After an incredibly nervous start and a desperate brainstorming session for a name, the So What If I Sew blog came into being on 28th June 2020. After one month of blogging and instagram-ing I can safely say that I’ve never made a better decision. I had no idea how big and friendly the sewing community is online, everyday I’ve been met with nothing but kindness and enthusiasm. Whats more this community is inspiring, I have seen so many new pattern companies and fabric shops, I have connected with so many makers who, just like me, are sat stitching away in a corner of their living room. I have found a world of perfectly imperfect sewing and I love it. I no longer feel stupid for not getting a technique right or understanding a pattern step because I know there are hundreds of people like me out there who are doing the same. All I need to do is post a story asking how to do something and I will get a hundred replies with advice or expressing similar frsutrations. I truly feel like I have found my online tribe and for that I am truly grateful.
There is something else about the online community that has really inspired me and thats how many eco-conscious makers there are out there aiming for an entirely self-made wardrobe. I love watching tutorials on how to make basic things from comfy t-shirts, to upcycling, all the way up to making technical clothing like raincoats. Furthermore its inspired me to make a decision, a pretty significant decision for, I’m going to give up fast fashion completely.
When I first told my family I expected some disbelief as I am a champion shopper. I love shopping and find it really relaxing however I am serious about this. Its the single biggest contribution I can make to the climate. The fashion industry produces 92 million tonnes of waste a year* and makes up for 10% of humanities carbon emissions**. Equally I want to make my contribution to saving the planet. Due to various medical conditions and allergies I am unable to become vegetarian or vegan (plus I really don’t want to be) so the best contribution I can make is to give up fast fashion.
What’s more the fashion industry is literally complicit in modern slavery. The rates of pay are lower than any human being could reasonably live on and the working conditions are appalling with no regard for staff safety or welfare. Famously, back in 2013 the Dhaka garment factory collapsed exposing just how bad conditions were for staff. The structural failure left 1,134 dead and is regarded as the deadliest garment disaster in history. Despite the protestations of major brands, recent scandals such as Boohoo’s garment workers in Leiceister being forced to go to work even with Covid-19 and working for less than half of minimum wage illustrate that this is still going on in the industry. Although I adore shopping, I can no longer standby and be complicit in a system that I find so abhorrent.
So, how am I going to do it? I want to make this change in the same way as one would approach a successful diet, it needs to be a lasting lifestyle shift rather than just forbidding shopping. It needs to be a manageable change. I’m aiming first of all for a six month trial period, so I will buy no clothing whatsoever for the rest of this year. (If anyone has any good underwear patterns, let me know!) The only things I am allowed to buy if necessary as socks, shoes, things I can’t physically make. Then in the new year I am going to make the shift to finding more sustainable fabrics and using more deadstock, currently I cant afford to make this shift but hopefully with lots of savings from working at home and not commuting I will be able to make the change in the new year to truly move to sustainable fashion.
I’m excited to see what I will make over the next six months and I can’t wait to sew with winter fabrics. I have never made anything winter appropriate or cosy so this will be a great test of my skills. To celebrate the blog, the instagram and this fairly momentous decision I though I might need a little something extra to help me on my way. After six months of saving and waiting and doing my research I finally bought a new sewing machine. Its the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought and I saved for it myself. I was so proud that I even got slightly teary when entering my payment details on the website. I have pre-ordered my machine for August and I will do a proper post about it when it arrives. For the moment I can reveal that I will shortly own the brand new 2020 model of the Singer Starlet 6680! I can’t wait to go on this journey towards sustainable fashion with my new machine.
All that remains to say is thank you. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my sewing journey, who has followed the blog, who has liked a post or followed me on Instagram. Thank you to everyone who comments, who passes on their knowledge and who makes the online sewing community such a joyful place. You have all been wonderful and I can’t wait to see where this blog, my sewing and my me made wardrobe are in a year’s time.
*2018 Pulse of Fashion Report, Global Fashion Agenda