In recent years, the fashion industry has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact, prompting individuals to seek more sustainable alternatives. One such option is sewing your own clothing. But is this approach truly more sustainable?
Reduced Environmental Footprint:
According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the apparel industry is one of the largest polluters globally, contributing significantly to water pollution, carbon emissions, and waste accumulation. Sewing your own garments allows for greater control over the materials used, potentially reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation, packaging, and manufacturing processes.
Fabric Selection and Sustainability:
Choosing sustainable fabrics is key. Eco-friendly options like organic cotton, hemp, linen, and Tencel are gaining popularity due to their lower environmental impact. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition suggests that the environmental benefits of using such fabrics include reduced water usage, fewer pesticides, and improved soil health compared to conventional fabrics.
Other options include tailoring thrift store finds, using deadstock, or using thrifted fabrics to make new garments. Social media sites, like Reddit, also have groups committed to fabric swaps to help reduce waste.
Using biodegradable fabrics, such as wool, linen and cotton also play a part in the health of the planet as they do not contribute to microplastics in our environment.
Mitigating Fast Fashion's Impact:
The fast fashion industry, known for its rapid turnover of trends and low-cost clothing, contributes massively to textile waste. By sewing your own clothing, you can create pieces that align with personal style rather than current trends.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months can reduce carbon, water, and waste footprints by 20-30%. Creating higher quality garments that last will also reduce the overall waste produced with clothing, instead of ordering on Shin or other fast fashion sites, choose clothing or sewing fabric that will last longer.
Personalized, Quality Garments:
Crafting your wardrobe allows for customization, ensuring proper fit and durability. This can lead to a stronger emotional connection with your clothes, potentially discouraging excessive shopping (we do not support the stereotype of fabric hoarding on this site). Research published in the Journal of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management suggests that a shift towards personalized, well-made garments might promote a more sustainable fashion culture.
Keep in mind that overbuying fabric is just as bad as overbuying clothing. Buy what you need for your next make, and use it. Instead of hoarding a mass amount of fabric you'll never use.
Learning Curve and Resources:
While sewing your own clothing offers sustainability benefits, there are considerations. Learning to sew proficiently demands time, practice, and resources. That's why we are committed to providing easy to follow tutorials to help you get started on your sewing journey. Start with easy to sew projects while you are learning such as our Pillow Kit or try making something simple like a Circle skirt, or Pajama pants.
Sewing your own clothing is a viable pathway to a sustainable wardrobe (with some nods to thrifts and tailoring what you have). Through mindful fabric selection, personalized creations, and mitigating the environmental impact of fast fashion, you can contribute positively to reducing the fashion industry's ecological footprint.
While challenges still exist in terms of skill acquisition and resources, the long-term environmental benefits and the potential for fostering a deeper connection with your clothing make home sewing an increasingly attractive option for those seeking a more sustainable approach to fashion.
- Environmental Science & Technology: "The Environmental Cost of Fast Fashion" - (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.9b07446)
- Sustainable Apparel Coalition - (https://apparelcoalition.org/)
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation - (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/)
- Journal of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management: "A Framework for Sustainable Fashion" - (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273226303_A_Framework_for_Sustainable_Fashion)