There are so many good things to say about sewing, it is good for your mental health, a fantastic skill to have – it’s also a great tool to live more sustainably.
When I started learning to sew, I didn’t believe in myself and couldn’t imagine being able to make anything like on I saw on BBC Two’s Great British Sewing Bee.
I was completely wrong and I have a wardrobe full of clothes to prove it – but there have been plenty of fails along the way!
As a side note, I’ve found sewing to be great for my mental problems, including my anxiety and OCD, as it gives me something to focus on, (many) problems to solve and something more healthy to obsess over.
I want to share the ways that I believe that learning to sew can help you live a more sustainable and eco-friendly life.
1. Mend, mend, mend
I love fixing things and I was surprised to find that I got as much joy out of mending as I do from making. Whether it’s darning socks, replacing buttons, sewing pockets back into jeans or entirely upcycling into a new outfit, it’s so satisfying.
It’s a great way to save money and you can even earn money by fixing things for friends and family. You can also go the whole hog and make shirts into skirts, it’s worth experimenting to make something unique for yourself or someone else.
2. Make from scraps
I keep all my scraps and offcuts, as there are a surprising amount of things that you can do with them. They’re great for appliqué as well as for making scrappy string quilts. You can also use jersey scraps or old fabric to make rag rugs.
Check out my post on how to make a really simple quilt to get started on basic quilting.
3. Create your own consumables
As we all start to strive to become zero-waste, there are loads of reusable items that you can make out of fabric. Easy-to-make consumables that you could make in an hour or so include makeup remover pads, unpaper towels, fabric bowl covers, soap holders, sandwich wraps and baby burping cloths.
Look at my post on everything you need to start sewing or dressmaking if you know you’ll be creating things and need a simple list of what you’ll need.
4. Use over people’s leftovers
Many people inherit fabric, have old clothes or duvets or buy fabric that they never use or only partially use. Befriend these people and offer to take it off their hands so that you can make it into something great. Charity shops are also awesome places to find fabric for your projects.
I donated some fabric to a sewing group that I sometimes attend, and I love seeing it being made into so many different things.
5. Create personalised gifts
You can make incredible gifts from fabric and thread which take very little time and effort. I love to embroider animals or nature whether freehand or by machine onto pictures or cushions to commemorate things like births or weddings. You can also include names and dates, which makes it even more personal.
Memory quilts made from old clothes (with permission) also make great sustainable gifts. Once you’ve built up an arsenal of material to be upcycled, the sewing world is your oyster. Just search Pinterest for a wealth of easy-to-make ideas!
This Janome machine is the one that I recommend and use for all my sustainable sewing projects. You can also buy secondhand machines but make sure to try before you buy!
What do you love about sewing and has it helped you to become more sustainable? Let me know in the comments below!
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