We are talking t shirts today. While these closet staples may not be the most exciting pattern in the library, they are arguably the most versatile and frequently worn thing you can make. For years I avoided sewing these pattern basics like the plague. Why sew something that cost less to purchase? And that doesn’t even factor in the time to sew. So I always justified purchasing them, it was just plain common sense.
Or so I thought.
Now before I get started, I am not bashing store bought t-shirts. In fact, I am wearing my ‘vintage’ blue gap tee as I type this. I still buy, wear, and love them. This is simply a think piece for those of you who were like me and thought, why?
Why you should sew your own t-shirts.
For the moment, let’s push aside all of the environmental reasons…we’ll get to that later.
1. Swagger – I am sure you are not a vain person, I don’t think I am. But I do know the amount of pride I get when someone compliments me on a handmade outfit. Or the feeling of self worth and accomplishment that courses through me when I am pulling on a handmade item to wear for the day. It feels GOOD. Wearing your own handmade clothes just gives you a bit of swagger for the day. You walk around with that feeling inside that says, ‘I’m the Man/Woman!!! I MADE this!!!’. It’s like you are screaming it inside, and it shines out of you like a beacon wherever you go.
2. Opportunity – Why does this pertain to t-shirts? Because you have so many more occasions to wear them! I love making a formal dress for a fancy occasion, but I wear that once or twice. How many times do I wear t-shirts? Daily. Now that is something to think about.
3. Ease –If you love sewing as much as I do, then you try to sew as often as possible. Unfortunately, life and its often busy schedule can get in the way. Long sewing projects are incredible to work on, but sometimes you need an easy sew in the middle simply to boost your energy / sewing mojo. Sewing a t-shirt is quick and easy (once you have a pattern that you know you love), and is a great project for when you need something quick to sew that will still yield fabulous results.
4. Skill building – Let’s face it, we all needed to start somewhere when it comes to sewing with knits. They seem scary at first, but the more often you sew with them – the easier it becomes. Sewing a t-shirt is a great project for a beginner knit seamstresses. It can help build your knowledge base on different types of knit fabrics and their accompanying knit stitches, while learning how different type of knits can yield different results. And as your skill set grows, you might find yourself looking at specialty sewing machines – like the serger or coverstitch machine. You can either advance your handicraft or remain stagnant, the choice is yours. 🙂
5. Budget – I will be the first to tell you that sewing your clothes is NOT CHEAP. In fact, it is way more expensive than buying a t-shirt at the store. But you are only evaluating the short term game when you compare this way. In the short term, you will wear that t-shirt and probably wash it regularly until it becomes worn / stained / shrunk and then throw it away. Handmade clothes…not so much. We take great pains to care for our hand sewn item – why? Because we have sweat equity in the item. We put our hard earned money, our blood, sweat and tears into creating it – so we naturally want to take the best possible care of it. Even when it does eventually become a little bit worn, we do not just throw it away. We hold onto it because it has sentimental value to us. I have found that handmade clothes hang in my closet a heck of a lot longer than store bought ones, because they have more MEANING to me. Making them ultimately cheaper in the long run. Not only that, but when I eventually do move on from said item, or my kids grow out of it, we give it to someone else. We don’t just drive it to our local thrift store, we GIVE it to somebody we know will love and wear it.
And now lets talk about the environment.
Admittedly, this is still a subject we are learning about.
6. Helping the environment – Mass produced clothing is the second largest polluter in the world, second only to oil. OIL I said. Just take a minute to let that sink in. The $7 t-shirt you (and I) are wearing is a result of mass produced clothing. As mentioned previously in this post, I am equally to blame for this phenomenon. We all love a deal. But those deals add up, and somebody has to pay the price. In this case, it is the working conditions in the factories and our environment. Don’t believe me?
Try reading up on it yourself. There are some great articles here:
- It’s the Second Dirtiest Thing in the World—And You’re Wearing It, Alternet
- The Clothing Insurrection: It’s Time to Take On the Fashion Supply Chain, Vogue
- What Happens When Fashion Becomes Fast, Disposable And Cheap? NPR
- Mass production and the consequent devaluation of our clothes, Open.edu
And that is just to name a few! There are endless articles on the realities of the true cost of ‘fast fashion’, we are simply just now becoming aware of the results. And I haven’t even mentioned lint/fiber pollution and what it is doing to our water.
In summation, why should you sew your own t-shirts?
Because it makes you a bad a** rocking llama mamma who walks down the street with swagger and style, knowing that you have skills that most people can only dream of having. Furthermore, you are budget conscious, and saving the environment to boot. So why leave all of that awesomeness to only formal occasions? Doesn’t make much sense when you put it that way.
For resources to make your own t-shirts, including various women’s patterns and more, see below:
TOP (from left to right)
How to sew your own t-shirt (VIDEO TUTORIAL)
download the free kids pattern HERE
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…