Slow Fashion October, Week 3: Handmade

This week’s Slow Fashion October prompt went in a lot of different directions, so we each chose our favorite and wrote our take on it.

How do you understand your style, choose projects well, advance your skills, get the right fit, and keep things interesting and long-lasting at the same time. What are your go-to patterns and most successful garments. How do you avoid mindless acquisition of yarn and fabric, or making “too much.” How do you make time and space for making — and why?

Rachel’s Take

How do you keep things interesting and long-lasting at the same time?

I’ve never been into fashion or fashion trends.  The closest I get is getting excited when something knit-wear related goes into fashion, like how it is now acceptable to show off your socks over your leggings in your boots in the winter.  Hell to the yes, I will do that.  I build my wardrobe around what I like and what works for me.  My style might evolve over time, but it doesn’t change drastically year to year and the same wardrobe can carry me through many seasons.  Like I mentioned last week, I don’t get rid of things when I get bored of them, only when they get worn out beyond repair or no longer fit.  I rarely get bored of my wardrobe, but when I do, usually adding a piece or two that can work with several other things I already own can work wonders.

The cowl neck top I sewed the other week, blogged here, actually helped bring a pair of black slacks that I hadn’t worn in two years back into my rotation because I thought it looked good with them.  It also looks good with my jeans and with a black skirt I already own.  I mentioned in that post that I think it would work well with a black pencil skirt, but keeping me from making one is the fact that I don’t think I have much else in my closet that would go well with a black pencil skirt.  If I determine that I can get more than one or two outfits from a new skirt, maybe I will add one.

Adding a couple pieces in a season really does help revitalize my wardrobe and make it last longer and stay interesting, but I really don’t get bored with my clothes easily.  I’ve just never been a person who cared that much about them.

Amanda’s Take

How do you avoid mindless acquisition of yarn and fabric, or making “too much.”

I actually want to focus on the last portion of this prompt, as I think it misses the point a bit. The purpose of slow fashion is to not be fast, not the avoidance of material objects. I think conflating the handmade movement with minimalism is the wrong idea. 

There’s nothing inherently bad about owning items you love, even lots of them. I understand wanting to avoid the featureless conglomeration of “stuff” because it smacks of waste and frivolity, but I don’t believe there’s any such thing as “making ‘too much’. ” 

There’s a lot of self-conscious “stuff” avoidance in the crafting community and I’m taking a firm stance against it. Everything to do with crafting requires equipment and materials and there is absolutely nothing wrong with owning the tools required to create items to be proud of. The point is to avoid waste, not to avoid things. 

Debbie’s Take

How do you make time and space for making — and why?

Time that I spend crafting is time well spent. It’s productive and there’s usually something to show for it at the end. I really dislike the feeling I get when I’ve spent a lot of time doing “nothing”. Be it watching tv, playing video games, or surfing the net…I just feel like I’ve wasted time that I could have spent doing something productive. That being said, I still do all of these things, because you can’t be productive 100% of the time!

I usually end up compromising on the weekends. I want to spend time playing games and watching football, but I don’t want to get that “wasted” feeling. I’ll set a limit on the amount of time I can play Guild Wars 2, and then spend a certain amount of time doing something else. So I can play GW2 for two hours, and then I have to spend at least an hour doing something productive. This usually includes cleaning and cooking, but with the purchase of the sewing machine, it’s finally included crafting. I very rarely knit at home as I am so used to my setup at work that it’s hard on my shoulders/wrists to knit elsewhere.

Crafting time is also time I can spend to get into a better headspace. I can focus on the task on hand and not think about whatever it is I don’t want to think about. Throw all of my attention on the crafting and the rest of the world goes away. So it’s important to make time for this so I can ‘reset’ every once in a while. Knitting doesn’t usually do this very well because I multitask like none other when I knit. But sewing, especially right now with being so new, is something I really have to pay attention to.