Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sew Your Own Clothes- The True Savings

Do you sew your own clothing?

If you are reading this post, then presumably your answer is "OF COURSE!" Give yourself a pat on the back. Even if your sewing skills aren't perfect, even if you don't have much time, even if fitting struggles make you crazy, even if your sewing machine explodes. Throw away all those excuses and keep doing it because the benefits of sewing are so awesome! Some of the things I thought of:
  • custom fit to your body
  • pick your own fabric
  • pick your own colors
  • more style and design choices- so many patterns!
  • customization in every way
  • joy of learning a new skill
  • joy of creation 
  • joy of sharing it with others
My own list would also include "cost savings", though most people I talk with tend to disagree.Usually this conclusion comes from a comparison of what the same project might cost at their favorite ready-to-wear store, shop, or boutique. Which brings me to another thought.

Isn't it interesting that in America, even in the last 5 years, the price of food has gone up an amazing amount, yet a Kmart T-shirt (a store positioned to sell at the lowest price point possible) is still below $10? Adding in our sewing time, it's true that making our own T-shirt may not be so economical. I am guilty of thinking in this way too........that is, until I think about the person in some far away factory working longer hours than a person should have to - as quickly as their fingers will let them - to make that Kmart T-shirt.

Will you do something for me this week? 

During college the curriculum emphasis was on Ready-to-Wear (RTW), and of course had to include information on where the cheapest labor could be purchased (think of the smallest 3rd world countries) and solving the "sweat shop" problem. It was a discussion that seemed to have no solution- at least not for big companies with consumers hungry for cheap products. 

The True Cost is a well done documentary that tells the story about clothes, the people who make them, and the impact the RTW industry is having on our world. It will open your eyes to how the industry is run. This movie is available on Netflix (instant watch and DVD), Amazon, iTunes, and VHX.  It can also be purchased.

( Trailer on YouTube)

I saw this movie last week and remembered again those discussions in college. It made me feel glad that I can sew my own clothes and that I don't have to buy Kmart T-shirts. Watch the movie, add THIS to your benefits list and pat yourself on the back (again!). What do you think are the most important points of this documentary?

Have a great sewing day!



  1. Great, ,great post!! I saw this video a few weeks back and I was so emotional watching it thinking of how we just frivolously by without thought. And, even more so, how people can think you can sew them something for dirt cheap.
    Everybody, especially those who love clothes, should watch this video.

    1. I so agree! For those who don't sew, it surely cheapens the value of what we've made and how much effort it really takes.

  2. I know a lot of people think that it is just cheaper to buy stuff. And maybe sometimes it is. But for me, I love sewing. I like being able to get the right fit for me. To me if I spend my time getting my fit just right, it is way more worthwhile to sew clothing than to go buy it. This is an interesting topic to think about.

  3. Thank you for the heads up. Even the trailer made me cry. Whenever people boast about how cheap a pair of jeans is in Kmart ($9 or $10 here in Australia) I tell them that I sew, that it would take me at least 6 hours to sew a pair of jeans, that I can't even buy 1 metre of fabric for that cost and I'd need at least 2, and that someone is making them in sweatshop conditions working 16 hours a day... takes the shine off a bit. I buy 2nd hand goods or make my own and do without.

    1. It certainly isn't "cheap" to sew, but I watch for deals, raid my aunts stash, and often look for fabric and notions second hand. There is satisfaction in hunt, don't you think?

  4. The store bought sewn articles are cheap because they're poorly made. I worked as a cashier at a major clothing and home furnishings store. The curtains we sold were of shockingly poor quality. Individual panels differed in length by as much as three inches! A friend who bought curtains from a large box store had to return them multiple times in order to find a pair that actually don't have holes or defects! Many mens shirts no longer have interfacing. Yes store bought clothes are cheaper than home sewn because the stores cut corners in production.


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