So I made this outfit:
It took me 24 hours in total (6 hours over the course of 4 days) and I had no fancy equipment – just needles, threads and scissors. Honestly, it was that easy to make. But obviously, I can’t just leave it there. I’m going to talk about why making clothes is not an elite sustainability choice and how pretty much anyone can do it without much hassle or specialist equipment.
What makes it sustainable?
Well, it’s made from deadstock materials. What are they? Deadstock materials are fabrics that are misprinted or that are made in excess so don’t make it onto the hangers. If not used or bought by the companies that sell deadstock, they will be thrown away sadly. To reduce waste of materials, there’s an increase in fabric stores selling deadstock fabrics and independent vintage retailers even having spare materials that weren’t usable in the back. Because they fall below retail standards, they are relatively cheap and can be bought in bulk/ large rolls. There is practically any pattern or material you can think of and the goal is less about maximising profit and centred on reducing waste.
How did I make it?
I used my mom jeans as an outline for the jeans, so that they would fit me perfectly. I cut out pieces to fit the dimensions of my mom jeans but left about 1-2cm fabric from the outline because space is needed to sew the pieces together. Upon getting halfway through, I decided that I wanted something different; instead of making mom jeans, I cut a leg and made a halter neck with the the remaining fabric. This worked for me because I have a skirt in the same material, so I technically have two sets now. The halter-neck was more of a free hand project but it was still very simple as I was able to use my own body through the process to work out the dimensions and how to size it correctly. It also helped that the fabric was tartan print because I then had straight lines for hand sewing, marking and making the pieces symmetrical.
The process of sewing would’ve been shorter for sure if I had a sewing machine, so if you can invest in one, I would do it. The only reason I haven’t invested in one is that I’m trying to keep my belongings to a minimum for my final year of university. Also, if you’re struggling for ideas or finding it hard to know where to start with the idea that you have, there is always Youtube. But past the 24 hours of sewing, cutting, marking pieces, trying on the pieces at each stage and vibing to music, it was actually a really fun experience. I also found myself being asked to sew up some stuff in between for my siblings and what not and it showed me how easy it is to fix things I already have. My sewing definitely improved as the days went by too. But the sense of accomplishment when I was able to wear it was really the cherry on top of the cake.
Why am I talking about this?
I love sustainable fashion. I love how limitless it is and it’s just a major plus that it’s good for the environment. I don’t just love sustainability for myself, but I want to encourage other people to give thrifting, upcycling and making clothes from scratch a try because it’s awesome and because it has more of an impact if more people do it. Also, I kind of selfishly want to talk to people about projects I’m working on and my thrift finds. When you build a sustainable wardrobe, you’re reducing the momentum of the fast fashion industry, thus reducing the momentum of exploitation of our environment and the exploitation in communities of colour.