Grandma’s report – making my own clothes, is it possible?

I have always wanted to make clothes that I liked to wear, was inspired by others, especially when I could not afford to buy them.

I tried many times: I learned how to create patterns and sew clothes, how to knit and crochet.

I failed in the end. Why? For different reasons – lack of time with a busy schedule and small kids, lack of energy due to demanding jobs and homelife, failure to complete the project, sickness, life in general.

DIY clothing project gone wrong. Image from pinterest

DIY clothing project gone wrong. Image from pinterest

The most important factor was due to lack of practice and experience: I could not produce a garment in the desired style, shape, or finish, and was unable to find or choose good quality fabric or yarn best-suited for the job.

I realized that production of my own clothes is too complex and advanced for me. Such discovery discouraged me even more.

Growing animals or plants for fiber, making fabrics and yarn, designing and producing clothing – all of this is very time consuming, requires in-depth knowledge, machinery, and skilled people. Each fiber has its own demands and produces different outcomes; limited and expensive supply of healthy fiber does not make it easier.

How can we as consumers help ourselves and the fashion industry?

Can we play any substantial role in making sustainable and organic garments, beddings, and other daily-use fabrics?

Why don’t we, each of us, add 5 cents of positive energy and care to the entire supply chain: starting from the farm, then manufacturing, shipping, dyeing, and all other lengthy processes and steps of the clothing industry? Why don’t we demand proper labels, similar to food labels, where all (hopefully organic) ingredients and all (hopefully ethical) production sites are listed by name? Is this too much to ask for?

Do we care enough to ask for it? Can we help by saying what we think?

Do we as consumers have the right to visit and audit producers at their plantations and their manufacturing facilities? Why aren’t we allowed? Are they hiding something from us? Is their production harmful to us consumers? Is it run ethically? We know the answers most of the time, but seeing is believing. Seeing brings solutions and changes. A picture is worth a thousand words, and it can help those poor employees that are losing their lives for our likings and fashion trends. Our vigilant eyes might improve working conditions at least from visit to visit for the start. It might pressure big industry players finally to do the right thing in the right way. They are not helpless; they just don’t care. We should care; we should demand ethical production from them.

In an another TED talk, Designer Suzanne Lee is talking about growing our own clothes. She shares her experiments in growing a material called kombucha; that can be used for making clothing. The potential of growing our clothes from the material which can be used like fabric or vegetable leather. The sustainable concept of using natural materials to make product is simply amazing and mind-blowing.

In an another TED talk, Designer Suzanne Lee is talking about growing our own clothes. She shares her experiments in growing a material called kombucha; that can be used for making clothing. The potential of growing our clothes from the material which can be used like fabric or vegetable leather. The sustainable concept of using natural materials to make product is simply amazing and mind-blowing.

Maybe, just maybe, we could help… Can ordinary people have any voice in these matters at all?

I wrote this all quickly, and when reading it back I realized it’s just my dreaming.

However, we can’t give up on our dreams. We have a moral obligation to speak up and demand change!

Unless we shout, scream, and persistently demand, nobody will listen to us. For the factory owners, it is all about business: “business as usual” as if all bad things happening in entire textile and fashion industry were not enough.

We must all raise our voices and demands. We must not leave it alone, not turn blind eye on it just for the sake of our own “easy, affordable and convenient shopping style”.

I hope we, consumers, can understand very soon how much depends on us; we still can help and add our 5 cents to change it. Any small amount will count, any small change in our buying patterns will immediately resonate in the industry. Imagine what would happen if each of us could drop one garment from our shopping lists each month, a garment that is unnecessary, something we have several of at home, an item that will not last a few months. This will make a huge difference. The more of us will do it, the better for us – daily consumers of unhealthy, cheaply made, yet very costly garments!!! The real change has to come with real action. Why not start now with this small, yet annoying (to the manufacturers) “drop of water”?

Am I dreaming again? I hope not!

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