I’m probably already coming across as a preachy-sort of mum just by that title, but I figured I should really get to the point with it – looking after your clothes is something really important – especially if you make them yourself! Research has shown that over the years we’ve moved away from looking after our clothes and towards quick disposal as a result of growing consumerism and the dramatic drop in the price of fashion. When you’re a maker of your own clothes though, you realise how much work goes into each garment, and are hopefully going to be more inclined to patch something up or remove a stain instead of just throwing something away; but if you do still need a little bit of persuasion, read on my friends!
1. They’ll Last Longer
This sounds like a real no-brainer, but the fact is that making that little bit of extra effort in looking after your clothes really does make them last longer. It’s just a fact. A fact that sounds particularly reassuring when you think about that one dress that epitomises your style, is the definition of comfort and that you’d feel truly lost without. If you own something that you’re really worried about losing or having to throw away, take some extra care with it! Chances are that (unless you’ve bought or made an exact replica – might seem excessive but if you love it that much it’s probably a sensible move) you won’t be able to find it again in the shops or be able to make exactly the same as the original. So instead of throwing it on the floor at the end of a long day or washing it after every single wear, take a little extra time to give it some love! Here are a couple of blog posts I’ve already written that might help you to figure out how to look after something a little better:
2. You’ve Spent Time Making Them/ Sentimentality
When you’ve spent ages making something (even if it wasn’t what you’d consider ‘ages’) you’re going to be pretty peeved if it’s past it by the second wear. Consider what went into making it – it’s not just the amount of time that went into making it making it. Think of the numerous cups of tea that undoubtedly went cold while you obsessed over a seam, how long you spent pairing the perfect fabric to the perfect pattern, pre-washing, cutting out all of the pieces before one vanished into thin air and needed re-cutting, and then sewing it together. A lot of time and effort goes into the clothes that you make! And that doesn’t mean the shop-bought things didn’t take up time either – you still had to go out, browse, find it, try it and buy it. Which leads me on to point number three…
3. It’s More Cost Efficient
It might not seem more cost efficient when you’re having to fork out to get a coat professionally cleaned, but trust me it is! Fabric is blimmin’ expensive, especially if it’s something of an investment. How many times have you not quite realised how much you’ve spent until the checkout? Yeah me too. Having to repurchase/ remake an item of clothing because it’s gone before it’s time is going to end up costing a whole lot more than it would to mend a shirt or handwash a dress.
4. It’s Better for the Environment
We (by ‘we’ I mean us as a society) tend to really overuse our washing machines which is actually pretty bad for our clothes – more about that in an upcoming post – and out of convenience throw something in the washing basket at the end of the day to avoid the effort of putting it away. That’s some pretty backwards logic when you think about it, but it seems to be a universal trait in end-of-the-day brains; putting it in the laundry = less bother. Really it means you’re going to have to actually sort it, wash it, dry it, iron it and then put it away. A lot more fuss. While it may seem like cleaning something more is caring for it, you’re doing the opposite; washing and tumble-drying causes the fibres in fabrics to shrivel up and die a lot quicker (technical term), as well as churning out toxic chemicals into waterways. 70-80% of clothes’ environmental impact in its entire lifetime comes from only washing and drying.
5. Prevention is Better Than Cure
While mending definitely counts as ‘caring’ for what’s in your wardrobe, and I by all means intend to give you plenty information on how to mend your clothes on this blog, it’s far easier to not have to mend at all. By making sure that you’re looking after your clothes as well as you can you’ll be minimising the need for replacing buttons or zips, or patching holes and the like (although if you do need to patch a hole, have a read of my Sashiko Embroidery blog post – it’s all about visible mending these days).
I hope that these reasons have given you a little bit of inspiration, and make sure that you follow my blog to keep up to date with all of my posts about looking after the contents of your wardrobe . For now though, I’ll sign off before you have to deal with me saying ‘caring’ or ‘clothes’ again!
FEATURED IMAGE ILLUSTRATION BY LOUISE LOCKHART FOR ‘UP MY STREET’