I just finished taking a beginner's sewing course at Joliet Junior College's Romeoville campus.
It was a lot of fun, but not without its challenges. But at the end of the class, I had a certificate (woo-hoo!), a finished set of jammies with little monkeys on them and a burning desire to sew more stuff.
One of the women in the class said she read an article that said more women have been buying sewing machines during the recession to save money.
I'm not sure how well that would work. We import so many cheap goods from China that you can get a pair of flannel pajama pants at Wal-Mart for $10 or less. Enough flannel from Jo-Ann Fabrics to make the same pair will run you $15 if you don't have a coupon. And that doesn't even count the expense of sewing accessories, the machine or your time.
So why bother?
- Custom clothes in the color, fabric and style you want.
- You can make repairs on torn clothing that would cost a lot more if someone else did it.
- Less potential exploitation of foreign workers
- Possible carbon footprint reduction
I just bought organic cotton to make a shirt. The chance of me finding an organic cotton shirt that actually fits me and won't break the bank is as slim as the organic cotton shirts I see for sale.
When you buy a cotton shirt, it likely still has pesticides or chemicals on it. Yes, these come out when you wash it, but they don't come out of the water around the fields where the cotton was grown. Buying organic helps the earth more than your directly.
And, when I sew, I can buy fabric at Wal-Mart without feeling like I might be buying into the possible exploitation of Chinese workers. I've seen some scary documentaries on Wal-Mart and its alleged effects on people and the environment. Whether you love Wal-Mart or loathe it, you have to admit there's a lot of stuff made in China. Buy only buying fabric, I feel like I'm at least cutting out the part where it's shipped to China and then to the U.S. This might be one of those situations where I'm trying to reassure myself. But Wal-Mart has knocked out so many small, locally owned fabric shops I don't feel like I have much choice other than Jo-Ann's.
One sign of hope from Wal-Mart: Many Wal-Mart's are closing their fabric sections, but the Plainfield Wal-Mart isn't. They do too much business in theirs. I'm always pleased to see other people are embracing simpler ways to do things. When I was growing up, I wore a lot of clothing my mother had sewed. Now, I can snuggle up in jammies I sewed, and with luck, I'll have this clothing thing mastered by the time I have tots that I don't want clad in made-in-China onesies.
Yeah, I probably better sign up for that advanced sewing class at JJC.