I've been sewing since I was in junior high school. At that time, one could pretty consistently sew a garment for less than the cost of ready made. My first creation was a peasant styled purple maxi dress (that fairly accurately places the time period as the very late sixties/early seventies). I remember feeling so stylish in it.
With that first garment, I was hooked. I made skirts and blouses for school, and lovely dresses for parties and proms. As a young wife I made curtains and small appliance covers for my first home. And, as my daughter grew and became a dance soloist, I made her many costumes.
Since the time of that first maxi dress, sewing has become more of a boutique hobby. As I've already posted on this blog, sewing can be quite expensive if one uses all new materials and full-price patterns. So why do I call sewing a sustainability skill?
We can pretty much agree that, unless you live in a nudist colony, clothing is an everyday essential. I'm not talking about high fashion, or the latest fad clothing, but instead about the clothes we need to go about our everyday activities. The clothing that protects us from the elements. And that clothing
need not be unattractive. Adornment is as old as humanity.
Here are just a few of the ways I feel sewing qualifies as an essential sustainability skill:
- Making garments out of other garments, fabric remnants and discarded softgoods.
- Altering existing garments to fit a wearer.
- Repairing garments that are torn, worn, or otherwise compromised.
- Making totes and sacs for carrying things.
The "Make Do and Mend" mentality is essential to a sustainable way of life. Sewing is one means of keeping your garments functional for many years, and for extending their life into something new when their usefulness has seemingly come to an end.