Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tyger demands handmade!

I was chatting recently with Tyger, my daughter, about the Handmaker's Factory pledge - basically, to minimise your clothing footprint, you choose to make as many of your clothes as possible. This lead to a great discussion about how little our clothing costs us now compared to other times in history, and how the back bone of our cheap clothes is often poor exploited workers with no rights in third world countries. It's a dreadful case of out of sight, out of mind, yet our desire for $8 t-shirts has a devastating effect on so many people every day.

I could see the Tyger chewing over this new information carefully for a while. She then announced that she'd like to take the pledge too.

Now, I'll admit - my first reaction was to panic. "For the love of mud, child!", I thought. "As if I don't have enough to do, without making all of your clothes as well!"

But then I thought, dammit Jorth - don't be such a hypocrite. Why shouldn't me and my girl get together to make her new clothes as needed? This is what I figure - if we can teach them young to avoid the consumer culture that has such a damaging effect - not only on people, but on communities, the environment and even the loss of once-common skills - then it really doesn't matter that I might feel too busy to do this. My girl wants to make a difference, and by gee - I'm going to help her do it, even if it means burning the midnight oil.

So we devised her a winter wardrobe plan, and one most excellent shopping trip later, came home with these:



The fabric will be made into a couple of shirts and three dresses. I'm quite excited about the prospect of an elephant dress. How cute is that going to be?!?

The yarn will be made up into a Sea Princess Cardigan and this Sirdar cardigan, using one of my all time favourite yarns, the Amy Butler Belle Organic. You should have seen me race over to Sunspun to snaffle up as much as I could when I heard it was being discontinued. Noooooooooo! It's such a blimming awesome yarn - warm, brilliant stitch definition, great colours. I feel I'm losing a reliable friend to a far off destination, ne'er to be seen again. Sniff! Anyway, it's heavily discounted at Sunspun, which made these two cardigans absolute bargains, so if you love it as much as I do, get yourself some pronto!

So that's me kept busy for the next few weeks, err, months. Busy fingers and clear conscience. Just the way I like it!


  1. What a great child .... I was in target recently and there were t-shirts for less than $4 which really makes you wonder about how much the person who made it was paid

    Cannot believe they are discontinuing that yarn! Sob ....

  2. My last make was an elephant dress! I made it for myself using the Colette Laurel pattern and blue fabric with a medium-scale circus elephant print.

  3. Yay for elephant dresses! The world needs more of them, I say ;)

  4. Good on Tyger! Look forward to the elephant dress ;) In response to your last comment I was tempted to say "a trunk load" but that would be corny lol

  5. Such a great idea and good on you for committing. I've just added knitting to my sewing skills and am so excited to BUY MORE YARN! Love your choices. Also where, may I ask, did you get the elephant print? My little on would go wild for that.

  6. Go Tyger! Love the selection of fabrics and yarn. Do you think 32 is too old for an elephant dress?

  7. /anne...5:29 pm

    1. Where did you get the fabric? I love the one with the black background.

    2. Wangaratta Woollen Mills has some cheap bags of Belle Organic (or at least they did last Friday)

    3. Ethiopia is now a 'hub for knitwear production' - the world is running out of cheap places to manufacture clothing. We are now paying about the same for comparable quality as we did 25 years ago (and I don't mean adjusted for inflation) - this is completely unsustainable. Kmart have jeans for $7 - in the 70s, you couldn't buy jeans for that little.

    Sorry about the rant, but as you can tell, this bothers me!

  8. What a fabulous idea! I love the fabrics Tyger's picked- it's going to be one rad wardrobe!

  9. It all looks so amazing, fabulous eye for patterns you have there!


  10. I love that you and your daughter and doing this together. I admire your work ethic too! Can't wait to see what your finished wardrobe looks like because you have fantastically cute materials.

  11. This is great! Your daughter sounds like an amazing young lady. And this wardrobe is going to be soooo cute!!

  12. Thanks everyone for your ace comments!

    /anne - I got the centre three fabrics from GJ's Discount Fabrics in Brunswick East, and the top and bottom fabrics from l'uccello in the city.

  13. good luck - of course, once women stayed at home and made everything, but now we go out to work and exploit other women by buying cheap goods. And we are happy to do it, so that we have a good "image". Makes you wonder what has happened to values, doesn't it?

  14. /anne...10:45 pm

    Thanks! I haven't been to GJs for ages :-)

  15. I've been thinking about this, too. I have four children, so it would be damn difficult to make everything for them. BUT I have resolved to continue to thrift as much as possible and continue to buy them just enough for each season. I also do a pretty good job of freecycling or otherwise donating their old things.


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