Monday, 27 September 2021

handmade years : my sustainable wardrobe, part 2

hello lovely ones. today i want to share an update on my journey into a more sustainable wardrobe, after the last post where i introduced my thoughts and reasoning and i guess a kind of philosophy on clothes/fashion. today i'm talking about my latest Instagram account, called @handmadeyears and it contains more regular updates than i can post here, so if you're interested, go and give it a follow.


it's already been quite a journey. and i've already got things to share with you that i've learnt...

first and foremost, how my shopping addiction hadn't really left me (still hasn't) and how i just replaced it with buying loads of secondhand things instead. my consumption rate was still  really high, and i probably realised at the time of that last blog post that i was consuming too much under the pretence of 'saving it from landfill' when in fact, i didn't need it, and someone else could've done with it; i just ended up redonating a lot of things. 

so lesson #1 : buy LESS 

this even goes for contemplating how to select fabrics and new yarns for crochet projects, i want to be as sustainable as i can, but without breaking the bank - i could easily spend £200 on hand-dyed, locally sourced 100% wool yarn for just one crocheted jumper, but i don't have that sort of money for a project! same with fabric, i could spend £70 to get new fabrics for a project, but they won't necessarily even be made in this country - so i've taken to purchasing secondhand fabrics in the form of old duvet covers and tablecloths - it's hard sourcing, but i've found a couple of fabrics i really like that are ready to me made up. and actually with hand-me-down fabrics from my mum i've got quite a stash to work with.

i also spoke in my last post about looking for quality pieces, which is something i am definitely doing. in one of Beth Jones' (@bjonesstyle) latest videos, she mentioned a technique when thrifting where she simply scans the labels to look for vintage ones, and only then assesses the clothing from there. i tried this the last time i was out and i thought it was so fun and i found way more than i was expecting, and it really helped weed out the modern day, poorly made, fast fashion.


then lesson #2 : make more

i have been on a making kick, as i've always got some sort of project on the go lately! whether that's crochet or sewing. the only problem has been getting carried away a little too much and not being specific enough with what i actually NEED to make to add to the wardrobe. so in my latest YouTube video (scroll down to the end of this blog post to watch) i have begun a new method where after my seasonal wardrobe audit i write down a list of potential makes, which you'll see at the end of the video. 

i've really enjoyed the process of creating, and learning new skills. it feels great to keep my brain ticking over trying out a new crochet stitch, or learning how to put in interfacing, gather sleeves or sew a curved neckline.

there's also been a fair amount of progress on my mending pile (now in a drawer in my revamped office/craft room - YouTube video of that to come too). and it's been super fun to solve mending conundrums, like wax spills on jeans or broken zip pulls, or how to make arm holes wider. you'll likely have seen some of these in my YouTube video called 'All my DIY alterations to thrifted clothes'. there have been so many things i've saved that i would've previously thought were done with, and now get another life in my wardrobe.

i mean what else are evenings for than patching holes in your kids trousers and repositioning buttons?


and lastly lesson #3 : stop worrying

the biggest lesson of all has been to take a breath and stop panicking about whether i'm getting this whole 'sustainable' wardrobe thing right. if i'm conscious of it, that's the most important thing. if i don't know all the answers that's ok. if i feel overwhelmed with it, actually that's a call to simplify and dial back from any outside sources talking about sustainable fashion in a negative way. 

i can't get everyone to stop buying cheap fast fashion, and i can't make everyone sew on a button or patch trousers. but I CAN do those things. and that's enough. and i can share it, so that it becomes more normal, and it encourages more of you to think about your choices. i believe even if a couple of you reading this make small changes, it will ripple out amongst your friends, and their family, and their friends, and their family, etc.

i remember the first time i experienced 'eco-anxiety' - i wanted to buy new pants/knickers, and i just couldn't understand how 'eco' pants cost £20 a pair, but i could buy 5 for £12 from M&S. i remember having hours of conversation with my husband about which pair of pants to buy.... and we said, if in doubt, always choose the brand you know is well made. so i went with the M&S ones, and then started sewing again so i can eventually take back the power and make my own pants! how hard can it be?!


anyhow, that's all for today, i hope you enjoyed reading - i'd really love to know where you are on your sustainable wardrobe journey - are you just becoming conscious? were you taught awareness by your parents? are you pretty deep in the journey? tell me something you've learnt...

thanks for stopping by, i hope you have a wonderful day x


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