some clothes go some clothes stay – and bag finish

 In 1900, 15% of a US household’s income was spent on clothing. In 1950, it was still 12%. Even as late as the early 1990s, major purchases of clothing – a suit, a dress, a coat – marked a special occasion or a rite of passage. But by 2004, the total amount spent by households on clothes had dropped to just 4%. By 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, clothing cost the average American family only $1,700 (£1,017), 2.8% of their income. And for that money the consumer gets much more. Cheap no longer means nasty; it just means affordable. In 1997, the average woman in the UK bought 19 items of clothing a year; in 2007, she bought 34. (taken from Guardian article)

In 1997 I probably bought 2 or 3 new garments a year as I was just out of college and still happily shopping in Charity shops, by 2007 I know I probably bought about 12 new items of clothing per year.   I know that one was a cream summer coat which is now in a clear out bag – the fabric is unusual – there is a matt metallic thread in the weave and the fabric seems to have deteriorated and scratches my neck I am unsure should I put it to a charity shop (but then it would just scratch someone elses neck) or make a shopping bag (with cotton handles)…..

In the last year I bought zero new ….. and this was sparked by a few reasons

  •  the who made my clothes campaign -. there was a bit of ‘become the change’ about this, and it is now easier for me to not buy new – but I don’f feel bound by this, but it just happens that I have not bought any new clothes since January 2014 and in general I prefer it this way.  I am due a new pair of jeans and will either make or have to look up ethical manufacturers………………..any suggestions welcome (I used get Oasis Eva – and Oasis score 7 out of 20 on some ethical rankings)
  • I became more conscious of the quality and choice in the stores and what was on offer was no longer that relevant to me.  A lot of times I did not like the colour choice on offer and would choose a charcoal version of a style and feel drab as a result, sometimes the hem length seemed to be at the wrong point, the waist seams sitting incorrectly…. I am now consciously remaking my wardrobe and having it function better for me!
  •  fun – once I started remaking, it became a incredibly addictive.  There is plenty to choose from in colour and fabric in the charity shops,  as well as the fabric having proved its wearing ability and colour fastness! The challenge of the remake proved to be a lot more interesting than using new fabric, I am having to make a conscious effort to use stash.  When I started the blog it was just to see how the idea progressed.  I have enjoyed blogging as it did keep me focused and somehow I felt required to finish anything I started and post each week.  Any comments I received I am grateful for as I don’t know many home-sewers anymore so it is good to feel somewhat connected with other makers.

I don’t know what other people organise their wardrobes, in the spring I generally pack away winter sweaters too early and take out summer clothes too soon. My wardrobe is not especially big, and the two drawers on the lower right tend to be out of season clothes storage. As I pack clothes for storage, I tend to review them both ways and sometimes some are too worn out, too small, and have to go. Others stay and some possible shouldn’t, but these three have proved to be perennials… (in my wardrobe for over 10 years!)

The Smock – 

I got this when I was 14, and wore it most summers till I was 26 or so.  I can’t remember when but I noticed, but  it had  2 small holes at the shoulder and arm, so it went to my sewing basket for repair………..and stayed.  Last year, I have looked at the tiny holes again and a repair may not work, so I think I may just wear it this summer again and wear it out or figure a new fate for it.  The main endearing quality of this top and why it stayed, is the bat wing sleeve and it was the template for my first home-made pattern.

The Blouse – 
I got this in my 20s, and my sister couldn’t believe I still had this one (as she used wear it as well).  I got this when I first started working, and when I went back to college I temped and wore it then too.  It launders a dream.  Soon after buying it, (and while I still doing interviews to get a job), I ironed it, and scorched it, and repaired it.  It tucks into skirts so the repair is never seen and now I see this as part of the blouses history.  It remains in ‘back up’ clothes storage as it is still potentially useful (as if!) – but  in reality – the main reason I cannot put it to the charity shop is that I am sure they will put it straight in a bin due to the repair (and that seems wasteful – so my dilemma continues.)

The Kimono –

I got this about 12 years ago and love it still. .  I was barely able to afford it but got it regardless,  I just felt so gorgeous when I tried it on – and I didn’t regret getting it.    It’s from Oasis vintage range (copied vintage finds with a little label on the history, this is based a Shanghai flea market find).  Its printed silk, and embroidered in places with ‘gold’ thread, and I wear it with jeans (and fake snake skin boots), and its due an outing again soon…………..

I thought I would post these to make some contribution to fashion revolution day, the label on the smock is so faded I don’t know where it was made, and the other 2 are European made.  I have been checking a lot of the labels in my wardrobe and those up for the refashions and only one was Bangladesh .  I think its so significant that the fashion revolution events are staged as it shows how disposable low-quality fast fashion takes the quality of life away from the workers in these factories, and exposes them to risks I cannot contemplate, and conditions I would not wish on anyone.  The environmental impact of the dyes and fabric manufacturing cannot be overlooked either.  I hope the momentum of fashion revolution day leads to the bigger movement of a  bigger commitment for  fashion companies to take responsibility for the supply chain, better pay and conditions for the workers and the negative impact to the environment.

On another note……..
I finally finished the yy bag from February.  I had gotten eyelets probably a bit large, but also with no tool – so had to improvise with a pliers, and hammer – the rivets are 5mm stem screw in (much handier).  I used a charity shop belt . Road tested bag straight away – love this bag already!

2 thoughts on “some clothes go some clothes stay – and bag finish

  1. Kazza says:

    I can definitely relate to what you say as follows:

    I have enjoyed blogging as it did keep me focused and somehow I felt required to finish anything I started and post each week. Any comments I received I am grateful for as I don't know many home-sewers anymore so it is good to feel somewhat connected with other makers.

    It is like finding your own tribe when you start connecting with other like-minded bloggers. We may not be re-making the same things the same way but you can always be inspired by each others creativity.

    Thank you Eimear for sharing with RUDE [reusers of unloved discarded excess]


  2. Eimear Greaney says:

    Thanks Kazza – absolutely, some years ago I was having a drink in a local here and I was saying to someone that the great thing about life is as you go through life you get to meet more and more like-minded and inspiring people ……… and her laconic reply was 'water finds water'! that was nice neckline you did on that top btw – and i have filed it away in my own head to try sometime.


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