I first saw this tag on a post from @mmeburdette, shes a home sewist with excellent taste. Turns out this tag is a little movement in the home sewing community and it started in Poland (#wartośćszycia). Possibly with patternmaker and sewist @charczerka but I don’t speak polish so I’m not entirely sure. Never the less I think it’s a great idea!
I feel that it’s come about because when people find out that you can sew, they have a tendency to ask you to do things for them, because they think it’s quick and easy, that sewing you a new dress is something that could happen at the click of your fingers.
The premise of the hash tag is to show an image of something you made (sewed) and ask people how long they think it took you to make it. To make people think about how long it actually takes.
I’ve just given the tag a little tester on insta and maybe its backfired a little – when people are asked to really make a guess, they do think that it takes a long time, for many in my case a lot longer than it actually does.
Yet I do get people questioning how much I charge for my items. Its probably different people. But the gap in logic still remains.
With the advent of fast fashion we have become so disengaged from the production process, from how things are actually made and who does the making, that it actually devalues the product. It was so easy to get, and as such it is so easy to throw away. A garment that has no story, isn’t special. Sometimes things gain a story by being associated with something that happened when we wore it, or maybe a compliment we got. But we’ve lost the other stories, where you picked the fabric, and maybe a friend or relative made it, and maybe something was wrong with it and you had to figure out how to change it and make it better. The challenge and the achievement. Or maybe you stole it from your sisters wardrobe, or found it after hunting through charity stores, again a challenge and an achievement.
Lets also talk about the costs, while we are talking about time. Time equals money right? Mostly I make bodysuits, thats where the majority of my business lies at the moment. I make a lot of them and they take me about 4 to 5 hours each to make, and I charge about $200au for them.
However, you could walk into a fast fashion chain store and buy a bodysuit for anywhere between $15 to $50. Thats a big difference. Now we tend to think that that difference happens because of a thing referred to as ‘economies of scale’ ie when you mass produce something it becomes cheaper.
The difference between when I sew something and when someone in a vast factory sews something isn’t as big as you might think. We both sit at a sewing machine and push the fabric through with our hands. Factory processes do make things quicker, each person does one part of the process, over and over, and they use industrial machines which are faster and more specialised. Lets say that our factory worker can produce something twice as quickly as I can, which would be a pretty expected rate if I was outsourcing labor.
If I can make 2 bodysuits in an 10 hour day, they can make 4. Let’s say they sell at a major fast fashion retailer for $50 ea (fairly generous). Thats $200 per day, not bad. Only the store is going to take 50% at least, so thats $100. The factory is going to take a cut, they expect profits too. Then you have to factor in your costs, fabric, trim, freight, packaging, labels, customs duties and taxes... My wild guess, your down to $50 for the day (at the very most), that’s $5ph, on a day where you didn’t stop working for 10 hours. I can tell you I aint working for $5ph. So your certainly not getting these made in a developed country, with solid labour laws, and ethical treatment of its staff getting paid a living wage.
NOPE. What your buying is probably modern slavery.
‘Approximately 40 million people around the world are living in modern slavery, 71 percent of them female -- and the fashion industry is the second biggest contributor to this situation, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, published by nonprofit organization Walk Free Foundation. The study was based on data from 167 countries and face-to-face interviews with more than 71,000 people in 52 languages.’- fashionunited.com
For me, I cost like this, I charge $35ph, so that $175 and I add materials costs. That’s it.
I don’t sell in a store so I’m not giving them a cut. But I’m not costing in the time it takes to photograph it, list it on the website, source the materials, make the pattern, make the sample, do marketing, pay for my website and the PayPal/Credit Card fees, the list goes on almost endlessly... Maybe that’s why I get paid the big bucks per hour.
But follow #worthofsewing its a great hashtag, and very interesting.
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I’m still working from home, sewing things up and sending goodies out, like nothing has changed.
Unfortunately, its when your orders leave me that things don’t go as previously planned.
Postage is super slow, especially internationally. There just aren’t as many planes in the air to get things to you. The state I live in, here in West Australia, we have closed our borders. It actually surprises me when I hear a plane going overhead and I live pretty close to the airport.
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