What does it mean to slow down and Make in a thoughtful manner....?

Let's talk about it!

Let the swapping begin....

Let the swapping begin....

A couple of posts back I talked about an idea I have for a Slow Fashion Fabric Swap.  I have more than a little fabric sitting on my shelves and while I love a lot of it, I know in all honesty that it is unlikely I will sew with it all. After reading a fabulous post by one of my online Craft heroines, Felicia Semple of The Craft Sessions, this past August, an idea popped into my head. If you want to read more about my thought process, take a read over there!  I figured that I might not be alone in feeling overwhelmed by how much fabric I own, and the implications of consumption that my stash hold. Perhaps there could be a way to highlight these practices of accumulating, while connecting to other sewists out there in the universe. 

I launched the Slow Fashion Fabric Swap in the middle of October, and when I closed registration at the end of October I found I had a thoroughly respectable number of willing and eager swappers signed up!  Woohoo!  So cool to see that the idea resonated with others....!  Today I am sending out names to over 35 conscientious garment sewists and Makers. If you are one of those Sewists and Makers, Hello! Welcome! I am so glad you are here, and that you have chosen to pause and think about what's in your stash, what you will actually sew with, and how and why that fabric came to be there. I have felt like a little tiny paper airplane being blown around in a hurricane with all the bad news about the world of Fast Fashion, and our Modern hunger for more, and new, and sooner. How can one person make any difference?  Combined with the current political state of affairs here in the US, and abroad as well, it is easy to feel lost about how to take any action, and where to direct your efforts. I make no claims here about changing the world, or creating huge outcomes. But if each of us can make a small change, even just a heightened awareness, surrounding our fabric purchases and general consumption? Well, then I believe we can cause some small measure of change.  Each of us can have a Butterfly effect.....

While we are doing our small part to change our views on consumption, we will also be soothing our inner desire for something new to us, something exciting, and inspiring, by moving our collective fabric stash around the circle a tick. An ethical life is not by definition one of deprivation, constraint, and restriction. There is so much beauty around us, so much to inspire, and to create joy with, especially right in our own stashes. But turning a critical eye to what we own, by moving something along, and then receiving something new (!) we will scratch that itch for the new. Yet without creating excess in the universe.... Win win, don't you think?

The SFFS is not meant to bash each other over the head with shame and politics, or to point the spotlight at any one person, but just to gently remind us all what 'Enough' really can mean. And as the saying goes, Enough is as good as a Feast. I have felt this on a very personal level recently as I have stopped looking outwards for stimulation, but instead inwards at my own stash, and the resources already at my fingertips.

My small collection of silk fabric

My small collection of silk fabric

 
The heavier weight jerseys, some wool, as well as woven wool....

The heavier weight jerseys, some wool, as well as woven wool....

Neutral linen that is endlessly versatile.

Neutral linen that is endlessly versatile.

If you have come to this page because you got an email from me today (or yesterday, or earlier in the week) I thought we could all use this forum to say hello, if you like, and share some thoughts on why you are here, and what the Slow Fashion Fabric Swap means to you. There is absolutely no obligation to speak up, please do not feel any pressure. I am sure there will be some among you who have much to say, and others who do not. I also know well, from personal experience, that many who Make land somewhere on the Introversion scale. This space is quiet and safe, and by it's nature, protective. We are out of the glare of Social Media here. You can share ideas and thoughts from a safe distance. We are a like-minded group, warm, open, and supportive. I myself am curious what you all think about your fabric consumption, your stashes, why you buy, what you make, or don't make from what you buy. How does fabric come into your stash? From stores, from online, from thrift stores? Do you buy often? Rarely? Someplace between? How does it feel to sew from your stash? What's in there?

Look at all that striped jersey! So many Hemlock's just waiting to be made.....

Look at all that striped jersey! So many Hemlock's just waiting to be made.....

Shirting fabric.

Shirting fabric.

More shirting fabric. Make some damn shirts already.....

More shirting fabric. Make some damn shirts already.....

To start off the conversation I will say that I have what I think of as a lot of fabric. I imagine that if I sewed up every piece of garment fabric I own I could make myself two completely new wardrobes. They might be a bit imbalanced with way more shirts and dresses or skirts, based on types of fabric in there, but I would still have plenty of pants, and jeans. Plus at least one wool coat, and various jackets, some underwear, and even a couple of swimsuits.... It has been my habit to buy cuts of fabric without a particular plan in mind of what to sew up with them. My default position is to buy three yards because I can make many things from that size cut. Or at least that's what I tell myself. To share a small corner of my personal neurosis, I will say that a three yard cut of fabric can cause me much anxiety and frustration. To be honest there are only a few dresses I can make from 3 yards. Learned that the hard way.  I can certainly make a shirt. An Archer takes me about 2 1/2 yards, although with wider fabrics I can squeeze one from less.  But what do I do with the leftover fabric? I can make various skirts from 3 yards, and, recently, a pair of Lander pants (my newest pattern obsession). But is the fabric in question right for any of these patterns? Will it be a successful garment that I will wear, from the 3 yards at hand?  Well, therein lays my neurosis.  Because you know what? Buying a new piece of fabric is easier. It is the promise of clarity, of certain fulfillment, of  'the' solution to my wardrobe issue. I can agonize over certain pieces of fabric, endlessly turning over potential pattern possibilities in my head until I am completely paralyzed by indecision.  But buying is less often that agonizing. Ooh pretty, click, mailman.... 

I always want to make the best use of my fabric, with as little waste as possible, and with the best chance of the garment made being worn regularly. Just choosing the correct combination of fabric and pattern can stop me in my tracks. But ultimately wouldn't it better to solve this conundrum than to spend more money, buying a something new?  How about you?  Is it easy for you to pair up fabric and pattern?  Do you have pieces of fabric in your stash that you have NO idea what to sew with? Pieces that you bought for a purpose that you can no longer remember? Pieces you bought for patterns that no longer interest you? Or fit your style? Is it easier to buy new than to use what you have? Shall we begin there? How does it go, sewing from your stash.....?

SP Pink Hadley, blue Liv (1 of 1).jpg
SP Yellow Hadley (1 of 1).jpg
SP tan Liv State te Label smock (1 of 1).jpg

Some pictures from last week, when I was feeling pretty good about sewing choices. The pink is my Hadley muslin in rayon from the stash, with my Liv Light cardi that I wear often. The yellow is my 2nd Hadley in linen from the stash. The blue is my STATE the label Indigo smock over a recently made Lark T, and my other Liv Light cardi that I also wear often. Under are either Ginger jeans or new Landers.... The Hadley is a good pattern for me, and I have many cuts of fabric in the stash that would work wonderfully in this pattern....

Oh, and if you are not part of the SFFS that does not exclude you from the conversation!  Join us!  If there is interest and demand I will run another Swap in the future....!

Slow Stitching Retreat, August 2017

Slow Stitching Retreat, August 2017