Pattern Shift

#59 - "The Art of Deliberate Choice: Crafting a more Sustainable Wardrobe with a Philosophical Mindset"

April 21, 2023 Saskia de Feijter
Pattern Shift
#59 - "The Art of Deliberate Choice: Crafting a more Sustainable Wardrobe with a Philosophical Mindset"
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Hi, welcome to a Smaller Life. My name is Saskia de Fa and this episode is going to be a little philosophical. When I was still living outside of the city, I would be a bi car a lot, and then I would use my phone and the microphone to kind of get a grip of my thoughts. But lately I've been using journaling to do that a lot more, and. I was not really getting to the point with journaling. I was figuring out my thoughts and it was just like a whole lot of thoughts with no direction. So I grabbed my phone. I was still having lunch. So in the beginning you can, if you listen really carefully, you can still, you can hear me bunch on something. So I just finished lunch and I was talking into my phone trying to my ideas in alignment or getting a clearer grip on my thoughts. And I, at a certain point I'm thinking, this needs to become an episode. And I would usually do, or what I planned to do was take down, listen to it again, and then take down, write down the specific points that are interesting and then re-recording it. But I thought, you know, why not just leave as is, as a kind of a. A philosophical way approach a, a, a mindset to the topic that I always talk about, cre creating and crafting a sustainable wardrobe or a more sustainable wardrobe. And this is what that is. In a few seconds, you will hear me talk about 30 minutes about this whole mindset that I've. Adapt adopted to, to how I deal with the big challenges and how I turn that into my mission. So I hope you will enjoy this, and please do let me know what you think of this. I got an email from a listener, Claire. Hi Claire. And she emailed me a reaction to an episode and gave me a tip to listen to another podcast that is similar to mine. And it was an awesome tip, and I'm so glad she emailed me. So I replied and she's like, oh my gosh. wouldn't think you would have the time to reply to me, and I almost didn't email, but I was having lunch, so I had a minute, I replied and I said, oh, please. I think lots of people think this way. And I hardly ever get emails, and I'm almost like literally sitting here. Waiting for your reactions and your thoughts and ideas are just a hi. Because I'm here Well, there's the secretary next to me, kosher the cats. But she doesn't have really bright ideas or she's just That's all she needs to be. And. Yeah, so please, please, please let me know what you think what your experiences are and anything and everything is basically welcome. But for now, enjoy 30 minutes of my brainwaves. Kinda trying to become a thing. Good luck. Hi, my name is Saskia. I've got over a decade of experience in running a small business in the needle craft industry, selling pattern and product design, teaching and running a needle craft school. As a small business owner, you're in charge of everything, branding, marketing, selling, promoting, and cleaning. I'm educated in marketing and photography and learn to do everything else on the job. I'm obsessed with the healing magic of crafting and the power of community, and I'm determined to lift aina for the world to notice so they can step away from fast fashion. In a smaller life. We learn from experts in the needle craft, textile and creative industry, big names and small about what it's actually like to run a small. Emotional talks with sellers about wins and woes, product and design, conscious decision making and branding and communication. Why we do it, how we do it, and what we need to become the future of fashion without burning the help at a smaller life. Fights, apathy and appal and aims to inspire you to look at your wardrobe differently. Where do you buy? How do you use your clothes and can you make some of it yourself? Dreaming big about a world where we relied on value-based businesses, the kindness economy, and where we can fully say, Fuck SAS fashion. A smaller life is Yahoo's completely freeway for makers and sellers to learn how to be part of a healthier tank on clothes and fashion. Yaul offers an online community where they can connect and inspire each other. Monthly topics with challenges for makers at coaching and support for sellers, we. The needle. For more information, go to j hyphen w o Ya. so this episode talks about our spare time and how we can come become craft activists without losing track of our identity and who we actually are. we have to change our life. Dramatically and drastically, but in order to not be too anxious and focused on the, the drama of what's going on, I think this is one solution that we can do, um, as we are not really changing. What we do, we change the direction of what we do. So what I hope to do is build a community where, we share patterns with each other and we have a mindset of sharing and learning. So let's say. I am an accomplished knitter, but I'm not a great seamstress yet. I'm getting there, but I, um, I can, I can do the things, but I need to be told what to do and I need to figure things out. Now we all know that it takes a lot of time to make something. we all have, uh, families to take care of or jobs or, um, or we are not completely well ourselves. So not all of our time can be put into crafting, but the journey of figuring out how much spare time can we actually comfortably use, um, to make a change. that journey and how much we can actually comfortably make. How realistic is it for you to make a whole wardrobe? That is very interesting question because that would be different for different people. depends on what your day looks like. So I, uh, my job of running this platform takes me about 28 hours a week. Um, and so I have, uh, I've chosen to have time left to create and to have time with the other times for my family. I am in a position where I can choose to have, um, time to create. It's part of my job. So I realize that that's a luxury position and that not a lot of people have that. But again, if you are here, that means that you are a maker, a crafter, or, uh, have a business in the industry and usually businesses in the. Um, do some form of craft themselves as well. Everybody needs spare time, but there's, you can choose how to spend it. So I'm not saying don't see your friends anymore, I'm not saying don't go on walks anymore. Uh, I'm just saying look at what you're doing right now. even kind of try to, uh, I love this app called Toggle. Uh, you can keep track of time, you spend on certain things, and it's very insightful. Um, I've been tracking, uh, this cardigan that I'm knitting, and I'm, I'm really shocked about how many hours are actually going into dancing the cardigan. Um, I thought it was much less, to be honest. So what, uh, this leaves us. So let's take the, the example of a, uh, a couple of a pair of socks. I typically need two weeks to finish a pair of socks, and that is when I'm not making knitting, weaving, spinning, sewing, any other things, or mostly focusing on those socks in my spare time. So that's two weeks out of 52 weeks. If you think about it, it's seems like a stretch to try to make your own wardrobe, but we're not talking about making your own wardrobe within a year. We're not talking about finishing your summer wardrobe within six months. Um, it's a slow and it's a long process and, uh, we're not throwing away what you already have. you will not be without clothes at a, at some certain point. It is a matter of planning, looking ahead and being more comfortable with owning less and owning things for a longer period of time. That is what's hard about it, that's what's different, um, from what we're used to. So I'm really trying to do this. For me, what was normal, I think about six years ago, uh, realistically what I would do is twice a year I would usually actually go online, cuz that was easier with my size and my preferences in, um, more sustainable clothing. So I'd had to go online and I would do that one or two times a year. Uh, and get a bunch of basics, like t-shirts, leggings, stuff like that. And then, uh, a couple of dresses or blouses that would have more character and stand out a little. That was what I did. And then I would knit sweaters, cardigans, and accessories to. to match the wardrobe. Nowadays I am wearing those same clothes that I've had for years, and I will only buy new when I can't make them myself or when I absolutely need them now. That's basically the rules, and then I try to. as sustainable as I can or as, uh, local as I can, or I, I basically go down the list of things that I think are important and try to take all the boxes. And if I can't, I just drop the boxes on the bottom one by one until I reach, um, the most, the best choice that fits my values. So, um, not an easy thing, definitely not, but I decided that I would love this process and I am actually really enjoying it because I've started to take more sewing lessons and, um, it's, it has started from a, a sewing community that had an online sewing class for, uh, a shirt. And that was so easy to do, um, just from a video. It wasn't even live. And, uh, I really made the whole thing just watching the videos. This was a paid course. Um, the lessons that I'm taking now are, I have. Um, from 12 to three each week I go to, a sewing teacher, and it's a group lesson, so you get, you have to wait until it's your turn. Um, and I have mixed feelings, the consistency, uh, of that makes sure that, that I actually finish things. But when I make things myself, my learning curve. Less steep, no steeper I learn faster when I do it myself because if I need to solve a problem, it will stick in my head how I solved it. And when I am in the teaching situation, uh, my teacher will just say, okay, you'll do this and this and this, and then I'll try to ask the right questions and say, why am I doing this? Understanding the process more, but it's more, it's more of a social environment there, and I'm picking up things from the other students as well. So, uh, that's what I like about that. And also the experience of that teacher is amazing. She really knows what body kind of needs, what fits, and that is an another, um, great thing when you, when you are able to follow a lesson. So there's, you can start making things. just from a magazine. You can, um, go on YouTube, you can find online lessons, paid lessons. You can join an online community. So you have a whole group of people to ask questions and get fast answers. You can get, uh, local lessons. There's so much you can do, and I think a lot of the time. Talk about these kinds of things. People think about the fact that they are, they already go from one to a hundred in two seconds. They're like, I'll never be able to make a wardrobe that I love, that fits me well. That, um, they, they want all the things at the same time. I'm thinking, okay, my next step is make underwear. I mean, no brass yet. I'm not there yet, but just a lease and a t-shirt for myself like that is totally, uh, obtainable and not that hard, and it won't take that much time. But I have to make choices. I mean, if we, this is the thing. If we want to make changes in the. We have to make choices. We cannot go on the way we are living these days and have been living, and this is the thing something's gotta give, right? Why not put all the energy and efforts to, to make a change and use it in the area that you love being in? The area where you, where you relax, where you get a mental break from all the other shit that's going on, why not focus that energy and time on a, a solution that in at the same time is a way to relax? I mean, it's a no-brainer to me, but we have to know that it's not. because change is not easy. Um, it's, we have to be deliberate about it. We have to make choices. Uh, we have to figure out what's important to us, uh, in terms of values, but also in terms of what kind of clothes do we need? How long, um, will we wear them? Uh, are they easy to mend when there's something wrong with them or something broken? Um, uh, am I like things like, am I sitting in an office all day or do I work from home? Do I have a party every weekend or do I hardly ever go to a party? All those kinds of things. Ask for different kinds of solutions and different roadmaps to get to where you wanna be. So that means that you have to figure that out for yourself, but you don't have to do it alone. The best thing about joining a community. Is that you can share, uh, your wins and your woes, and, um, really learn from the mistakes other people have made and get help whenever you need it. Like, oh my gosh, and this is the first time that I'm, I'm sewing a knit fabric. I don't know what to do, where it starts. when I was at that point, I reached out to somebody that was a sewer or, or more, uh, proficient in sewing. And, uh, turns out the thing that was keeping me back, I'm, I'm talking months here, months of I really wanna start doing this, but I'm not sure if I can. I was just afraid of stretchy fabrics. I was afraid that I would mess it up, and I'm a big starter. Like I start things, I start things before my thought is even finished about the thing, starting the thing. But with this, I was like, oh, I'm not sure. I don't wanna mess up my fabric. And so I reached out and, uh, the only thing I needed was a different needle. and a different stitch and problem solved. And it was definitely, I mean, there's more tips and tricks, but this is the, these are the basics. And I was able to this the same day, uh, make a t-shirt. So I mean, this is what community does. Like community is basically having the specific friends you need for specific things. And because, um, The Yevo community is built around this, this common mission and common vision of a world where, uh, we are not messing up our, our environment and, and we want to be a part of, uh, a change for goods and using our, our crafts and our talents and our creativity, uh, being in that community. just gives you loads of people that can give you tips and tricks and advice, and, uh, you can show off what you've made and, uh, get new ideas about, um, what to do next because, What we are used to is looking at magazines and going, oh, I love that style. I love th this looks so trendy, or this looks so on trend. I really want to make this. I've seen people, other people wear it. Uh, oh, this brand, this, this brand of yarn or this brand of um, fabric is so popular. I really want to make this. And we kind of rely on that kind. Hunter collector. I need it feeling, and I know that you are listening, and you know what that feeling is? You see how, uh, a magazine is styled, how a photo shoot is styled, and you're like this, I need it. I want it, I need it. Gotta have it, gotta make it. It's going to happen. What's going to be different when you decide to, to go the other route is that you slow down and that you think it through first. But with what we do in our community with figuring out what is important to you, what are your values, what do you need from your garments, um, what kind of fit, uh, is good for you If you have done that. you will end up with a garment that you will wear longer, that you will enjoy more, that you will perhaps even duplicate in another color or another type of fiber. Um, it's a different way of looking at things. So it's, it's not, it's like slowing the fuck down. It's not fast fashion, it's not itching a scratch. We are really. Intently and focused on what we will make next. We do wardrobe planning and we know that we only, um, for me, I can just speak for myself, but, um, so I have, uh, I think I have four pairs of pants right now. and. I really need some more pan pants because this, it's the state that they're in. one is really starting to get, uh, I mean, I, there's no need to look sloppy, right? I mean, we, if we want to be craft aist, we can still look stylish and class. Um, that's another, another thing that people, uh, usually think, but we can look stylish and so I want to make, I need to make some more pants and I can look at how many pants I have and I can. Go through the, through the days and finding out what it is that I need. Every time that I get dressed, I'm like, ah, I wish I had, and that's going to be the thing that I make next. So, um, it's going to be, for me, it's going to be t-shirts, summer tops, um, and pants. And then there's a thing of how much time do you have? What kind of craft do you want to, connect to the ward, to the garment that you need? So for me, uh, I love knitting. I love sewing. Uh, I am now, uh, I'm spinning and I am now weaving. Um, obviously when you try to weave the cloth that you want to make your wardrobe, uh, your clothes out of that will take way longer, than when you use. fabric from stash or, uh, when you want to spin first and then knit, and then that will take a long, long time. Time. So there are different choices to be made. And for me, if I need pants, they're going to be sewn and I have some fabric in stash. So I have to be realistic and I think I can make a pair of pants in a weekend. Um, and I shouldn't put it off because for me, I would need them the next time we go on a holiday. I know when we go on a holiday, so I'll just plan to make them. And so I know a lot of you are like, this will take all the spontaneity out of my. Yes and no. again, making a change requires work and, uh, making decisions and doing things differently. And one of the things is that planning gets into it more. Um, and you might not like that, but it's part of the decision of you. Do you want to use your creativity to make a change in the world or do you wanna start somewhere else? Or do you not want to engage in change at all? That's up to you. But if you decide that you do wanna make a change, then there will be changes. I mean, that's just the way it is. So, um, planning to make. The things that you need is going to be probably a little bit new to you. Most people that I served when I had a yard, a yard store, they would, obviously, they could use another sweater or they could use another cardigan or a shell, but that's completely different from what do you need. So when. Adopt this lifestyle of slowing the fuck down to bypass fast fashion. When we do that, we will make like a handful of garments a year, but we will wear them for a longer time as well. So this will probably make a difference in how we look at style. Maybe we wanna be a little bit. Uh, classic and focused, uh, the on trend things on sewing, because that's a little faster. And also I could say that the knitting, the world of knitting design doesn't really follow fashion. I think it's the other way around. I think in knitting some techniques you ne a couple of years later you see on the high street, it's the other way around. So I think it's very fashion forward. What ha happens in the craft world? Because the bigger brands, uh, in the, in the fast fashion industry, they get their ideas from somewhere. And, uh, a lot of the time that is from the crafting world, they just, they just fuck it up. so planning is a big part of, uh, of the makes and being able to wear things longer to be really, Deliberate about your choices. What you can also do is have a different view on accessorizing or shoes. if you wanna kind of jazz up your outfits, you can. Or if, let's say you're not great at sewing yet, you are a great knitter or a crochet, but the other crafts you need to build your wardrobe is not your thing completely. You will start at the beginning. You will just make an easy top or an easy skirt. That's a top, it is a skirt. It, they are wearable and cool. And, uh, a basic top can be jazzed up by your amazing knitted char. so it's, I think personally, and I've, I've been on this journey. A couple of years, and I feel like I am at the beginning of something for myself still, but I also ki really want to inspire other people to go on this journey with me, and that's, that's why the community is there so we can do it together. I think that it's not all that hard to stop buy. Fast fashion. It is not hard at all. I would say once you decide that you want to be part of a change, and I'm making this episode to debunk some of the questions and some of the, um, false opinions people might have about this. It doesn't have to be hard. it doesn't have to be ugly, and it doesn't have to be, uh, less creative. In fact, it's more creative because restriction, creativity comes from restriction. And if you have, uh, some restrictions in place, you will get more and more creative. So for me, I'm focused on making. I, um, have made some other things in between because I'm still thinking, okay, what will they look like? What will they, what kind of fabric? What would match a lot of what I'm wearing? I used to be a g I used to love jeans. I like summer for me is skirts and dresses, uh, and spring, autumn, and winter. Sweaters and jeans, that, that was my thing for a long, long time. But I don't like jeans that much anymore. I didn't want, when all my jeans were, uh, worn, uh, worn out, I wanted to make a more sustainable choice, uh, in jeans and I wa I am not ready to make them. So I needed something that would fit me and it would fit my style. And I ended up with Lucy and Yak and I got myself, uh, a high rise mommy, mom jeans and um, a time bo, The suit was comfortable, but it doesn't, it makes me feel comfortable. It doesn't make me feel nice, or it's not the best shape for me, but that's fine because I will use it for when I want to feel comfortable. The mom jeans was a, Um, they fit, but they're definitely not my look. I, I think, I don't think I'm too old. I don't necessarily believe in that, but it's just on, I, I really don't like it on my shape. I feel like it's too much of a bag around me, so I'm not sure what to do with that one. You can, I think you can send it back and I can also sell it and give it another life for somebody. Uh, but that means that I don't have any jeans anymore and jeans was my thing. So what is the next thing? Pants, uh, they really get, um, my thighs chafe. So they get a lot of wear in, in between my thighs. So it needs strong fabric. So now I'm looking at twill fabric, uh, which is basically the, the way jeans is woven usually. And, uh, the, the type of stuff that backpacks get made of. Not like a canvas, but like a thicker cotton type. Cuz I know that cotton is not. Best fiber, um, If it's in that kind of fabric, it will last me a long, long time. So then I'm thinking of colors, what kind of color matches my wardrobe, what really goes with what. And then, uh, it's probably gonna be a Navy or uh, one of those kind of utility colored, um, Stone, orange type color, that would work. Um, and this is how I narrow down what I need, what kind of material, what kind of color, what kind of shape, and then slowly but steadily I end up with. Uh, looking for patterns. Now I have a sewing teacher and she ex knows exactly what will work on my body. So that's a luxury. But, um, just spending time looking at pictures on Pinterest will do wonders. Um, and, uh, yeah, that's how I do it. And what I'm trying to build right now with the help of the community is, uh, an extensive list. Great starter project for all types of garments. So a basic circle skirt, a basic pencil skirt, a basic T-shirt, a basic top, a basic set of socks, a basic shawl, like all the kind of beginner des designs that are so timeless and. Um, they're like bla basically blank canvases. So you can use your creativity and your skillset to, uh, to start almost like your capsule, handmade wardrobe and take it from there. Um, you basically buying time with every garment you make in the, on the level that you are at the moment. So, making a beginner shirt and wearing, or a 10 no, maybe not 10 or a few, wearing that, and then figuring out what the next thing you want or how to make it. And that process can go really fast. If you know what you want, you won't do things in between that are just like hiccups. Like my next top, I would, I love to have, uh, kind of a, a top that has some ruffle, maybe not poofy sleeves, but a little ruffle at the top or something. So I'm looking into, um, uh, designs where I can use, where I, where I can. try that. And a ruffle is a new thing for me. So a new skill that will happen because I, uh, need a new top that is a little bit more quirky than what I've made before. I think it's totally, totally doable to, to adapt this lifestyle without feeling, um, like you cannot. Do what you want to do. You still have to make a gazillion decisions about color, fiber, uh, patterns. It's the same thing, except when you feel the urge to make another shawl. You go into your work, what you've done before and decide, Hmm, no, I really actually need a pair of pants, so I'm gonna focus on that first. And then that becomes what you're doing and then that becomes this in the same space and vibe that you were when you crafted before. It's just the different. And on that note I'll leave you to ponder this kind of a mindset of how to go about crafting a more sustainable wardrobe for yourself that fits with your needs. Again, I hope you liked it. Please let me know. Send me an email or just go to the show notes, a smaller There is a button on the right hand side that you can click and actually leave me a voice. Note that's actually actually pretty fun do and I always give you a note back, a voice note back specifically for you. So if you wanna try that, be my guest, I would love that. If you want to support a smaller life, you can become a member of our c. For eight 50 month, you will support the and at the same time, work within community on your more sustainable wardrobe or if you like to be more in the background of things and not be. engaging with other people. That is also very much possible and you can do that by becoming a Patreon and choose the amount would like to pay monthly to help me to keep doing this work. I would very, very much appreciate it. This is taking a lot of time. It is my job and my business. I do this. about, It takes me about a full day to make an episode and I'm getting help. I'm paying an editor and I have all kinds of other things that revolve around making the podcast. I would love to be able to. Do more. And I can only do that if I know that the work is appreciated. So in any shape or form, if can, I would really appreciate you becoming either a member or a a Patreon I would love it if you become part of this movement so we can move the needle together.