Make The Basics - Tragedy That Inspires A Sewing Challenge

Make The Basics is a challenge that I am setting myself to sew the basics for my kids this upcoming summer season. Lets chat firstly though, why am I setting this challenge?



I don't watch much of the news, but there is one current affairs program that I do watch each week. It is called Four Corners. At times it can be such a powerful program that it can set the tone for the news the next day. The last episode I watched was titled Fashion Victims.

Two months ago in Bangladesh, a building which housed a clothing factory collapsed, killing around 1000 people. The nine story building had been evacuated the day before, when cracks appeared throughout the entire building. Although many businesses which operated there had closed, the garment factory workers were told that unless they returned to work, they would loose their jobs. The Four Corners episode explains the tragic details of what happened next.

Kathleen Fasanella, a highly respected sewing and manufacturing industry expert, also touched on this tragedy. She wrote about the repercussions of cheap clothing on her blog, note what she titled the post: 'We All Share The Shame'. One quote which really stood out to me was that: "All we can do individually, is be proactive and caring enough to take what responsibility that lies within our means to limit tragedy within our reach."

Some of the Australian companies who are linked to unsafe clothing manufacturers in Bangladesh are ones that I have shopped at.

My resolve now is to make the things I said I will never make, T-Shirts! I think the exact words that came out of my mouth were "I will never make t-shirts, it is too cheap to buy them and I hate sewing knits".

Flashback Skinny Tee

So what pattern do I think of first when attempting to sew shirts? Ah, the Flashback Skinny Tee of course! I received a review copy of the pattern and I really cant wait to get started.

So here are my conservative goals to sew:
  • 4 Flashback Skinny Tees - Size 4
  • 4 Flashback Skinny Tees - Size 2
  • 3 Shorts - Size 4
  • 2 Blank Tanks - Size 4

I am pretty sure I can manage this list. My goal is to have all these sewn before November 1. You can see I am sewing more for Elijah, as he already has some handmade items which will be passed down to Jeremiah.

Now, would some of you like to join in? If you think you might like to fill up your kids or your own wardrobes with basics that you might not normally sew, I would love to see them! Just tag anything on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #makethebasics so I can have a look! It can be any basic item you sew - shirts, shorts, jumpers, pants, pajamas, undies! You get the idea. :)

Also, grab a button if you would like!

Make The Basics


Make The Basics


Make The Basics

15 comments:

  1. I've been trying to sew consciously, even being choosy about where my fabrics are coming from. It's leaked over to other parts of my life...almost everything we buy is imported. I hope there's a big movement, there's a huge child labor force in china. India is working on some laws for safer working conditions but it's one tiny little step towards some big changes that need to be made. If we stop buying, they have no choice but to do better. But a lot of people don't realize what's going on, or can't afford to buy things made under safer conditions. Kudos to you for talking about it!

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    1. My attitude has definitely changed, we shall see how I go :) I am planning to upcycle a fair amount so then the fabric is not a worry either.

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  2. I watched the Four Corners show as well and was shocked at what goes on in these poor countries and the poverty that they endure to make throw away clothes for us. Great idea

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, I hope that I can make some decent shirts for the boys, I know clothing has become 'throw away' but sometimes its too cheap to resist :P

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  3. It's a big challenge and I wish you luck!
    I can't help but think of the other side of the coin though, if nobody buys and the factories close then all those people it supported are plunged back into poverty and starvation, because if there was a choice about jobs they would work elsewhere. Yes their working conditions are awful and there needs to be changes, but taking their jobs away completely won't really help them.

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    1. If you watch the report it is not that all the factories are bad, its that companies like Kmart and Target are willing to ignore how bad some conditions are in order to get the cheapest price.

      I am not pushing this topic. I just changed my mind on what I want to sew for my kids, and I think its interesting to post about. To be completely honest, I will probably still purchase clothing made in Bangladesh because there are so so many outlets using that country for production.

      But I am going to try to sew as much of the cheapest stuff (shirts and shorts) as I can. Hopefully from upcycles! Lol I will be raiding the local Vinnies and Lifelines haha.

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    2. I'm sure the boys will love their mummy-made clothes! And if you're upcycling you're bound to still save money no matter how cheap they are in the shops!

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  4. You have just inspired me to get my sewing machine out! It was only this morning I was thinking about having to by my son new/bigger clothes for the warmer weather!

    Eva :)
    www.themultitaskingmummy.com
    Link up with Mummy Mondays!

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  5. Great idea and I like the motivation behind it. I wish I had time to sew. My sewing machine gets dragged out to mend hubby's work pants, that's about it. Best of luck.

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  6. Great work and you should get the chance to be really creative too - I admire you, I can barely put up a hem! Good luck, hope it goes well :)

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  7. I am so with you here Toni-Maree, appalling conditions and the big companies should be held accountable.
    Once you sew your first T-shirt and nail it, you will love being a Knit-Wit :)
    Speaking of which, Knit-Wit are still in business, I get an email with swatches once a year from them. Very good quality fabric too. Have fun with your challenge

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  8. Adore this idea! Thanks for the skinny tee link up. I found you on free needle and I'm your newest follower!

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  9. Great to draw attention to the situation! I started sewing more basics for the same reason lately. I still buy as well, but am moving in the right direction! I already made many clothes for my childeren, but have extended this to leggings and shirts, mainly upcycled. Some examples are on my blog, http://pienkel.blogspot.com, the upcycled projects have the tag "recykleren". I'll follow your blog, to see your projects & results!

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