The Cost Of Clothing

What is the cost of clothing?

There are so many dimensions to this question. There is the monetary cost of material, labor and design, as well as the political cost when cheap labor and/or hazardous materials are used in production. In some ways there is a social price we pay since fashion can be used to highlight or disguise us in a world of snap judgments. However, no matter how much we don’t like it we all have to wear clothes and they generally wear out.

The sewing community has taken this cycle and flipped it on its head. We’ve taken complete control over every aspect of our garments. We decide who will supply the design and materials and inject our own creativity. It’s up to us if we choose to use local, national, or international resources, and sometimes we look no further than our own imagination and skill. We put so much of ourselves and time into the things we make that there is an emotional cost as well, (if you don’t believe me, just try to throw away your handmade items).


I thought a nice project for the holidays would be to see the various ways we can sew. Does it have to be an expensive hobby? I’m going to take several different routes to make clothes and post the costs, as well as lots of pictures, here.

There will be:

An heirloom piece, made with the finest material and specialty designer;

A midrange piece with new fabric from a discount fabric store and basic pattern;

Finally a cost effective piece, with either up-cycled or free material, and the design coming from who knows where.

The point is to weigh all the costs of clothing. Who knows, maybe there is no difference between the final clothes, or perhaps I’ll discover the hidden costs are very heavy. I’d love for others to join in their own projects, or just to check back in with me.

Happy Holidays and happy sewing!

Cost Of Clothing: Penny Pinching

Cost Of Clothing: The Middle Way

Cost Of Clothing: Special Occasion

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11 thoughts on “The Cost Of Clothing

  1. I love this idea. What a great way to be mindful when we sew. It struck me when you mentioned not being able to throw out the pieces we have made. Each time I go through the clothes my children have outgrown, I usually only save the pieces I made myself. My mother did the same. When I had my own babies, my mother passed down the garments that she made for me. Every time I dressed a baby in a handmade item made specifically for me or my child, it brought such joy. To this day, I still find happiness when one of my kids wears something I made for them. It also makes them feel special having something MADE by someone they love just for him or her. In fact, even items I made for myself are my favorites. I never tire of wearing my favorite knitted socks which make me feel happy as soon as I put them on. I wear them on days when I’m feeling blue and need something to brighten my day. Thanks for taking the time to share this idea.

    • Wow, your comment is the best compliment I’ve had in a while. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Also it’s nice to know, for sure, I’m not the only one with a closet of hand made things…even if they don’t for anymore 🙂 As you said there is always the next generation.

  2. Reblogged this on loveroflifestories and commented:
    I never really considered all the “costs” of sewing or making clothes. This blog has made me think – and I always appreciate an idea which makes me reconsider something In a new way.

    The sentiment reminds me of my desire to make presents. I like the idea of using my time and talents to make something for someone. I especially like to make presents for my children’s teachers. I hold teachers in such esteem. They stand in my place for the hours the kids are with them. Not only are they teaching my children academics, but also they provide structure and safety and comfort to the people I love most during the hours they spend together. I could go on forever. In short, I like to spend time using my hands creating something for them. It’s my way of showing my gratitude and appreciation for all they do.

    To sum it up, I’m glad to be mindful of my hobby and all the costs and benefits that come along with it.

  3. I’m so glad to have brightened your day. You really made me think today and I really appreciate that. I am determined to keep this intention as I make Christmas presents this season. Thank you for sharing. – Eileen

  4. Love this post! With three little boys I struggle to think about those little ones forced into child labour ; it breaks my heart. So we try to shop ethically, or sew with ethical fabrics or, my favourite, thrifted fabrics. You will often see my boys in hammer pants made from vintage cot sheets, shorts made from teatowels, leggings made from old tshirts. I love your idea of the emotional costs, too. This makes perfect sense to me! Lovely blog, glad you found me, so I could find you. Hannah xx

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