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Sew Paradise

Use the Good Stuff: Day 9, make it yourself

Today, I have on a shimmery knit shrug I sewed at least 10 years ago. I intended it and probably wore it over my LBD to some fancy black tie event. I hardly ever go to those now, but I wore it today over a black turtleneck and jeans to a kid party and felt great!

I’ve been sewing since I was 10, which is 33 years ago now (gulp!) and I think the more I sew the more I’m happy I do. This is a bit of a soapbox post, but bear with me.

Most of our clothing now is made in sweatshop factories in China, Bangledesh, Pakistan and India. The people who work there – mainly women – work 12 or more hours a day under awful conditions – crammed in like sardines, sewing as fast as they can. It’s hot, dirty and they have to sew things at an amazing pace to get paid. Some are mothers, leaving their small children at home 12 hours a day just to hopefully make enough to eat.

At home, we buy cheap, trendy, throwaway garments made of cheap fabric, usually polyester, but sometimes cotton (and cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops there is.) All of this is hurting our environment. When we think of sustainability – it’s not just recycling – but considering where and how our goods are sourced. Are they good for the world? for the people in it?

In the last decade, I made a conscious decision to buy only used clothing for myself (or sew it) and for my children. I have deviated from this, mostly the lure of Target. Don’t get me wrong, I love Target. Looooove Target. But I really have to minimize the things I buy there because the culture of cheap, disposable clothing that we discard next season is bad for our world.

I turned to sewing again not because of cost savings but because I could have something more. Something I made, something unique not everyone has, something creative. And I think that’s better for our world.

So today, I got out this shrug, and wore it again. I wore it over a turtleneck that’s at least 10 years old (Lands’ End) and skinny Levis (two years old.) I’m happy I made it and happy it got a chance to get worn.

By paradise

I'm Ann. I've been sewing since I was 9. My first project was a denim wrap skirt. Thrifting is a way of life for me - both eco-chic and financially savvy.

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