My latest stitching for the Stitch-A-Long has been freeform patches for a useful but uninspiring jacket. In that post I mentioned that I have been thinking about my wardrobe.
Like all good thinking there are a few threads (that pun is for you, Kate!) that have come together. A couple have been inspired by the Soul Craft Festival. (I would highly recommend this to you for next year!)
Last year the various speakers and the warm and thoughtful Felicia herself encouraged me to think about what happens to our clothing after we have finished with it. I don’t have a lot of clothes to move on, but when I do move them on the op-shop is my choice. I realised that what I was really doing was shifting my responsibility for the garment to the op-shop. I felt good that I hadn’t sent it to landfill,
forgetting disregarding that someone else had to make that decision.
So I decided to be more conscious about what I bought and made.
For example, I wanted to knit over this last Winter. Normally I make quick decisions without considering where a garment will fit into my wardrobe. This time I spent time considering patterns and wool to make the sort of jumper I wanted.
Unfortunately, when I finished knitting I realised that it was too small. Not unbearably so, but enough to make me overlook it when I was considering jumpers to wear. So out it all came and I knitted it up again a couple of sizes larger, only to realise that it was slightly too short in the body and arms. Same problem….I would overlook it and the time, materials and energy would be wasted. So, I undid the rib of the body and sleeves and knitted it longer. (It was a pattern that you knit from the shoulders down, so I could easy unravel it.) Now I enjoy wearing it. And each time I do I think about taking the time and making those conscious decisions to get it right so that I would enjoy wearing it, and have it for quite a few years to come.
This is along the same lines of making conscious decisions….the ideas around wearing clothing that have positive values in them, and values that fit in with my own. Are they made from more sustainable fabrics? When buying this garment/pattern/fabric/yarn am I supporting an indie maker or local shop? Can I get a sense of the environmental and social impact of this garment?
I realise that there will always be some social or environmental impacts. And I am honest enough to know that I am only going to put in a small amount of research into those impacts, instead relying on the integrity of those I buy from. My aim is to be as thoughtful, considered and mindful as I can.
For a while I have been wanting my clothes to be more interesting. I am so tired of reaching for jeans and jumpers and jackets.
After listening to some wonderful women* speak at the Soul Craft Festival I was inspired to really think about my wardrobe. I even made notes and drew sketches of the garments that I enjoy wearing! I came up with some ideas:
- I love, and need, my clothes to be comfortable. The tops I enjoy wearing pull over my head ~ no zips, buttons, belts. I like them to drape and hang, and to have pockets where possible.
- I love layers, and scarves. This is great, because I don’t like being cold!
- I want to get into the habit of really considering new clothes. Do I need it? Does it fit in with other things I have? What will happen to it at the end of its life with me? How was it made? Where have I bought it? Would I get pleasure if I made something like this rather than buying off the rack?
- I want my clothes to be interesting. This might be handmade (like the patches on my jacket pockets) or a quirky brooch or a different combination of clothes.
- I want to severely limit the clothes I buy from mainstream shops.
This is a very self-indulgent post, written mostly to get my thoughts in a coherent fashion. However I wonder if you have been thinking about your clothes? I would love to know what is important to you.
* These are some of the women who spoke at the festival
Meg McElwee from Sewliberated She says that clothes should be treasures and heirlooms, that reflect who we are and the story we want to tell the world. I like that.
Leeyong Soo who blogs at Style Wilderness. She has some wild creations made from op-shop finds. After looking at her work I was inspired to create the patches for my jacket. Mine are nowhere near as flamboyant as her outfits.
And for more inspiration:
I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live and sew – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and emerging.