Ah, the sustainability of all the sewing .. a challenge when I reflect on what I made in 2021! A bit late to the party on this maybe but January seems a good a time as any to do it, now things have settled down again post-holiday season. And school is opening again, hurray! This year I worked full time for about 5 months in a corporate job so I had 7 months of only part-time sewing work + kids and hobby time. Having said that, there was also lockdown here and there so not the most useful for anything. Let’s dig in:
Makes for 2021
- 31 work related (17 tutorials/tests, 14 promotional)
- 26 hobby makes
I gave away 11 things and ditched another 4 (I didn’t like them enough to keep and didn’t find someone to give them to). That leaves 39 things that still entered my closet. Time to do a clear out? It feels like a lot, at least to me. More on that shortly. Here’s the list and some pics of my favourites.
(Links in the next few paragraphs are the ones to my blog posts if I wrote one. Pics are ones of my favourites, far too many pictures to include here otherwise!)
Fibre Mood [affiliate link] (23 makes)
Just Patterns (13 makes)
Other (21 makes)
- The winners in my closet: Style Arc Hope x2; Pattern Fantastique glacial tee; Papercut Rise turtleneck; I Am Patterns Lion sweater; Paper Theory Olya (made for a video tutorial); Liberty Bella Tea dress; Seamwork Catarina; The Fabric Store Donna dress (free pattern); a boat neck top from a Japanese book “She Wears the Pants; Vikisews Odette dress; Elbe Textiles Cornell shirt
- The ones I gave to friends / family / charity: Friday Pattern Company sagebrush ruffle top; Style Arc Adeline; Named Lahja gown; Style Arc Thea, Peppermint paddington top, True Bias Ogden (recycling; ruined it in the washing machine ….), McCalls 7969
- Two up for refashion / to give away: Atelier Nani Iro pocket dress, red skirt I refashioned that I never even finished properly.
Note: I didn’t include the makes for kids. They keep growing and since 80% of their closet is made by me I lost track entirely.
What I made: too many clothes?
The 2021 tally (57) is not too far removed from the 2020 tally (63) and there are just a lot of clothes. Not great from a sustainability perspective is it. If you subscribe to the sustainable fashionistas theory less is more and that you should aim to wear everything at least 30x. I mean, in my pre-sewing life would I have bought more than 3 garments a month? That would probably have felt excessive. In that sense the output of garment sewing being wearable garments is good and bad.
But in my sewing life, the job and hobby is about the actual making, not just the output. And sometimes the fun is also in trying different fabrics and patterns, different styles, and being in competition with myself to see if I can nail the vision that is in my head (works about 50% of the time).
This year I also ran a 4 month IG challenge #SewWhatIHave with my friend Joyce @poplinpeony. That encouraged me to sew up more of my stash; but to be honest a lot of fabric I have in my stash has sat around for a long time and is not really my thing anymore. So whilst I sewed, nothing came out of it that I absolutely loved.
Work + sewing volume = full closet
I read recently that @craftyprofessor quit IG; a shame since she had loads of nice stuff. She said that in 2021 she made 212 things … in which case I totally get she was probably burnt out. She is not the first I have heard of influencers that are either quitting IG or doing a lot less pattern testing and promo work … at some point it is a lot that you might not actually want to or get around to wearing, and it stops becoming fun when it is work.
Personally, I don’t do a lot of promo if it is paid only in kind or I desperately wanted to make it anyway – you can read my most contentious post of the year here. Some would say it allows them to keep their hobby going without spending a lot, but then maybe you aren’t trying to make a living from it? Here’s a great article that a kind commenter Miriane referred me to. I feel like we haven’t moved on since 2011 and we’re still having the same conversation. But that’s a different topic not for now.
In any case, when it comes to the volume of making, I conclude it is all about perspective. If sewing is really important for you as a hobby, for your mental health and chill time, then let that be that. Conversely, it is maybe not a great argument since a person with a love of RTW fashion has a shopping hobby. I don’t think any of us disagree that if we want to be more “sustainable” we should aim to consume less, but the practicalities are a bit harder to make work if you love clothes and also making. Do what suits you. My tip is to find friends who love the things you make! For myself I’m also going to diversify my crafting.
So what next?
Compared to 2021 I’m aiming for more quilting, kids stuff, knitting and crafty and house stuff in 2022 so my socials and blog become a bit more lifestyle-y. Seeing as I’m still in process of beautifying the house and garden (will that ever end, probably not). Although I imagine sewing won’t ever going away!
Job wise, I’m tremendously happy to have been able to successfully turn my sewing hobby into a freelance job for the last couple of years. I mentioned before I did a contract in my old corporate life (finance / banking) in 2021. This year I’m working a full year contract in the corporate world as well as my sewing jobs. Guess that will reduce my hobby sewing time. And on IG? More of the #MeMadeOnRepeat so you’ll definitely be seeing my fruity dresses again, my favourite makes on repeat and more of my house and garden!
Till next time