The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

Wardrobe Essentials - Stitcher's Embracing the Slow Clothes Movement

Thanks to Charlotte and her discussion about the Slow Clothes Movement I started thinking again about something that has always been of interest to me.  Reducing waste and making a statement about unfair labor practices that bring us cheap and disposable clothing.


So, with that in mind I had an idea:  Not a challenge or a competition, but a new approach to how we sew and use materials.   The following are the highlights of my thought process:


1) Take into consideration your lifestyle and your "palette", as it were.  Plan projects based on what will get the most mileage.

2) Use fabric or notions you already have in your stash, maybe even lay out your fabric for inspiration.

3) Refashion old items or shop at thrift stores (charity shops for you UK people) with an eye of someone that knows they can 'make it better'. 

4)Use those patterns!  We all know we horde!  And remember you don't have to do it EXACTLY like the cover says.  Try it with a different sleeve than what is shown.  All the big 4 since 1972 have been standardized.  You can probably use pieces from another pattern with just a little more effort.

5)If inspiration hits and you just need to make something crazy fabulous don't squash the bug.  This is still about creative outlet.  The goal here is to make ourselves more conscious about what we are sewing.  


To Make it an Ongoing effort:

 a) Post here what you think your lifestyle needs in way of Essentials.

b) Lets break it up into Seasons.  Make sure to let us know which Hemisphere you are in!

c) Look to SewWeekly, your support community! I think it would be great if we could even 


I think it would be awesome if we could make a button to put on our profiles or websites.  I could take a stab at it, but it might take me a week or so.  So how about everyone else?  I would love feedback on this idea!

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I thought I'd pop a little note here as I think it counts towards my slow clothes movement.

I'm in the process of finishing off a silk dress I've made today in a couple of hours. From fabric I won in a giveaway and a pattern that was on buy 2 get 1 free... Yes that is right! I think it cost me £1 to make including thread from my stash as well. 

I thought it was interesting to think how much this would have cost had I bought it on the highstreet... I reckon £70-£120 depending on which store. It reminds me of a British brand called Kew, I made it so I can wear it to interviews as I am job hunting at the moment. 

I just thought Id post up and see how you all feel about the price of RTW clothing compared with the cost of your own sewing.

I think you can save a lot of money doing your own clothing  especially when your skills advance and you can work better materials.  Plus you can get what you want instead of something that you might not really like and will replace soon. But to be honest that arguments only counts if you enjoy the time you spend sewing ( or let's say most of the time :-) ) because you have to value your own time as well. But I really like to "save" money on clothing that way even if I know that I wouldn'd have bought the dress for the higher price.


By the way what does the term RTW mean?

RTW= Ready to Wear


Somewhere someone should do a sewing acronym dictionary.  :)

Wonderful idea!

So I'm going to have to admit I've been on a bit of a buying spree.  However, its all been with my planned wardrobe in mind.  Once August hits I'm on a fabric diet until after Christmas. I'm only going to allow myself to buy lining if I can't find something suitable in my stash. Possibly zippers or thread, but that's it.  Between mine and my mother-in-law's stash of buttons I shouldn't want for them EVER again.  


I have about 14 dresses planned (some of these will be more than one of the same pattern, I have three cut out and ready to sew when the kids get back to school next month), two trousers,  2-3 pairs of shorts,  and about five shirts and as many skirts.  All of them hopefully color coordinated in some way. Also, I have a fitted suit and bombshell dress on the list too.  I have about half a closet of clothes I never wear to donate or put up for swap.  


SO ANYWAY, I have a rather ambitious list.  I'm trying to put it in an order of challenging my abilities, too.  At least half the planned fabric has been in my stash for over two years or was acquired from my Mom or other relatives.  Wish me luck!  

Good luck!  That is very ambitious, but a smart way to go about planning a wardrobe.  I think most people forget the 'donate other stuff to make space' step, so that's smart too.


I'm focusing on pattern drafting, because a big part of creating a wardrobe, for me, is having well-tested, mix-and-match-able patterns lying around to use.  I'm working on a fitted dress with a sweetheart neckline (more details on my blog), and I'd like to refine my slacks pattern and start making more of those.  I'm trying to be as practical as possible about my actual climate (snow five months out of the year, easily) and daily routine (teaching and taking classes at a university) and only make things that are useful, attractive, and sturdy.


It's interesting to hear about everybody else's stash restrictions--I'm not much of a hoarder, but I'm willing to spend a little money on good-quality fabric for my projects.  I do sometimes wish I just had a few yards of this or that lying around!

I have been thinking about this concept for some time, but I keep getting derailed by pretty dresses. I need more pants, jackets and T-shirts, but those are the most difficult things to make. Maybe I need a major lifestyle change too.


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