40ACTS2019 :: 31 :: Better Threads

Hello everyone! Yesterday was a busy day, even though my last two students cancelled. One was a late cancellation, with no explanation, so I ought to charge them 50% of the lesson cost – it’s written on my bill! – but it didn’t really inconvenience me, and they’re good customers…So I might just let them off with a warning! The other was Valentin, who was recently in a car accident. The poor lad was quite seriously hurt, and now has a body brace to wear, which restricts his movement, and, of course, is struggling with the after shock and ongoing pain from the accident. He’s been too tired for his lesson the last three weeks – I’m not heartless enough to charge for these missed lessons! When I got home I cooked dinner (usually Mr FD on “Chicken Wednesday” but he had a job to do for M across the road, and I was home early enough) and then we watched the episode of “Line of Duty” that we had missed. Oh, that’s such a good series!! If you don’t watch it I recommend trying to find all the series on the i-player, or whatever.

Today I have a later start than usual on Thursday – so I’ve prepped dinner (Mr FD is doing the shopping) and now have time to write today’s 40 Acts blog post. I still have to track Pomme down to give her the pill – she has secreted herself somewhere and is keeping quiet. Sneaky cat…

But Pomme’s doing it right!


PROMPT: Picture this: you’re looking at a cheap-as-chips shirt, wondering what on earth happened to make it that cheap, and before you know it, you’ve gone and bought it. It happens to most of us. But today, we’re getting thoughtful about our threads. What’s the history behind our clothes? And what makes ethical clothing generous?


ACTS: Green: Make up a list of places you’re happy to shop for clothes, and places to avoid that aren’t ethically sound.

Amber: Do an inventory on your clothes. Sort through them and see how many are ethically dodgy. Take anything you don’t need to a charity shop.

Red: When you need something new, buy ethically instead, and get a new habit started.

“Be under obligation to no one – the only obligation you have is to love one another…” (Romans 13:8 GNT)

This is an Act that has come up in various guises in the last couple of years, I think – and it’s important. It’s not just clothes that we in the developed world want to see sold cheaply: food, clothes, anything really – we want it cheap and we close our eyes to the real cost to both other people AND to the environment.

I love a bit of Primark, me – I try to go into the shop when I’m in Liverpool. Mostly for tops, but I can sometimes strike lucky with trousers…And each time I go in there’s a niggling thought: who is paying (and how are they paying?!) so I can have such cheap clothes? And then I see a stripey top and that thought flies out of the window!

When we lived in the UK I was happy to shop in charity shops for clothes – and I still explore them (in addition to Primark !) – when I go back. But here in France they are much fewer – and a lot less clean! The only time I’ve ventured into one the musty smell really put me off browsing. The other problem is that any French clothes shops don’t seem to believe in “big ladies” – anything over size 14 is labelled “Big Sizes” and is spectacularly uninspiring, and if you need a 31″ inside leg (what’s that in cm?!) for trousers you can forget it! So if I find something nice and affordable that fits, I’ll snap it up without thinking about much else!!

However, these are all excuses. There ARE mail order shops, with a good choice of sizes and styles, which are ethical and deliver to France…But they are expensive. Yes, good quality but I will look at the price and think “I’m not paying that for a top!” But then, really, I need to consider: Do I need a top?  I tend to buy clothes on a whim – I see it, I like it, I can afford it, so I buy it. I don’t need it. Which is why I have a plethora of stripey tops!

So perhaps I need a different challenge – or I need to look more closely at the Red Challenge: WHEN you need something new… I need to think more closely about what I need, and not what I want. If I don’t buy that stripey top will I feel the loss? Probably not. I have at least 5 more similar ones in my wardrobe! So before buying something new, I will consider if it is needed…and where it comes from. And then where I’m going to buy it from.

And for anyone who’s interested, these are two mail order firms I’ve used who claim to be environmentally and ethically sound:


Gudrun Sjoden

(and if they’d like to send me anything to try and review I’d be very happy to do so!!!) (😊) No, really…


And those are two garments that definitely should NOT have been bought!!

4 thoughts on “40ACTS2019 :: 31 :: Better Threads

  1. Hi. Isn’t it funny that we have loads of the same types of garments in identical fabrics 🤣.

    I tend to buy high street mid range for KT as she’s shooting up. She isn’t in them long enough to wear them out but I don’t want them to last one wash and fall apart.
    I go to M&S or Next for her and for me it’s Next or George.

    Have a lovely day 💖

  2. People always point to Primark when talking about unethical clothing practices, but actually a lot of more expensive high street shops produce their clothes just as unethically. I actually know people who think if their clothes are relatively expensive they can’t be using cheap labour abroad or whatever, but one of the brands involved in the Bangladesh factory collapse was Benetton, which I personally find quite expensive – in that instance Primark was the first to admit they had workers at that factory and offer compensation to the families, while Benetton initially denied it then was forced to admit it when their labels were found there! It all makes it very difficult to know who to trust. Of course there are ethical places you can order from, as you’ve pointed out, but we should be able to buy ethical clothing from the high street without having to think so much about it!

    I think we are all guilty of buying things when we don’t necessarily need them. I know I have way more clothes than I need!

  3. Interesting that this challenge is in the 40 Acts challenges too – it’s something that’s coming up in the sewing community too. I bought a lot of fairtrade clothing when I was earning at a decent wage and found it lasted, so I’m still wearing a couple of jackets 10-15 years later. But I tend to keep clothes for ever.

  4. I do tend to buy 90% of my clothes second hand, whether through charity shops or eBay or Depop but I would like to make better decisions as I used to buy in Primark. We bought CBC a lovely scarf today in Ghent from Yak and Yeti which is a fairtrade shop. He needed a scarf as it is sooo cold here and it was nice to support such a shop. I tend to buy my Mum clothing presents from Nomads or Braintree (Thought) x

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