Sewing; a powerful tool in fashion

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Image c/o we heart it

Learning to sew has been rewarding, and unexpectedly addictive. Last year I would read sewing blogs, admire their achievements, and mutter how I wished I could sew too.

My own sewing journey has been gradual, and looks something like this:

1. Obtain a sewing machine
2. Make a bag
3. Make toys
4. Adjust thrifted clothing
5. Buy fabric and patterns
6. Follow a simple pattern to make a tunic top
7. Obtain an overlocker
8. Progress to zips, darts, and make a vintage dress

This will continue, and I am excited about that. A trip to the op shop used to involve heading straight to clothing rails to scour second hand garments. These days you'll find me raiding the haberdashery section for patterns, thread, buttons, zips, and sifting my way through fabrics, sheets and pillowcases.

Sewing has taught me many things, not just about creativity and admiration for fabric, but also respect for clothing itself and the people that make them. I take time to see how my (op) shop bought garments have been made. I understand why handmade / homemade clothing costs more than factory line manufactured pieces.

The vintage red dress I made this week cost me $3 in materials, but probably took a total of 7 hours to complete after cutting my fabric to appropriate sizing, reading and understanding instructions, taking apart mistakes and trying again, finishing seams, and learning new techniques by watching youtube instruction videos!. Lets say I made dresses for a living. If I earned $20 an hour (speculative wage) at 7 hours work this would be $140. Wow, that appears to be a lot of money, when you can buy a new dress for $20 from a fast fashion high street retailer. (not forgetting some poor soul maybe earnt less than $1 an hour to make that $20 dress). Of course if I were a professional seamstress, this dress would not have taken me 7 hours to complete, however, many crafters making garments from home undersell themselves online to be competitive.

On the other end of the scale, Mr RF used to work with a high end designer fashion label in London many years ago, and saw garments selling for as much as £3,000 for one piece. How much would that work out per hour of work, and where is the justification in that?

Creating new garments from scratch, and readjusting old clothing to make unique pieces for our own wardrobes, essentially takes us away from buying mainstream retail fashion; therefore sewing is a powerful tool in (or against?) fashion.

Image c/o we heart it

"In my free time, I make, I sew.
The sewing bug has bitten hard, and will not let go."- me :).

1 comment:

Nelly said...

Well done on your sewing journey and what a great red dress.

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