Monday, November 29, 2010
This Octowreath (made by the amazing Hine Mizushima for the Luv-able + Hug-able (+ Wearable!) show) has changed my mind. You can make me any Christmas craft you like, as long as it has tentacles. (Or serpents.)
Hine also photographed a squid in the very act of creating holiday crafts:
Everything about this image is wonderful to me; I love the way it looks like it's been taken from a craft magazine circa 1975! And I am desperate for that teeny-tiny sewing basket...
You can see more of her wonderful work at her blog and buy things from her at her Etsy shop!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Image: Three girls making a "sandman" at the beach, by Ozzie Sweet. State Library and Archives of Florida, 1964.
I have a confession to make: I hate Christmas craft.
I was at Spotlight (a large craft chain store) the other day, and there were pile and piles of (mostly very ugly) Christmas fabric. And women were snapping it up! What the hell are they making with all this fabric? Tablecloths? Wall hangings? I am honestly unable to fathom what all that fabric is going to make. And why are they spending all this time and money making something that will sit in the cupboard for 11 months of the year?
Then there's all the snowmen and Santa Clauses and elves and snowflakes to make, to sit on the mantlepiece or the dinner table and then take up more storage space for the rest of the year. Why are they bothering?
Perhaps the reason that none of this stuff resonates with me is because it's all geared towards the Northern hemisphere. Snowflakes, reindeer, holly, candles, sleighs and fir trees don't have much relevance to an Australian Christmas. The other source of imagery is Christianity, and I'm not a Christian.
I'm not saying that I scowl every time I see a Christmas tree. In fact, we have a tradition of watching Christmas movies all through December, and I put out my little Christmas decorations. I love Christmas! I just don't understand why you would want to spend your precious crafting time making things that have such limited use and limited relevance.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I, Jessica McLeod, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 2 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoted, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on my blog, so that others may share the joy that my thriftiness brings! Signed, Jessica McLeod.
OK, so the Wardrobe Refashion project closed up this month. The blog is no longer active and they are not accepting new sign-ups. Well guess what, Wardrobe Refashion? I DON'T CARE! I'm signing up and you can't stop me! You think you can keep me out of your club?!? NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER!
I could probably have signed up for this two months ago, because I don't think I've bought anything in that time. In fact about two months ago I actually tried to spend a day buying summer work clothes and failed to buy anything at all. All the fashions in the shops (that is, the shops that I can afford and which carry my size) at the moment are very unattractive to me. Ugly florals, 90s prints, cheap lace, jumpsuits(?!): I would rather cut a hole out of a bedsheet and wear it like a poncho than spend money on those monstrosities. (Note to self: cut hole in bedsheet and wear like poncho for maximum comfort.)
There are many reasons why I want to stop buying clothes and make my own.
- Cheap clothing comes at a price: environmental and social. While I don't really indulge in "fast fashion" anymore-- when I buy something, I keep it for a long time-- the clothes I can afford to buy are almost certainly not being made in an ethical or sustainable way.
- It's not often that my tastes coincide with what's currently fashionable. I love Peter Pan collars, empire waists, 40s prints, wide pants and vintage buttons, and the only way I can get those looks is to make my clothes myself.
- Most of the clothes I see in the shops which I actually like, don't come in a size that fits me. Fashion labels generally don't make above a size 12; as a size 16-18, I have to really search to find something that's not apparently designed for middle-aged women with a taste for bright abstract florals and the desire to completely shroud their bodies in synthetic fabric.
- Even when something comes in my size, it could always fit better. Mass-produced clothes have to fit the maximum of shapes, so if something fits my large bust, it's too big everywhere else; if it fits at the waist, I'm busting out on top.
Wish me luck!
Friday, April 30, 2010
I'm not going to feel bad and apologise for neglecting this blog because that is how life goes. It is 2010 and everyone is neglecting their blog. I am a busy lady! But lately, even though I have been busier than ever (or perhaps because of that?) I have been itching to make things and talk about making things.
I bought the most beautiful boots: brown leather, almost knee-high. This made me realise that a) I only have black skirts and b) my winter skirts are all very long. After a brief look for non-black, knee-length skirts I quickly realised it would be quicker and cheaper to make my own, so I've bought some nice brown material with tiny stripey checks (I know, very confusing, photo forthcoming). I'm thinking of making it along the lines of Angry Chicken's 5-Minute Skirt: cut on the bias (so the check forms diamonds instead of squares, and also so I can check out the magical qualities of bias-cut clothes for myself), but with a casing and elastic instead of fold-over elastic (I think the fabric might be too heavy for that). I have heard that hemming a bias-cut garment is a pain in the ass but I think it's worth it.
Here is my only concern: the fabric has a little bit of stretch, but only in one direction (across, not top-to-bottom). Is that going to ruin the bias cut? I would very much appreciate feedback from more advanced sewists!
(Image: Neighborhood House Sewing Club, St. Paul)