It’s safe to say, there isn’t a definitive answer on this one. However, sewing your own clothes is always a thoughtful alternative for you and the planet.
One of the biggest problems with buying clothes from a retailer, is the lack of knowledge of where our clothes have come from. Supply chains are complicated, and you could even say that this is to favour capitalistic agendas. Lack of transparency through supply chains tends to cover up human right abuses, unethical labours, and environmental damage that comes from making such a vast amount of textile garments in a short space of time.
Amongst those problems would be the drive for cheaper and poorer quality clothing, in order to push individuals to replace and overconsume. Consumers lose a connection with their clothes and therefore clothing is easily disposable to them. Fighting fast fashion is one our biggest issues worldwide, and whilst it cant be fixed overnight, we can certainly vote with our money to make a difference.
Sewing your own clothes, instead of buying retail (or buying less) is saying no to those fast fashion values. It’s voting no against that human abuse, modern slavery and harmful working practices. It's asking for sustainable practices to be a standard expectation and transparency to be taken seriously.
You'll also be saying no to ill-fitted and poor quality clothing. Sewing changes all that, it has a beautiful way of reconnecting you with your style, your body and the clothes that you are proud to put on your back. Nothing shouts 'I made this!' more than walking around confidently in your own made clothes.
Let's dive in to Why Sewing Your Clothes may be More Sustainable...
Sewing is Better for You
You learn to appreciate the time that goes into making a garment.
Learning to sew, you’ll come to realise the dedication and skills that it takes to perfect a garment. Factoring that in, it seems vile how little workers are being paid and overworked to create clothes for cheap and in such bulk. Slow Sewing is an intentional practice to better fit and enjoy the process of creating your clothes.
You have a choice on the fabrics used in your garments.
You have more control over the fabrics you select. This means based on your environmental values (and budget!) you can choose better fabrics that will be healthier for you, and better for our planet. i.e. Oeko-Tex certified, GOTS Organic.
Did you know that when your clothes are dyed and washed in toxic chemicals, those chemicals can be found on the end product? That's why certifications like GOTS exists, to restrict toxic chemicals being used on textiles. If toxic chemicals are used, through wear, your skin will absorb those chemicals and enter your bloodstream.
Always choose fabrics with eco-creds where possible! Better for your health and better for the planet.
With practice, you’ll learn to fit your clothes well.
Instead of buying retail jeans that are perfect around the hips but loose on the waist. You can sew your own jeans that fit to you perfectly.
You’d be more likely to wear your garments until they fall apart, as you’ve sewn a better fit. This is where sewists are more likely to build a connection to their clothing, and less likely to dispose of it without a seconds thought. Sewing with intention gives value to your clothing, therefore will stay with you longer.
Sewing Better for the Planet
Repairing Your Clothes
With the skills to sew, comes a skill to mend. You’ll value your garments more as a sewist, which will mean when the wear and tear takes its toll, mending will be your first thought. Mending couldn’t be easier, you're garments deserve a full life. This way, less clothing will end up in landfill.
With more demand, comes more responsible and environmentally alternatives.
Whether they are completely sustainable or environmentally-friendly fabrics, manufacturers are making the switch from harmful textiles. Thoughtful purchasing, it pushing demand into more responsible fabrics being made. It’s always a win for the planet!
There will be less waste.
Planning and executing your makes with thoughtful consideration, slows down your wardrobe and extends the lifetime of your clothing. Best of all, those sewing scraps can always be repurposed into something else.
Less Carbon Footprint
When shopping with responsible retailers like ourselves, your footprint on the textile industry is reduced compared to shopping retail. From buying more environmental fabrics, to carbon neutral deliveries, fabric shops like us, put the power of sustainability back into the hands of consumers. Our responsibility is to provide the best fabrics at no cost to the planet, and letting you get on with what you love best, sewing.
There are so many more reasons why sewing is a more sustainable alternative than buying retail. Especially when the textile industry for sewists is doing a lot more in the way of progress, than fast fashion retailers.
As a fabric shop based on sustainability, I can already see the change being made within the textile industry from the raw materials being made. The biggest issue now is our supply chains, and the lack of transparency that comes with it.
Sewing is certainty an avenue to explore if you’re fed up with fast fashion and looking to slow down your wardrobe.
There are many ways you can keep your sewing mindful, and your purchasing more environmentally-friendly. Watch this space for more tips & tricks on sewing a sustainable wardrobe.