When I first started sewing, it was purely for selfish reasons. As a tall teenage girl in a small town with limited shopping options, I just wanted cool clothes that actually fit my body. Back then, online shopping wasn’t popular, and our mall didn’t even have The Limited. Lucky for me, my crafty mom had a sewing machine set up in our basement.
At first, I didn’t realize how much sewing would change my relationship with buying clothes. It started with a simple teenage whim – I bought some floral bed sheets from the Goodwill up the street and turned them into pajama pants. It wasn’t perfect – I even had to resew the crotch seams with my mom’s help. But soon, I was hooked.
Over time, my sewing skills improved and I found joy in finding clothes that almost fit and adapting them to my liking. By the time I got to college, I was making whole garments because the fast fashion era was just beginning, but the options for someone with my lengthy inseam were limited. If I wanted an aesthetic I loved at a price I could afford, I had to make most of my clothes myself.
Learning to sew and alter clothes has fundamentally shaped the way I dress myself. But in today’s age of cheap and easy fast fashion, I’m not sure if I would have found my way to a sewing machine. Fast fashion brands now tend to cater to extended sizes, making it tempting to order clothes with just a few clicks. But I know the environmental and labor issues behind these garments, and I strive for a more sustainable approach to fashion.
Learning to sew has not only helped me avoid the environmental horrors of modern retail but has also allowed me to wear clothes that truly fit. It’s not about becoming a master tailor, but rather about understanding how clothes fit your body. Sewing for yourself allows you to really know your body and how you like things to fit, from waistbands to inseams to necklines. Once you know these things, you’ll never acquire clothes the same way again.
Sewing also opens up endless possibilities for secondhand shopping. Instead of hoping to find the perfect fit, you can see garments for their potential. That dress would be perfect if I took off the sleeves, or those trousers could easily be hemmed. Plus, sewing skills make closet clean-outs more exciting as you can transform items to match your current shape and style.
When it comes to buying new clothes, sewing has made me a more discerning shopper. Knowing my body and measurements means I can check the actual dimensions of an item before purchasing. It may take a bit of extra effort, but it’s more efficient than scrolling through comments in search of someone with similar dimensions. Measurements help me feel confident in my purchases, eliminating the need to order multiple sizes or worry about return windows.
I’ve become a more thoughtful consumer, choosing better-quality items and saving money in the process. I believe that sewing is a gateway to sustainable fashion and encourages a slower, more intentional approach to shopping.
Ready to join me in the world of sewing? Start by finding YouTube or TikTok accounts dedicated to repurposing thrifted materials. Experiment with tweaks to garments you’d otherwise throw away. And remember, you don’t need an expensive sewing machine or new fabric – thrift stores are great sources for sewing materials.
Take stock of your wardrobe and body, record your measurements, and examine the construction of your favorite clothes. Start with beginner projects like a boxy top, an A-line skirt, or a tote bag. And don’t rush to replace your entire wardrobe with homemade items – sewing is about noticing what works for you and making those pieces even better.
Sewing has brought me joy, creativity, and a deeper connection to my clothes. It’s not just a hobby; it’s a way of life. Join me on this sewing journey and experience the thrill of wearing clothes that are made for you.
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