The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

I’m really not trying to beat a dead horse….really!

I know this sounds like a broken record, but here I am again with the foreign manufacturing.  There’s been a few articles lately about how manufacturers want to bring back the garment assembly back to the US, but can’t, because they can’t find anyone who sews.

This is a pretty striking graphic that can get your attention really fast.

But aside from the humanity of this, which is not to discount it in any way, my cause here is to get a more reasonable price for well-made clothing.  I have no doubt that this is probably the cheapest that this company can get this garment made, and that their profit is probably astronomical, and that’s how companies exist and survive, and I’m all for that.

But what I’m not for is selling a product at an artificially low price that really can not be maintained.  In addition, it sets up a standard that has to be met by all other competitors thereby encouraging, nurturing and promoting more of the same (artificially low-price garments).

The truth is that these garments are artificially priced and that this can’t be maintained for long.  Additionally these garments are not made from good fabric that lasts nor are the techniques and assembly methods used, create a garment that will last.

Why does that affect we sewists, because we are constantly asking ourselves, why sew something that I can buy for this cheap price?  Whether it’s an artificial or short-lived price, is immaterial – it’s there now, and this is the mentality that a lot of sewists deal with.  The real truth here is that your sewing, even at a most basic level, can not compare to the artificially-low-priced clothing.  The truth is that the clothing you make is much better – – believe me it is.  And being much better means that it lasts longer, you wear it more, you enjoy it more and it has more value.  Because it has more value you’re not having to replace it every 2 to 6 weeks – because it lasts for 5 years or more.

Now if you already sew, this is fine.  You’ll probably stick with it and make a few of your things.  If you don’t know how to sew and you want to 1.) look more stylish (or at least stylish enough), 2.) dress at a low-cost and 3.)like to shop more often than you eat a meal, then you probably aren’t going to learn how to sew.  If you don’t know how to sew and want to 1.) be more green, 2.) don’t want to support slave labor, 3.) want to save money or can’t afford to pay a lot for clothing and 4.) want something stylish and fashionable, you probably then you are in a pickle and it’s a quandary about how to get out.

If, however, a lot of this clothing manufacturing came back to the US where the pricing would be more in line with a more realistic cost of clothing, then a lot more people would come to sewing.  You can meet all your goals of being more green, more humane, more stylish and more value because pragmatic prices point make this economically realistic.

Sounds like a lot of palooey doesn’t it.  Well it’s not.  The green and humane part is a given, but saving money?…..or being more stylish?…..doesn’t really sound right.  But it is.

At least learning how to sew gives you enough knowledge of what your buying (or not buying) because you can examine the garment from a more educated point of view, and hopefully buy better.  If you buy well-made clothes, then they are going to last and lasting means that they are much better value.

If you’ve never thought about sewing before or want to take up sewing, get some good instruction from the beginning.  It’s key to learn the basic techniques correctly, and don’t try for the sewing-in-one-hour-or-less ploy – you’ll be re-learning all the lessons over again.  And schedule a little time to practice and sew a few garments for yourself.  With practice comes the knowledge and skills that can lead to the creation of some fine garments.

But even if you don’t want to sew for yourself, at least learn what it takes.  That’s an education in itself.


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  1. I do not think you are beating a dead horse at all. This was an excellent post.
    I have a war in my mind about sewing. I live in a foreign country and the close here are beyond horrible. The fabrics (usually knit) develop holes within weeks. The prices are extremely high for utter garbage. Then there is a size issue too because I am over size 18. Finding sewing supplies is a scavenger hunt for the most basic things. I do not have a lot of time to sew. But I do not have time and money to waste shopping either.I must go back to sewing at least the basics somehow. I can get some good plain fabrics in the region. The artistry and work will however fall on my shoulders.

    • But Zanab even if you feel your “artistry and work” aren’t up to snuf, doing it the first time will be the worst you do, the second will be better, the third better and so on. The practice will make you more artistic and your work more skilled – I promise it will!

      Sewing the basics is an excellent way to start. Once you get a couple of pieces mastered, then you can do variations on those patterns, even making the same pattern just in different fabrics is enough to make people think it’s a completely different pattern.

      Good luck and keep sewing!

  2. Excellent post again, and totally agree with you on the point about our own skills and projects. But you seem to be thinking more on the economic side, rather than totally on the sewing side.

    Everything has a price, supply and demand should balance but they’re also often functions of each other. I guess that in very basic terms over the last century we’ve grown used to the idea of “an outfit for every occasion”. The price is unsustainably low, but not artificially low. Demand wants granularity/segmentation of the product, supply is able to provide that, price reflects level of investment (time, workmanship….sustainability…ethics…). No one really wants clothes lasting 5 years anymore, do they? So they won’t pay for it. Would you agree?

    Yes, understanding the workmanship that goes into well-produced garments is one of the fixes to improve pricing and bring a different kind of manufacture back to the US. Applying and deploying that knowledge has to be the next step. Should US manufacturing compete on like-for-like products? What would make US clothes manufacturing, more attractive and competitive?

  3. Claire, thank you for your encouragement. I will do just that.
    Time to do an exploring expedition for materials! 🙂
    Onward! 🙂

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