Fashion Revolution Week

I just found out it’s Fashion Revolution Week, like, this morning. So here are some hastily thrown-together thoughts on clothing and where it comes from. For more information you can check out Fashion Revoluntion dot org, the documentary The True Cost on Netflix, and #whomademyclothes on Twitter and Instagram.

I make my own clothes for a lot of reasons. The big one (pun intended) is that store bought clothing doesn’t fit me very well. I’m right on the line between ‘regular’ and ‘plus size’, my bust is significantly larger than the standard ‘B’, my waist and ribs are small, and my booty creates a sway back. RTW clothing is either too big around my shoulders, too tight around my boobs, or tent-like around my middle…often all three. When I make my own clothing, I make it to my measurements, not some industry standard that doesn’t match any real human bodies. (Also, I put pockets in my dresses.) I get to choose fabrics that feel good in colors that I love and styles that suit me, not whatever’s popular. And did I mention it fits?

A lesser concern (but not by much!) is knowing where my clothing comes from, and that it was not made in a sweatshop in a country with no workers’ safety regulations. Now, I am fully aware that I don’t always know the source for the fabrics and yarns that I buy, but I’m trying to be mindful there as well, and as more people do the same, I think companies who care will become more transparent about their sources, which will make it easier.

One of the best things about making my own clothes is supporting other women. I buy sewing and knitting patterns, fabric, and hand dyed yarns from small businesses. I will have suggestions over the course of the week, as well as some fun stuff. Tomorrow I will post about Teresa Gregorio’s new knitting pattern, TCPT, and my ideas for styling.

I wear something handmade almost every time I leave my home, and many days I wear all handmade. (Well, I haven’t made my own undies yet. Or shoes.) There’s nothing wrong with wearing RTW, of course! But for me, handmade is where it’s at.

Words! What do they mean?

Last week I went to Old Navy and bought a lot of pants. Five pairs. I don’t remember the last time I owned five pairs of pants. (One of them is actually leggings, and leggings are not pants, but they are all leg coverings and it sounds more impressive if I call them all pants and you’re not my mom.)

I bought shorts (actual shorts!); jeans ($12.50 on the sale rack, flares that are at least a foot too long and will need to be hemmed, which should make them bootcut); the aforementioned leggings; and these:

pixie surplus

That’s the “Pixie” on the left, essentially a cigarette pant, and the “Surplus” on the right, an almost perfect recreation of the army pants from the 80s, which I used to buy at surplus shops in the 90s and loved.

Interesting thing, though. The Surplus is described as a straight leg pant. It most certainly is not. It is tapered. Why would you call it straight? It’s not like words mean whatever you want them to. Oh, but I guess it is. Because fashion.

I love them. But they are not straight leg pants.

Wardrobe Update: another Dress No. 1

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I somehow never took a full-length shot of this dress. It’s Essex Linen in Lime.

I made the size XL again, but with a few mods this time:
-I cut the back in two pieces and seamed it down the center, to accommodate my narrow shoulders and waist.
-I did a dartless FBA on the front, adding 2 inches.
-ETA: Totally forgot that I cut the skirt at a slightly less severe A, probably about an inch further in at the hem (so four total).
-Contrast fabric for the binding, which I also used to hem the top of the pockets.

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The XL is the right number of inches around for my full bust size, but these two changes made it fit better. Also it looks REALLY good with the contrast trim, so I’ll be doing that from now on. Goodness knows I have enough random fat quarters lying around. Up next: Dress No. 2.

In other sewing news, I have reached the conclusion that I need to buy more linen and some chambray and probably cotton lawn, because quilting cotton is just not going to cut it for clothing. Unfortunately, I have a ton of quilting cotton I want to use for clothes. I’m thinking I will use some of it anyway (I think the Simplicity 3835 can handle it), and use other pieces for trim, like shown here but also for things like a contrast strip at the bottom of a top. I’m also looking for some nice plaid shirting, but I have a specific idea in my mind of what it will look like and I haven’t found any actual fabric that looks like the fabric in my brain. This is pretty nice if I don’t find what I’m looking for.

But before I do any more sewing for my personal wardrobe, I have some Ren Faire Vikings to outfit.

Now for something a little bit lighter.

Photo on 2015-02-13 at 14.18

Or darker, I guess? Because I am talking about that purple lipstick. HOW GREAT IS THAT PURPLE LIPSTICK. It’s Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless, and it was about $6 at Target.

I already want matching glasses and a matching velvet choker and why did I get black doc martens instead of purple?

BRB, just realized I could make my HAIR match.

I do what I want.

I think I mentioned (once or possible a thousand times) that I found a jean jacket that fits me perfectly. This is an absolute miracle, since they usually blouse out at the back and STILL don’t properly cover my chest. I am very excited.

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I’ve been collecting patches for approximately ever. Or 20 years. Whichever is longer. This is nowhere close to all of them, but it’s the ones that jumped out at me as jean jacket appropriate. I had already ironed on a Nostromo patch from the Aliens pack I bought for Will (he insisted that I have one).

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I pinned them on, then freaked out a little, because aren’t patches supposed to be added one at a time? WAS I JUST TRYING TO BE COOL? But then I was like, wait. 1) I don’t have to try. 2) I’ve been adding them one at a time for 20 years. I just didn’t have the jacket.

Then I discovered that iron-on patches are the actual literal worst thing on earth. The thick ones can’t be attached with a home iron, and the old ones don’t stick very well. So I have to also sew them all on. Yay.

But it’s going to be super great! Pictures if I ever finish it.

P.S. I totes need a Hufflepuff patch.

Capsule Wardrobe: Update

So, back in April I cleaned out my closet and put away or got rid of all the clothes I don’t wear. I’ve continued getting rid of stuff, even my most precious way-too-small stuff. (Well. A lot of it is sitting in piles waiting for me to mail it to people. Mailing stuff is expensive.)

I bought fabric and some basics, like jeans. I sewed myself a dress no. 1.

After that we got really busy rearranging our apartment, which takes forever because we are four people and a lot of stuff in three rooms. So I haven’t sewn anything else, but I have been slowly collecting off-the-rack pieces. (THAT SOUNDS SO FANCY. I’ve bought a few t-shirts and some skirts and jeans. I shop at Old Navy and Target. I’ve also bought some fun t-shirts online.)

Our apartment is in pretty good shape but I haven’t gotten into the habit of creating again. For one thing, it’s been insanely hot and that just makes me sleepy. It’s started cooling off a little so I am hopeful that I will get back into the swing of making. (Or into it at all. I’ve always gone in fits and spurts. I’d rather it be a regular thing.)

My wardrobe building has been a little unusual. It’s not a true capsule wardrobe, because that implies that I am narrowing down my existing wardrobe, when in fact I am building it from almost nothing. In a way, I think this makes it easier for me. My hard choices are all based on what I can afford.

My goals are/were to have a well-rounded wardrobe, suitable to wherever I need to go, with a good range of items that mix and match well. I want good colors, variety, and to look/feel cute at all times. Being comfortable is non-negotiable.

Lots of details follow. Continue reading

Making Clothes

I recently emptied out my closet, removing everything that doesn’t fit. There was…not much left.
closet
About a third of this is referee stuff, and another third is stuff I don’t really like, but will wear if I have to. There is some stuff in the dirty laundry (not much, though), and I have a pair of jeans (and underthings of course) that are not hanging.

I have a plan. Kind of.

First I freaked the fuck out on Twitter, because I have no idea how to build a wardrobe. I don’t know how to determine or build my personal style. I am just clueless. Kind friends talked me down from the ledge, recommending various style blogs, etc., but what I really want is a checklist that is for people like me, and that doesn’t exist.

As far as I can tell, my style falls into two general categories (three if “lazy slob” counts): rockabilly and hippie. NOT SUPER COMPATIBLE, but I am not going to listen to any ideas my brain might have about needing to stay consistent. Those are the styles I am comfortable wearing. END OF STORY. (Right? Please validate me.)

So I’m going to do some shopping, but also some sewing.

sewing-tops

For years I have wanted a closet full of Simplicity 3835 tops. The pattern booklet looks super-dull, but a quick google image search should show you why I am smitten with the pattern. I will have to make full bust adjustments, which I understand in theory but have never actually done. Cross your fingers for me.

I only recently discovered Sonya Phillips‘ patterns, but I can very very easily picture myself wearing leggings and a linen Dress No. 1 every day. (I will have to get some leggings.)

I’m also thinking about Colette Violet, but not until I have pattern adjustments mastered. (And eventually: Tia dress.)

sewing-skirts

I also want to make myself some skirts. The Spin Skirt (WITHOUT THE RUFFLES) is my front-runner, but I am also looking for a simpler A-line pattern for corduroy skirts because I want to be Melissa Auf der Maur circa 1995, which the one on the right looks promising for. Possibly I could use the Spin Skirt for both, though.

I’ll be shopping for fabrics, but I also have these:

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I originally intended to use the (top) blue fabric for a Sew Liberated Lola apron, but I am open to using it for something else. The strawberries were for Grace, and I feel like an asshole considering using them for myself. I don’t know for sure how much I have of the stars, but it looks like at least 1.5 yards. I planned, years ago, to use the pond print for the Trapeze Sundress from Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing, and I might still do that but I don’t have to.

I don’t have to use any of them, of course. Just brain-dumping. I kind of feel like I should be looking for small, subdued all-over prints, but maybe that is boring? I DON’T KNOW.

Please dress me.

Frivolous

I think I am going to buy myself a new bag for my birthday. I need one that is better suited to the stuff I carry around with me. I found the Carson bag and it seems to fit the bill! But I can’t decide what color I want.

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Red is fun and has been a steady favorite color for approximately ever. Grey is practical and goes with everything. Yellow is cheery and a current favorite. Turquoise is so very me.

Help me choose!

I feel pretty-ish.

I’m really struggling lately with having NOTHING to wear. I have ONE outfit that I love, which I wore today:

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I usually wear a necklace and/or scarf. Today I wore Damson wrapped around my neck, but I took it off before I thought to take a picture.

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As you can see, I lack a full-length mirror and the ability to pick up messes before taking photos.

I need more outfits that make me feel like this. I need enough nice things that I can mix and match instead of wearing the same things together all the time. (Although it would be pretty funny if someone got deja vu because I did that.) It’s time for a wardrobe makeover (or wardrobe opera, which is the result of a typo–not mine–and is the best idea ever).

I’m making a checklist of pieces I own and things I want. The latter is a little overwhelming, and it’s just basic stuff. I won’t post the list, mainly because I lack the energy to make it a nice tidy table, but here are a few of my observations:

  • I have literally ONE pair of shoes right now. I think I need a second.
  • I have ONE pair of jeans that fit me, and my only black pants are actually Will’s and I need black pants for roller derby (reffing, not skating).
  • I have plenty of tights, which surprises me. Target clearance FTW.
  • I have t-shirts, but no tops.
  • I have (semi-)dressy dresses but would really love a jersey sundress or two.
  • I am quite lacking in sweaters of both the pullover and cardigan variety, which is a bit distressing as a knitter.
  • I love this skirt–so why don’t I have any other skirts I actually wear? I need more skirts like this one.

My main problem is figuring out where to start. My budget is approximately $0 but I do have a little work coming my way which will translate to a (very modest) budget down the road.

So how do I do this?

Free Tattoo Ideas

(I do not have any ideas for how to get free tattoos. I do, however, have free ideas about things that would make good tattoos.)

1. Measuring tape. This is a risky one because skin stretches over time and so you might eventually end up with an inch that is not actually an inch long. But as a knitter I feel like the benefits (primarily AWESOMENESS and the ability to measure stuff) outweigh the risk. Though I guess you should be sure to get it on a spot that is less likely to get fatter or more muscle-y.

2. For sock knitters: toe decrease marker. If you knit your socks top-down, get a tattoo on your foot where you need to start your toe decreases. (I did not come up with this idea. I read it on a knitting blog. Probably Yarn Harlot, but I don’t remember for sure.)

3. Toe knuckle tattoos. I would love to get knuckle tattoos, but I can’t think of any four-letter words that I want on me forever–at least not in such a visible place. So what about getting them on your toes?

4. Stocking seams. This is my favorite. Probably because it is the best tattoo idea of all time. I mean, if you are a lady of a vintage-y persuasion. I would totally get this if I did not already have a tattoo planned for each of my calves. Hell, I might get this instead, because it is the best tattoo idea of all time.