Why I Failed my RTW Fast – and Why I'm Ok With It.

We’re coming up on a new year, which means we are all reflecting on the year past and thinking of resolutions for the new year to come.

At the beginning of 2018, Mac and I both included the popular RTW fast in our new year resolutions, and I imagine that many of you are thinking about it for 2019.  I started out the year gung-ho about my RTW fast, but failed miserably a few months in.  I know that Mac did too.

But you know what?  We are both 100% ok with our abysmal failure at our RTW fasts.  And here’s why:

Why I Failed at the RTW Fast

Reason #1: I don’t want to make all the things that I need

Yep, there is it.  The basic premise of the RTW Fast is something that I just don’t want to do.  When it comes right down to it, there are things that I need in my wardrobe that I don’t want to make.  I need new underwear every year, but I HATE making it.  I need to socks — not gonna make those either.  Swimsuits, active wear? Nope, not gonna do it.

And then even more basic stuff that I have made in the past (sometimes in large quantities), I don’t always want to make.  For example, if I need to replace a black t-shirt, or I want a pair of jeans shorts for summer, I didn’t like that with the RTW fast, I had to make them.  Sometimes I’d just rather buy.

I work full-time and have 3 kids at home and do all this sewing blogger stuff, so frankly I don’t have as much sewing time as I would need to make all of those things.  Yes, I could just go without, but eventually it began to seem like a silly arbitrary restriction that no one but me knew or cared about.  So I gave it up.

These jeans shorts, for example, were one of my most-worn items this past summer.  I acquired them from the ethical fashion brand ABLE in the spring, and I love them:

Reason #2: RTW clothes fit me pretty well

I am not someone who sews because she can’t find RTW clothes that fit.  I know that I am lucky in that regards, but there it is.  The reality is that RTW clothes fit me pretty darn well most of the time, so sewing is a hobby and a passion for me rather than a need.  If I wanted to clothe myself entirely in RTW, it would generally fit me.

This reason certainly won’t speak to those out there who really do need to sew to have clothes that fit.  I have always appreciated that my industry-standard proportions make me quite lucky and somewhat of an anomaly in the sewing world.

But since I can wear my RTW clothes and have it fit, I have a hard time sewing something because I should rather than because I want to.  If I desperately need plain black pants, but what I really want to make is a fun jumpsuit, I don’t like the restriction of feeling like I have to make it when I know I can buy a pair that fits me and then make the item I’m excited about.

Reason #3: I don’t have access to the tools I’d need to make certain clothes the way I want.

Jeans are my prime example here.  As much as I love the idea and the process of making jeans, I never like my handmade jeans as much as my RTW jeans.  I have made at least a dozen pairs of jeans by this point in my sewing career.  Know how many of them are still in my regular rotation?  Zero.

I think that the main reason I reach for my RTW jeans over my handmade jeans is fabric.  I have never been able to find stretch denim yardage that has the recovery of the nice RTW jeans that I own.  I’ve tried Cone Mills denim and it’s very nice (and perfect for certain uses), but when I want a pair of stretchy jeans, I have never found denim yardage that I like.

I also cannot distress or fade jeans how I want without basically destroying my fabric.  RTW jeans are faded and distressed using all kinds of industrial machines that I don’t and will never have access to.  For that reason, I buy jeans.

Reason #4: I love to shop and I choose high-quality pieces

Yep, I just love to shop.  I don’t do it all that often anymore, and my purchases are far more intentional now that I’ve been sewing and have done some capsuling exercises, but I do still love to shop.

And the thing is — I think that my shopping choices fit the spirit of the RTW fast, if not the letter.  I don’t buy myself “fast fashion” anymore.  When I purchase a piece, it’s well-considered and a quality piece that fits in my wardrobe.  Gone are the days when I would go to Old Navy or Target and come away with a big bag of throwaway clothes.  I don’t shop all that often, but when I do, it’s with something in mind and for pieces that will last.

I also make an effort to shop from ethical, sustainable brands whenever possible.  My jeans shorts shown above are from the ethical brand ABLE (I have some high-rise jeans from them too, and it is looooooove), and the ethical, sustainable brand Everlane is one of my go-tos.  True, I still love a good pair of Madewell jeans, but those have a lot of lasting power for me.

So if the primary driver behind the RTW Fast is to get away from fast fashion, then I agree with that premise, but have other ways that I prefer to meet it.

What I am Planning for 2019

Just because I’m not doing a RTW fast or Make 9 (I talked about that on Instagram stories the other day), I will do some planning and challenges for 2019.

But Mac and I have big plans for 2019, so I’m trying not to overcommit.  We are hosting a few months of the #sewmystyle2019 challenge, so I will be sewing along with that challenge for those months.

And then I’m planning to stick with my Seasonal Sew 3 challenge.  That style of planning works well for me, so I’ll keep it up for 2019.

This is my winter #seasonalsew3 plan: The True Bias Emerson Pants in high rise, the Alina Designs Fulton Sweater Blazer (Mac and I are teaching a class for this one — sign up here), and the Friday Patterns Grace Top.  I have a 2-week trial coming up in February, so all 3 of these should fill some holes.

What are your 2019 plans??

Sew Altered Style
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