Now that my hacked Seamwork Benning is behind me (check out my March 9 post if you don’t know what I’m talking about), it’s finally time to make Benning the way it was designed. I made the bonus neckline, so this Benning has a high, round neckline instead of the normal V neck. Also, I added an inch to each skirt tier, so the dress hits at my ankles. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’8 and I’m 5’7, so I normally only change the length for aesthetic reasons. Silky fabrics work best for this pattern so I used Lady McElroy Viscose Challis fabric provided by Minerva. This multicolored stunner drapes like a DREAM! It’s light and airy, but opaque so there’s no need to use a lining. Can’t have another cupcake disaster on my hands! There was very little fraying and while I could probably get away with finishing the seams with a zigzag stitch, I decided to serge the seams. It’s really amazing how smoothly a project can go if you use the right fabric for the right pattern. I was surprised that this dress only took 8 hours start to finish. Although, if you subtract my breaks, it was closer to 7 hours. Now I have a perfect, comfortable dress to take me from Spring to Autumn.
Since I’ve already reviewed this pattern, I want to take a moment to discuss something that has irked me. I recently saw a meme floating around complaining about the cost of clothing. Now this rant isn’t about poorly-made fast fashion items manufactured in sweatshops under horrible conditions. (Although, the desire for cheap clothes is one of the reasons this practice continues, but I’m not gonna go into all that right now). Unless you sew, you probably have no idea how much time, skill and money goes into making clothes. All the time, I get asked about making garments to sell and I decline because it’s just not financially worth it to me. I want to use this Benning as an example because it’s a fairly simple, beginner-level pattern that I completed in one day, so I know how many hours it took. As an aside, Seamwork patterns are not, I repeat, NOT licensed for commercial usage, so you know, don’t steal other folks’ work.
Okay, let’s do this!
- Fabric – 5 meters of fabric at £15.99/meter – £79.95 or $111.29
- Labor (avg. rate) 7 hours at $25/hour – $175.00
- Pattern – Cost without a Seamwork membership – $14.00
- Misc. – Needles, shipping, taxes, etc. – $50.00
- Total cost $350.29
Now, I’m sure there are those who would scoff at the total and say “I could find someone to make it cheaper”. You probably could – there’s usually a cheaper option for most things. But then you’re probably back to paying for a lower quality garment or exploiting the worker who created your garment. Just something to think about the next time you ask a sewist family member/friend/acquaintance/stranger knitting alone in a park if they could make something for you. When I make items for others, it’s out of love and appreciation for them. Not every skill needs to be monetized.