My Fashion on the Ration challenge is wrapping up soon and so my shopping and fabric buying, after a year of restraint, will be wide open to every whim and desire. In this past year, my reading has lead me to subjects like wartime rations, personal style, wardrobe planning, production and distribution of goods, zero-waste lifestyles and minimalism. And while I tend to be a moderate about everything, I am starting to really believe that I can do more with less.
Juxtapose that to two crafts—sewing and now knitting—that are activities of creation. Whether or not I’m recycling materials, I’m still creating something new-to-me, which will live in my closet and my home. Let’s not even get into my thrifting habits.
So how do I balance wanting less with making more? I’m pretty good at culling my closet regularly, but I still seem to be adding just as much into the closet as I’m taking out. Here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about:
I could make stuff for others. If I had kids, this would be a no-brainer. I started to make items for my sisters and nieces last year, but it made up a small percentage of total makes for 2011. And, to be honest, I love the experimenting I get to do with my wardrobe when I make and thrift stuff for myself.
I could knit more. Knitting has been such a blessing these past months. It’s forced me to slow down and be more social, since I can more easily knit with my family rather than running around half-naked with an iron in hand while sewing. And what I love the most: Little’s lost in knitting. I was just knitting a top-down sweater and decided, just as I was about to separate the sleeves, that I didn’t like it. I put it aside, knowing I could always pick it up later. Now I’m working on a project I’m excited about.
I could make less. Reviewing my 2011 makes, I had far more successes in the latter half of the year when I took on big projects that took longer, like pants and jackets. Speed, which I love, makes me sloppy. And the slower I accrue items, I noticed, the more likely I am to use them. Each item gets to be the shining star for a bit and find a permanent place in the wardrobe.
I could buy less fabric and fewer patterns. Sewing gives you so many options, but I find too many choices can be daunting and overwhelming. Well-made plans often get tossed for shiny, new things.
I could make muslins. Better fit, slower construction.
I could sew with others. I had such a good time this year sewing with friends and family, and if I prioritized that time to sew rather than letting it infiltrate the rest of my life, it would be time well-spent. People I care about and a craft I love.
I could participate in a wardrobe challenge like Project 333 or the 30-for-30 Remix to get a handle on what really gets worn.
What about you? Do you think you could do more with less? What strategies do you have to strike that balance?