[The pictures in this post show my ongoing trenchcoat project: it is taking FOREVER and I hope to be able to wear it for a long time.]
Alright, eternity may be a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve been thinking about my sewing projects, how I plan and execute them and how I envision to wear my garments. Essentially it comes down to these two questions:
- How long do I plan on wearing this garment?
- How long will this garment last (=be wearable)?
The first question is more personal: Do I know what I like to wear over and over again, or is this just a trend that’s passing and might feel old in the next season? I guess I’m somewhat sure what my style is (although it does evolve over time…), what I like to wear -even if it’s not “in” anymore. This does apparently not mean that I will always stick to the same old patterns and colours, but I like to think that I have found a “style area” that I like and suits me well. Apart from that I really am not opposed to garments that are only wearable in a particular season. We have all fours seasons here in Germany and I don’t see why one shouldn’t embrace that -fashion wise and other. I started packing up my summer clothes a few weeks ago and consequentially dug out my winter clothes. (Hello, beloved corduroy pants!) Honestly, I do love the change of the seasons and with it the change in my wardrobe. A good plus is that some of these seasonal garments do last longer as they are only wearable half of the time.
This brings me to the second question: How long can or should a garment acutally last? There are many criteria that have a big influence on the lifespan of a garment. For one we have the fabric: By now I’m quite good at recognizing a good quality fabric from cheap ones. But some fabric types just last longer than others. In my experience, everything with some stretch in it (jerseys, fiber mixes with elastane etc.) doesn’t hold as long as a woven fabric. (Apart from polyester fabric: This stuff practically lasts forever, but I hate wearing it. So that’s not an alternative for me.)
Another area is the general quality of the construction of your garment: Nowadays I’m way more inclined to make an effort, sew those french seams or Hong Kong bindings. This is in part due to the fact that I spend more money for fabric (hello, better quality) and therefore, want my finished garment to stand the test of time and last a long time.
Lastly, there is the handling of your garment: How careful are you with your garments? How often do you wash them? On what occasions do you wear them? I belive that it can have a huge impact on the life span of your garment when you handle them with care – every step of the way. I try to wash my garments as rarely as possible (apart from underwear, socks, tights, etc.) and rather treat them separately. For example, wash out a spot by hand or airing out over night. And I try to not take the obvious risks (food, that spills / dark jeans that might bleed out / makeup while putting our clothes on or off) with some garments (white blouses, light tops) by either changing or trying to protect my garments otherwise.
Do you think about the lifespan of your garments when you sew (or buy!) them? And what do you do to make your clothes last longer? Any more tips?