Thoughts on Sewing and Sustainability

Last year was a slow year for my sewing and creativity.  Partially (ok, maybe a big part), it was because I was taking care of a one year old baby for the first time.  

However, the biggest reason is that I felt guilty about creating more "things" when I already had so many.



 I know it's such a cliche for a new parent to suddenly become all environmental -conscious for the sake of next generation (= her own kid) , but that's totally how I was and am now.  

Apparently, donating old clothes does more harm than good in some cases. 

I decided to use old clothes as waste cloth and salvage notions as much as possible...

I watched this great documentary film "The True Cost" (you can watch official trailer on Youtube here), and I passionately recommend everyone to do the same.  It's about (I think) the raise of fast fashion and the burden that's forced upon environment and people in production (often in the third world countries).  It opened my eyes to something we all knew in the back of our heads but ignored so we could keep enjoying cheap, disposable fashion... for what cost??

I pledged to myself that I wasn't going to buy from fast fashion retailers which exploit worker's rights and do harm to environment.  I tried to up-cycle my and my husband's clothes to make baby clothes.  I wasn't going to buy any new items for myself unless I really, really need them ---then I broke down and bought some cute t-shirts for my daughter from one of those evil retailers.  (She looked really cute in them, and sometimes you don't have time to whip up t-shirts...excuses excuses......)

So my attempt to be a really good, environmentally conscious consumer was failing.  And there was my "stash".  

Is sewing up a clothing item after another any better??  Probably.  It doesn't involve deprived, underaged stitchers in dark buildings with no windows.  But I don't know where my fabric comes from. Chances are that there are many many dark, windowless buildings that produce yards and yards of fabric for $2.  Isn't compulsively sewing up things that I don't wear many times the same as an irrational shopping habit in principle?? 

When you shop, you can really look at the fit, fabric, design, and how they all come together in the final product.  The problem is that it's hard to find something that's exactly what you want.  But when you sew, unless you are really experienced in both sewing and designing, it's again difficult to end up with the final product that's exactly what you envisioned.  

I have been considering pros and cons of these different options, and yet not come to a conclusion. This is the reason for my sewing rut that lasted for more than a year now.



But the truth is, lately I really miss sewing.  Sewing and creating is directly connected to joy I feel in life, much like meditation for me.  So maybe for now, I settle for a median approach: Consider purchases before actually buying.  Carefully plan and take time to sew something I'll really love.  Take care of things I already own.  Try to buy from small local businesses as much as possible.  



So in other words, I just settled for some common sense stuff after much ado of thinking and rambling to my husband... (Poor guy. But that's what husbands are for, right?)



"The True Cost" というドキュメンタリー映画を観て、ファストファッションの陰で汚染された環境や、人権侵害問題などについて考えるようになりました。(オフィシャルのトレーラーはこちらで見れます)












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