Friday, July 22, 2011

Simple Clothing

Any mom will tell you it can be difficult keeping up with the style demands of the family. The cost alone is enough to send us into shock. But when I decided to live a simpler life it only made sense to make our own clothing. Many would say well now the issue is finding patterns that are fashion forward so no one complains about how they are dressed. And it could be an issue except that I tend to modify patterns to fill those needs of style and society. And it may seem odd but my 9 yr. old is unschooled , the 22 yr. old is grown and has a job so he can buy what he wants and my husband has never been picky about much of anything. So it works for us , it is very rewarding making our own clothing , knowing that they are made just for them gives them a sense of how special each one of them are. I was thinking though how we as a society place so much value on how we dress and how much we spend in order to dress as well as worrying about if it is "IN" as it were. You see it is my opinion that way to much money is paid out for clothing , not just to purchase clothes but the fact that if it is no longer in style many throw them out , turn around and purchase the new wave of fashion set down for them simply because someone , somewhere said it had to be that way or else you won't fit in. There's a problem in that alone the fact that everyone is so worried about fitting in , instead of being an individual. What ever happened to free thinkers? And why do we feel the need to fit in so badly we are willing to spend and spend to the point of debt in order to achieve it? Not only am I making our clothing from scratch but I recycle most of it for one thing or another. Old towels for example are turned into rags for cleaning , they can be washed with the laundry and reused until they simply fall apart. I have made purses out of old jeans and quilts out of a number of old clothing , we also save the buttons off of everything.
But it is nice to have something new now and then and when I buy fabric for clothing I buy from the reduced fabrics or simple muslin works and since I can dye it any color we want it works well. By making it myself it is treasured more and they take better care of their clothing which makes them last longer as well. It is a win / win for everyone. The picture with this post is one of my husbands shirts I just finished. Even with the long sleeves it is cool and comfortable for him to wear year round. He enjoys period clothing as do I and we incorporate this with current clothing we already own. Now Please don't think I am a hypocrite , we do buy jeans due to the fact I hate making them as well as bathing suits. But we don't spend a months salary on one pair either. We shop thrift stores as often as we can which helps as well , when unable to find what we need then we go to a local department store and look for the best deals on brands we know will last. As with anything in our lives living a simpler life means taking it one step at a time. Little things make the difference , they get us thinking of ways to improve our lives and the world around us. And the impact that these things have on our families are priceless. My 9 yr. old is now sewing clothing for her dolls and we have started making rag dolls as well.  It gives us time together and she is learning while having fun. In the end she will be able to be self sufficient and won't need to depend on the Industry to live. Like those of let's say the 19th century she will need to make purchases but she won't need to spend her life working for someone else in order to survive.
Sewing is one of many ways to live a simpler life and provide for your family. It is becoming a lost art which to me is a real shame. Are we so lazy as a society that we can't make the time to live freely? To go back to a simpler way of living? I wonder at times what kind of example we are setting for our children. I have heard how both parents HAVE to work. I argue this word HAVE because the main reason both HAVE to work is because parents think they HAVE to keep up with their neighbors , they have to HAVE MORE. And they feel this way because they have been told to WANT More and more...... I myself found that my husband and I were falling into this trap. Our grown children one in particular has really fallen into it and I have only myself to blame. But I do have a choice to make a difference , my little girl who is only 9 can learn differently and the grown children can relearn as well. At holidays they will get one store bought item but something they need more then want the rest of their presents will be homemade. In this way over time they will learn the real meaning of want and need and how important family and the earth really are.
If you used to sew as a child , your not working now , want something to bring you closer to your family then I recommend getting your sewing gear out or learning how. It's not as hard as most think , it's much like putting a puzzle together and will save you money as well. One of the most popular department stores now has beginner patterns for 97 cents. Still unsure? Shop around , talk to your parents , grandparents and any other older family members. You'll be surprised at the info. you get not only about sewing but how they lived and survived. Which in the end may get you desiring a simpler life as well :)

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