Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Reason to Make My Clothes

I have been aware of unfair wages and poor working conditions among factory workers overseas for a while.  However, the most recent fire in Bangladesh really brings the point home.  The average worker in Bangladesh makes $37 for about 400 hours of work per month.  That works out to 9 1/4 cents per hour and working about 14 hours a day 6 days a week.  So, the clothing that we see at all those big box stores are coming on the backs of these poor souls working in these horrid conditions.  I am as guilty as the next person of wanting a good deal.  And, I admit that mainly I started sewing because I couldn't find clothes that fit me well and the ones that I loved were outrageously expensive.  I figured I could sew them to fit me and with better quality fabric than what I could buy.  I also have to say, I am less likely to give something up that I have labored over and sewn myself.  I am more likely to hold on to it and revamp it.

A friend mentioned the other day that it is funny that so many of us worry about where our food comes from and that we should buy local and organic, but many of these same people have never thought about where their clothing comes from.  Another trend I heard about lately is Haul videos up on Youtube.  These are videos made mostly by teenage girls that describe all the clothing that they have bought in their latest shopping hauls.  There are now over 700,000 of these videos on Youtube now, and some of these girls are now getting paid to make videos as a job for retailers.  When these girls should be out exploring all kinds of things in their high school years such as art, music, sports, and craft.  They are out buying as a hobby.  I do love to shop also, but I hope to instill the idea of how to make your own in my children and to have them think about where the item comes from and how it was made.  

Here is a photo from our recent trip.  In this photo, my daughter is wearing a skirt that I made from fabric that I bought a few years ago.  (There must have been a bit of wind, because it fluffed out like a bell!)  I am wearing my $4 goodwill jeans.  I often purchase jeans from goodwill, looking for jeans that fit.  I then bring them home and modify them.  These pants had bell bottoms which I detest.  I cut them down and installed jean zippers, and for $8 I had skinny leg jeans that I love.  

Here is to ingenuity and a little elbow grease!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Moving to Bloglovin

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"New" skirt

We went to Spain last week for our children's spring break.  It was a lovely trip through the northwest countryside of Spain.  We decided to give our son a special trip for his 12th birthday.  He will only be at home a few more years, and my husband decided that while the kids still enjoy our company and before the teenage years we would give him the trip of his dreams.  He loves soccer, so we went to see his favorite soccer team,  Real Madrid, play in their home stadium.

I find it really difficult not to want something new to wear when taking a trip.  However, I had my pledge of buying no new clothing.  So, I dumped out my basket of knit fabrics and found two old t-shirts that my son has long outgrown and decided to make myself a skirt, a la Alabama Chanin.  I don't really know why we had two of his t-shirts of the same color, but lucky for me we did.  I used the short skirt pattern from her new book Alabama Studio Sewing and Design.  I didn't have quite the amount of fabric I needed, so it was shorter than I really wanted it, but I think it turned out well.  I used the grey t-shirt fabric for the top layer, and some white t-shirts that we were got free at a soccer game in DC from Geico.  I figured no one is going to know look at the lining fabric and see any of the print on the shirts.
Although I did not buy any clothing in Spain (although my husband bought me a locally woven scarf), I did buy some shoes.  Here are a pair of Visalis, which are incredibly comfortable.  Excuse the photo and my severe expression, my son, the budding fashion photographer is at school, so I took the best one I could using the timer.  The shirt I am wearing is one that I bought last year, again just before a trip, from a used clothing store here.  I am not so enamored of the color, I bought it mainly for the design which I thought I could copy.  I have yet to copy it, but...

I know that a few people have complained about the hems curling a bit on these skirts, so to stop that, I embroidered and beaded a border at the hem to give it a bit of interest.  I did most of the embroidery work in the plane on the way over, and in the car while we were there.

I love the designs from Nathalie Chanin.  They are comfortable, easy to wear, and really travel well.   They are easy to pack and look great.   Here I am on a street in Barcelona with my daughter.  We are both sporting our Alabama Chanin skirts that I made just before our trip.