GUEST POST: By Sarah from asksarah.com.au
When I started sewing I wanted to know how to do everything, all at once! I started to read everything I could, blogs, websites, recent & older books, even PDF scans of vintage books. They were describing quality and couture techniques that I've only seen in Grannies clothes and on vintage garments. Wonderful things like french seams, bound buttonholes and hand sewn hems. It started to dawn on me that until that moment I'd never known what a quality garment was, what fabrics and finishes a quality garment would posses. If I didn't know, then most people probably didn't either.
I really started to notice what was out there in the market place. I was stroking skirts and checking out seams. To my horror I found fault in many garments - cut off grain (you know, that top that twists all the time), uneven hems, raveling stitches and stripes that didn't line up at the seams. I understood that our desire for fast fashion at rock bottom prices was the driving the drop in quality but I was sure that there was more to it.
And there is. It's our relationship with what we wear. Sewing taught me that it's the clothes that are wrong, not my body. That I'm not a standard size anything, I'm a combination of measurements. The clothes I wear reflect me - how much I respect & value myself plus they are powerful indicator of who I am. We all know clothes maketh the woman but I am noticing the vertical & horizontal pull lines in your garment, the cheap fabric that pills and the hem that went wonky in the wash. I've never loved my body more than when it is presented in trappings that fit - and I'm plus sized! You may have thought it was you or that you couldn't look better but a well fitted garment makes anybody, everybody, look great!
You really value a garment you've worked hard to make! Take a simple scoop neck tee, 3.5 hrs to draft a pattern, 4 hours to cut, sew and press the first time. That's one whole day, if you earn minimum wage in Australia you would have been paid around $120 for that days work. I'll be able to sew the next one in around 1 - 1.5 hrs but the first one is trial and error. It means you treat your self stitched garment with a lot more care and affection then a $5 tee.
My favourite RTW tee is one that my Mum thrifted and passed on to me. It really is coming to the end of it's life but I will trace a pattern from it, cut off and save the front pintuck detail and buttons before it hits my pile of scraps too small to use. You see the life of my garments is long and useful. Many of my ready to wear garments cost $100 - $400, the ones I've made cost in time and fabric, these are garments of quality to treasure and keep. Not a disposable, cheap commodity to passed over for the next shoddily constructed trend. Mr Ask has little to no interest in my sewing endeavors but recently he got involved in the finishing of a tee I was making. He watched me add the neck band & top stitch it down. He helped me press up my sleeve and bottom hems and watched me stitch them down. He left the room, I assumed he was bored and called out to him, he said watching me sew the finishes to a garment, knowing I could wreck a nearly made top was to tense to bear. He said 'I guess that's why you care for the things you've made, you're a long way from Target'.
I've never understood how a $5 t-shirt exists. Think about how that was made, what's in your wardrobe and what you're prepared to accept. Stop lamenting poor quality, educate yourself on what quality is or simply source an ethical retailer like Eco Bird. And if you are keen to join the self stitched revolution, come visit me, I love a good question!
A great big thanks to Sarah from asksarah.com.au for her beautiful guest post! I found her relationship with her clothing and how sewing everything herself has changed the way she sees fashion and her body shape so inspiring. It really captures the essence to what fashion should be like. An expression of who you are, something unique to each of us and something that makes us feel confident and happy with who we are. A great example of how much of a difference it makes to be connected with the things we own and how knowing it's story can add a whole new meaning and respect to what we have. Thanks Sarah!
You can check out Sarah's wonderful blog here at www.asksarah.com.au not only does she have some great sewing posts but some wonderful recipes too!
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