Care about the Earth? Then you should learn to sew.
I got an email from Old Navy with “$6 leggings” in the subject line and it made me grateful that I know how to sew. Cheap clothes come with hidden costs. So if you care about the planet, you should grab your needle & thread (& sewing machine, if you have one) and learn to sew. All you need is a few basic sewing skills to be a better steward for the planet. How’s that, you ask? Let me explain.
5 reasons you should learn to sew if you care about the planet:
- Lets you repair things & keep them in use longer. We’ve got to move away from our disposable lifestyle and start caring for items for longer. If not, we’ll be drowning in trash soon. Keep your jacket, your backpack, your grocery bags and more in use longer. Learn to sew tears & add patches to extend the life of your stuff.
2. Helps you appreciate the time it takes to make things. Try sewing your own pants and you’ll probably take good care of those pants. When you appreciate the labor involved in making textiles, you’re more likely to take good care & keep it out of the landfill.
3. Helps you avoid the emissions from shipping all those online purchases to your house. When you can make it yourself or fix what you have, you don’t need to order things online (shameless plug: No Trace shipping is carbon offset by Etsy! So feel less guilty about ordering from me 😉).
- Lets you express your creativity. This isn’t a direct benefit to the planet, but it’s a pretty great benefit that I can’t ignore. Learning to sew lets you express your individuality. You’ll get into a flow state as you work on your projects. And you’ll create one of a kind pieces for yourself and as gifts for your loved ones! That’s invaluable.
Perhaps the number one reason you should learn to sew if you care about the Earth, though, is this:
- Makes you question the price of cheap clothes. It’ll make you wonder how a company makes a profit on $6 leggings. Someone, somewhere pays the true price for those $6 leggings, and it’s probably the person who made them for you. That employee may work in unsafe working conditions, and/or work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, and may live with environmental pollution from the factories in their local water and air.
CleanClothes.org breaks down the costs of garments (on average) and how much goes to the employee. It’s about 0.6%. The person who made those $6 leggings was probably paid less than 4 cents for their work. The rest of that $6 goes to material costs, factory owner profit, brand profit, transportation & factory overhead, and the majority (about 60%) goes to the retailer (when it’s sold in person) or back to the brand (for online sales). Many factory workers don’t receive a living wage, as you can imagine at 4 cents per shirt. As more of us understand this, we’ll start to make better choices with our purchases. We can seek out the ethical companies who are treating their employees well. And we can pay a fair price for the textiles in our life.
There you have it – 5 reasons you should learn to sew if you care about the planet. So get out there and start sewing! It’ll change your life, and may even change the planet for the better.
If you’re not sure where to start, head to my YouTube channel for video tutorials – I’ve got a whole series including this one – Learn to sew – to get you started.
And check out this playlist for all of my zero waste sewing tutorials.
Thanks for reading and for all that you do for the planet.