I don’t know when or what got me interested in “slow fashion”, ten years ago when I bought my first organic fabrics, the term didn’t even existed, it’s been a gradual process I suppose.
I have fond memories of the clothes my mum sewed for me, from childhood to my twenties; in fact I just remembered that my mum made the two pairs of work trousers I brought when I first arrived in Scotland, eleven years ago . In my teens i attempted to make clothes for myself, sometimes with my mum’s help, sometimes not, but sewing, crochet and knitting is something that has always been present in my life.
I also asked my mum to teach me to knit, she only knows the Portuguese way, and if you know anything at all about that method is that purling is easier than the knit stitch, so I only learnt that. I made a big huge red scarf and that was that. I was always much more confident with crochet but I prefer the knitting fabric, besides Portugal is quite a hot country, so making clothes from wool it was something I started only eight years ago When I became pregnant with my first born. I must have commented to my partner that I must make things for our baby and one day he brought home a present for me, it was a book with baby patterns! Since for him knitting and crochet must look like the same thing, the book he bought was knitting, not crochet, I decided then that this time I would learn to knit, and so i did! At the time I didn’t know about the different styles of knitting so I struggled a little with the instructions, and somehow found a way to do knit stitch with a style I now believe to be “flicking” and to purl the Portuguese way, nowadays I still knit this way, but I have also learnt to knit and purl in both styles!
Of course that at the same time my mum was making me clothes I also bought a few things in the shops, but I hate shopping, even more than my mums sessions in trying clothes, she is a perfectionist, so she would measure things over and over, and to me at the time it seemed such a burden, now however I understand how much time that must have saved her! I asked my mum to make me clothes because I valued the handmade items and because she could do exactly the styles I wanted, not because of a conscious decision against the social implications of the “fast” fashion.
Today my wardrobe consists mostly of clothes that I have bought at the charity shops, with which I have a love/hate relationships, something for another post perhaps. When I can’t find what I need at the charity shops, or don’t have time to wait, I try to find items on sale from brands that I want to buy from, like People Tree and of course, some old clothes too. I’m afraid that I don’t have as many handmade items as I used to…
As a full time home-educating mother of children aged seven and under, on a low income and saving for a big dream, what I find the most difficult is to find a balance on the children’s clothes. When they were little it was easy to find clothes in the charity shops, or hand me downs, but as they grow older it’s increasingly difficult to buy them clothes in second hand, and so the dilemma starts.
On one hand we are saving for a big life change, on the other there are all the environment and social costs that comes with cheap clothes. Besides there is another thing to balance, between the never ending to do list , the stress and pressure that comes with trying to make clothes for the children, they grow so fast that is hard to keep up; When I think that I have nailed it, they grow a bit more, clothes no longer fit, and so it starts all over again… I would like to take time this month to give more thought to this issues. So probably this month I will be focusing more on their wardrobe rather than mine, I might start by posting a realistic (not!) to do list, since the last time I did that, it helped a lot!