Tag Archives: Slow Fashion

One Stitch at the Time

Recently I sewed a dress in three evenings, including all steps from tracing to hemming. It was a scuba knit, so no darts, finishing of seams or a lot of pressing were needed. If I were to convert to sewing knits, this means I could make myself a new garment each week (my sewing time is Monday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings, with the occasional weekend nap time sewing). I raced to finish my dress so I could wear it the upcoming weekend. It was fun to have a new dress (although I ended up not wearing it since it was too warm) but I didn’t like the feeling I got after completing it, like I had sewn the dress just to get a new dress, not to enjoy the process along the way.

I love creating. I love planning my wardrobe; choosing patterns and fabrics. I love wearing what I’ve made. Lately though, I felt driven by the desire to get a new garment, not for the feeling of sewing. After I finished the three evening dress I sat down with some embroidery, I felt I needed the change of pace. The embroidery process got me thinking. In sewing, since I do most of it by machine(s) it’s usually quick and the boring bits still fly by (darts, I’m looking at you). But with the embroidery, every stitch is sewn in the same manner, every stitch needs to be hand-sewn. There are no quick finishes, no shortcuts, it’s just every stitch, one at the time. And found myself needing it. I found myself thinking that if I can put this much effort into a cross-stich banner I should be able to put in more effort in my garment sewing. I should be driven by making beautiful clothes, inside and out. I’m in awe over the details Amanda puts into her garments and while I feel I should work with finishes on my garments, the urge to have a new garment sooner takes over, and I sew with the serger.

This past year I’ve made a conscious decision to not follow sewalongs or Me-Made-May, just for the sake of listening to my own voice. I still sew along with The Monthly stitch, but those challenges are pretty loose and easy to customize to my sewing. I dislike the fast fashion of the high street and I’m beginning to dislike the fast fashion of the sewing world and I’m tired of the throwaway culture of our society. I want to sew for my sake, I want to blog for my sake. I want to enjoy the process.

Sewing is my therapy, my creative outlet but also a chance to get garments that fit me and that are constructed with attention to detail. Not a contest to sew the most garments. So, I want to slow down. Feed the urge to sew beautiful garments instead of just adding a new garment to my wardrobe. Sew with a plan (I joined a Facebook group for this, so hopefully I’ll learn more). Sew other things, not just garments. Sew for my kids. Challenge myself, learn new skills. Slow down, one stitch at the time.

For more thoughts on the matter I have gathered some blog posts that have influenced me:

Are You Making for the Sake of Making – Crazy Gyspy Chronicles
Slow Fashion – Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat
Say no to Fast Fashion – Docksjö
Homemade Style: Aster Button Up – Think Liz

I want to enjoy putting every stitch in
I want to enjoy putting every stitch in

Nyligen sydde jag en klänning på tre kvällar, alla steg från kalkering till fållning. Det var en klänning i scuba-tyg, därför inga insnitt, overlockade kanter eller mycket pressande. Om jag skulle konvertera till att sy mycket trikå skulle jag alltså kunna göra mig ett nytt plagg i veckan (min sytid är måndag, onsdag och söndag kvällar, ibland en stund på helgen när barnen vilar). Jag snabbade mig för att få en ny klänning att bära till helgen. Det var kul att ha en ny klänning (även om jag inte bar den då den var för varm), men jag gillade inte känslan jag fick efter att jag var klar, att jag hade sytt klänningen bara för att få en ny klänning, inte för att njuta av processen att sy en ny klänning.

Jag älskar att skapa. Jag älskar att planera min garderob; välja monster och tiger. Jag älskar att bära vad jag har sytt. Men på sistone känns det som jag har drivits av önskan att få nya plagg, inte för känslan av att sy. När jag var klar med min tre-kvällars-klänning satte jag mig ner med broderi, jag behövde omväxling. Broderiprocessen fick mig att fundera. När jag syr, eftersom jag gör det mesta med maskin(er), går det oftast fort och även de tråkiga delarna (insnitt, jag tittar på er!) flyger förbi. Men i broderi sys alla stygn på samma sätt, alla stygn handsys. Det finns inga snabba avslut eller genvägar, det är bara alla stygn, ett i taget. Jag behövde detta. Jag tänkte att om jag kan lägga så här mycket ansträngning i en korsstygnstavla borde jag kunna lägga mer ansträngning i mina plagg också. Jag borde drivas att att göra vackra plagg utifrån och in. Jag imponeras över detaljerna Amanda lägger i sina plagg och även om jag känner att jag borde göra finare sömavslut tar lusten att få ett nytt plagg så snabbt som möjligt över och jag syr allt med overlockern.

Detta år har jag gjort ett medvetet val att inte vara med i några syjuntor eller ens Me-Made-May, bara för att jag istället ska kunna lyssna på min egen röst. Jag syr fortfarande med The Monthly Stitch, men de utmaningarna är rätt öppna och lätta att anpassa till min sömnad. Jag ogillar fast fashion på shoppingcentren och jag börjar ogilla fast fashion i sömnadsvärlden och jag är trött på slit- och slängkulturen. Jag vill sy för min skull, jag vill blogga för min skull. Jag vill njuta av processerna

Sömnad är min terapi, mitt kreativa utlopp, men också en chans att få plagg som passer mig och som är konstruerade med uppmärksamhet på detaljer. Inte en tävling att sy flest plagg. Därför vill jag sakta ner. Mata lusten att sy vackra plagg istället för att bara lägga till nya plagg i garderoben. Sy med en plan (jag gick med i en Facebook-grupp för detta, så jag kan förhoppningsvis lära mig mer). Sy andra saker, inte bara klädesplagg. Sy till mina barn. Utmana mig själv, lära mig nya tekniker. Sakta ner, ett stygn i taget.

För andras tankar om sömnad och Fast Fashion har jag samlat några blogginlägg som inspirerat mig:

Are You Making for the Sake of Making – Crazy Gyspy Chronicles
Slow Fashion – Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat
Say no to Fast Fashion – Docksjö
Homemade Style: Aster Button Up – Think Liz




Low Fabric Confidence

A few weeks ago Heather B wrote a post about a dress that wasn’t really her. She described her in post her inspiration and modifications for her dress. In the end she got a dress with many technical skills and it fitted her like a glove, but she wasn’t happy with it because she didn’t feel good in it. Somewhere along the line a cute dress had become too cutesy dress with too many distractions and a shape that wasn’t her.

I can relate.

Sewing has kind of become a cult, of which I am part. I no longer feel that sewing is my hobby, somewhere along the line it became a lifestyle. For me that has meant a much more conscious way of thinking about building a wardrobe in terms of colour and style, as well as a big turn-off towards the fast fashion industry and must-haves. I have turned to sewing and thrifting as my main resources of clothing. I have realised that I don’t look like anyone else, style wise, that I don’t know what’s in trend and I’ve come to accept this and embrace my own look.

So, why is it that I made a dress in colours that don’t look good on me and in a shape that is totally unflattering for me? I remember buying that fabric. It was in the home textile department, so I was a bit unsure of it, but it felt soft enough to use as a dress. I was just getting into using colours more and this seemed colourful enough without being too much. I liked the fabric, I still do, but it’s not suitable for adult apparel. As cushion or maybe even children’s clothes it would come to its best.

And the pattern? Ugh! Was I so eager to get a quick project in, joining a sew-along that I completely forgot what shapes I should wear. I was feeling optimistic, that by adding a belt all problems would go away, but in the end I feel as if I was delusional more than anything else. And it shows in the rushed sewing, for example the shoulder straps on the back pieces are wider than those of the front giving my shoulder seams a discrepancy. At the point of sewing the shoulder seams I was already over this project (subconsciously) and made no effort to fix it.

You know you don’t like a project when you don’t bother fixing issues like this

What does this tell me? I need to make things I like, I need to focus when fabric shopping, I need to not jump at any opportunity to join a sew-along, a contest, whatever, if it’s not something I would do anyway. There. If I didn’t already have plans to make a summer sundress, I shouldn’t join a summer sun dress sew-along. I didn’t join Sew Dolly Clackett or Oonapallooza as I wouldn’t get wearable pieces out of it. I should stick to my guns, which I usually do well. I need to see a pattern made up several times before I buy it, I stalk the fabric store website before visiting making sure I like the colours, in the store it’s all about texture. Also, I will be more devoted to The Monthly Stitch. That will allow me to join a community of sewers while still having guidelines to what to sew. Guidelines that are wide and not very restrictive, letting me do things that are me and still fit in with a theme.

When I went to the fabric store recently I was haunted by my past fabric mistakes. I saw plenty of pretty fabrics, including the infamous tape measure fabric, but I couldn’t see them made up as garments. In my mind they were all too boring, too much or not me. I need to get some fabric confidence back!

Now, I’m awaiting the release of fall fabrics, perhaps that can get me back in the saddle!

Fashion Revolution Day

You should know that I don’t like wearing my political views on my sleeve. But fashion manufacturing, ethical production and consumption has really become issues that I care deeply about. I don’t want to just keep on buying new things, things that are so cheap since the fabric is bad and the workers risked their lives putting the garment together.

Let’s do a flashback. Yesterday a year ago, April 23 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, greater Dhaka area in Bangladesh was inspected. It was found that the building contained several cracks and it was unsafe. The next day, April 24, 3122 people came to work unknowing. Came to work to sew cheap clothes for us. 1129 of those people never came home. All those people died because of greed. Our greed for cheap clothing. Almost half a year earlier another 120 people were killed in a factory fire in Dhaka. A factory which produced clothes.

2014-04-23, Fashion Revolution day (1)
Bad lighting, but proud to say that I made my clothes


April 24, 2014 is now Fashion Revolution Day. The day when we take the opportunity to show the world we care about who made our clothes. The objective is to wear something inside to really show the answer to the question “who made your clothes?” The brave ones wear the entire outfit inside out, me I settled for wearing my Indian Shirt inside out. Paired with my Chocolate Pants and, I must admit, RTW vest and cardigan. Maybe next year I’ll be braver in wearing more clothes inside out.

I know that nobody was hurt in the making of my shirt and pants. I know that nobody risked their life, their health, their education. I know that because it was I who made it. I made it during conditions I set myself. Ethical and slow fashion has become key issues for me. I dislike the consumption society we live in, I dislike trends, I dislike exploiting our planet and fellow people. That is why I today wore my clothes inside out.

 Who made your clothes?