My entire life, I have loved clothes. Even before I had much say about my own wardrobe, I was dressing Barbies and dreaming up fashionable outfits from paper towels and scraps of fabric for them. When I started babysitting, every penny I earned went toward clothes… and when I learned to sew, for fabric. Then I went on to college. My machine stayed home and I was sucked into the world of having a stuffed closet. More meant better, in my eyes.
But despite many closet and wardrobe overhauls in my adult life, I still always struggled with having a great wardrobe that was representative of me, and therefore would transcend the trends and latest styles and still look awesome. Instead, I find that I end up with a whole bunch of this and that...impulse buys, clearance purchases and bad decisions ( many of which end up donated).
I spend a lot of time in stores, often browsing, seeing what I can re-create, and of course, checking the sale racks. While reading this book, I had a heightened awareness of not only the quality of items but the very fast movement of items from new to clearance. I have been shocked at the hanging threads, loose buttons, unfinished sweater seams, poor zipper application and serger thread tails that are found in better department stores! I am shocked at how one week, there is a whole section of new styles and colors, already at 25% off, and the very next week it's moved to a clearance rack!
I loved the idea of slow fashion discussed in this book. I know this is in me….little seeds of desire to make my clothes last and to cultivate a more significant appreciation for what I make and what I wear. I’ve always loved to recycle and re-use, and have always appreciated the aspiration to better detail, fit and technique in my sewing. I’m not saying I’m ready to shift to a total hand sewn wardrobe. That’s not entirely practical for me, given my work schedule and sewing time. Plus, I don't like to box myself into a place where I have to feel guilty about grabbing something off the rack that just plain pleases me.
I guess I'm saying that I would like to begin to think more thoughtfully about my style and my buying habits and the clothes that I make and wear. It may take longer and I may have fewer, but my desire is to just be more counscious of what I have, and make better use of my ability to create something of far better detail and quality than I can buy. I am inspired by Carolyn, The Refashion Co-op, The Handmaker's Factory and Goodbye Valentino's movement of RTW Fasters. There is also a new crop of ladies who are accepting the challenge to Sew Your Own Wardrobe for A Year. It's no surprise that we are coming full circle to meet up with the pleasures of fashion sewing.
I would encourage you to visit their sites and see what makes these ladies tick. And I would encourage you to read this book. It’s a very interesting overview of the garment industry and how it has changed in the last several decades. As people who sew, I think reading it will only deepen your passion for taking time to create the most quality wardrobe that you have the ability to create with your own hands.
I'm not prepared to make any kind of a cultural or politial statement about the clothing industry. But I have decided that I'm a bit too old to look good in bad quality clothes.
Have you read "Overdressed?" What were your impressions?