Bulk overseas manufacturing has made it possible to mass manufacture clothes for pennies on the dollar. Yet in-store prices remain mostly unchanged from the time when garments were handmade in specialized boutiques. A blouse that cost $7 in materials and $2 in labor can go for anything from $35 to $105. That price covers mismatched seams, frayed edges, and cheap materials. Clothing sweatshops prioritize quantity over quality, so it’s only natural that mistakes are made and often overlooked. Ultimately you are expected to either continuously shell out money for expensive dry cleaning or risk having that brand new blouse dissolve after one or two washes. Mass made clothes also suffer from being cut out of a standard template. Lucky for the very few whose bodies fit that template, but bad news for the rest of us. Building your own wardrobe is not only fun and empowering, but your wallet will ultimately thank you too.
A strong garment begins with a good machine. Even though it’s tempting to get a cheap machine ‘just to give it a try,’ you’ll soon find that you ended up paying more in the long run through constant repair runs and ruined fabrics. Juki, Janome, and Brother machines are industry standards in the world of high fashion and can be found populating most fashion schools due to their sturdy construction. Rather than opting for cheap plastic components that warp under the heat and pressure of sewing, Janome, Juki, and Brother machines still use high-quality steel for their components, giving you a reliable and steady sewing experience. These machines will grow with you in your sewing journey. They are easy enough for the beginner, but each machine can be upgraded with increasingly specialized additions and tools that fit even the most ambitious projects.
Once you find a machine that suits your needs, getting started is as simple as a trip to the fabric store and a google search.
Most sewing classes begin with something to get you comfortable with a sewing machine, usually a tote bag or a pair of comfy pajama bottoms. If you’re itching to get started on building that wardrobe, pajama bottoms are a great place to start. Fleece is a great fabric for getting comfortable with a new sewing machine. Youtube is riddled with tutorials that will walk you step by step from finding the perfect fit to tips and tricks for setting in a waistband.
By the time you’re done, not only will you have a new high quality and well-fitting garment, but you’ll have taken the first step to build your own wardrobe!