Happy New Year! Cleo Resolves

Soft-focus, taken by my daughter last night.  It isn’t a detailed costume photo yet captures the spirit of our evening.  I don’t have any photographs of my costume but surely my girlfriend does.  I’ll post pictures and dress construction in the next few days.

Last year this time, I decided to “put myself out there” more: starting a blog, getting out and about in the city, sewing dresses, and weaning myself off black clothing.

For this year, I choose a double edged word: Reduce.  I want to drastically reduce my consumption of goods as well as reduce personal waste production.  A major aspect of sustainable living involves choosing to live with less.

Like many people I hang my clothes out to dry, eschew plastic bags and turn off extra lights, we drive relatively little, we compost and recycle and conserve water.  All the normal things.

I want to try harder, especially in relation to my sewing.

Quilting: (originally a craft based on thrift)

I commit to scrap quilts only this year.

Wardrobe Sewing:

  • Wearable, tough, pretty dresses.
  • Any new separate must match with 5 existing separates.
  • No more black at all.  Period.
  • Experiment with zero waste design.

I commit to a complete freeze on personal fabric buys for 6 months.  Remember I teach dressmaking in a shop stuffed with gorgeous fabrics.  Could I fabric freeze for a year?  We’ll see when June rolls around.

Proviso- Fabric purchases permitted for the Wardrobe Club at work.

I plan conscious reductions in other areas, but these relate specifically to sewing.  I’m excited to see what will happen in 2011.

I’d love to hear other ideas to reduce consumption, learning to do with less, and how to downsize one’s possessions.  Mr. Steph suggested we reduce to 100 possessions.

Happy New Year!


  1. Beautiful resolutions. I am interested in zero waste sewing too. I have bags full of scraps that I want to slice up and turn into binding. But maybe I should try a little scrap-quilting too. Here's a question, though. If I make lap quilts etc with my scraps, is there something I can use instead of the normal batting (which I would have to buy)?Hatty

  2. I'm asking myself the same thing, Hatty. I have a couple of warm but ratty blankets I may use as batting, but plan to keep my mind open to other possibilities.

  3. Happy New Year, Steph. Interesting resolutions for the new year. I have thought quite a lot about reducing sewing waste. I was really interested in zero waste sewing at first, but after having read more about it, it seems like it is mainly conceptual, but not really particularly environment-friendly. Many of the zero-waste designs are large and loose-fitting and actually use more fabric than a conventional pattern. As I understand it, it is the production of fabric in the first place that taxes the environment, not whether you throw away a few scraps (though of course you should aim at minizing waste with careful layout). Refashioning is not the answer either – you see a lot of people refashioning perfectly wearable clothes without addding much to the garment's value. I think that we instead should be inspired by the fabric rationing of the 40s. Make rules like that a dress shouldn't use more than xx meters of fabric and a jacket not more than yy. Another way is to do fewer projects and then instead choose more time-consuming techniques to produce high-quality and durable clothing.This became half a little blog post in itself – it is an interesting subject, thanks for inspiration!

  4. I applaud your thoughtfulness. Last year I made a conscience effort to stop purchasing fabric and use what I had. I managed to purchase only 4 yards. This excludes linings and clients purchases, of course I do not work in a fabric store, or even live in a town with one…so…I look forward to seeing your creative solutions throught out the year.

  5. Gry- I mostly agree, but I keep telling myself if I worked at it enough I could figure out zero waste without wearing a tent. Maybe? You're right about refashioning, though I will say if you approach the refashion as if the original garment is raw material you'll usually end up with a decent garment. I know the type of refashion you mean, not really my cup of tea either. It takes practice. I come back to rationing over and over again as a solution to our over-taxed planet. Food, clothing, gas, everything. Unfortunately, our elected officials don't yet have the chutzpah to create rationing laws (is it because we have a corporate shadow government?) so it's up to us to ration ourselves and hope it catches on. Lynne, so glad it worked well for you! Part of the reason I imposed a fabric freeze is to force me to use some of the fabrics and textiles I have in the house in a creative way. That and we're probably moving next year, I have to make my raw materials into something useful or they'll be given away.

  6. Hi Steph! Thanks so much for your comment on my consumerism post and for linking me up to your very interesting one. I agree with the refashioning points that have been made in this thread. I really think the most important thing about refashioning is coming out with a garment that you will wear again and again. Same with all sewing I guess. I went through a year of churning out garments almost of the sake of it, most of which didn't fit very well. It was a useful year for learning lessons, but I'm determined to take my time now, so I end up with something I love to wear.Interesting what you were saying about keep coming back to the concept of rationing. It's fascinating that so many people these days are choosing self-imposed rationing (the Wardrobe Refashion pledge, 100-possession project, etc etc.) Hmm, I'm going to think about that and write a post on it soon. Thanks for the inspiration.I wish you all the best with keeping your resolutions. I will regularly check by your blog, thanks for introducing it to me! Also, please do keep adding your valueable comments to my sustainability posts, I feel we all might get somewhere if we keep talking about these topicsZoe xxx

  7. Pingback: Hard Yakka: Welts, Bound Buttonholes, and Balancing Flaps « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  8. Pingback: Wardrobe Assessment: Old and New Basics « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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