Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Disconnect Between Modern Sewing and Modern Clothing

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Reader, have you ever noticed that there is a disconnect between what we wear and what we sew? Why is this?

For instance, why do we wear so much knitwear? T-shirts, sweatshirts, stretchy fabrics galore. It wasn't the case in the past, but today SO much of mainstream fashion is based on knits and stretch. Here is a brain-dump of why I think this might be...

Industrialization
  • Knits don't need to be accurately patterned or sewn. Minimal seams, fairly straight cutting. Some t-shirts don't even have side seams anymore.
  • Knits don't need to be patterned to fit well - the fitment is in the stretch. It's as easy as S M L XL +
  • Invention and widespread use of the washing machine and tumble dryer. Clothes had to stand up to this abuse. Clothing is washed significantly more often and much more harshly today (believe it or not).
  • Invention of cars and changes in automotive interior design - ever try to get in or drive a car in a full Victorian or Edwardian outfit? Cars have a lot to do with the changes in our clothing over the 20th century, whether it's the disappearance of large hats, the narrowness and length of skirts (or phasing out of skirts completely), or the increasing comfort and stretch factor of all clothing.
1950s Constructa washing machine. This changed everything.
Social
  • We wear fewer items of clothing than ever before, but our clothing is washed significantly more often. No longer do we rely on linen underclothes to keep our outer clothes clean - just sweat on through, then throw it in the washer.
  • Expectations of clothing - cheap, good, and lasts long enough. Doesn't shrink, doesn't wear too much when washed.
  • Active lifestyles - stretch equals mobility (right?)
  • Speed of dressing - who has time to put on all those layers? Who has time for underpinnings, for laces and buttons and hooks, for even doing your hair?
  • Changing bodies - comfort is king, whether active or not. Nobody wants to be squeezed or pinched (understandably!).
  • Overly sexualized clothing.

Hip hugger jeans of the 1970s, but look at the length of those zippers - nothing like the 2 inch zippers of today's low-rise jeans
Fashion
  • Defying the laws of physics with Lycra/Elastane, first woven into denim in the late 1970s.  In the 1970s, we had hip-huggers but they didn't intentionally display what became known as the "whale tail" at the dawn of the 21st century. (Please note, as well, that 1960s and 1970s non-denim pants were often made out of tricot and bottomweight knits) Circa 2000 ultra-low-rise pants could never stay up without stretch. The waistline moves from the natural waist to the pelvic bone and then below. There's low....then there's LOW.
  • Overly sexualized clothing - everything has a tight fit. Tight t-shirts, tight pants, for both men and women. Clothes don't hang, they cling. Lycra makes it possible.
This may seem like, "no way," but this is modern club wear.
Sewing with knits

For the first time since the 1970s, the Big Two (Simplicity and McCalls) are producing a variety of patterns for sewing with knits: entire dedicated sections in the pattern catalog. The problem is that the major fabric stores haven't caught up with this - selection of jersey is small; no ribbing available whatsoever. Why?

  • Lack of skill/learning in sewing with knits? It *is* totally different.
  • Lack of interest in sewing with knits - cheap t-shirts and sweaters are plentiful, so why bother?
  • Limited availability/access to knits - a self-perpetuating loop between big fabric chains and pattern companies. If sewists can't get the materials, the patterns won't sell, so will be dropped, and fabric stores won't ever notice a demand for knit fabrics.
  • Design of modern machines doesn't favor knits - sewing machine arms are short and fat, making it very difficult if not impossible to get a ribbed cuff under the needle.
Reader, what do you think? These are just my ideas, but why do you think there is a disconnect between what we sew and what mainstream fashion makes for us to wear?



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51 comments:

  1. Since I've learned to sew with knits, I've sewn far more often with them than with wovens. My stash is mostly wovens now because I've used up all the knits! I work a job that requires me to crawl around sometimes, plus I'm in the gym most days of the week. This level of activity means that I get the most wearability out of knit garments. I'm also trying to focus my sewing on things I'll use, sewing for me and my life rather than more creative or exploratory pieces. It depends on why you sew I suppose!

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    1. Likewise! I went through the initial "pain" of learning to sew with knits, but now that I have all the special needles and threads and stuff, I find myself buying more jersey and sweater knits from my local Mill End shop than ever before, but with a different intent than when I buy wovens. Wovens are for costumes or dress-up sort of garments, but the knits are intended for everyday wear. I dress in retro or vintage style every day, but the availability of the kind of hard-wearing, easily washable knitwear in vintage designs is pretty low, so I have to make it myself.

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  2. You are so right...it seems clothes aren't made to fit us, we fit the clothes that are available. Nearly all my vintage clothing has no stretch to it at all, you must wear the correct undergarments to be able to wear true vintage. -Karen

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  3. Lack of availability for me, absolutely! It's so hard to find knits that aren't geared toward dancewear or of an unattractive weight. I have over a dozen patterns but can't seem to find decent fabric. Even going to the fabric district in L.A. is disappointing when it comes to finding quality material these days. Sometimes I find something lovely, but it only comes in colors that I don't like. Great blog post, and great observation!

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  4. I don't like wearing stretch fabric and synthetics. The options for non-stretch and natural fibers are too lose and hippy for my liking so I started researching historical solutions. I have begun replacing my modern wardrobe with one based on wool jumps and linen smocks and drawers. The more I make and wear, the less I ever want to go back. I also like that I don't have to wash my delicate outer layers as often.

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    1. Madeline, I am with you on this. I have recently adopted a similar mentality and it is nice to know I am not alone.

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  5. I see to have those things I can't find easily or affordably. I can't compete to mass-produced fare, so why try? I sew the other kinds of things.

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  6. I think you missed one big reason - comfort. It's behind the yoga pants trend, and I think it's behind wearing knits in general. We want our day clothes to feel like jammies!

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    1. Didn't miss it - it's under the "Social" heading.

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  7. I think any and all of these reasons are correct. I buy knits and don't sew them for 2 main reasons. 1) Because it will stretch, it will fit me. 2) I can get them cheaper than I can sew them. But for wovens, being super short and short waisted, it's much more difficult to find something that fits, so I might as well make it myself.

    I'd like to start looking into making my own knitwear clothing one day, but I don't even have time to make the modern woven clothing, because I spend so much time on historical stuff :p

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    1. Yeah, this. My sewing time is very limited and I'd much rather use it fitting vintage patterns. I have a pretty middle-of-the-road figure (for my upper body, at least) so fiddling with a T-shirt pattern is not how I want to spend my evenings and weekends. But I can't get woven garments that fit well off-the-rack or are good quality or that I like, so it's worth it to me to learn to sew those myself.

      Also, I live in the US south where it's hot and very humid most of the year, and knits are actually less comfortable even that quilting-weight cotton in hot climates. I own a ton of T-shirts but they're mostly old; they last forever because I don't wear them that much.

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  8. Several thoughts - Clothes were sexy in the past ie low cut, we've just changed the definition of what is acceptable to be public wearing. We no longer have any social standards about propriety. I can't think of 1 place where you would be shunned for wearing something inappropriate. Maybe a funeral. You may get looks, but you are not socially ostracized as you would have been in the past. There is also not a social clothing ritual ie certain clothing at time of day, for event, age, etc. Society has thrown out all those rules in the name of not judging. Casualness is also a reason. We don't want to have to be uncomfortable for any reason, especially in the name of social convention. Societal pressure in some aspects though is quite severe. Try to find pants that sit at your natural waist. It's next to impossible because society says pants must be at the hip bone. I'm tired of having to pull up my pants every two seconds because of it! Celebrity culture has a lot of influence on fashion as well. Celebrities are always trying to look sexy, tv shows say your not cool if your not trying to look sexy, social media promotes people as basically solely sexual beings, etc so what person is going to say "Get me the coverup?" The expense of knits is a big factor. Why spare the expense when it's cheaper to buy it. The changing idea of 'clean clothes' also has changed. We used to wear clothes a few times before washing them. Now they have to be washed after 2 seconds. I'm not sure if it's because there is greater wealth so things can get cleaned after each use or society won't put up with a stain or smell, when in the past it was overlooked because everyone had stains and smells.

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  9. I am currently researching the ties between changes in the woman's role in society and the cut of her clothes. My argument is that, as Naomi Wolf pointed out in The Beauty Myth, women are now expected to police their own bodies through diet, exercise, and plastic surgery. The silhouette of our time is the silhouette of the currently idealised body, and it indicates a shift from earlier times when the fashionable silhouette was largely constructed by undergarments and/or tailoring. Since the 1960s, the form of the body has become more and more visible, meaning that fashion trends have worked directly on the body, rather than the clothing that is worn. Wolf argues that this is a response to woman's lib, as a way to restrict women in a physical way (instead of carrying around difficult skirts, with petticoats and crinolines, and corsets, women are being physically encumbered by the requirement that they fit a physical ideal, which they achieve by starving themselves, altering their bodies surgically, or through other harmful means). This is perpetuated by the popularity of stretch-knits, which reveal the form to the public eye.

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    1. That is extremely compelling and makes a lot of sense!

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    2. I agree with some of this.

      Although women being physically encumbered may be a result of fashion trends making the form of the body more visible, saying it was actually intended to restrict women seems to ignore societal pressure on males to conform to an era's ideal.

      In historical eras, conforming to the male ideal might have meant corsets to achieve a slim waist, or padding to achieve the look of a "well-turned" calf. More recently, it might have meant trying to fit a more muscular ideal, through copious amounts of exercise, possibly body-building, and some of the issues that can go along with that, i.e., unhealthy diet and supplement use, and in some cases steroid abuse. And even more recently, it seems more boys and young men have developed eating disorders trying to fit a very thin ideal that includes skinny jeans, snug shirts, etc.

      I guess I could have kept it simple and just said that I think everyone faces societal pressure to conform to the ideal. :-)

      The overall discussion of changes in clothing and sewing is interesting, and I agree that there aren't many good quality knits available in U.S. fabric stores. I also agree that knits can be too hot in high temperatures, especially with humidity, they stick to you, feel icky, and generally take longer to dry than a woven.

      The club wear is awful. It looks choppy, and I can't help thinking that poor girl's bum is going to freeze off!

      Dee

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    3. We've internalized the corset today. Like the tan, being slim takes work (time) and is now a mark of wealth and status. Unlike the past, artifice is now cheap making layers of clothing easy even for the poor to achieve. Exercising for an hour a day with a personal trainer, with fast food for the poor.

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    4. I feel compelled to play devil's advocate here based on a previous research paper I had written for a class on body modification.

      In the past, corsets and stays were most definitely "standard" underclothing for a slew of reasons. Children of both genders from very young ages wore a form of stays for centuries because it was considered good for their physical development, health, and deportment. While modern eyes may view this as cruel or child abuse, it was standard practice at the time and recommended by the medical professionals of the time. Even the poor who could not afford to purchase or make child stays/corset would wrap their children's bodies up tightly in scraps of fabric in order to emulate the supposed benefits of infant or toddler stays.

      This establishes the prevalence and commonality of corsets for past times. For women, as they grew, they would graduate from a more boxy "child garment" to more shaped and tailored woman's garment. Corsets were mostly definitely used to help women shape their bodies in such a way to achieve the fashionable silhouettes of their times. However, whether these silhouettes were dictated by men or these modifications done to appeal to men is debatable.

      When examining views on tightlacing or "extreme" use of corsets/stay for respective periods, many men protested their use. This aspect constituted the bulk of my paper but since I've been rambling so much, I'll give the short version. A lot of men viewed tightlacing, waist-training, and the instruments used to carry out these practices as "false advertising", much like how many men nowadays claim makeup is deceptive. While the changing of women's roles throughout the ages have had great influence upon the death of the commonality of corsets, it would be foolish to assume women cast off corsetry as part of liberation from men. Indeed, for many women, tightlacing was seen as a method of personal body control which a man had virtually no influence over. Historical sources cite the Empress Elisabeth of Austria as one of the more well-known practitioners for this reason.

      Personally, I have strong negative feelings on modern fashion's industry rather than the actual clothing articles themselves. I believe the clothing is a symptom of the industry rather than part of the consumers' demand and needs. The fashion and advertising industry does a splendid job of convincing consumers of believing what they need, whether it's loose and stretchy clothing to accommodate active lifestyles or trendy and compelling for social status.

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  10. I have to admit, I frequently shut my skirt in the car door, and I don't even wear that long or full skirts!

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  11. One of the great things about shopping for fabric in new york (for this little aussie) was the availability of pretty lycras (aka spandex). Very difficult to find let alone afford here. I make a lot of tshirts, tops and dresses from it as well of my own leotards.

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  12. I find I sew a lot of things that are really dressy that I don't wear. Then resort to t shirt and jeans. It's frustrating because I have this closet of nice clothes but I default to jeans and t shirt for comfort and I'm lazy. I sew so I can give mainstream fashion the finger. But I just need to just west what I have made!

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    1. I do the same thing! In afraid to wear the silks and wools because washing/cleaning them is a lot of bother. And then there's the problem of constantly being overdressed in a woven shirt, trousers, skirt or dress when most of your social circle is in jeans or yoga pants and tees!

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    2. I wash wool and silk fabrics by machine in warm water and then tumble dry them on medium heat before I sew garments from them. By doing this, I can then gently wash my wool garments and they don't shrink or pull out of shape. And by wearing linen or cotton undergarments under the wool garments, I find I can usually wear them several times before they need to be washed. I wouldn't want to "punish" extremely expensive wools and silks this way, but I don't buy those anyway.

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  13. Kinda similar to what Bella said (now I really want to read Naomi Wolf's text!), I think people generally want to emulate the wealthy/ruling class, and these days celebrities flaunt their wealth through 'lifestyle' i.e. weird diets and exercise regimes normal people don't have the time or resources to emulate. So even though I too can afford yoga pants and a sports bra, I can't afford the full-time trainer and nutritionist to look great wearing it. Even if vintage clothing is more restrictive, there's something liberating to having control over your silhouette with different underpinnings!

    For me personally I really really have always loved very tailored looking clothing (like 40s, kinda military inspired tailoring) but my body doesn't fit off the rack wovens well enough to buy them. I'm still very much learning what good 'fit' is for me but I'd rather make something that doesn't quite fit me and learn something from it than spend a lot of money on something that doesn't fit and not understand why. In the meantime I'll buy cheap knits to layer with my nicer clothes. :x

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  14. Part of the reason I sew is that I want something different than what is available in RTW

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  15. Can't be having with knits in summer, they're too hot and I won't wear polyester and I hate t-shirts with a vengeance. I increasingly wear floaty cotton or linen in summer and floaty merino in winter. I feel like it's taken me half a century to find my groove, and now I have I am happy! In my size range there is almost no crossover between what I wear and what I can buy RTW. It is all vile, ugly and, well yuk. I rushed into a fast fashion store today to grab a black skirt of a costume, and here were NO SKIRTS. Not one. Just People of Walmart like clothes. Horrendous.

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    1. I had a similar experience trying to find a plain black blouse. Nordstrom, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and several smaller chain stores in the enormous Tyson's Corner Mall. Not one single black blouse! I wound up finding a vintage one on eBay.
      Clearly, I need to learn how to sew!

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  16. Availability is an important factor for me. Excluding costume/ historical stuff, I sew what I can'tcan't find in stores, at least not at price I can afford . Si right now I am making lots of mid-length, wide skirts . I love them and you don't find them anymore.

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  17. The change in our bodies has changed our clothing, I think. Before Lycra, I had to do sit-ups to achieve a flat tum so that my cotton or wool pants didn't turn into tourniquets! I have an office job, and try to dress appropriately, but I see an amazing range of styles there, from dressy to weekend. Leisure time, abundant food, television, sedentary jobs -- all I think have changed our relationship to fashion and what we want to wear. My grandma wore a girdle and stockings every day of her life until she was in her late 80s. Mom always wore pantyhose, unless it was Saturday and she wasn't going out of the house. I haven't worn pantyhose in weeks!

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  18. One more for the "I sew what I cannot find in RTW." Or not at the price I can afford or the right color or the right quality or...

    Comfort is also part of it. I find a dress (even one that is fitted through the top, as long as the skirt is wide) as comfortable as yoga pants, and I feel better wearing a pretty dress. I have sensitive skin and wear almost exclusively natural fibers due to it. I have had the experience of going through an entire Macy's dress dept without finding a single pure cotton dress. Which is insane to me.

    So I sew woven retro dresses and sundresses for my wardrobe, in addition to the cosplay/historical stuff that requires woven fabric. And I enjoy that our "no judgment" culture allows me to wear what makes me feel good and feel like I look good without judgment, even if it is most definitely NOT spandex ;)

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  19. I am a sewer since more than 20 years. When my first child was born, my mom gave me a serger, and I started sewing with knits for my daughter, for me, and later for other kids too. It's a great material, you name all the advantages. Most women I know sew with knits, and I know that it's different, but it certainly doesn't need that much skills like, just to name it, vintage sewing. (Sorry, I'm only honest.) Still, knits are great, and I prefer making my own tops to go with my vintage-inspired / retro trousers or skirts, they are of far better quality than those bought off-the-rack. I can chose the colors I want, gladly in my country there's a goof choice of solid and printed (mostly for children) knits. As I said, most women only can sew knits (which, with a serger, is not difficult at all). Also, I think my self-made knit tops have a far better fit than purchased ones. I can use patterns that emphasize or hide whatever has to be respectively. No purchased knit top can do that. So definitely, even though time is scarce and better quality knit fabrics not cheap, I rather have only 4-5 really well made fitting good tops than a dozen cheaply bought ones.

    BTW, right now I have my first 1940s dress made fro a punta de roma knit fabric on my sewing table. It took me some time since I first saw your Oct 2015 post about vintage sewing with knits before I finally decided to give it a go. Despite having years of experience sewing with knits, I couldn't find the right pattern, material etc. to finally make this step. And I'm not even using my serger!

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  20. Cost and fit for sure! I can find knitwear affordably on clearance or in thrift stores readymade. But a cute sundress that fits my hourglass figure? Nope, I have to alter everything. Why pay $50 for a dress I have to fuss with anyhow? Might as well sew it myself to my own preferences! (I'll alter thrift store dresses because it's worth it, but not brand new unless it's something pretty special and very affordable).

    One aspect I find interesting and rarely talked about is how we no longer use underlayers in the same way, because it is not as cold as it was in the middle ages and we have good central heating. We don't need to rely on layers to keep warm in the winter.

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  21. The changing role of women in the 20th c.
    Throw away fashion and the availability of cheap clothing
    The inability of the market to address someone who is not 20 something and rail skinny.
    Body issues, as someone pointed out, as well as age issues.

    Some of these reasons are why some of us sew our own clothes.

    Good points all.

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  22. Hm, I live in Europe, and somehow our sewing-industry must be different. Soooo many knits, they are the most bought kind of fabric for sure. I have quite a hard time finding nice woven fabric that is not quilting or furniture weight. The most raved about companies all produce mostly knits, lillestoff for example. Maybe because so many sewists start sewing for their kids? I also notice many people get overlockers, they are sold for 150 Euros at the supermarket, so there has to be demand...

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    1. I recognize this! I've also noticed more and more knit fabrics and patterns, as well as a lot of fabrics targeted at kids. It is a lot worse in winter though, I have the idea there are more wovens in the spring/summer season. Interesting how different the European and American industries are.

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  23. Minor quibble with the jeans photo: those weren't considered hip huggers. Those were bell bottoms. There was a fad for actual low rise hip huggers in the late 60s to early 70s. I have seen hip huggers from the period with 3-4 inch zippers, for women and men. The look you show above is more mid 70s, when a higher rise was in fashion, which culminated in the high rise jeans of the late 70s that crawled up a woman's butt crack. Thankfully those gave rise to the popularity of straight cut, mid rise Levis, a more sensible choice.

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  24. Minor quibble with the jeans photo: those weren't considered hip huggers. Those were bell bottoms. There was a fad for actual low rise hip huggers in the late 60s to early 70s. I have seen hip huggers from the period with 3-4 inch zippers, for women and men. The look you show above is more mid 70s, when a higher rise was in fashion, which culminated in the high rise jeans of the late 70s that crawled up a woman's butt crack. Thankfully those gave rise to the popularity of straight cut, mid rise Levis, a more sensible choice.

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  25. Trying to find an attractive high-quality cotton knit that is not juvenile or solid can be daunting.
    Fabric companies do not produce many.
    I have always wondered why this is such a hole in the fabric industry?
    I have thrifted some nice, beautiful printed knits but they are from years ago.
    I went to Britex awhile back and could only get a remnant, but it was the best quality knit I'd ever found. It was sewn up ASAP.
    It is the cubby of my stash that is always empty first as I find I use so much of it.
    When I sew something with good knit it lasts a long time, I cut it correctly on the grain (unlike RTW), and my stripes might even match! This a way better value over time than an inexpensive t-shirt for instance.
    I'm a practical sewist though and sew a lot of casual clothes.


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  26. I definitely agree- most people today seem to want comfort above anything else. This is why there is such a yoga pants and leggings trend- as "fashion", not as gym wear.
    I sew because I don't like most of the modern trends, and the ones that I do, don't fit anyways. It's much nicer to be able to make something to fit me, rather than trying to make me fit the clothing.
    This was a great roundup of ideas on this topic, I really enjoyed reading it!

    The Artyologist

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  27. Modern clothing is made to be easily produced above everything else. There is a reason fashion has not truly changed in 40 years, and it's the means of production. Minimal, while cheap, human labor. True automation of sewing will change that, and the world's economy along with it. They can already make a tee-shirt without a stitch being sewn by a human, by lining up the fabric thread by thread with cameras and automation.

    Once the car has been automated along with sewing, who knows what will happen.

    I have taken to wearing a girdle, by Rago, nearly every day. I do not let myself wear jeans more than once a week, keeping to pants and skirts. I wear my hair up. I don't care any more if I'm a tad formal, I find I get better service and that I feel powerful. I'm curvy but not heavy, but the girdle is enough to smooth me out and make me feel confident in fitted clothes. No rolls, regardless of material type.

    Unlike the corset, shapewear isn't admitted in public. Which is why this is so shocking and funny. She's wearing 2 pairs of shapewear to get things right, and I'm sure she has the money for trainers and spends plenty of time in the gym.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd4LI5MP17o

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  28. I have thought about this a lot recently. I am always concerned about making sure all the layers of my clothing can be removed one at a time and still look like I'm "put together". And then I tuck my low waisted jean legs into my socks to put on my knee high boots. This is a lot like the underpinnings and ties of the bustle era dresses. The skirts held their shape by being tied. Everyone knew this. And yet the outer appearance defies the laws of gravity. I prefer to have the look of fashion with all the layers. and I tuck my legs into socks and don't remove them til I come home.

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  30. Comfort, convenience, and cost. So easy to buy a couple of new colors of tshirts at Target.
    Also, our weird relationship with money. Like, I have several blazer jackets from department stores. I went to a Talbots the other day and bought a velour blazer that had superior tailoring with flat piping in the lining and 4 usable pockets including the one on the inside. Regular price is over $100 so I usually don't consider them ( and then buy two cheaper ). I also bought a cashmere sweater (on sale). So thin and so warm. So much nicer than bulky and synthetic sweaters. I think we forget how much nicer quality is when we haven't had it.

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  31. I definitely don't sew knits because it is easier to find them in shops, since they are practically all anyone sells anymore. Lots of valid points here! I wish fabric shops carried more apparel fabrics in general (that's why I loved Gertie's lines with Joanns so much, apparel weight fabrics!) but they cater to quilters more than any other customer by far and away. I have to imagine Joann's biggest customers are quilters first, crafters second, Halloween only sewers, and then regular seamstresses last. I did notice they had some cute new rayon prints last time I was in though, so I look forward to using those. I just wish they would carry a nice dress weight rayon in some solid colors for us retro sewers who want to make 1930's and 40's dresses!

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  32. The pic that says "but this is modern club wear" is false I'm afraid. Yes, ladies wear some short revealing things, but I have never seen any lady in any setting wear something that revealing of your lower private parts, and so tacky. The usual "attire" is what's called a bodycon dress (just a tight fitting dress) and high heels. Nothing at all like that ad, heavens no.

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    1. I am well-acquainted with a lot of people who regularly attend raves and I can assure you that this outfit is considered highly conservative for a rave! Women and men tend to wear much more revealing clothing at rave clubs and events, ranging from full on lingerie (for both genders) to speciality outfits that are essentially strategically placed straps.

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  33. Love this! I do fiber/spinning/weaving demonstrations for elementary schools' colonial days from time to time. The difference between what we wear now and what we wore then and why forms a huge part of the conversations. Just the idea that there was no (or not very much) ready made clothing available is something that most of them have never thought about, much less, who makes the clothes they have.

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  34. I don't like this trend of going out in yoga pants. I guess I'm old fashioned and it's a shame. I still like to sew with womens. I like the challenge of sewing to fit. I also like sewing knits but I find it difficult with my sewing machine. I find a serger and cover hem machine essential.

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  35. I don't think there is such a huge disconnect. I read a very large variety of sewing blogs and see a great many trendy knit garments made. People share thier favorite sources for quality fabrics, knit and woven, and techniques. The fabrics and trims ARE available. It will cost more than RTW but fit right and look better while lasting longer.

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  36. I'm so grateful to have such a large variety of acceptable ways of dressing here in the 21st century. Hippy skirts one day, fitted dress the next, and "yoga pants" with a T-shirt after that -- with no social ostracization to worry about. Makes it easy for me both as a fashionista and as someone with fibromyalgia (which includes chronic pain that varies in intensity from one day to the next).

    I can't wear a bra because of the fibro, but there are many ways to get around that: prints, pin tucks, lace, or enough layers to hide the nipples. All are socially acceptable, and it gives new excuses to wear frilly things! A sensitivity to the feel of elastic has also led me to learn more of the old techniques of making clothes.

    Not sure how that answers the original question, but hope it was interesting anyway. :)

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  37. I hate sewing with knits, because I feel the fabric wiggeling around in the maschine. Woven fabric doesn't strech around (if you don't have bias). I learned sewing from my mother - she was a costume designer at the opera - and she makes only clothes from woven fabrics.
    Yes, i agree - we were made to fit into the clothes, or not :)
    Ans not the clothes to fit us.

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