Earlier I already mentioned challenges for those who decide to sew their own clothes (in Soviet fashion and How it was: the crop top). Many people here hype handmade today – problem is, hustlers don’t care a dime for it: all they want is to make money. Such businessmen - or businesswomen - will open boutiques stocking tacky, monotonous cookie-cutter stuff for making jewellery. What they sell is suitable only for, perhaps, kindergarten crafter classes. Yet, it is not cheap, especially if you want to buy a variety – enough to satisfy the creative itch.
Yarn and textile stores carry materials of questionable properties. Of course, it’s nothing new. If I look back in time and remember the clothes I had to throw away due to poor quality fabric or yarn, I can see a pretty big heap of items – items you cherished because you made them yourself.
The tunic, recently featured on my Instagram , is a piece I sewed quite long ago, and even sewed it over once.
But shortly after I started wearing it again in summer, I noticed tiny discolouration at the waistline. The bleaker spots are hardly visible if you don’t watch close-up. But since I became aware, I could not put the tunic on any more. I can only model it now and take pics. ツ
I guess the reason why it faded was contact with skin in the high summer heat. I like this tunic very much. It’s light, great fit and great colour, nice texture with the amazing velvety surface… But for its discolouration issue, it is one of the best fabrics I have ever bought and worked with, especially given the fact that it’s synthetic and totally non-stretch. I even entertain thoughts of revamping it in one way or another, but if you can’t wear it in summer…
Years ago our textile shops were stocked many imitation leather fabrics. They looked very well, came in lovely colours and even with prints. Within the space of several years that type of mock leather disappeared completely – because in several years everyone who cared knew that buying it was waste of money. But who could have predicted?
I personally threw away three great jackets and one longer coat, because the fake leather surface started cracking and peeling in a couple of seasons. And it was not the wear and tear you could reasonably expect. A cut of the same fabric I kept untouched for a time in the closet with projects, eventually had to be thrown away for the very same reason! If only the jackets were made of better material! I almost cried when I had to throw away one of the loveliest celestial blue I have ever seen. The other two were also amazing. The last one to go tear-soaked into the bin was the fabulous silvery coat… All becasue of the inferior technology used by the fabrics’ manufacturers. Imagine how much money people in aggregate spent on that stuff!
A couple of years ago I bought a cut of flaxen fabric to make a tunic for summer. The heat here can be smothering. And we’ve all heard that flax is one of the best materials under the circumstances. It was one of very expensive textiles, but the colour was so much my cup of tea that I paid through the nose. I featured the item here. And you know what? It did not last a season. The fabric also developed yellow shade discolouration, only in huge patches this time. Had been at least uniform, the tunic could go down as some punk style clothing ツ- but no, no way.
So I ripped off the lovely lace around the hem and used it elsewhere. I felt so sorry, because the tunic looked really nice, but you cannot wear it because it looks too trashy. As for knitted fabrics and their quality, there could be a whole new article. I also have certain concerns for some of my faux sheepskins – it can almost impossible to part with handmade things.
The yarn is yet another big issue. I have knitted and crocheted not one dozen of sweaters, pullovers, etc in my life for myself or other people – maybe, they count by hundreds - and I still can hardly find actually good yarn, unless, of course, at some cosmic price. But even then you don’t get guarantees.
I once forked out for most expensive Peruvian lama – gosh, how scratchy it was, warm but scratchy as hell! There was more coming - it shrank in wash! I didn’t know until that moment that knitting yarn could shrink as well. So the sweater became even scratchier. And, worst of all, you could not unravel it - to make legwarmers or something - because the most expensive Peruvian llama got matted so much I had difficulties unrdoing it even when I knitted the first time.
So on each occasion you buy yarn, it has to be compromise or risk taking. Not rarely I completely remake knitted pieces, because the yarn gets an unpredictable look. And I do have experience. On the other hand, if I have a thing made of fairly good yarn, after a time I may want to unravel it and make over for a more trendy look or, say, if a piece gets thin in the elbows.
To cut a long story short, making your own clothes is really very much about risk, and remake, and throw away, alas.