If you’ve been following along the past couple of months, you’ve probably heard me mention that I recently learned to sew. I’ve always wanted to learn, and of course it helps that we already have a sewing machine + table in the house. Throughout the process, sewing made me think a lot about fashion, the clothes we wear, etc., so I figured, what better way to share these insights than in a blog post? I hope you enjoy!
But first, some background. I made today’s outfit!!! My aunt helped me with cutting the pattern and during a few WhatsApp video calls, but other than that, I did the sewing all by myself. I knew I wanted to make a “matching set” for my first real project, as I had been seeing several cute loungewear sets throughout quarantine and into the summer (i.e. cute pajamas that have now been made socially acceptable to wear outside the house).
As much as I love this turquoise dotted fabric from JoAnn’s, the set does feel and look like pajamas in my opinion… So I felt a little sheepish as I went outside to take these blog photos, in white platform espadrilles, no less. But! As I was heading outside, a woman in the elevator commented, “I love your outfit! So fun.” To which I replied, “Thank you so much! I actually sewed it myself.” She was very impressed and even noticed the matching scrunchie on my wrist, which was greatly pleasing to me (yes, I made a scrunchie out of the fabric scraps. I wanted to make a matching mask, too, but it’s not the recommended kind of fabric). Needless to say, that interaction made me feel a little more comfortable about my look, but I’m still not sure if I would actually wear it out of the house. What do you think? Maybe it’d look less weird with white sneakers.
Anyway, it took me a very long time to make this tee and shorts set. The short legs are slightly different lengths, the collar of the shirt is a little funky, and I definitely cropped the tee shorter than I had wanted (I swear I measured twice!). But aside from those beginner mistakes, I’m really pleased with how the set turned out. As my mom said, “It’s impressive you actually made something wearable for your first try!” Ha!
Now, onto a few things that learning to sew has taught me about fashion:
- I should give a lot more slack to the people on Project Runway (I spent a lot of the summer binging old Project Runway episodes on Hulu). I used to get really annoyed when the hems weren’t straight as the models walked down the runway, and even more annoyed when the judges wouldn’t comment on the unevenness. But now I understand. Sewing is SO difficult! And the fact that the contestants do what they do in the time allotted is incredible… I wouldn’t even be able to line up and cut a pattern in the two days given for a challenge, let alone make the hems perfectly straight.
- Now knowing the very basics of sewing, it makes me look at clothes differently every time I get dressed in the morning. Something doesn’t fit right… Am I capable of altering it myself? Oh, look at that kind of stitch… Do I know how to do that? For the record, the answer to these questions is almost always “no”. Which brings me to…
- I have so much more respect for things that are “well-made” now. I never really understood what that concept meant before starting my sewing adventure, but after making something myself (not well, I might add), I can see how much additional effort and attention to detail would be required for a garment to be considered well-made. All the seams of patterned fabric would have to line up exactly, all the stitching would have to be perfectly straight, all the seams would have to be perfectly pressed to eliminate unwanted bulk (notice that I did not do this in the collar), the list goes on and on.
- Lastly, making my own outfit really made me consider the fast fashion industry and the labor that goes into making clothing. I never shop at stores where the garments are concerningly cheap because of what the prices imply about the labor used (for example, SheIn and Forever 21), but of course I still have so much work to do to learn about this industry and the stores I shop at. To say sewing is backbreaking work sounds dramatic, but after just a few hours of sewing, my back really would ache from being hunched over the machine. It baffled me that clothes in general can be sold so inexpensively, after I spent hours and hours making a subpar, very basic t-shirt and shorts. Not to mention, this fabric alone cost $36 for 3 yards, and that was the sale price—usually it would have been $50. And that price doesn’t even include the elastic for the waistband, the pattern, and the thread. In all, this top and pair of shorts cost about $24.50 each, whereas I could buy a similar matching set from a place like SheIn for only $10. Really gives ya’ some perspective!
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! Aside from cutting the pattern, I really love sewing and find the process very relaxing (except when I mess up, obviously). My next project is going to be an apron!
Do you usually notice the seams, fabrics, etc. of your clothing? Have you ever sewn anything before? Unfortunately, I have to spend the rest of the day writing an essay… but I might just cozy up in my matching set to do my work. Have a great Monday!
Miles of smiles,
Turquoise Dotted Tee: Made by ME, $24.50 | Turquoise Dotted Shorts: Made by ME, $24.50 | White Espadrilles: DSW, $45, buy HERE