Growing up with a mother who liked to craft and sew was definitely a fun ride. For nearly every school play, band performance, holiday, or event – I had a handmade something to wear for it. At a young age it was exciting because we would go into Jo-ann’s, sit down at the table with all of the pattern books, and I would pick out anything I would ever want to wear. It got even more exciting when we would take those patterns over to the fabric section and pick any color or print I could imagine to make my new clothing with. The possibilities were only limited by the amount of fabric left on the bent up cardboard bolt. This process ingrained in me that my fashion choices were never limited by what was available in clothing stores.
When most people think of handmade clothing, they think of things like oversized, itchy wool sweaters and blankets gifted to them by grandma at the holidays. While that is a common scenario, it most definitely isn’t the extent of handmade garments these days. I think the most cherished and well crafted handmade articles are the ones you don’t even realize are handmade. With the age we live in and the introduction of resources like YouTube and Pinterest, more people have access to learn about and create their own clothing. This is causing a shift away from standard clothes shopping and into the new age of handmade clothing.
On top of having endless resources to learn to make any garment you could ever want, younger generations are finding comfort in the process of handmade crafting. Many teens and young adults who struggle with anxiety and depression get involved with fiber arts as a way of relaxing their minds. Having younger people interested in the community means that new, innovative ideas are constantly being introduced.
In a time of fast fashion and social influencers, the gauge for what is considered “in fashion” is constantly on the move; more so than in past decades. We’re seeing fashion time periods recycling as they always do, but the changeover seems more frequent and trends more fleeting. This can make it difficult for people to keep up with trends they like when they don’t have a lot of extra income.
Enter: The Handmade Solution!
While it may not be practical to run out and buy new clothes every time you see a cute new trend you want to try, it can be practical to thrift/alter/make your own pieces that fit into that style. Average people of all ages and walks of life are waking up to the idea of crafting their own unique wardrobes that not only stay on trend for less money, they also fit and look better! We all know by now that fast fashion is not designed to fit well, rather it exists to fill the desire for a trend that covers the largest variety of people possible. This is accomplished by generic sizing that is often not inclusive, and is based on averages rather than actual bodies. Those that know how to sew, knit, crochet, etc. are mastering the art of creating clothing that actually fits their real body. This makes shopping for clothes less stressful. You can buy something that almost fits knowing that it will just take a few alterations to make it fit perfectly!
When I started writing this blog, I was an anomaly amongst my peers with my sewing and knitting hobbies. It wasn’t yet mainstream and was commented on as “magic” and “talent” from those around me. With the growing maker community on social media platforms all over the web, other young people started learning to sew and craft their own clothes, realizing that it isn’t magic or talent at all! It’s a learnable skill that anyone with a little bit of curiosity and interest in their wardrobe can figure out. It warms my heart to see this community growing every single day with more and more people picking up these skills at younger ages.
Our future is not paved by landfills full of last season’s hottest fast fashion trend. We’re learning to reuse, recycle, and refashion the clothes already in our closets into pieces we can be proud of! This leads to appreciating our clothing on a deeper level and keeping it around for longer—and maybe even passing it down to others in our lives.
I don’t see any end in sight for the maker community, it’s just going to grow and evolve with new generations of DIYers every day. I’m so excited to be a part of this community and see where it goes in the future!