Sunday, 19 February 2017

How Political is Your Wardrobe?

Fashion, as we have seen in recent weeks, is political. U.S. President Trump in his not-so-eloquent address over the Nordstrom decision to drop his daughter's line of clothing highlights how the politics of fashion are in play. Even if it meant disregarding a statement he previously made that "the president can not have a conflict of interest." But that is a whole other story left for another time and venue. It is actually a Globe and Mail article, "Designing Dissent", that has me thinking about the politics of fashion.

Most recently the Pussyhat Project became the latest political fashion trend to hit the streets. But since the January 21 protest march this political symbol has moved from the street scene to an artifact at the Michigan State University Museum. Did it become a symbol of the march or a conversation prompt leading to change as the co-creators hoped it would? According to the Globe and Mail article, "[f]ashion translates our world but rarely offers social commentary" offering a cynical look at the recent appearances of political symbols on the fashion runways.



How political are our wardrobes? I've never understood how people consider fashion as frivolous when there is identity and environmental politics at play with wardrobe choices made. I've participated in the RTW fast movement because of the environmental impact of fast fashion.


And the fact that I can make better quality clothes than I can find in the ready-to-wear landscape. Sewing is certainly a political act for me.  So I found the closing statement of the Globe and Mail article hard to swallow, "protest in the fashion industry rarely makes it past the end of the catwalk." I have to strongly disagree. A simple article of clothing or a certain style of dress may not seem to have an immediate political impact. But the critiques of society are historically underlined by the way we dress and signal our approval or discontent with the world around us. And these critiques do not appear and disappear on the catwalk, they're created in our creative spaces as well.


So, are there articles of clothing that made it into your closet because of a statement you're trying to make?

Happy Sewing!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!


I'm not sewing yet... just revisiting a sewing project from 2014 and sending out valentine wishes.  




Monday, 6 February 2017

Monday's Mending Pile: Does Thread Have an Expiry Date?

My new-(ish) coat made it to the mending pile this weekend.


This coat has proved to be quite warm and is holding up to the elements (and outdoor duties) so I've been wearing it to work. A lot. That means it doesn't get the gentle care that it deserves. Instead of hanging on a hanger, it is shoved into a locker, dangling from a metal hook. And that is how this hole developed from where the neckline and under collar meet.  


This mending task proved to be an easy peasy fix, no sitting (thank goodness) required. I was able to lean it on the back of a chair, stand, and hand-stitch the opening close. This time I used jean thread since the thread I sewed this coat with did not hold up to the reality it faces. And that got me thinking about whether or not my thread could have been to blame?  

Does thread have an expiry date?  

According to Bob Purcell, the senior threadologist at Superior Threads, the answer to that question is yes. The thread that I initially used to slip-stitch the under collar to the lining is of a certain vintage. I'm can say for certain that the salmon coloured thread was purchased at designer's going-out-of-business sale back in the eighties.  

And I have to admit that I have spools of thread that are wrapped onto wooden spools. When was the last time you seen wooden spools at the fabric store? So yes, they're that old.  

If threads have an expiry date, why are they not date stamped? How do you find out if they're past their expiry date? Whip Stitch has a test that you can use to check if your thread is up for the sewing job. 

I don't think I would ever toss a spool of thread. Seriously, I'm proud of my frugality. But maybe I might save those older spools for temporary basting and underlining tasks.  

Happy Sewing!  




Wednesday, 1 February 2017

McCall's 7541: Retraction

Remember last month when I said that I was undecided about McCall's 7541? Well, I'm withdrawing that statement. I now have a very strong opinion of this pattern.  


This pattern is perfect. 


So you might be wondering what changed. I brought it to work yesterday and gave it to one of my co-workers thinking that perhaps one of her daughters would like it. My colleague tried it on, then and there, and oh my goodness, it was perfect. She's taller than I am and I guess the height difference between us made a huge difference on the fit of this top. The neckline wasn't too wide or low on her, it was absolutely perfect.  

She wore it today and looked awesome and words can not express how good I felt that it's being worn by someone who likes it. 

I guess now I should say, if you're a petite size (I'm five foot) you might want to consider doing a muslin first. I can't remember if the pattern pieces have the markings to lengthen or shorten the bodice pieces but after re-reading the review I wrote over at pattern review, I originally quoted the back envelope description. 
Misses' Tops: Loose-fitting, pullover tops have length and front and back overlay variations. Note: No provisions provided for above waist adjustment.
Maybe taking it in from the shoulder seam and adding at the hemline length might work if I have another go at this pattern? Or should I re-shape the neckline? Of course, that will have to wait until I can sit without an aid. I'll have to think about this more when I'm not all doped up on pain meds. The cape overlay piece has quite a lot of narrow hemming to it and I don't think my tush is in any condition for that right now. But when I'm up to it, it will certainly be worth another go.    

Until then... Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

January In Review...

Sewing:

Top L to R:  Coat, a Marcy Tilton design, Vogue 8934; waffle weave cotton robe, vintage Butterick 5556; half slip, Vogue 1410; knit cape-styled top, McCall's 7541; floral print top, Vogue 9028; two full slips, OOP Burda 6964; cotton dress, Simplicity  2372; animal print top; OOP McCall's 7946; two camisoles, OOP Burda 6964; three microwave bowl cozies.  
I spent 92.75 hours on sewing projects this month.  It turned out this is how I spent most of my free time while laid off from work. And then work at the sewing table slowed down to a halt since sitting is proving to be quite painful after a nasty fall. I'm anxiously counting down until I can enjoy some more sewing time, soon I hope. Five out of the fourteen items I made were for moi, two were for the Etsy shop and the rest were gifted to Mama R.

I only made one item for Jungle January, a tee-shirt. There were big plans as I started off the new year plotting my participation.


I picked up this piece of fabric last year after I made the cape. I thought perhaps another cape? The plan changed when Vogue 1494 came onto the scene. But then plans were interrupted.

  
And these jungle-worthy fabrics were also planned for something frisky to wear. The animal print above has been in the stash for years and I had a top in mind using OOP Butterick 5561. The lighter coloured fabric found it's way into my collection, waiting to be turned into a pussy-bow styled shirt using Vogue 9029. I won't be packing them away because Anne is right, we should let our animal prints roam outside of Jungle January festivities. So when my injured parts are mended, I'll try to get on that.   

RTW & Fabric Fast:

Woohoo!  Another month without buying any ready-to-wear. I wish I could say the same about fabric fasting. I stumbled this month in that department.

Fabricland had a sale on kasha lining fabric which rarely goes on sale so when it does, I try to pick some up. And then there was some linen, lobster print cotton and black wool in the 70% off department that I couldn't resist. Even though I didn't uphold to my fabric fast I did stay true to avoiding man-made fibres. Since I haven't been able to sew since the injury, I shopped for fabric to make myself feel better. My bad. It didn't work, I much rather prefer to be sewing.


Just like the RTW fast in it's early days, this fabric fast thing is turning out to be quite the challenge. I'll try again next month.  


The Stats:


Supplies
Quantity Used from the stash this Month 
Quantity Used this Year
Added to the Stash this year
Basting Tape
1.12 metres
1.12 metres
0
Bias Tape
1.8 metres
1.8 metres
0
Buttons
14
14
6
Chain
0
0
0
Cord Stopper
0
0
0
Elastic
0.8 metres
0.8 metres
0
Fabric
22.2 metres
22.2 metres
16.9 metres
Fusible Tape
8 metres
8 metres
0
Hand needles
1
1
0
Hook and Eyes
0
0
0
Interfacing
2.1 metres
2.1 metres
1 metres
Lace trim
2.6 metres
2.6 metres
0
Pattern (new)
3
3
2
Pattern (previously used--TNT)
5
5
0
Ribbon
0
0
0
Serger needles
0
0
0
Serger thread
3
3
0
Sewing machine needles
0
0
0
Snaps
0
0
0
Thread
6
6
3
Trim
0
0
0
Velcro
0
0
0
Zipper
1
1
0

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Elevated Utilitarian Attire

This weekend's Globe and Mail contains a review of a Toronto exhibit, Workwear, exploring the way we dress for our jobs. The review opens with a historical look back at pioneer fashion photographer, Irving Penn, who in the early 1950s turned his camera lens towards an ethnographic look at utilitarian attire of the day.  

Parisan Bakers, photographed by Irving Penn

He captured pictures of everyday people, not models, in the clothes that they wear during their work day.  

Parisan Butcher, photographed by Irving Penn

These photographs are a true treasure not just from an anthropological approach. They capture the individuals in a specific time and place that is lost to us in the present. Certainly, we do have butchers and bakers in our present-day culture but they do not dress like this in our present day culture. When was the last time you encountered a butcher wearing a button-up shirt, necktie, dresspants and shoes at your butcher counter? That wasn't in a film. Yeah, these are images from a by-gone day. If we compare it to the uniforms of today's workplace you might come to the immediate conclusion that today's workers are dressed more comfortably. However there may be more to the story that can not be revealed in a photograph.  

And that is where Workwear comes in. According to the Globe and Mail article the depiction of work wear today and in the future is portrayed by actual clothing on display, elevated by designer names behind them. On the surface it may appear to be a fashion exhibit but it seems to also read as a nature vs. technological exhibit as not only has workplaces changed, so have textiles.   

Has anyone seen Workwear? It is on until April. I wish I could see it, I'm so intrigued. But as a working gal in another city without any holidays, it doesn't look like it will be in the cards.  


Friday, 27 January 2017

That Was Fast!

Wow!  I'll admit, I'm impressed with how fast my most recent Vogue order took to arrive in my mailbox. Nine days from the time I ordered, that's never happened before. It typically takes a good month to get across the border. Of course, this speedy delivery occurred when I can't sit for very long. Oh Saint Anne, the Patron saint of seamstresses, seems to have a sense of humour, doesn't she?  


I'm still thrilled even though the projects I'm eager to sew may take me awhile complete. At least I can cut the projects out. And can I say that I'm also impressed with these labels. They're lovely and I think while I'm sitting on my coccyx cushion the first thing I'll do is sew one of these into my burgundy Marcy Tilton coat.   

Hopefully, I'll get to Vogue 9244 shortly.  

Happy Sewing!  


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