Buying presents for people who say they don’t want a present isn’t easy is it? Nor is it easy to buy presents for ethical fashion fans. If those people also happen to be super stylish, that adds another element of difficulty. You want to get them something good, not something that will lie unworn at the back of their wardrobe, and of course it has to be sustainable. Well, for such people, I think I have found the answer.
It’s called Sew It Forward. The idea is, you pledge to teach the recipient of your gift how to sew (or darn or knit or any other technique that will prolong the life of your clothes) and they in turn promise to pass on a skill. That way useful sewing skills are shared and everyone’s wardrobe’s are improved, meaning less clothes thrown away just because they’re missing a button or have a little tear on the seem, and more clothes are rediscovered because they’ve been given a new lease of life.
The Sew It Forward scheme was launched last Thursday night in the workshop of designer Henrietta Ludgate, alongside the unveiling of The Good Wardrobe, an online hub where users can swap sustainable fashion advice. Guests were encouraged to take along an item of clothing that was in need of some TLC and experts were on hand with needles and thread. I was wearing mine – the lining of my coat has been coming apart in several places and I was going to take it home to my Mum, but with the help of sewing genius Juliette I found that repairing it wasn’t that difficult, it was just a case of pinning it and stitching it with doubled up thread.
If you’ve already got the skills, why not offer to go round to a friends and together you can tackle some repairs, or get them started on knitting a scarf? If you haven’t got the skills, why not ask a friend who does to teach you or look up a sewing class, then you can start sewing it forward yourself. Compile a simple sewing kit gift of thread, needles and pins to leave with them. The event last week made me remember how relaxing sewing is, because it’s so calm but requires concentration so you can zone out everything else. Plus it’s now really satisfying every time I put my coat on and I don’t accidentally put my hand through the lining. I highly recommend giving it a go.