When I moved to Belize, I went through shopping withdrawal (I used to dream all the time that I was shopping at Target or the mall…. totally would ruin my day when I woke up and realized I hadn’t actually found that great sale). There are no malls here, no recognizable clothes chain stores, no cute little boutiques. You have a few choices when it comes to clothes shopping: used clothing (typically Salvation Army rejects), poor quality and hideously expensive new clothes ($50 for a t-shirt anyone?), or find another country to shop in. Since I’ve had my sewing machine, though, I’ve found a way to satisfy my new-clothes-craving.
At first I tried buying material to sew some stuff. I quickly ran into a few problems: first, no one sells clothes patterns here, and second, fabric is expensive and very, very limited in what you can get. The largest fabric shop around here caters mostly to conservative Mennonites, which means you can choose between sober solid-colored cottons, or if you are a little more progressive, flowered polyester prints. I asked an (English-speaking) sales clerk if they had any linen fabric, and she responded, “what is linen?”
Then I realized that there was s huge source of fabric easily available and cheap at the
Saturday market. People get huge barrels of used clothing shipped from the states or other countries, and then sell it at the market. They just open the barrel, dump everything in a pile on a tarp on the ground, and then sell everything at $1bz a piece. I stopped thinking about it as used clothes and started just looking at the fabric available. This means that I get many weird looks, because I often buy men’s clothes or absolutely huge sizes. Plus, what is a gringa doing rooting through the cheap used clothes?
All the pictures are stuff I’ve made from clothes I’ve bought and then taken apart and used the fabric. The nightgown was a huge men’s shirt, the tank tops from t-shirts, and the skirt from a huge jersey night gown. I never pay more then a dollar for anything.
These pants are my favorite find so far. They are XXL 100% pure, soft, gorgeous linen, still with the (Nautica) tags on. Those are a pair of my pants next to them, so you get an idea of how huge they are. There is 2 + yards of material in those things, which I plan on making into a skirt and some pillows.