On doing laundry

I was doing laundry just now and it got me thinking. (I hate doing laundry so when I do, it usually takes so long, that I have a lot of extra time to think)

My husband has the exact same wardrobe (give or take a few pieces which had to be replaced) as when I met him 5 years ago. I bought him some new pairs of jeans because the old ones wore out or he gained a few pounds and needed new ones. He got a few new t-shirts to replace others. I even had to force him into buying new shoes because he had been wearing the other pair since before I met him.

When I look at my wardrobe I don´t think I can name a piece of clothing that I owned for more than 5 years. Maybe one cardigan, which I love to pieces and I refuse to let go off. But all the rest of my clothes are still relatively new. I could say this is due to getting pregnant and my changed body afterwards but this would only be part of the story. The biggest part is due to the fact that I learned how to sew 4 years ago. I took up sewing because I needed a hobby and because I usually don´t fit into RTW, but it sucked me into a downward spiral of making clothes and discarding them just as fast.

I´d love to say that I make clothes so poor children shouldn´t but the thing is that all this waste of fabric can´t be environmentally healthy, something I´m usually quite aware of in other aspects of my life.

The problem is that I constantly feel like I have nothing to wear (I know, sounds like a typical woman problem) so I make new things, but it has to go so fast that I don´t have/take the time to create pieces I absolutely adore.

I wanted to make clothes so I wouldn´t have to buy them anymore and I hoped it would save me some money. We all know that this is bullshit. Once you get the habit of buying fabric, you don´t stop, because you need a stash. And now that I have a stash and I know how to sew, I don´t want to buy clothes because I feel I could do it better/cheaper myself.

But when I bought clothes, the pieces were (more or less) carefully considered and I loved them more.

So how do I fix this?

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12 thoughts on “On doing laundry

  1. I don’t make as much clothing for myself as I’d like to, but i always think about how the finished piece will make me feel. Always going for happy as an answer.
    I used to rush through making a garment, but recently I’ve discovered that I love taking my time and putting in the effort.
    The items that take more time get worn a lot more and stay in rotation. The not-quite-there pieces: not so much.
    Nowadays I always muslin what I make and I don’t stop trying untill I’m completely happy with fit.
    I often remake the same pattern in a different fabric, that helps too.
    You can do it! If you’d like, I’m always here to help!

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  2. THIS. THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS!!! Yes! My husband still has clothes from 8th grade (which are deteriorating rapidly, but still!) and I have some t-shirts from college that are starting to show their age (they’re dated, literally), but most of my stuff is fairly new. That said, I don’t have a lot of clothes, even still. I used to have so many things that I made that I would find a teensy flaw in and would just donate. My stash is fairly full of fabric, my time is more sparse than ever, and my closet is empty. Every time I try to shop for clothes I’m too snobby to actually buy anything (because why should I? I can make it myself! *snort*), and while I’m not able to afford to shop at high end stores, I am grateful for places like Walmart and Kohl’s that offer clothes that are cute and within my budget–should I need them. But I’m also frustrated at the lack of inexpensive (yet durable!) fabrics available. The biggest reason my closet is empty is because the things that I have made and wear are worn out so quickly. This is frustrating–my sewing isn’t meant to be “disposable”!

    Sorry, that was a bit rambly, but I had all the thoughts, feels, and agreements with what you said. 🙂

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    1. I feel the same! Somehow the stuff I make seems to be wearing out much faster! It’s constructed better but the quality of the fabric is lacking! And I completely agree with the snobby thing and the not able to afford higher end stores!

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  3. This might not be the answer you’re looking for, but: do you put your clothes in a dryer?

    We use the dryer for towels, sheets, kitchen linens, and the scrubs my husband wears to work. Almost everything else is hung up to dry unless (it’s rare) we need a piece of clothing RIGHT NOW.

    I wash things I’m worried about on the gentle cycle in the washing machine, but rarely hand wash anything.

    I’m not sure if this will solve your particular problem, but it might help your hand mades last a little longer (and your store-boughts…)

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    1. Most of the time I put everything in the dryer, only because I don’t have time to line dry everything AND weather here tends to be very wet and unpredictable. For example, it rained every day during the month of June. And drying the washing inside makes everything damp and unhealthy.

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  4. When I started sewing I bought every fabric I liked, regardless of quality, content and even of the fact if I would ever like to actually wear that fabric. I just wanted to have it. But with time and some things made that I never wore and others that I wore some times but just didn’t like it occured to me that quality matters. So, I stopped buying every fabric I liked and set myself some requirementsthat every fabric I buy needs to fulfill. And it helped a lot with producing garments I really like and wear a lot.
    Of course it’s more expensive, some times, but as I stopped buying conventional pruduced RTW as well (some time before starting to sew) it’s still more affordable than that.
    Furthermore I let go of the thought that I have to sew every piece of clothes I wear myself! I still buy some things that I really love and all in all it made for a wardrobe with some sturdy, long staying garments mixed with some that stay only some time (on both sides, selfmade and RTW). Every year in December I sort out everything that I didn’t wear once during that year, so my wardrobe is rather “small” and that helped me in loving what I have, too.
    Still, the amount of things I produce is sometimes questional and for that I really have no idea how to change that at all…

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    1. Clearing out my wardrobe once a year based on what I haven’t worn sounds like a good plan. I hold an occassional purge but it’s never based wearing it or not, I always end up regretting some of the pieces. For instance, when I lost the baby weight with my eldest, I threw away all my ‘fat’ clothes because they were way too big. Didn’t realise at the time that I might need them again with a second baby! So I’m back to not having any clothes to wear…

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  5. I’ve been thinking about the exact same thing. Every season I donate the clothes that I haven’t worn, and every season it’s quite a big pile. Lately, that pile has been mostly me-mades. I sew to fill gaps in my wardrobe but at the same time, the gap isn’t going anywhere. I find the issues to be in three categories: style, fitting and fabric.
    Fabric is one that is likely to solve itself as I grow as a seamstress. I now have a better understanding of which fibres I like to handle and wear (no more poly, everrrrr) and which fabrics work for which type of project.
    Fitting is a bigger problem. I don’t usually have the patience for muslins; I want to work on things I’ll actually wear! Of course, that’s the reasoning that leads to mistakes in the first place. Something to work on.
    And then there’s style, and this is the tough one to me. I love all the indies out there but I do let myself get blinded by their pretty aesthetic, disregarding my own style. Or my day-to-day clothing habits, for that matter. My uniform nowadays is a pair of skinnies and a flowy tee (or a button-up shirt in winter). So why would I need another 50s-inspired dress? I’m now trying to focus on sewing things that fit into my uniform. Although, come to think of it … The last few weeks I’ve made nothing but maxi dresses. Oops. 🙂

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  6. New to your blog but had some thoughts. I’ve been thinking a lot of the same things that you put to words in this post. RTW fit me ok before i had kids, but now it’s really hard for me to find anything that looks decent. So I do sew most of my own clothes at this time. But I also have discarded a lot of the things I’ve sewn, and honestly I think fabric stashing is, for me, the root of the problem. Because the fabrics that attract me in yardage form are often not the same fabrics that I am drawn to in garment form. And since I stash, I always feel like I have to sew from stash. Btu then I sew things that aren’t really my style or that don’t go with anything in my closet. I think that this would all work out better if I were WAY more restrained in my fabric choices. Or perhaps just shopped by project. Yeah …

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    1. Yes! This! I have the exact same problem with my stash! Like, I bought lots of pretty viscose (rayon challis) and fluid poly’s but that’s not what I normally wear and I don’t like to sew/fit wovens! So my stash doesn’t inspire me and I buy more and I’m persuaded by other pretty fabrics that I don’t wear!

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  7. I agree, that’s a bit of a conundrum! I have a lot more clothes than I need and I sew a lot more clothes than I need, just because I enjoy the creative process. This means I do buy very little, but of course I buy lots of fabric and I’m not kidding myself that this might be any more sustainable than normal RTW shopping. Of course the answer is clear: I should sew less. If only doing the right thing could mean doing the pleasant thing…

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