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!