Sew satisfying: sustainable fashion

Sew colourful…

Sew colourful…

This year the plan is to up-cycle more and not to buy clothes at all. I resolve to make a real change towards creating a more sustainable way of life. I altered my use of plastic shopping bags easily enough and now I happily carry a basket and tote bags.

Seeing how readily I complied with that mandate, perhaps it might help to pretend there was a government-issued order that requires one to buy half of the things wanted and redefining “need” as in do I really need yet another piece of clothing? Charity shops are entrenched on every high street, precisely because so many of us have more stuff than we know what to do with.

At the top of my forbidden list is buying clothing in 2019 for the sake of purchasing a bargain. Bargain, by the way, like need, has a suitably elastic definition in my dictionary. Bargains in the past stretch up, down and across depending on how heavy or light my purse felt. Now the plan is to upcycle those very same bargains into something wearable.

I’m gazing at my crystal ball now. Yes, I can see it. In my future, I foresee a life without trips to a clothing store (fuel costs saved) or online shopping (time and spirit saved). Sorry Whistles and Anthropologie. No more idling and rifling through bargain bins at my favourite retail haunts, so goodbye clearance racks at TK Maxx (dignity and time saved).

If I dig really deep there’s another reason not to buy another item. It’s something that everyone of us making resolutions at this time of the year truly feel. The opportunity to feel smug. I don’t get to feel superior about many things and, well, if I manage to retool something that I’ve found stuffed in my loft that I can happily wear, then absolutely I’m going to take a moment to feel a glow.

The other overarching goal to exercising restraint? An urge not to be a conformist. It will be deeply satisfying to my soul that I can finally channel my desire to make like the main character Andi in Pretty in Pink. Played by that fashion icon of the 90s, Molly Ringwald, Andi takes something a bit garish (and the colour of Pepto Bismol) and turns it in to her dream outfit for her prom. Personally, those costume designers deserve a medal for ingenuity (Andi’s rejigged prom dress had last season’s cold shoulder fashion).

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I want a fashion fix but not at the cost of adding more pressure to landfills or wasting resources. I’ll draw inspiration from magazines and social media like everyone else but I’ll make do with what’s in my closet.

I’m gaining more confidence in my sewing skills thanks to weekly sewing lessons. I love the idea that I’ll hunt through my clothing (just like I did those bargain bins back in 2018) and find a way to revive it. I’ll give an old skirt a new lease on life or transform a shirt or top in to something new and entirely me.

There you have it: a resolution that will aid in creating a personal style and sustainability, is kinder to my pocket book and gives me some more spiritual kudos by helping me to make do with less. Maybe this year, I can finally do my bit to stop the madness of acquiring just for the sake of it. So, this year I’ll mostly be wearing…whatever is in my closet.