Doing Clothes Differently

 Preface to this blog post:
I am currently suffering from sleep deprivation.  As such,
I probably won’t do excessive internet research and link every statement I make to a relevant article, news piece, or blog.  I lack the energy right now, quite frankly.  Forgive me. 
Perhaps when I’ve gotten more than 5 hours of consecutive sleep, I’ll come back and spiff this up a bit; but for now, I humbly offer you a peek at what my brain has been pondering lately, and hope that you find it at least mildly stimulating and enjoyable.


I’ve been convicted, lately, about the quality and quantity of clothing our family owns.  Last winter, I stocked up on cute things for the children from Old Navy (using my O.N. points, of course).  Shirts, pants, socks, underwear, dresses–the works!  The garments looked adorable, but did not hold up very well at all.  I bought myself some clothing from O.N. as well, and it held up even worse than the kids clothing–can you say holes galore in T-shirts that I’ve only worn 5 times, tops?  Jeans that get stretched out and ugly in less than a year?  Seams that rip in the wash?  Disappointing, to say the least.  This issue is not limited to Old Navy–many ready-made brands have become very lax in the quality department, and it is very discouraging.

On top of the quality issue, there is also the question of ethics.  The clothing industry is racking up ridiculous amounts of waste these days, which is piling up in less-fortunate areas of the world.  There’s also the uncomfortable fact that when I purchase a cheap piece of clothing, inevitably someone was paid next to peanuts to make it.  Am I OK with that?  No.  But if I keep buying cheap ready-made clothes, I am supporting those manufacturers and keeping those workers stuck–and also adding to the ginormous fabric waste piles across the globe.

Oh yeah, also, I recently read an article about how many of the garments we purchase that are “Made In China” are actually made in North Korea, or by North Korean people residing in China; the proceeds are, of course, going to support Kim Jong Un’s regime.  Definitely not OK with that, either.

Another angle of this whole clothes thing is the sheer amount of clothing my children (and also my husband and I) have.  My kids have clothes literally spilling out of their drawers.  My husband has so many T-shirts that we can’t even put them all away in the dresser.  And me?  I have a plethora of mis-matched, ill-fitting garments that I don’t really like that much, taking up space in my dresser and weighing me down.  [I feel that I must add, this does not include, of course, the several lovely pieces that I have made for myself over the years.  Unfortunately, none of these garments fit me right now; they are all packed away in storage, awaiting the return of my old figure.]

Taking all of this into consideration, I’ve decided I’m going to make a conscious effort to change the way we do clothes in our household, starting this season.

First, we are going to drastically cut down on the amount of clothing that we have.  I want to imitate our ancestors, and have a few staple pieces in our wardrobes that we can mix and match for day-to-day, and one or two nicer things to wear for special occasions.

Second, I’m going to try to make most of the kids’ clothes, and as much of my own and my husband’s I have time for right now.  I want to be realistic, here–three little kids are a handful, and we are mid-move, and I don’t always have a whole lot of time to sew right now.  However children’s clothing is pretty quick to make up, and I think it will be easy to at least make some basic items for them, if not for the adults in the house as well.

Whatever I am unable to make myself, we can buy second-hand.  We do a lot of that, anyway.  It is a great way to find good quality clothing for a lower price.  I can easily alter and tailor garments that I find for Davis and I that need a little tweaking.

I might also go ahead and buy a few things from this amazing company.  I’ve drooled over their Lydia Trousers for quite some time.  (Please take a few minutes to check out their website, read about their business practices, and be inspired!)
Today I went Etsy-ing and bought sever cute patterns to use for the kids fall/winter wardrobe.  My favorite decade for kids clothes is the 90’s, because the styles were very comfy, classic, and simple.  Here’s what I bought:


Above: This one is for both kids.  The pants are simple and look comfy, and I love that knit top. 


Above:  I splurged a little and paid $7 for this one. 😉  I love the dolman-style sleeves, and the fabric choice in the photo is so pretty!  I want to make Evvie 3 or 4 simple dresses like this and the one below for the winter, as well as a few pair of pants, and some tops. 


Above: I lived in dresses like these when I was a kid.  I’m going to make at least 2 of version E for Evelyn.  My plan is to do one in a light-weight corduroy, and one in a heavier-weight rayon blend. 

YCIP collage2
Above: I’m so excited about this pattern!  Living in Asia got me hooked on harem-style pants for little ones.  They are exceptionally comfy and easy to move in.  Plus, they are adorable!  This pattern is available from Suburbia Soup for free download here!  What-what!


Tell me, have you ever considered cutting back on your clothing and practicing a simpler approach?  Where do you purchase your clothing?  Do you sew for your family?  Have you found other ethical companies similar to the one I linked above that you could share with us?  Let me know in he comments!


2 thoughts on “Doing Clothes Differently

  1. Hey Bess- GREAT blog! I went to the site you had on there- the Lydia pants look So comfy. A black pair may be in my future! I agree- we all have way too many poorly made clothes and it was funny you mentioned Old Navy. I almost took our exchange student, Mona, in there yesterday, but didn’t want her to get any of those cheap, albeit crummy clothes! I am looking at paring down on Paul and my wardrobe to be more simple. I could live in much less! Paul needs a bit more as he has to dress for work. Anyway, your blog got me thinking and it was GREAT! I can’t wait to see your kiddos dressed in some of the patterns that you make on your blog! I love you, Aunt Jayne 🙂

  2. I’ve been doing some research on some good companies, smaller companies, that produce good clothes without necessarily “harming” the world or people around us. There are s bunch out there! Of course cost is going to be higher, but you can find some really decent prices and you have to keep in mind that you truly get what you pay for! What’s sad is when you pay waaay too much for crap clothes.

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