I am excited to join in on Karen Templar’s Slow Fashion October! You can read a summary of what it’s all about here (it’s for “sewers and knitters to thrifters and menders and anyone just trying to be more mindful and informed about where their clothes are coming from and what environmental impact their buying habits have”) & Karen’s first Slow Fashion post here.
I’m joining in because a handmade wardrobe is one of my newer goals. A few in my everyday life read that back in April and were like, “What…?!” As someone who is awaiting her first sewing lesson and has only done some half-finished-for-a-reason projects in the past, I am sure they pictured me wearing woefully pieced together things and were genuinely concerned. But I am all about long-term goals, and am okay with starting small, making mistakes, and slowly building my skills. I am always glad to learn new skills too, especially when they are both artful and self-sufficient, and something that I can pass on knowledge-wise or in the form of gifts. Being a maker and producer in my life is important to me, from my food to my entertainment, so I’m not really surprised that the desire eventually arose to do so with my clothes too.
I enter this Slow Fashion month as a new knitter, soon-to-be new sewer, and a lifelong thrifter/garage saler. My relationship with clothes is minimalist, and I’ve had a longstanding buy less/wear long mentality. I tend toward the practical. Because I like a small wardrobe, I have waivered between wanting a daily uniform (jeans, solid color loose shirts, comfy solid color knitwear sweaters, and a pop of color or pattern with scarves) & unique, colorful pieces that bring me joy when I look at them and express the creative side of my personality. I’m still not sure exactly where I’ll land, and maybe it will always be a mix of staples, with a few fun pieces. But for sure, everything MUST be comfortable and allow for movement.
Lately, I’ve been inspired by heirloom items that are quality, handmade, and that tell a story. Like the process and outcome of this lovely knit baby blanket by Cher of Radical Farmwives. And I’m really drawn to natural dyeing and doing as much of a process myself. We’ll see where these interests take me in the future!
I’m okay with perfectly imperfect, which I think will serve me well as I learn. But I’m an agonizer when it comes to selecting fabrics or yarn, partially because I like to wear my clothes into the ground, and want to pick something that will be both different than what I could find at the thrift store, but also something that I know I will continue to like. I’m looking forward to following other Slow Fashion October participants to see how they pick fabric, especially when it comes to sustainability, durability and affordability.
I have three Slow Fashion October projects that I plan to report back on:
- Getting sewing lessons from my mom-in-law (she is amazing!). I have everything I need to make a Dottie Angel frock, and have been really looking forward to this! I’m going to sew Dress A, and already have my fabric picked out. Ya’ll, it took me HOURS to pick my fabric. I eventually went with something totally out of my wheelhouse (florals! patterns!), but that had basic colors that are staples for me – blue, black, cream. And it is 100% cotton (I try to buy natural fiber clothing when I can, but you can’t always be choosy when you’re thrifting).
- Using dried calendula from the summer garden or our still-hanging-on dahlias to dye this doily table runner. I like this idea of personalizing something thrifted. It’s not necessarily clothing-related, but it is practice for eventually getting to dyeing clothing, so I’m counting it as a goal here!
- I recently made a large wooly knit heart patch out of the wool I dyed this winter. I instantly knew I wanted to knit a smaller version of the same pattern to make heart elbow patches, which I plan to sew to a chambray button up that is a staple in my wardrobe year round. Hopefully I’ll be able to sew them on in such a way that it will be okay for me to take them off in the spring/summer and re-sew them back on in the fall/winter. I’m not ready to knit a sweater quite yet, but this is a fun way for me to use the skills I do have to start personalizing my wardrobe, making it a little more handmade.
Are you a knitter, a sewer, a crocheter, a thrifter? What’s your favorite handmade piece? Are you into slow fashion? Tell me about it in the comments and link up to anything cool you’ve made or found, or something you’ve written on the topic – I’d love to check it out!