It’s the 15th of October, time to get myself ready for Frosting Fortnight! Mari from Disparate Disciplines and I (and a crack team of guest bloggers!) are working together to tease out the meaning of “fun/crazy” and also “useful/basic” clothes through a series of wardrobing posts from the 18th of October until Halloween! To encouage the wearing and sharing of our less-than-strictly-practical wardrobes, we’re posting daily outfit posts to the Frosting Fortnight flickr group!
Several others have joined, and all are welcome! Head over the the flickr group page to make a pledge to join up! I think Halloween will be the most fun- do think about chiming in for the ultimate Frosting Holiday if you don’t wish to join the Fortnight. Fingers crossed that Snow White makes an appearance.
My own pledge is rather personal:
I, StephC of 3 Hours Past, pledge to pull every single bit of crazy and frippery and frosting from every nook and hidden guilt-cranny in my house and expose them to the light of day as I wear them during FF! I’ll find homes for my sewn orphans- either on my back, in my re-fashion stash, or in the rag-bag!
I’m “using” Frosting Fortnight as a time to challenge myself to tighten up my closet’s contents and share what I learn about wardrobing. It’s personal, but I think it might be useful to others who might struggle with some of the same issues I do. At any rate it’s impossible to talk about the contents of one’s wardrobe without getting personal so brace yourself. No undies in this post, but maybe a little dirty laundry…
True to my pledge, I dug around my house and found 4 years of style, engineering and design experiments in various stages of being “finished.” I pulled them from every hidden guilt-cranny and dark space I know I’ve stuffed clothes. I knew this mountain existed before I pulled it all out, to be honest dealing with this mass of textiles has been rather low on my priority list.
Some weeks ago, a work associate challenged me about the authenticity of my devotion to sustainability and the environment. At first, I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth- so I kept my own mouth shut and let her speak. Eventually she got to the point of her concern and said something like- “How can you justify making so many clothes all the time? Doesn’t it conflict with your sustainability ethics?”
Like I said, she’s a work associate and a generally likeable person. I assume she didn’t mean to sound so judgmental. I suppose I should have reacted indignantly to defend my “green” credentials or something, but I just nodded and smiled and said we all have to do what work best for us in our own sewing rooms before changing the subject. I like her and had no interest in quarreling or playing one-up-manship with our sewing processes.
The fact of the matter is, comparing our sewing and greenie cred would be an utter waste of time. Her comment showed a complete lack of understanding about the process involved when creating a sewing pattern that others will love to sew and wear.* That’s fine! I do my thing, she does hers. She sews herself a few basics and cute dresses from already-made patterns and does a beautiful job with her work. She’s sewn for years and has mastered the art of sewing for her body and her needs, and I’m sure she wastes very little fabric or time in her sewing.
Besides, as far as it goes, she’s right. I make a lot of stuff. Some of it’s rather odd. I used to post more of it than I do nowadays. Sometimes I get a crazy idea in my head and I can’t relax until I’ve made it happen. (Seashell pockets, anyone?)
Then I wear it, I tweak the design, I wear it more, I make another improved version, I wear it some more, I wash it frequently, I crumple it up and stuff it in a drawer, I pull it out and shake it, I wear it some more, I make another two or three in different fabrics and wear those, too. I consider that an important and necessary part of developing a new pattern (call me crazy..), whether it’s a Tried-N-True pattern or a new design for Cake. I may not “finish” one of these garments completely, and I often discard ideas that work beautifully in my mind but less so in the cold hard light of Reality.
Is that really waste?
After giving it some thought, I decided it’s not. I must muslin repeatedly and can not avoid sewing a decent volume of fabric in order to do what I do.
Even if I weren’t working to create a pattern company, I think a certain amount of “wasted” fabric and effort goes into learning what works for an individual’s body and styling. That’s ok! No more guilt for learning curves! It’s a part of the process! I say pull the buttons off those wadders and throw the baggage out! Or make rags…
Instead of worrying or feeling guilty, I turned my attention to all the space in my small home that is wasted curating my muslins and design experiments. That’s the waste- wasted space.
So for Frosting Fortnight, I’m pulling out all the muslins and all the design experiments and garments I don’t wear and giving them a second chance at life. During Frosting Fortnight, every day I’ll wear at least one thing that’s “out there” or experimental or simply hasn’t been worn in a few months. I’m turning my wardrobe inside out to help me understand what I like to wear.
I’ll also look at why certain garments don’t get worn- does it need mending/finishing? Is it the wrong color? Is it the cut? What can I do with the clothes I really don’t need in my house and my life without simply throwing them out? Why do I have so many quilting cotton blouses I never wear, and a few I do?
These are the questions I’ll explore over the next two weeks for Frosting Fortnight. I hope it’s useful, and I hope to pick up ideas from other Frosting Fortnighters along the way! (I also have a few unrelated finished object posts, a bra update, some fun with color and an amazing amazing vegan-ethical lipstick review…)
I started out simply today. (note: right up until I almost hit publish, I thought today was the 18th. All day. So I already added my outfit to the FF flickr group.) I’m wearing a current jeans design experiment and a woven “Not-a-Tee.” It’s made from a delicious, expensive red Indonesian batik with a fun neckline. I haven’t worn this much because the fabric is “too nice” for daily wear, and it’s too boxy to be worn untucked. Shame! I think this top deserves a comeback. She’s back in rotation!
What do you think? What’s “waste”? Is it wasted fabric from a failed sewing project, wasted space taken up hoarding clothes not worn, or wasted energy feeling guilty about it? Does high-volume muslin and garment sewing hurt my greenie cred?
What about effort spent making a garment you think you “should” make but don’t love, when you’d really rather be sewing and wearing the fun stuff? Is that a waste, or is it discipline?
And tell me, I’m curious- how often do you clean out your closet?