When you begin making things, and start getting quite good at it, it quickly becomes an obsession. You're constantly thinking about what to make next, for gifts and yourself, and soon your home gets taken over by this exciting & fulfilling hobby. After several years of this however, it becomes obvious that you should start making choices more carefully. As I discovered in my last post, I currently own far too many pretty summer dresses, and not enough clothing that actually fits with my current lifestyle requirements!
I'm one of those people who likes sewing clothes as a way of slowing down consumption. Though Rachel at House of Pinheiro freely states that she's a child of capitalism and sewing is part of that too, I personally try to have the opposite mentality. I try to make the things that I need and want, so that I don't have to spend too much money and so I don't end up with excess things that I have little attachment to; that are poor quality, and which end up breaking or being discarded. I dislike shopping and try my best not to hoard fabric. I also try not to buy too much. I'm not always successful in these things - we live in a consumerist society, after all! - but I do try.
When I was 15 I made a pledge that I would only buy underwear - everything else had to be handmade or second hand! I've had several slips along the way, most of them being in the couple of years when I had some disposable income. Whilst this pledge isn't at the forefront of my mind, it's something that has informed my inner life for the past 9 years.
After writing the post about making clothes that I don't have, rather than just what I whimsically feel like sewing, I started thinking about what I had purchased over the past 12 months. And considering if any of those items could have been made instead. I'm not including items which were gifts, but I am including second-hand items that I acquired from relatives or purchased.
12 months of textiles
I have bought…
- Bras (pretty + everyday)
- Knickers (pretty)
- T-shirts (several)
- Socks (several)
- Vintage dresses (several, bought & from relatives)
- Waterproof jacket for cycling
- Shoes: boots x2, heels x2
- Cotton tea towels
- Pillow cases & hand towels (acquired from my granny)
- rugs, oriental & a few sheepskins
It's really not too bad. The things that I've purchased tend to be everyday items that get worn out: underwear, socks and T-shirts; and tea-towels and bed linen for the home. I could probably make the next batch of tea-towels when I need them, out of fine linen. The true anti-consumerist thing to do (also thrifty - the two go hand-in-hand) would to use everything until it's in rags and not buy new! I'm not quite like that yet though. It's nice to have things that look clean and new sometimes….
I would like to start making my own underwear, loungewear, and a new winter coat. In theory, this should mean that in the near future the only items that I need to buy are socks, sportswear and shoes.
Naturally, I didn't need to take 10 dresses into my wardrobe (4 of which were gifts from my partner!), but I don't feel too bad about that. I also need a new pair of flats, and no more heels!
What about you? Are you happy with your bought : made ratio? Do you think that I'm being ridiculous and futile, or are you trying to do something similar? Do you think we can ever really escape capitalism?