A friend alerted me to this absorbing and powerful book which I read before Christmas.
First published in 2019 in the UK, it is packed with startling facts.
*100 billion garments are produced every year.
*The average garment is worn only 7 times
*20% of all garments go unsold
*Fewer than 2% of workers in the clothing industry receive a living wage
*1 t-shirt and 1 pair of jeans uses 5000 gallons of water. For those of us more familiar with metrics, this is nearly 23,000 litres.
*Over 60% of garments contain fabrics derived from fossil fuels.
You get her meaning? I did. In fact I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable with my practice of buying on-line from a particular chain. A quick look at the inside labels of the first six garments hanging on the nearest wardrobe rack revealed that two were made in China and four came from Vietnam. All were polyester or polyester mixes.
Was it finally time to break away from my dependence on these relatively affordable (and very often available at massive discounts); easy to wear and wash; and convenient- to-order on line clothes?
Yep. Certainly. But how?
When I was young and broke, and store bought clothes were made in Australia and expensive, I did make my own. It wasn’t a pleasant experience though. Paper patterns for home sewers were complicated. To compensate for having only one size pattern in each envelope a quantity of what was called “ease” was allowed by the drafter. Ease translated more often than not to an ill-fitting garment. Too tight in some places; too loose in others.
The actual instructions were often complex, involving much marking of stitching lines and notches and little circles….plus redundancy of language (see image below for repetition of putting right sides of fabric together) and unnecessary steps like pinning AND basting.
Well, I’m not going back there…..
Enter my local patchwork store which stocks the patterns of Sew To Grow (www.sewtogrow.com.au)
I booked a quick lesson in their basic pattern called The Bondi Top.
That had me walking out with a top that actually fitted! A bonus was that I also discovered how nice patchwork fabrics are when used for light tops.
This could go on forever!
Since these were made I’ve gone further and made longer tunics.
Also skirts. My friend Liz Arnold ( http://www.lizarnold.com.au/ ) designed these easy to make skirts.
Here endeth the lesson…….