Not buying clothes for a year: a status report after 6 months!

I’m still alive!

As you may have previously read in my 3 months status update, at the end of last year, I decided to no buy any clothes for a whole year. It has now been 6 months so I thought I should check in and share with you a little status report.

One year to learn how to sew with a vintage sewing machine - 6 month status report

Did I buy clothes in the last 3 months?

No! Nothing!! Yep yep hooray!

How did it go?

Well, it was really easy when I was at home. There was no real temptation I had to fight, no impulse to control. It felt like not buying clothes was a normal state.

Not sure how to explain this.

Maybe it’s like when you don’t smoke and don’t ever consider smoking. You are not tempted when you see others smoke, or when you see packs of cigarettes in a shop. That’s how I felt when in town, passing by stores full of clothes. Just not interested, like these were not for me.

But…

I had to go to Berlin for a few days and right after, had an unexpected trip to Portugal.

As I was packing my suitcase, I got a bit stressed. First, I obviously felt like I had nothing to wear for such trips! πŸ˜‰ And as I was standing in front of my suitcase which was already full, my immediate reaction was still “well you can always buy things there” because that’s what I’ve always done. I don’t enjoy shopping that much but I do like it slightly more when I’m traveling, as I get to find clothes that I don’t find at home.

I shook it off and actually, nothing much happened during those 2 trips. There was so many things I wanted to visit in Berlin & Portugal that shopping did not come to mind. It was much easier than I had expected!

So, I can confirm that I have not bought a single piece of clothing for the last 6 months! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Singer attachment - Automatic Zigzagger nb 161102 from the 1950's-1960's
Full disclosure: instead of buying clothes, I bought a zigzagger from the 1950’s or 60’s. This will be the last attachment I buy!

What did I sew in the last 3 months?

So you may recall that I had decided to not buy any clothes for a year and instead sew what I may need (or just want) instead. I had big plans to start with!

How did that go?

In short? Not so well!

I started this quarter by trying to sew a new bra. I had this idea in mind that a smaller piece would be easier. I had the idea that taking several bras as models and taking what I liked from each ones and ‘improve’ what I didn’t like made sense.

Bad idea!

Total disaster!

A nightmare!!!

So I gave up on the idea that I could sew clothes without using proper patterns… at least for now! πŸ˜‰

I went back to my online store that sells organic fabric and went through their patterns section. I wanted a long cardigan with a hood to keep warm when summer will be over. I sorted their pattern by difficulty and selected only the easiest ones. I found one for a coat which was exactly what I had in mind and went for it.

When I started the project, I felt so lost. Unfolding the numerous paper sheets & understanding which pieces I needed for the hooded model on its own was a challenge. Finding the right instructions was a challenge. It’s all there, it’s really not that hard, but at first, there is so much information, it was too much.

Cut the paper, pin the paper on the fabric, cut the fabric… it’s suprisingly very time consuming! And then, you end up with all those bits and pieces that look like they’ll never fit together.

Breath, relax, follow the steps! That’s what I kept telling myself.

Only 30 more steps to go! Arrrhhggh!

But then your project comes to life. It appears out of nowhere. You sew 2 more pieces in place, turn the fabric around and whoa! that looks great!

It is quite thrilling!

Fast forward to the end of the project and I can confirm I’m super pleased with the result. Now that I have scrupulously followed the steps required to finish the cardigan, I’m considering making some extra improvements to it. Pockets are a must!? Right? Everybody needs pockets! But I’m a bit scared to ruin everything! I’ll do it anyway.

So, is that it? Did I only sew a cardigan in 3 months? Yes and no! Again, I did quite a few repairs. I changed the zipper on one of my dad’s jacket and that was very instructive! As instructive as a zipper can be πŸ˜‰

I’ve got some weird windows at home where I wanted to install insulated curtains to survive the heatwave and I managed those brilliantly. Sewing a straight line on such a length is a real challenge but I’m doing better and better.

And well? A couple other minor things, but that’s about it!

In conclusion, my wardrobe isn’t about to overflow with pieces I have created anytime soon! And the pieces I’ll be sewing aren’t going to be high fashion πŸ˜‚

What I’ve learned from this

I’ve learned a couple things about sewing including the facts that:

  • It is definitively super time consuming to sew your own clothes! But it is super gratifying.
  • Good scissors are a must!
  • Preparing all your parts, cutting, pinning, bating, ironing, understanding what you’re doing… takes more time than actually sewing!
  • Bating! Humm is that really necessary?! Yeah, actually it makes a huge difference.
  • Pinning on the correct side is a skill on its own!
  • My life would probably be easier if my sewing machine was a bit more modern. But that’s ok, I love it anyway.

Learning to sew with my vintage sewing machine is one of my goals for this year and all things considered it’s going great! I am indeed learning. I’m not creating abundantly, but I am learning!

But most importantly…

It’s the shift in perspective I’m experiencing, that I’m most amazed with. Such shift is 2 fold.

First, I’m amazed how easy it has become to not buy clothes. To not want clothes or things in general, for that matter. Temptation is everywhere when you agree to be tempted. When you have no interest for something, temptation just vanishes. It probably isn’t clear or accurate in all circumstances, but it is the best way I can put it for now.

Second, I’ve come to realize how much I’ve changed my relationship to things, in this process.

In the past, like a lot of people, when a piece of clothing was damaged, I would just throw it away. Same for most other things that were broken. And when I got tired of something that wasn’t really damaged or broken, I would give it away. A feel good gesture.

But what is “away“? There is no “away“, just mostly trash in a landfill, somewhere else on Earth, somewhere that is out of sight.

Now, I first think: “How can I repair this“.

It may not seem like a huge shift to you, but it is huge to me.

I don’t want my house to be filled with chipped glasses and half broken pots, lamps or else. But I’ve come to realize that a lot of things can be repaired nicely, not just transformed or recycled. So now, when something isn’t working anymore, I google it and 90% of the time, I find instruction on how to repair it. It’s quite amazing actually!

And to me, that’s a huge shift and something I didn’t expect!

*****

See you in 3 months for another status report! I can not promise I won’t be buying socks!

One year to learn how to sew with a vintage sewing machine - Singer 15K from 1923