Now, if you've been following my blog, you know, I LOVE sewing. It's a great hobby. And now you will say "AH, I've caught you, do you really need to sew all these clothes? Aren't you spending a too big amount money on sewing? Couldn't you get the clothes elsewhere? And how can you say you are minimalist (which I am not, really) and make 18th century clothes?"
But sewing can be far more than a hobby where you just sew and sew and sew and sew. I admit, yes, the sewing machines and fabric are not cheap. But if you think about it properly, sewing clothes (apart from being pleasurable) offers lots of advantages.
1. You acquire skills. I actually learn something while making things, assuming I am challenging myself to new techniques, patterns, ... which I am doing. :)
2. You get to use those skills to preserve clothes - "make do and mend". And you get a feeling for fabrics and quality which will influence future purchases of ready-made clothes. You get a feeling for whether the price they ask for justified - or not!
3. You make clothes that fit you and are to your taste. You can have the luxury of "made-to-measure" garments. If you've ever worn clothes that are really well made and fit well, or even made to measure, you notice the difference. Also I make clothes for the children, which are cute, of better quality and meet their needs more. E.g. at the moment skinny jeans are all the rage... even for small children. I am not convinced it's fun to climb a tree in skinny jeans, are you?
4. You have complete controll over the manufacturing process - from the quality and fibre of the fabric to sewing. You can make it GOTS, you are your own ethical worker. You can get absolutely wonderful fabrics. And have you ever thought about how much your clothes would cost, if they were made from ethically made and environmentally-friendly materials? And assembled under ethically acceptable conditions? If you've ever made a garment yourself, you will get a glimpse of it. In reality, our cheap T-Shirt is paid for with somebody else's wages. Somebody who needs the money. *
5. As many hobbies that include handcrafts, it is incredibly satisfying to make clothes. Yes, it's that "I MADE THAT"-feeling. Also it is great of you see your skills (see above) improve and track your progress (e.g. with a blog...?!)
6. Denying myself a hobby would be crazy. I put money aside each month for personal use (about 25 Euros) so I control how much I spend on hobbies or luxuries. I can spend it on a massage, a visit to the hot springs, lots of ice-cream, shoes, fabric (the last two not until June 3rd 2017 year due to the "make and mend challenge"), ... Or I save it up for something that is more expensive than 25 Euros. And yes, historical clothing is not exactly practical in every day life. But it's part of my "I enjoy sewing"-hobby.
*I admit to you: I own basic H&M T-Shirts, too. They have most likely been made in a sweat shop. And I also can't control all of the fabrics on how ethically they were manufactured. But I think every little counts. If we all try to contribute just a little bit, we do make a difference. And I have another confession: I have a fabric stash. Just in case the world runs out of fabric, I can still continue sewing. I am working on it, though. Literally. :)
Here is an interesting paper on Ethical Consumption from the University of Freiburg (it's in English)
There are many blogs around from people that have been thinking about clothesmaking and ethics, too. Or enjoy making a lot of their own clothes. Or both. :)
Lovely challenge that resulted in the writer starting her own pattern company. And she does other cool stuff, too!! http://onlythesmall.blogspot.de/2010/08/new-challenge.html
A New Zealand based allround-talent with exceptionally good taste and a brilliant sense of humour. Also launched her own pattern line. http://thedreamstress.com/
Interesting article on how economical makeing your own clothes is. I would say, it's not cheap, but it's definitely worth it!
And last but not least, I came up with the "Make and Mend" Challenge