I don’t wear my other wool coats with lining that I’ve made previously because I get too cold, so we’ll see how the camel coat will fare.
For the last 2-3 springs I’ve been mulling over the idea of a wrap coatigan thing (the Tessuti Sydney jacket to be specific) in charcoal grey boiled wool with a giant decorative safety pin. Depends if I can find the ideal shade of grey. Black feels a bit black and I’m because I’m ever so inventive I do semi-regularly copy what is in sample pictures!
Spontaneous sewing vs planning
I always admire the people who do the Make 9 challenge. This is where you decide at the start of the year the 9 things you want to make this year. I have no idea what I want to make next week let alone for the whole year! In my loose planning, apart from the jacket and trousers I mentioned before, I’m thinking about:
- Semi fitted plain ish white button down shirt, perhaps Modern Sewer Classic shirt I bought last year.
- Trend patterns shirtdress – I have a blue shirting with embroidered fluro pink pineapples on it. Absolutely loved the colour blocking on this scrappy one by the way, see below.
- There’ll be more t shirts and maybe I’ll get cracking with a bralette kit I bought 2 years ago.
So that’s it, another time I’ll talk about my plans for diversifying my craft time and things that are inspiring me! Plenty more quilting, knitting, maybe embroidery, sewing for the home etc. to come.
Till next time
I loved reading this – so much that resonates! For me it’s to stop sewing things I probably won’t wear plus to spend more time on some basics!
Having said that, I do love what you have made recently 😁
Hi Chloe, thanks for the comment! I think it all goes in phases doesn’t it … personally, I’m also guilty of making trend items or fun stuff and thinking I will wear them. Then I don’t! I’m still waiting for my basics to wear out so I can make more t shirts again haha.
I have found that carefully planning my make nine challenge for the year helps to slow me down and set goals that will fill in the gaps in my wardrobe. I also use my make nine to cajole myself into doing some of the less fun household sewing related tasks…. Like re-covering furniture.
Thanks for your comment Eli, I really like that your make 9 involves sewing things other than clothes! Good luck with the furniture recovering.