I’ve been quiet on this blog lately. Frankly it’s because I was thinking of getting rid of this whole space altogether, including my @helloalexisbailey Instagram account. The infinite changes and politics of Instagram, the constant popularity contests and the need to always keep up with the platform made IG and my blog a source of anxiety.
I had so many intentions for this space and for the things I wanted it to be, but I always felt like I was always going in different directions to get there and it led me to not really knowing what I wanted for myself and this space, until now. I pivoted my dynamic this year to inform people of the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle through creating and sewing, and it hasn’t always been the most popular viewpoint.
The sewing community is full of beautiful fabrics, patterns and all around things in general that keep us buying, keep us making and keep us (eventually) wasting if not done correctly. It took me awhile to realize that I could talk all day about spending money wisely and making better purchase choices, but that in order to actually go deep into my sustainability journey, I’d need to do more. I’d have to quit buying fabric in general.
I know to any sewist this may sound crazy or hilarious, but after considering my lifestyle and the fact that I work with fabric everyday, I realized the beauty and the magnificence and the special aspects of mass produced textiles only go so far.
This year I started selling fabric at my shop Fibr & Cloth Studio and in doing so purchased only deadstock (fabric that is no longer used by designer companies and then sent to the landfill unless obtained and re-sold). After receiving the fabrics I did, and selling out of them, my thoughts changed regarding the way and how often I bought fabric. Most fabric from big fabric stores are not deadstock. They are mass produced depending on popularity and can sit in warehouses or on shelves until they get dusty. When inventory time comes, most of these fabrics are wasted, though some can be recycled depending on the company. Indie fabric stores are transparent about if the fabrics they stock are deadstock or not and it’s usually 50/50.
This may have you thinking, “then why not just buy thrifted and deadstock fabrics?”. Put simply, buying fabric doesn’t mean anything to me unless I am making something with it, which is the point of me being a conscious maker. In reading the book “The Afrominimalist Guide to Minimalism” I realized that stress, habits and generational roots were causing me to buy things I did not need, simply just because I could. After looking at my fabric stash, it was very evident that my fabric buying had gotten out of hand.
For those who have seen similar bad habits and are looking to be more intentional in their buying, there are many fabric buying challenges on Instagram that can be participated in. For myself, I realized the issue was more than just fabric though. I have about 8 knitting projects either partially completed or not started at all. About 20 skeins and balls of yarn are in my stash and I barely knit (a habit I am working on changing currently as I am almost done with my first knitting project).
Again, buying these things is not intentional unless I plan on doing things with what I’m buying, no matter where it is from. I realized the deeper issue for me and why I had acquired all of this fabric and yarn was because I never made enough time to create for myself– I was buying things solely based off of the hope that I would make something with it later. As a content creator and maker shop owner, I spend most of my time marketing and making things for the purpose of showing how something is done or for brands and advertisement. There are deadlines to these things that take up my time and I realized I lost my natural compass of personal making just for the fun of it. So I made some new commitments to myself for the rest of the year and I’ll be documenting my progress as I go:
- No buying of new fabric yardage or yarn through 2021 (starting here, I want to go a full year if possible)
- Working with brands and fabric companies that align with my values and who’s expectations align with my wardrobe
- No vintage cloth buying (this became a bad habit as well, and is expensive!)
- Spending 1-2 hours creating for myself each day (handsewing, knitting or machine sewing)
- Complete 1 knitting project a month
One of my goals with these commitments is to evaluate my closet and see how to better use and style what I already have. In a previous newsletter I had mentioned wanting to share capsule wardrobe tips and ideas and I’m hoping this pivot in how I make/wear clothing will contribute to me being able to do that more efficiently.
So there you have it, where my head has been the last few months and the changes I am working on implementing. I do plan on staying in this space for now and really getting back to weekly blog posts if my lifestyle permits. If you’re still hanging with me I appreciate you greatly and thank you for your continued support.
Until next time,