I posted last week about some items I had in my sewing fabric box that would be made into a dress. These are the items...
Now it is difficult to see but the skirt is long and has a rather silly ruffle that goes a third of the way down the front and a big bow at the waist. The top has a small hole in the side and the straps a very low ( obscenely low) at the front, if I wore it as it is you would probably see my stomach! So I had thought of making a dress but as I was unpicking the ridiculous ruffle I thought I would do skirt and top as that way I could still wear the top with jeans if I wanted to. I chopped a good 9 inch off the top of the skirt and cut the skirt front all the way down the front once the ruffle was removed so that the seam I had to stitch didn't look odd. I added quarter inch elastic to make a new waistband by just folding over the top of the skirt, inserting elastic which I had stitched to correct waist size by trying first and then just sewing by zig zag taking care not to catch on the elastic as I went. ( This is very quick) The skirt looked better a;already without the bow and ruffle.
I fixed the hole in the top with a bit of invisible stitching, chopped of about 2 inch off the straps, reshaped the front of the top by cutting then hand stitching on the inside so that the stitches didn't show. (I thought it was a bit too pointy towards the shoulders before.)
Here it is with a belt and shoes ( it seems strange to take a picture without shoes!)
It is wearable now. I have to say when I first saw it I thought what can I do with that. Then it didn't take much to get rid of the fussiness of it. Another holiday outfit for free! (Need some sun on those legs though)
I read The Thrift book over the last two days which came in at the library from my order last week. It covers lots of things most of which I do already and I did enjoy it but I did disagree with her take on clothes buying. She admitted throughout the book how middle class she is and how fortunate she has been but goes on to rant about people buying clothes at Primark and the implications of this.
I do agree that people should be paid a living wage and child labour should never be used, her argument was if you buy cheap you are supporting this and if you pay top whack you can sleep easy as you have done your bit. That is all very well for a middle class journalist/author to say but what she didn't mention is that many of the pricey shops also use workers overseas in this way and I don't feel families on low incomes should be made to feel guilty for doing the best they can to clothe their children or themselves.
I agree it is obscene to go in every Saturday and throw away clothes just because they are cheap to make way for new, but for a lot of people they shop there out of necessity.
Just out of interest I think it is quite difficult to determine which shops are ethical or not, I had a look around the internet and found some conflicting suggestions as to which were the best places to shop. One site put GAP quite high but on two others they were near the bottom, I suppose it depends on the loyalties of the site owners! I did find a list on Ethical Consumer which puts M&S at the top, Primark are near the bottom but I might add so are Wallis, John Lewis and River Island so it is not so much about what you pay.
I think the best way to be ethical about your clothing is to make it last, recycle, swap and make your own. If you need to buy cheap do so when you need to, but not every week!
I would also like to add my mother in law got me the above skirt (Which is GAP) in the St Lukes charity shop sale last year for 50p! The top also from a charity shop I bought for £2 and it's organic cotton.