I’m way behind on the documenting process, but I did finish some items for Slow Fashion October! Four items to be exact, and I’m proud to say I’ve been wearing all of them regularly since I finished. …I may or may not have slept in one of my dresses, which makes pajama dresses my new favorite things, but that’s a topic for another post. I’ll be sharing real outfit photos as soon as I can find the camera attachment piece for my tripod – such a bad thing to misplace! But until then, here’s a quick recap of my finished pieces, as well as some concluding thoughts on shopping small and encouraging Slow Fashion.
Technically I finished one hat and one dress juuuust after October, but I’m still including them in this post for efficiency sake. This dress, that I’m currently in love with, is a slightly modified version of New Look 6323 (new packaging says S0712?). It’s super quick to make and really comfortable to wear, not to mention it’s just plain cute!
Long time blog readers know I have a LoveHate relationship with knits, and honestly, the more I sew with them the more I realize all my reasons for hating knits are totally stupid (I mean, I knew that before, but now I know they’re stupid reasons). I still cut all my knits on a single layer because I get frustrated trying to lay knits out nicely on the fold, and I’m still not in love with using my regular sewing machine for seam finishes, but I’m definitely coming around. I *might* even call this pattern a TNT, but only time will tell.
Week 5, October 26-31: KNOWN
favorite sustainable resources / “local” / traceable fabric and yarn origins / traceable garment origins / reference books, films, videos
Week Five of Slow Fashion October was all about sustainable resources, shopping local, and tracing the origins of your materials. Again, I try not to beat myself up too much over where my materials come from because this is currently a world of fast fashion, and that makes it difficult (and usually very expensive) to do “the right thing”. However, it’s the small steps and small conscious choices that are going to change consumer standards, so I am making an effort to promote and encourage that way of thinking in myself.
So, now that I’m on the subject, allow me to think out loud a bit here and reflect on where my materials for these four projects came from:
I made the grey dress using a fabric and a pattern from Jo-Ann’s, which is definitely not the most local or sustainable option, but it’s still an arguably better option than buying a similar dress from a ready-to-wear shop with questionable (or downright unethical) construction practices. The fabric was more than probably made very cheaply and from cheap materials, but again, I know exactly how this fabric was used after the fact because I made the dress myself.
As far as patterns go, I think the “Big Four” pattern companies are doing an excellent job lately with social media in the sense that they’re presenting themselves as real people and real designers, in a much more intimate and creatively supportive setting than I originally envisioned. Up until a couple of years ago, I got the impression all non-indie sewing patterns were mass produced by faceless, industry monopolizing drones. That sounds really harsh but I bet I’m not the only one with that impression, especially after the rise of independent pattern makers. Now I know we’re all just people who are passionate about sewing! Simple as that!
My orange dress was made with a fabric that I purchased from an independently owned online shop (I love Hawthorne Threads!) who operate out of upstate New York, which is actually pretty local to me. While the fabric itself is distributed by Westminster/Free Spirit, and there are definitely fabric manufacturers out there who are way more ethical/environmentally friendly than others, I can’t say for sure where Free Spirit falls on that spectrum. All I know is Anna Maria Horner is making a living and feeding her children with royalties from the fabric I bought and I don’t feel guilty about that. …she has a lot of children to feed lolololol 😉
As for hats, I recently completed the Wiksten Jul and the Sleep Season Slouch. This is the second time I’ve made the Jul and I really love this pattern! It’s an easy, fast knit with just enough texture to keep things fun. I purchased the Wiksten Jul pattern directly from Jenny’s website, so that’s one more independent designer supported, which feels good to do. The yarn I used is 100% American wool by Quince & Co, which I bought directly from their website, so I’m also feeling pretty good about that purchase. The Sleep Season Slouch is a free pattern download by Fancy Tiger Crafts (I love those ladies!) and the yarn used for that was a gift from my dear friend, Erin.
Yeah, some people like to stick their nose up at superwash wools, synthetic dyes, and fabrics made in certain countries, but the bottom line is, the biggest takeaway I’m getting from Slow Fashion October, is that making things yourself actually does make a difference. Sometimes I forget that because I’m concentrating so much on the end product of these serious hobbies of mine that I forget what it means to buy the materials in the first place. Slow Fashion is great, not only for me as the maker, but for the people I support while doing so – I supported quite a few people making just these few things, and this is only a recount of one month of handcrafting. Imagine what my support list would be like if I recapped the entire year! That really adds up, especially if you’re Slow Fashioning more than you’re Fast Fashioning.
You, me, and fellow Slow Fashioners are literally making a difference 🙂