Hi Sewing Family!
As we kick off another year, I find myself, like many of you, pondering ways to make positive changes in my life and contribute to the well-being of my community and the world. Over the past few years, I’ve become more mindful of the waste my sewing projects create. Nothing unique for many of us who sew! Ways to sew sustainably isn’t rocket science, but if you need some help jumpstarting the process, these tips will help you get started.
Shop Your Stash
Use what you've got! One of the simplest ways to practice sustainability in sewing is to use fabric and material that you already have. I don’t know anyone who sews who doesn’t have an extensive stash! We are, at times, more Connoisseurs of Fabric than we are people who complete sewn projects. We fall in love with fabric over and over again—swooning at the very sight of it, but never actually cutting into it.
Revamp Your Old Clothes
Quite a bit of fabric or leather can be harvested from deconstructing shirts, jackets, and pants, that you no longer wear or that no longer fit. By carefully taking apart a garment, you can salvage the fabric and repurpose it into something new. Check out my video on how to get a yard of usable fabric from deconstructing a men’s dress shirt.
Learn the Art of Clothing Repair
Instead of throwing out clothes with ripped side seams or missing buttons, learn to mend. Basic sewing techniques, such as stitching seams, patching holes, hemming pants and skirts, and replacing buttons, can add years to clothes you already have and love. While some of the techniques for repair can be done on a sewing machine, you may need to “up” your hand-sewing skills.
A good book for repairing clothing is: The Art of Repair by Molly Martin. Molly goes beyond teaching repair skills, she touches on the heart and soul of reviving a garment that you love, and how a careful, mindful approach to a sewing project can impact your overall well-being.
Think Outside of the Conventional "What's Trendy" Box
Because you care about sustainability and are mindful of waste, you are already something of an unconventional thinker. Allow your forward-thinking, unique voice and your individuality to shine beyond current trends fostered by magazines, entertainment, and social media.
Consider creating timeless pieces that reflect your personal style. By designing and making garments that you love and will wear for years to come, you reduce the need for frequent fashion purchases.
Join the ranks of conscious people who are slowly causing a shift in the marketplace as designers and manufacturers respond to the growing demand for less waste in fashion production.
Upgrade Your Sewing Skills
As a former high school teacher, I love to learn! One way to gain more confidence with sewing special, professional-quality garments and accessories is to take a workshop or class focused on the exact skills you need.
If you just want to up your overall sewing skills, I recommend the University of Fashion. The U. Of F. website has videos on all facets of sewing, as well as designing and running a fashion business. The instructors on the site are clear, concise, and really know their stuff.
Their approach to video content provides a continuity that is much more helpful than just watching random YouTube videos when mastering various sewing skills
Hopefully you can use some of the ideas this post as a starting point to sewing sustainably in the new year.