crochet

Redheads Writing In Cafes: Why I’m obsessed with thrifting & making my own clothing!

(except when it’s from my bedroom)

I was asked recently why I love making my own clothing (I get asked often) and this led me down a rabbit hole of all of the whys including why I thrift or go antiquing rather than buy anything new. Oh and of course why I will repair things, until they are literally falling apart. One reason, it’s in my blood, the other, well, there are many and you will need to read on.

My Mother Made Our Clothes We grew up poor and with a growing family and no extra money to buy things such as clothing for her growing children, my mother had to rely on hand-me-downs or making clothing herself. Like myself, my mother was taught the basics, but is mostly self-taught when it comes to sewing. Not only did she sew our clothing, she self drafted patterns AND would use what ever material was available to her. Discounted ends of bolts, old dresses, sheets… she was beyond crafty! Along with sewing our clothing, she knit us lots of outfits as well. I know this brought her a lot of joy and was a creative outlet for her.

Creative Outlet I have always been a creative person. Growing up my mother always made sure I had art supplies, writing journals, yarn and fabric at my disposal. Since she didn’t have time to do art herself, she made sure that her children could. Out of the four of us, I am truly the creative one. Along with doing art (mostly drawing) Sewing, knitting, crochet and cross-stitch helps my mental health. You heard that right, it helps with your mental well-being. While I am working on projects, I can go off into a meditative state. When I am done, I calm and in many cases have been able to work out problems and issues that were irking me.

Thrifting vs Buying New Many people want to participate in ways to help the environment beyond recycling and composting, but don’t always know how to do that. Thrifting rather than buying new actually makes a huge impact, especially in regard to clothing. Did you know that fast fashion contributes to Climate Change because of how much of it ends up in landfill! Check out this article! When you thrift vs buy new, you are not only helping the environment. you may come across some vintage gems that are generally better quality than much of what we buy today. Not to mention, I have found basically brand new small appliances at my local Value Village!

Antiquing falls under this category as well. I love, love, love going antiquing. It’s like going on a treasure hunt for me. We have a few favourite spots, but I’m always looking for new places to go. I love walking up and down the aisle, trying to find that one particular item or take a chance and see if I find something I wasn’t actually looking for. I always make sure to love in every corner just in case something has been hidden away.

You Save Money That’s right folks! You save money! That alone should get you excited about thrift stores!

Do you thrift? What do you look for when you do?

Stay The Fuck Home Learn How To Crochet Edition

I have a little bit of a confession. I didn’t learn how to crochet at the same time I learned how to knit because I thought it was too complicated and I refused to learn how. Then one day I said what the fuck! (I actually said that) and bought a crochet hook, and then put on a YouTube video. This was right when YouTube started, so 2005/2006 ish and the video was about ten minutes long and really shitty quality, but… I learned the basics of how to crochet and I haven’t looked back. So… if I can learn from a crappy video back in 2005/2006, you definitely have a huge advantage learning in 2020.

Just like knitting, I still use YouTube to learn new stitches and techniques. I also have a bunch of books on stitches on my bookshelf.

Below are some of my favourite beginner videos for crochet as well as some pattern sites and book suggestions.

How to Crochet

Books

It’s always good to have a book or two on how to crochet along with some stitch guides. Also, another of my favourites is the Stitch ‘n Bitch book on how to crochet.

Free Patterns

https://www.allfreecrochet.com/Miscellaneous-Crochet/Free-Crochet-Patterns

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/crochet-patterns-for-every-level-978749

https://mymodernmet.com/free-crochet-patterns-diy/

https://freevintagecrochet.com/

Back To Basics

Once upon a time, in days of the past, there was a woman who made her own clothing, made do and mended, was a thrift queen and lived a happy, not contributing to landfill life. Oh hold on! That’s not actually a fairytale… that’s me!

Imagine living in a world where you lived garbage free, everything was made from recycled materials and you never had to worry about your fast fashion ending up in landfill. Take a moment. Let that sink in. Ok. Ready? Open your eyes. Tada! It can happen. It has happened before and it wasn’t that long ago before it stopped happening. In the last few decades, we’ve gotten lazy, we stopped making our own clothing and rather than repair something, even with the tiniest repair needed, it would be tossed into the garbage and a new garment bought. Then off to the landfill, that pile of garbage that grows into mountains of clothing that could have been repaired and worn another day.

Before you start yelling at me, I know it’s not EVERYONE who does this. I grew up in a household that was all about creating your own garments, make do and mend and thrifting. My Mamasita is the thrift queen to this day. Between her and my Grandma Betty, I learned to knit and sew. Later in life, I taught myself to crochet (thank you Carlin for the encouragement and YouTube for the videos). I’ve never really been in a position to run out and buy myself a spanking never wardrobe, not that I would, so I’ve either depended on thrift shops or making my own clothing. The only things I actually buy brand new are undergarments, leggings, and stockings. At some point I’m going to learn how to make my own undergarments and leggings, so the only thing left is stockings and trust me, I wear those until they are literally falling apart. The 1930s/40s mentality of making do with what you have was taught to me at a very early age and I’m thankful for it. I’m also thankful to see a large number of others who do this or are beginning to do this. As a matter of fact there is a huge movement, which I am proud to be part of, of people who sew, knit, crochet, refashion, thrift, buy vintage and make do and mend. Let’s follow with their lead! We don’t need to buy fast fashion!

There is nothing more satisfying than creating your own garment or refashioning something you found in a thrift store. For those who think they can’t do it, you actually can. You don’t need a fancy sewing machine. You can find machines for a few hundred dollars that have the basic stitches, because basic is all you need! Don’t know how to sew, YouTube has a BAJILLION that’s right BAJILLION videos for beginners. All you need to be able to do is sew a basic stitch. I don’t own a serger or a fancy machine with embroidery stitches. I have a basic Kenmore sewing machine. It’s amazing the things you can make with a straight stitch! One of my favourite channels to watch is Evelyn Wood. She is a refashion genius!

If you don’t want to learn how to knit, sew or crochet, you can still help stop the contribution of adding to landfill. There is still make do and mend AND go clothing thrifting. Clothing thrifting is a lot of fun! You can make it an adventure either by doing it yourself or with friends. Do a show and tell together once you are done or take the items you found and refashion them! Anything you can do to help keep landfill from growing is a way to help Mother Nature out and trust me, she needs our help!

Today is going to be a sewing and writing day. I try to set aside one day a week to sew garments and I do my mending while watching a great classic movie or cooking shows on YouTube. I find it very therapeutic.
If you do one of these things (sew, knit, crochet, mend, refashion, thrift) you are helping. Please stop buying fast fashion and let’s get back to the basics!

Day 3

Day 3! This morning was about doing things that are hard. Yuppers. There are still a few moves that I realize I’m not quite strong enough to do fully yet, but I will get there. But, that’s been my life. Do things that are hard until they aren’t.

Who joined in this morning or is doing the yoga challenge later today?

Today’s photo is sewing. I make many of my own clothing. Sew, knit, crochet. I also prefer to thrift instead of buying fast fashion. AND most importantly, make due and mend. I grew up with a mother and grandmother’s who promoted this. My mother taught me how to sew on a treadle sewing machine. The machine was built in 1898 and has been passed down from great-grandmother, grandmother to mother to me. My Grandma Betty taught me to knit and I taught myself to crochet.