When I was asked to present for AIGA’s Design Week, I knew I wanted a fair amount of my presentation to center around why I choose to make my own clothing. When I started preparing, though, I realized that decision was based on several things that occurred over a period of time.
1. Unless you have the exact dimensions as the fit models, ready-to-wear clothing will ALWAYS fit poorly.
Frustration with ready-to-wear clothing is what motivated me to learn to sew my own clothes. I couldn’t find clothing that both fit well and was made out of natural fibers. Making my own clothes guaranteed everything would fit MY body & style perfectly.
2. The environment suffers when you purchase “fast fashion.”
Twenty-five billion pounds of textiles are generated each year in the US and 21 billion pounds of that ends up in landfills. I built and ran a textile recycling program in 2013 and saw firsthand how much unused clothing people had stored away. When you sew, you make conscious decisions about each garment in your wardrobe, and you can choose to source ecologically ethical fabric.
3. “Fast fashion” impacts others across the globe.
In 2013 the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed killing over 1000 garment workers and injuring thousands more. Garment workers in foreign countries earn between $.24 and $.48 per hour, and work in very unsafe conditions to satisfy the demands of fast fashion in Western countries. When you sew, you lessen your impact on others across the world.
4. Creative pursuits are good for the soul.
Psychologists agree that creative endeavors decrease stress while increasing positive self-esteem and mood. Creative pursuits that are repetitive, like sewing or knitting, have the same impact on your well-being as traditional meditation. Creative expression is simply good for your soul.
5. Sewing radically changes the way you view your body.
I’m not the only seamstress to note the change in personal self-esteem as a result of sewing. At some point your measurements and size melt away as you become enthralled with making beautiful clothes. I’m not sure how this takes place, but the worry about fashion trends, how to cover up “flaws,” simply melts away. What’s left is an unbiased love of your body and its uniqueness.