Fashion Revolution Day: Handmade #insideout

Today is Fashion Revolution‘s #insideout day! My #insideout outfit today is also a #handmadeinsideout outfit. The coat is my blanket coat, made from an old woolen blanket, my tee was made from two of hubbies old team building tops and I knitted the hat. As you can see, I don’t always put the right coloured thread in my machine, but then that’s one of the charms of me-made fashion.

Fashion Revolution wants to change the world and make the fashion manufacturing industry a safe place for all those involved. You can read more about the cause in my post here.

In a way, I have to be thankful for fast fashion. It’s how I got my start in the world of sewing. When I was about 10 years old, my Dad worked a second job at a local clothing factory that produced clothes for Target. He did maintenance on the big machines. Anyway, like much of the Australian clothing manufacturing industry, the company went bankrupt and closed down. Making local fashion was getting too expensive. Just before the debt collectors went in and took everything, my Dad went in a got me a whole heap of fabric and notions and a huge pair of tailors shears. I used the fabrics to make clothes for my Barbie dolls and I haven’t stopped sewing since.

While I have the rise of fast fashion and offshore manufacturing to thank for igniting my passion, I think I’d still prefer it to have stayed the way it was. I think I’d prefer that clothes were still made in Australia and that way I would know they were being created by people who could feel safe to go to work, who had such a thing as the minimum wage, and minimum working age. But is it that simple?

Ok, so the clothes are then made here, but where does the fabric come from? Where does the cotton come from to make that fabric?

And what if manufacturing stayed in Bangladesh? Should Australia ban clothing imports from the country until the conditions are made safe? Would that put the workers in Bangladesh out of a job? Would they prefer to go to work even though it was dangerous to work there? What would the alternative be?

This is such a huge and wide reaching issue and the solutions are far from simple! So what can we do? This year I have been on a fabric buying ban. I don’t have the largest of fabric stashes, but it’s certainly big enough to keep me going for at least this year, probably next year too. The ‘need’ to have the latest collection of fabric makes me a bit sick when I think about it. I’m almost certain that most of the fabric we buy comes from these same factories with poor and unsafe conditions. If I don’t think it’s right to buy a tshirt for that reason, fabric isn’t any better! So using what I already have rather than buying more and more makes me feel that little bit better. I’ve also really stepped up my upcycling/refashioning and recycling of old clothes. If a piece of clothing can be remade and then have a whole new life, that makes me feel great! I’m also shopping more at thrift stores/op shops for the same reason.

What do you think the solution is?


  1. Natalie @sewoutnumbered says

    Upcycling is definitely a great alternative. Like clothing manufacturers, I think fabric manufacturers and designers need to be transparent about where and how their fabric is made. I was so excited to find out yesterday that Spotlight will be stocking Cloud 9 fabrics, a brand who has a clear ethical manufacturing policy and abides by the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). I don’t think the answer is to stop buying – I think the industry really needs to start setting acceptable ethical standards and following them so we can continue buying, but guilt free!

  2. Renee //nearestthepin says

    Like you Abby, using more stash fabrics, up cycling from my own wardrobe and from the thrift store, but I think we also need to work towards more ethically produced fabrics. I want to be able to buy nice quality fabric and I want to know that someone hasn’t suffered in the production of it. Also, if we can no longer buy $3 t-shirts, I think we’ll all find that we can do quite well with a few less.

  3. Stephanie says

    I too wish clothes were made here in Australia. This year for me is no RTW, I will make most of my clothes. I am aiming for knickers and bras the next few months.

    I asked the question the other day, how do we buy ethical fabric? Apparently it is very hard. I did find a place but they only dealt with people buying in bulk.

    I am also trying to decide if buying from vinnies boutique constitutes RTW as this is great place for up cycling .

    I also agree that not buying is not the answer, we just need to make better decisions of what we do buy, like buying cloud 9 stuff and show our support in the right places.

    It’s a tough onem

  4. Suzanne Seniore says

    A great post Abby:) You Dad was inspired to grab all that fabric and those shears for you. I agree this is a difficult issue. I think if we become smarter consumers in general that is a good thing. I also don’t like the idea of trying to keep up with the latest fabrics. Lately I have been feeling good with my sewing by using some vintage sheets I have in my stash(not blogged yet). It really is rewarding recycling stuff and bringing it back to life. Sorry I couldn’t join in today:)

  5. Mirjam @ says

    I couldn’t say it better. For me it’s a struggle. I cant sew as fast as my kids grow, and I don’t want to pay a fortune for clothes which would be worn for only a few months. But I also can’t stand the thought of my kids wearing something made by kids… And as you say, you can make your own clothes, but is the fabric made in an honest way…? Anyway, great initiative, and I’m glad I could join this :)

  6. says

    I think it’s good to buy from op shops. It’s a different market, not from the ‘fashion chain’. I’d love to know how you go making bras. I’ve often thought about it but they seem so tricky. Good luck on your RTW free quest this year!

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