Thursday, October 1, 2015
Carolynn posted about Slow Fashion October today, and though I hadn't heard about this month-long activity, I was immediately engrossed. The principals of slow fashion are something I have pursued on and off for many years, though less recently than I'd like to admit. When I was in high school, I endeavored to create an entirely handmade wardrobe, and succeeded for several years. This was a great way for me to learn the basics of sewing, because what wasn't sewn from scratch was taken apart and reconstructed from thrifted clothing: the ultimate way to learn how clothing is constructed and how pieces go together is to take them apart.
When I went away to college, I remember having a realization that I actually had a rather small wardrobe. Because most of it was made by me, I simply never amassed the bursting closet of clothing many of my friends had. But time went on, and I didn't have time to make or mend, and I discovered how easy it was to buy fast fashion. I still made clothes for myself, but substantially less and less as school became more strenuous. This is pretty well evidenced by my pace of posts here on this blog. I've never stopped loving slow fashion, though. My most prized garments were (and still are, with a few additions) a beautiful wool and alpaca cardigan that my mom hand knit for me over the course of months, and my first fully tailored coat, with its hundreds of hours of construction. The majority of clothes in my closet are pretty dispensable (and disposable), which kind of makes my gut clench a little.
Now that I've settled more into my life post-college, I want to make an effort to return to a handmade, mended, long-term, ethical and thoughtfully purchased wardrobe. I have longterm goals that involve paring down my closet--and my life--substantially, and so these also will be steps in helping me get there. I am very excited also about the community and participatory aspects of this project, as well as the goal-focusing. Personally, my goals are to discover great people who make beautiful things, finish the sweater pictured above, cleanse my closet a bit, and sew up some holes. I also want to dress thoughtfully every day of the month, so I might post some of what I'm wearing from time to time.
Let me know if you are participating so I can follow along on the ride! There is some magic happening on #SlowFashionOctober on Instagram! (Find me there as @addie__marie)
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Can we talk about how dangerous a Going-Out-Of-Business sale is at a Joann's Fabric store? Because I got caught in one a couple months ago, and HOLY WOW.
I've touched on this before, but guys, I do NOT need more fabric in my life. It's taken years of stashing for me to wake up to this conclusion. And yet, I still waltzed out of the store a few dollars lighter and YARDS and YARDS of fabric heavier.
This pretty dotted chiffon was, you guessed it, one of my purchases at the aforementioned sale. I bought whatever was left on the bolt (most of what I got, I took what was left on the bolt. DANGEROUS), which was a little over a yard. The good thing about this was that I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it, since a lightweight kimono was something my wardrobe was lacking. I based this off of a vintage kimono my mom had given me, making some adjustments to length and sleeve shaping.
All in all, it was a super quick project because it turned out to be all rectangles. The hardest part was dealing with a 100% polyester fabric, and pressing it. I serged all the inside seams and double turned the hems. I'm super pleased with how the seams look in this fabric; the lines with the sheerness just really delight me!
I mean, how great is that? This is a nice piece to throw on over a casual outfit. A good little finishing touch, if you will.
If you're curious, the jeans are an old make, they just happen to fit me for the first time in a long time! My sandals are from Etsy, and they are my favorite purchase of the summer. They're real leather, so they have molded to my feet to create the most perfect fit. I'm a little heartbroken that sandal season is almost over--where did summer go?!
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Two years ago, I started knitting this Chuck sweater (one of Andi Satterlund's patterns). Today, I finally wove in one last end. Good things take time?
I'll confess, I'm not a very diligent hand-knitter. I pick projects up and set them down periodically, as I did with this sweater, which should have been a relatively quick knit. I have completed several projects over the last year or so, but this is the only large hand knitting project I have ever completed in all my years of knitting. That's a big statement! I did finish knitting this sometime over the winter, but didn't finish weaving in the ends. Who has time for that??
I found the pattern to be pretty easy to follow, even though I'd never knit anything that was constructed this way. The only other sweaters I've started were either top-down raglans where everything is connected, or seamed with set-in sleeves. I really love how the shaping on the side of the bodice looks, and the sleeve seams are pretty clean, but I'm not in love with the transition from sweater to neck band. I wish I had seamed that, because it looks a little messy. Other people who have made this don't seem to have this issue, so it must be just me!
A funny thing about this sweater is that from when I started making it to when I finished, I went through a style transition. Now this is style is more on the fringe of my sartorial choices. I'm sure I'll still find opportunities to wear it, but now I know for next time: knit faster!
If you are on Ravelry, add me! Link to the project is here.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Well hello! I feel particularly Taylor Swift-like in this outfit, which is significantly more Taylor Swift-like than I feel... in any other outfit. What can I say, she knows how to rock a midriff.
I didn't ever think I would be interested in a crop top, to be honest, but something about the proportions is just so summer and just so great. It's such an itty bitty amount of skin, and as summer has progressed, it's grown on me. So I made this little set to jump on the bandwagon.
This is made from a BEAUTIFUL digitally printed neoprene fabric from Mood Fabrics. I am obsessed with how soft and lofty it is. When I ordered it (back in, like, April. Fabric hoarder, guys.), I expected it to be more like actual neoprene for scuba suits, or the stuff Can Koozies are made of, you know, quarter inch thick. (Side note, is it Koozies are the only instance where I'm down with replacing C's with K's for the sake of cleverness. I mean. It's a hug for your drink. It deserves that kind of kitsch.) However, when the fabric arrived, it was this thinner, buttery soft fabric with a beautiful drape. At first, I was a little disappointed, as I had been planning to make something really structured with it. I set it aside, determined to love it because of this amazing print, but didn't know what to make for a very long time.
In the time after it arrived, I periodically poked around to see what other sewists had made with this fabric, checking out the Mood Sewing Network blog (great reference if you aren't sure how a fabric behaves!) and searching on Pinterest. I mostly saw form fitting dresses, and saw that the fabric didn't press well, so lots of seaming didn't suit it. With that in mind, I settled on a fitted top and a fuller skirt, wanting to take full advantage of the fun drape of the fabric.
The top was roughly traced from a cropped tee I already own, just plain and fitted. The skirt I based off of a pleated skirt pattern I made for my senior collection in school, skipping the pockets and zipper and instead adding an elastic waistband.
The finishes turned out really great in this fabric. I faced the neckline, set the skirt waistband in circularly with the elastic caught in the seam, serged all seams, and then blind catchstitched all of the hems. I had aforementioned concerns about pressing, but for the neck and the hems, I put the iron on medium low, steamed the crap out of crease, and then clapped my sleeve roll ham on top and pressed down for about ten seconds. It worked really well! But I didn't even bother to try pressing the armhole seams, as you can see.
Unrelated, but you can see my little balcony garden behind me here! I've had such a fun time adopting this new hobby this year. I have tomato plants, jalepenos, basil, lavendar, mint, kale, some cacti and some succulents. I also grew snap peas and cilantro but they died already (after a small harvest!). Such a rewarding hobby!
Monday, July 13, 2015
Hello and Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend full of sunshine! I sure did -- can you tell? This golden sunset helps me look more sunkissed than I really am, but I did spend some time pool- and lake-side this weekend! I also spent plenty of time sewing machine-side.
Here are some linen shorts I made! The pattern was self-made, and I knew I wanted them to be pull-on, so I made them pretty loose. I wanted something super comfy for the heat we are (hopefully) about to have, and this linen is a perfect complement to the fit.
"Somehow" meaning, I wasn't thinking when I topstitched the top edge of the waistband above the drawcord channel. I had set two lines of stitching before I tried them on and realized I was headed for a ruffled mess: the stitching made the top edge stand away from the body like there was a wire in it! I dug around for some elastic, and set that in the waistband below the stitching to help mitigate the disaster, but it was only about 1" high elastic for a 2" waistband. This, of course, does not help prevent the ruffled mess--it just makes for smaller ruffles. In retrospect, I should have gotten wider elastic, picked out the top stitching, and set the elastic at the very top of the waistband. But that would have required patience (and the dreaded seam ripper), and honestly, I have neither! I just wanted to finish these shorts.