The theme of Slow Fashion October for Week 2 is “Small”, encouraging us to explore the themes of
handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / the capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability in every sense
I’m excited too to show you the progress I’ve made on one of my goals for the month – sewing my first garment, with the fabulous help of my mom-in-law.
As I said in my first post, I’m a lifelong thrifter/garage saler, and have a buy less/wear long mentality when it comes to clothes. My mom has always been trendy, trendy, trendy. And often on the cutting edge of trends, wearing East Coast or European coolness before it even hits the US West Coast. I remember being in NYC as a young kid, holding her hand while she was rocking her short, spiky hair cut, zebra stripe glasses, and lots and lots of gold (clothes, jewelry, you name it). She’d get cat-called a lot and would just walk on by, flashing her wedding ring. She was like a fashion Wonder Woman. My mom is nothing if not comfortable in her own skin, and I’ve always loved that about her. Then cue to me, owner of Danskos and Burkenstocks and lover of all things denim. I’ve definitely embraced the casual look of the Pacific Northwest. My mom often wonders how she gave birth to someone with such different fashion sense. But I did learn a lot from her about the importance of quality, and that lesson has stuck! My mom is also a bargain hunter, a skill she learned from her mom. Thanks to these women in my life, I’m good at finding quality brands that will allow me to wear them into the ground at great thrift store prices. And I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin too. I like what I like, and I go with it. For me, that’s comfort, casualness, and versatility, with a little bit of farmy thrown in.
Now cue my interest in quality heirloom items & wanting to make things for myself. I’m running into a big problem: I’m used to buying things that last on a garage sale or thrift store budget & buying quality yarn or natural fabrics to make my own items seems WAY out of my price range, even when I find them on sale. I’ve learned to be frugal with my clothes, ya’ll, and making your own seems the opposite of frugal when you’re already wearing your inexpensively bought quality clothes into the ground…
I’ve been following along with other Slow Fashion October folks, and here are some things I’ve found to help me in my dilemma:
- Jenny, a homesteady gal who blogs at Jenny From The Garden, introduced me to the Refashionista blog in the comments of my first Slow Fashion October post (thanks, Jenny!!). Jillian of Refashionista is all about turning thrift store finds into something new. You can read more about her inspiration & what she’s about here. Ethically made clothes are not something that I can afford, but something I CAN do is not buy unethically made clothes firsthand. Yes, I still feel complicit in a messed up system, but buying secondhand also feels like a step in the right direction. When I shop at the thrift store, I am not supporting these companies directly, I am keeping clothes out of the landfill, and I am living within my means. I would love to support indie fashion/small-batch makers, but until the time comes where that’s personally affordable (I already dress pretty minimally, so I won’t save moving from quantity to quality because I’m already at low quantity here…), the thrift store is where it’s at for me. I’m looking forward to Refashionista’s inspiration (and I love the involved creativity) in turning old things into new. I will often see great fabric, but the fit or style isn’t for me. Who knows if I have the sewing skills to pull repurposed fashion off, but GOALS!
- Karen of The Sweaty Knitter liked my first Slow Fashion October post, and WordPress thankfully suggests similar posts you might like to read of the folks who like your posts. Low and behold, I was linked up to her post Pilling is a Pill, all about how to buy durable yarn that will last. I really like her tips in this post, because if I’m going to spend money buying quality yarn & a lot of time knitting something, I would like it to be a garment that lasts. (I’m glad to have met you on blog world, Karen!)
- Lastly, Taproot Magazine’s Song issue included a tutorial from Jerome Sevilla on unraveling sweaters to recycle the yarn. I’ve seen some good fingering weight yarn at the thrift store in dreamy colors and amazing prices in already made sweater form, but I know I need to find something easier for my first attempt. Thankfully, by following #slowfashionoctober on Instagram, someone introduced me to the Ravelry group called the UnRavelers. I’m looking forward to finding even more tips and inspiration there on reusing yarn for new projects!
I’m grateful for the community and information I’m finding through this Slow Fashion October month! Are you joining along? Tell me your thoughts on “Small” in the comments, or link me to your blog posts or Instagram feed so I can follow along with you.
Now, for a project update! Fun!!
My mom-in-law, sewer extraordinaire (think garments of all sizes and quilting), came over earlier this week to give me my first lesson and help me start my Dottie Angel Frock! It is so nice to learn an art/skills from a real person that you can ask questions to, and who has so much knowledge to impart!! Mom gave me tips on reading patterns, easier pattern cutting, how to mirror things on a garment, like sewing on pockets, and so much more.
Here’s my progress in pictures:
I can’t wait for my second lesson next week!