WHY IS IT SUSTAINABLE TO MAKE MY OWN CLOTHES?
Because loved clothes last
As is everything in life, things aren't always black and white. There is an argument to why making your own clothes isn't sustainable: we'll get to that a little later. First, let's take a look at the positives of making your own clothes:
When we make our clothes, we appreciate the work that goes into it. We make choices such as what fabrics we want, what colours we like, what style we want the garment to hang, how we want the garment to fit. We understand how fiddly certain aspects can be to put together - the more we appreciate something, we more we cherish it.
NO CLOTHES SHOPPING
Personally, I do not have patience to trail around the shops trying on clothes. Constantly having to take off my clothes and try different ones on in tight changing rooms simply does not appeal to me. In making my own clothes I can avoid this situation!
CUSTOM FIT / UNIQUE STYLE
As humans, we are not the same person. We look different and are shaped in all beautiful shapes and sizes: clothes aren't simply "one size fits all". Being able to make your own clothes enables the maker to learn about how to fit clothes to not only show off their figures, but also to learn about what styles will flatter their shape. This goes hand in hand in developing unique styles and designs of garments you cannot find in the shops.
There's no conforming to society's measures here! As you make and tweak garments to suit you, the possibilities of styles and creations are endless. No seasonal fashions, but simply put, just fashions that suit you that you can wear throughout the whole year. We don't throw away a garment because "it's out of season".
One of the best things about knowing how to make clothes is that once you find something that really suits and fits you, and is super comfy to wear, you can then make the same garment, but in a different fabric, so you can make it more decorative/fancy to wear on special occasions, without that awkward feeling of a new dressy garment that might make you feel conscious when wearing it.
With sewing, there are always new skills to learn. It's not just about knowing how to use a sewing machine. There are different seams to sew, different fastenings to put in, how various modifications can change an entire production method. You also need to learn how best to cut fabric so you save on wastage, and make the most of the fabric, especially if there's a pattern or a nap to the fabric. So much knowledge is required to make and fit a garment, that your skills become invaluable. And who doesn't love learning new things!
THE SEWING COMMUNITY
This is so impressive. Whether on Instagram or Facebook, there's an abundance of groups to join or photos to browse where we all support and encourage one another. There are so many possibilities and problems that can arise with sewing, and if you post your question online, you'll be sure to find someone who has already encountered a similar problem, and who is willing to offer advice to help you. Sewing is for everybody.
MENTAL HEALTHMost importantly, sewing can be great for your mental wellbeing. Many people find it stress relieving. I know I do - I can take myself away for a few hours concentrating on how to make something. Just me, myself and I (and maybe the sewing community!). Sometimes, even an item to show for it! It is an encouraging skill and with so many things you can make, you can find something you enjoy, so that most importantly of all, it's FUN!
SO IT IS SUSTAINABLE?
The argument to it not being sustainable is when we make anything and everything because we enjoy it but then never wear it. Here, you can use your skills to modify a garment you have made but not like. Change it to something you do like, so that it doesn't go to waste. Or have you made too many things that you don't wear them all. Then share them with people who will wear them.
When in making mode, make sure you minimise fabric wastage. Only buy what you need and be economical when cutting out pieces. Any fabrics scraps can be saved and used for other things. See this "What to do with Scaps" blog for ideas!
Choose fabrics that have been made with thought to the environment and the people that have made them. That's probably how you found this site in the first instance right?!
So yes, I think sewing your own clothes can be sustainable. All choices we make have an impact on sustainability. Continue to choose wisely!