look | sew

Trouser Quest…another small step

May 3, 2013

IMG_6323Finally, I traced off my friend’s perfect trouser pattern.  According to the measurements on the back of the pack, I was a size 10 in the hips, a 12 at the waist and 6 in the rise.  So that is just what I traced off onto my lightweight interfacing and onto some cotton to make a trial.

IMG_6324It is a very simple pattern, 2 darts at the back, none in front but a shaped waistband to create the fit.  Just about to seam the sides and then I can check the fit.

As I have been working on this, like many others, I have been thinking about the recent disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  When you make clothes at home, you get a sense of the whole process: drafting or altering the pattern, cutting out the pieces, putting them together.  It reminds me that some one, some actual person is also making those things we buy.  There is a real woman in China who has sewn together the pieces of my kids’ jeans.

But really, how much is someone in Bangladesh or China getting paid to sew clothes when I can buy those jeans for $10 at Kmart or Target? It is so cheap, it doesn’t really matter if it gets ripped or worn, we can just get another pair.  Clothes have such little value for us now that we don’t really bother to depill a sweater, fix a hem or change the buttons any more.

But for those workers in Dhaka, the value of these kind of clothes was enough to be forced back into an unsafe building to keep sewing up more clothes for westerners.  It’s all a bit dirty isn’t it.

As consumers,  will we demand better wages and conditions for the workers who make our clothes and pay more for them to ensure this?  Will we make do with a bit less so that others can have a bit more?

I read in the paper today that Oxfam and the Australian Textile Union are calling on Kmart, Big W, Cotton On and Pacific Brands to make public their suppliers.  If this happens, this will give us a real opportunity to use the power of consumption to improve working conditions overseas.

And to finish with those blessed trousers that began the post…I sewed them up, I tried them on.

Perfect rise but too big around the hips and waist.  And to think I trusted the measurements on the packet! I will cut down my cotton trial to a smaller hip and waist size and try them on again.

The Quest continues.



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  1. Great to see you’re getting further in your quest for perfect pants. You’re so right with what you are saying about better rights and conditions for the workers.

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