Dear friends of sustainable consumption, dear sewing friends,
I wanted to present you my sustainability report already in January, but something always got in the way. And now that it is ready, there is such terrible news from Eastern Europe that my own little world seems quite unimportant to me.
I am still stunned by this invasion of Ukraine, which is against international law, and my thoughts are with the people and especially the children who are now in great need.
So that I do not feel so helpless, I would like to link this appeal of the German clothing foundation here. There, everyone can send warm clothes in good condition, which will then be forwarded to those in need in Ukraine. There is also an account number for monetary donations.(Sorry, I don't have a English version from that link.)
However, I can't occupy myself with bad news all the time either. My own life has to be mastered. And clothing is an essential factor for me. Especially its sustainable use!
And this is where the circle closes. That's why I would like to start the new year just like the previous two with a sustainability review. And in the coming week I will have another look at what warm things I can send to the German clothing foundation. I was planning to send another box full anyway. But now I'll take a closer look at what I can give away in the most sensible way.
I'm sure you have some things that don't fit anymore or that you don't need anymore. I would be very happy if my article gives you the decisive push to act. So get to your closet and put them in the box for the German Clothes Foundation, which even offers a parcel label for free delivery.
And now to my sustainability balance:
For some years now, I have been asking myself how I can make my clothing and fabric consumption even more sustainable and nature-friendly.
Therefore, I will again look at what and how much I bought, sewed and recycled or passed on in the past year 2021.
I've already recorded this here on the blog for the past two years, so I have an overview of how my path to a green closet is evolving.
You can read both articles again here:
I used different categories for my sustainability balance in these articles, but for a better and more striking illustration for the past year I would like to use this pyramid "The Buyerarchy of Needs" illustrated by Sarah Lazarovic.
I now sew my clothes mainly myself. But every now and then I have to buy something because I don't have time to sew everything myself.
Before sewing usually comes the purchase of fabric. As we all know, most people who like to sew are actually fabric addicts. I don't exclude myself ;-)
So the topic of buying is not only about clothes, but also about fabrics. Let's face it. Most sewing nerds among us, when visiting a fabric store or market, can hardly control themselves not to buy everything that flashes in your eye.
But how do I manage to buy only things that I really need...?
My tip: Let it sink in! Don't grab it right away. But sneak around again. Mostly I forget a piece of fabric, which has tried me in the first moment to pull in his spell and whispered to me:
"I am soooo beautiful! You just have to have me!!!"
What I forget, I don't need. That's my motto. But what I don't forget, I get to buy.
That now leads me to the garments and fabrics I purchased in 2021.
Of course, as a sewing nerd, I first start with the fabrics:
I got hold of these three fabrics in an interesting sewing shop that is completely dedicated to the idea of sustainability. On vacation in Rothenburg ob der Tauber I discovered this store. There is a huge range of fabrics, all of which are second hand. You can imagine that I took a lot of time to browse.
( Ask my husband :-)
It was hard for me not to take more than three fabrics.
But with the method described above I stayed with the three.
A great idea! To offer only second hand fabrics.
The fourth fabric is my personal purchase highlight. The fabric itself is not particularly exciting, but a classic. I bought it at the farewell bazaar of "Fichu" in Schöneberg in Berlin.
Last year, unfortunately, the eccentric owner of this store passed away. For decades, he actually preferred to hoard fabrics rather than sell them. His parents were fabric dealers and he had a huge stock of fabrics from the last 8 decades.
Unfortunately, his store was somewhat inaccessible. The fabrics were neatly stacked up to the ceiling.
On a visit with a couple of sewing friends, we couldn't all stand in the store at the same time to pick. The store owner, Oleg, probably didn't want us to venture any further into his sacred fabric halls either.
Now the store has been closed by the heiress. She has decided to offer all the fabrics in a warehouse sale. Unfortunately, the warehouse has moved to Muttenz, Switzerland. A bit far away from its place of origin. Too bad! But at least now I still have a souvenir fabric.
Then I only bought two more fabrics last year.
One of them is even sewn already. My husband finally got his pajama pants that I promised him for his birthday a year ago. :-)
For my nephew I want to sew something for a long time. I have also already picked out a cut, which together with the fabric reminds me of a fishing shirt. My nephew has bought a totally old boat that he is trying to renovate. When he sails the seas in it, he will certainly look handsome in the shirt.
I'm especially proud of the last two fabric purchases because they were bought specifically for a project, one of which has already been sewn. Very sustainable! And while they are not organic fabrics, they are biodegradable materials like cotton and linen.
I try to avoid synthetics as much as possible. Unless they are recycled. Unfortunately, that's not always so easy to decide. Because sometimes plastic parts make the garments more durable and easier to care for, for example wool socks.
That's it with the fabric purchases. Now to the purchased garments!
There I have bought except for one part actually only basic clothing:
3x wool socks,
a black top,
a pair of sneakers.
Nothing exciting. And almost nothing that I can sew well myself.
To motivate me a bit to consume even more consciously clothes and sew myself, I rewarded myself last year with a designer piece! Because, if you are more conscious with your clothes, you also save a lot of money and can sometimes afford something rather expensive.
For my birthday, I gave myself a silk scarf by Parisian fashion designer Alber Elbaz.
(Unfortunately he got sick with Corona shortly before and died. He was one of my favorite designers and had just started his own label the "azfactory". Very tragic.)
That's why the silk scarf is such a memento of Alber Elbaz, who is said to have been a very kind person.
It goes with what the scarf says. I LOVE YOU!
I am very happy about this beautiful scarf. A special piece, which connects me with Paris and its fashion world.
An inspiration garment, so to speak. And this will definitely not be the last. The next birthday is coming for sure ;-)
Now comes actually one of the most important categories for me. Because I like to make my own clothes and in the meantime also as sustainably as possible. I.e. only take fabrics from the stock or buy specific fabrics for a project and sew directly.
To do this, I make myself a sewing plan for the new year with a to-sew list. This worked really well last year!
My masterpiece 2021 was this tweed jacket from a cut mod. 104 from Burdastyle 11/2020. I immediately found it totally great. And the fabrics I still had in stock. A super match. I love to wear the jacket! Here I have a blog article about it. This was also the first piece on my 2021 to-sew list.
By the way, the denim pants are fair and ecologically produced. I also wear them for quite a long time and regularly. It has already a real used look.
The next pattern from the list should be a black suede faux leather pants. I was able to wear them to one of the very few events last year.
In the picture you can see my outfit for a variety show at the Wintergarten in Berlin.
The cut is from Burdastyle 12/2020, # 123. I like it very much, even if the waistband is a bit too loose for me. I had bought the fabric specifically for this cut.
The jacket cleverly hides my problem areas. A classic in my closet that I always like to wear for special occasions. In addition, I now have a new beautiful combi piece!
It is also not unimportant on the way to a green closet that the existing parts are well to combine.
From my to-sew list, I was able to check off three more cuts. A good feeling!
Namely, the pyjama pants for my husband, which I mentioned above already in the category fabric purchase. Unfortunately, I don't have any wearable photos of that.
Also unfortunately not of the other two shirts I sewed for myself last year.
This light blue wrap shirt I have already sewn with another thicker jersey fabric, which was then too tight for me. But the second attempt with the light blue slightly softer fabric has then fit great, without that I had to sew a number larger. A very comfortable feminine shirt that I love to wear.
The cut is from the Burdastyle 2/2020,#116.
Before that I had sewn a sweatshirt also from the list, where I really wanted to sew the great ice green Lurexsweat, which I treated myself two years ago on vacation. It went great with the cut from Burdastyle 11/2020,#109 Actually the shirt is planned to be waisted with sewn on ribbons. But widely I liked it better. I left out all the intended buttons and instead used safety pins on the sleeves to gather them. A little punk never hurt a shirt ;-)
A nice casual piece that I hope to wear often this year!
Then I sewed another top to find out how fast I am compared to the Great British Sewing Bees. You see, the top was a task on the BBC program I finally got to watch live in 2021. Maybe some of you know it. Totally inspiring for sewing nerds. But I think the contestants always have way too little time for sewing tasks. Anyway, this top took me three times as long as the contestants on the show. I don't think that's right!
The pattern is actually the same. It's a free download #532 from English designer Angela Kane, who by the way also has great sewing videos on her site.
This top unfortunately falls into the sample piece category. I won't be wearing it because it doesn't look good on me. But at least I sewed it from an existing fabric!
And then I still managed to sew a gift where I could recycle fabric scraps. It's really fun and helps with fabric deconstruction!
The gift was a pillowcase for my brother from an old curtain fabric. I sewed myself a summer skirt from it a few years ago. I've already written about its creation here.
It turned out last year that my brother had chosen this curtain fabric for his youth room a few decades ago. But I didn't know that when I used it for the summer skirt. But there was some fabric left over, so I had a nice gift to remember it by. I love vintage cloth stories like this! :-)
By the way, pillowcases are great for fabric clearance and you always have a nice gift!
I can't tell you anything about these categories from last year. As far as I remember, I had neither exchanged nor borrowed or lent clothes.
I think swapping and lending are very good ways to deal with existing clothing in a more sustainable way.
I would love to participate in a clothing swap party sometime. The last time I did one was in the 90s with my girlfriends. That was really fun. Nowadays there are many professionally organized events to swap clothes. But since Corona they are quite rare, at least in my area.
I can imagine renting for special events like weddings, prom or carnival. Clothes that you rarely wear are good to borrow from friends inside or at the costume fund. It's fun to dig through the clothing racks there! Let's see if I can find opportunities there this year.
I'd love to go to a wedding again!
Use what I have is probably the most sustainable way on the way to a green closet!
In my little picture gallery you can see a few of my most worn items. I prefer to wear shirts made of jersey because I don't like ironing. And they are also easier to sew. The shirts in the pictures are all homemade.
I also love wearing denim, not just as pants. My jeans in the photo above are fair and organic, as I mentioned before.
I think denim is just great! In addition, the sneakers - bought new, but on sale - ready is my everyday look!
Bit boring maybe, but in everyday life it has proven itself.
I think I've made a huge step towards my green closet in the last year! Bought little, sewed a lot from the to-sew list and fabric reduction.
Of course there are still adjusting screws I can turn, like borrowing and swapping, but basically I've made a lot of progress.
A few things have also gone into the (clothing) garbage can, but I could still get rid of a bit more or recycle or bring to the thrift store.
I'm especially looking forward to sewing again! There I will continue to work with the to-sew list. It worked out really well last year and there are still a few open garments on it that I can take on this year.
I will probably change the list a bit though. Because I must confess that I just sewed a blouse that was not planned at all...:-)
But more about that in the next blog article!