Why Millennials Should Learn To Sew

Millennials Should Learn To Sew

I think millennials should learn to sew and here's why.

One of the fastest growing waste products being thrown into our landfills nowadays is textile waste. In the United States alone, it is estimated that there is an alarming 3.8 billion pounds of textile waste that's being dumped into the country’s landfills every year.  Additionally, lots of byproducts come out of the textile manufacturing and disposal process resulting in a staggering total of ten million pounds of hazardous waste contaminating the nation’s waterways annually.

The irony of all is that 95% of this textile waste can be recycled.

Millennials Should Learn To Sew

Textile Waste

The Main Reason Why Millennials are Generating Textile Waste

Research shows that millennials are wasting scores of textiles more than the baby boomers simply because they don't know how to sew!  Most of the textile waste is due to clothing being discarded just because of minor tears or missing buttons.  This is an easily repairable damage, if only the owner knew how to fix it. Sewing, hemming and button repair used to be common skills.  Everyone did this at home to save a dress or a jacket.  Unfortunately, this just isn't the case anymore.

Compared to the baby boomers, millennials are far more averse to winding a bobbin, threading a machine, inserting a zipper or making a buttonhole.  Since damaged clothing is often now simply discarded, more and more textile waste is produced every year.  Something has to be done about this concern and hopefully millennials can do their part and learn to sew!

Decomposing Textile Waste Causes Global Warming and Clogs Waterways

Aside from clogging the waterways, decomposing textiles also release methane into the air.  Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas that causes global warming. Aside from this, dyes and chemicals in textile wastes can also leach into the soil and contaminate surface and groundwater. A high price to pay for not sewing a patch or a button!

Millennials Should Learn To Sew

Recycling Textiles and Clothing Repair Should Become Common Practice

How do we start addressing this problem before it gets too big?

Aside from learning basic clothing care, millennials should also be taught the importance of recycling textiles. They should be aware that one recycled rag, for example, saves 17 gallons of water and 66 BTU’s of energy. So every time you recycle a rag, you are doing the environment a favor.

There is an urgent need for increased education so that the future generation will become aware that every textile they throw away harms the environment. As such, recycling textiles and knowing how to sew should become a common practice, not only in our homes, but also in the offices and schools.

Basic sewing skills should be taught at home or perhaps in secondary schools like before.  Learning how to sew should be considered cool for millennials because it means they help save the environment for the next generations to come.

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6 Responses to Why Millennials Should Learn To Sew

  1. Paula Leonard says:

    I quilt so anything large enough for a seam goes into crazy quilts. Anything smaller than that gets saved in a box for the spring and I put it out for the birds. They build some beautiful multicolored nests with it.

  2. Janice says:

    How can you recycle fabric scraps? I hate to toss them in the trash but I have to get a grip on saving teeny tiny bits of fabric. I make fleece blankets for Project Linus. Some of the selvages are a couple of inches wide and need to be cut off.

    • Hogan says:

      Check out on Pinterest or Google about how to sew fabric pieces into larger pieces. Once your sewn-together fabric is large enough you can then cut out patterns to make new clothing. Vests are a good option, as well as simple skirts and sweat shirts. The result is a funky multi-coloured, multi-textured garment. Very unique!

  3. Laurie says:

    We have watched students in grades 6-8 in New York State public schools, go from learning basic sewing and cooking skills to focusing only on money management and career choices. Really? Is this the correct time? By learning how to sew and cook students feel proud of their accomplishments. And they have fun.

  4. Thank you for the great article. I have been teaching sewing since 1964. I taught in the public school system, as a 4-H clothing project leader and as Extension Clothing Specialist, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas. People in general, schools and government agencies seemed to lose interest in teaching sewing in the year 2000. My entire career went down the tubes and I was forced to retire early. I didn’t give up sewing, however. I’ll be 74 this month and I still sew for enjoyment, teach anyone who wants to learn, and alter and repair clothing for the seniors where I live. They don’t want it “free” but insist on paying me. I give them a huge senior discount and together we keep a lot of textiles out of the landfills. When I was a young mother I recycled previously worn clothing to make clothes for my children. They had a lot of lovely clothes and I saved a lot of money.

    I’m still recycling……take a look at my Etsy store, MickieSueToo. Some of the things I sew are at least partially recycled.

  5. Miriam Zhu says:

    Thank you for this article. I love sewing. But protecting our precious environment is something we have to do. Starting from little things, and we can all achieve big things.

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