never reaches down to where the seed turns
into summer. The earth grants.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
I have a love/hate relationship with jeans. I change out of jeans as soon as I get home, because I find them restricting to my lounging. :) But...there is nothing quite as cool as a great pair of jeans. My favorites are (+ have always been) soft, pale, worn-in jeans. One of the best pair I ever wore belonged to my then-boyfriend (now Mr. Tribe). They were the softest jeans I'd ever felt, were covered with patches + had just the right bit of over-sized fit...true boyfriend jeans. Someone else had done the job of wearing them in + somehow he didn't seem to mind letting me wear them too. I'm guessing they were so well worn, because he didn't have very many clothes + probably wore them every day for years.
Similarly, I've found worn-in jeans from the sixties made of 100% cotton that have years of wear still in them. Heck, jeans labeled as the oldest in the world (dating from the 1870s) look ready for plenty more adventures.
We all know that denim is durable, so it's not surprising that the industry needed to find a way to get us to buy more than a couple of pairs in a lifetime. Planned obsolescence in denim didn't really kick in until lately (with all of the manufactured distressing + added plastic fibers hastening their breakdown). Trends have done the effective work of psychological obsolescence instead (bell-bottoms, pleats, acid-wash, ultra-low-rise...). This gets us looking for a new pair of jeans when there are perfectly functioning jeans still in our closets.
Denim uses a lot of water in its production. Cotton growing/manufacturing, dying + stone-washing all are water intensive processes. Jeans are intricate, labor intensive garments that require specialized equipment to sew + trim. Denim fabric production + sewing have been largely moved overseas to less costly markets. Now instead of the industry built to create the most durable, long-lasting workwear, we have a wasteful, polluting industry that exploits people + fills landfills. The average American has seven pairs of jeans, and there's no telling how many pairs of jeans the average American has discarded.
One of the great things about the current state of trends coming + going so quickly is that there is little that looks too out of style anymore. When chosen carefully, it's possible to find jeans (new or secondhand) that will probably be both durable enough + appropriate enough to last for decades.
So here's the challenge:
-No new jeans.
-How long is up to you, but if there are seven pairs of jeans in one's closet... ;)
-Wear + repair.
-Become attached to the jeans already in the closet.
A few variations that could be employed:
-Only secondhand jeans, if a new pair is necessary.
-A new pair of jeans is added only if it can be committed to for 10 years.
-Put thought into figuring out a personal forever jean style.
A little motivation:
-cherishing + finding inspiration in the old
-articles of interest
-patches to love
Fairdare mini-challenges one + two. :)
Photos via links. Non-linked photos, mine.
I'm not sure what sparked it, but suddenly so many independent pattern brands are expanding their size charts. It's exciting to see the inclusivity + buzz around it all. Pattern grading involves grading up + down from a particular size. As the grading gets further + further away from the original size, it can become increasingly distorted. This process along with the fact that certain proportions + measurements (like bust, thigh + bicep circumferences) need to be taken into account...not to mention that every body is built differently...makes increasing the sizing of patterns a time consuming process. It's exciting that the independent sewing community is recognizing the value of enabling more + more people to exercise their creativity + to wear clothing that fits!
For our purposes here today, I'm going to set the parameters for standard/expected sizing at around 32-44 inch bust measurements. Many of us know that we cannot always expect even this much inclusivity, but what I'm looking for is an extended level of inclusivity. It's about time!
Anna Allen :: patterns sizes up to 22
Blueprints :: busts up to 50 inches
Cashmerette :: sizes 12-28
Closet Case :: sizes up to 20 + extending (take the survey)
Colette + Seamwork :: up to size 26
Deer & Doe :: French sizes up to 52
Elbe Textiles :: currently working to extend size range up to a 52 inch bust
Fancy Tiger :: sizes up to 20
Grainline :: currently working to extend up to size 30 (participate in their survey)
Leisl + Co :: up to size 20
Helen's Closet :: currently includes sizes up to 22 :: working to extend up to size 30
Made by Rae :: bust sizes up to 51 inches
Marilla Walker :: bust sizes up to 49 inches
Megan Nielsen :: newly updated patterns up to size 30
Muse :: up to 50 inch bust + D cup
Named :: up to size 18
Paper Theory :: up to size 20
P4P :: up to 54 inch bust
Sew House Seven :: up to size 20
Sew Liberated :: up to size 24
Schnittchen :: up to 53 1/2 inch bust
100 Acts of Sewing :: up to 50 inch bust
Sew DIY :: up to 51 inch bust
Wiksten :: the newest pattern includes sizing up to size 22
For lots more wonderful independent pattern designers (not exhaustive by any means)...many more of which may join these ranks in the future...this list. Also more plus sized mentions here.
Next up on the zero-waste meal plan list: root vegetables. Basing a meal around sweet potatoes or potatoes offers an anchor, but still leaves a lot of room for creativity. A big pan of roast vegetables is one of my favorite meals to eat. Chop up in-season vegetables like carrots, turnips, onions, leeks, radishes, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers...and the list goes on...along with the potatoes. Toss them with some olive oil + sprinkle on some salt. Once they are in the oven (425F), there are about 45 minutes to do something else. Add a hard boiled or sunny-side-up egg, and it's a meal.
I often add a bunch of chopped kale to the pan during the last 15-20 minutes of roasting time as well. A sprinkling of salt + pepper flakes + nutritional yeast is all the extra flavor we need.
As with all of these categories, there is a lot of room for variation. A breakfast burrito bowl (or regular burrito bowl) could use roasted peppers, onions + potatoes (or sweet potatoes) along with scrambled eggs (+/or beans), salsa, cheese +/or avocado. Baked potatoes offer a different canvas to work with. Mashed potatoes or fries (just either type of potato cut into strips + roasted) are good bases as well. Top fries or a baked potato with some leftover chili + a dollop of yogurt. Yum.
Some extra roasted vegetables can be kept in the fridge + added to salads or rice for quick meals later in the week. Bake an extra potato to toss in with some scrambled eggs. I always thank my past self for the foresight. :)
Numbers one + two on the zero-waste meal plan.
This collection by Go Gently Nation is ticking all the boxes for me right now: beautiful colors, easy shapes, natural fibers + made in Los Angeles. There are lots of adorable, simple, matching pieces for littles (0-12 years) as well. I could be happy with not much more than these pieces including the sandals, shorts + a big straw hat all summer long. :)
All lovely photos from Go Gently Nation.
Pizza is another category in my list of zero-waste weekly meals. These six categories of meals really simplify my meal planning + grocery list making. I'm going through them one by one here in order to go into a little more depth about each one.
When we found that we needed to make the switch to gluten-free foods, it took me a while to figure out how to get pizza back in the rotation. Gluten-free flours are much more expensive + less available in bulk than wheat flours, so it took me a while to get comfortable with adding the gluten-free version to my shopping list. We spent more than a year mostly avoiding gluten-free flour, but we've recently started adding it back in occasionally. I mention this especially in regards to pizza, because I find that this gluten-free pizza not only tastes great...I've found it to be simpler, quicker + less messy to make than regular pizza crust. There is no rising time involved + the dough doesn't gunk things up so much in the cleaning process.
I've gone back + forth about making my own gluten-free flour from the flours available in the bulk bins (our usual grocery store closed + the new one doesn't offer as many options...and some packaged flours + add-ins are still necessary when mixing our own). At the moment my favorite pizza crust is made with gluten-free 1-1 flour (I can buy the biggest bag of Bob's Red Mill possible...which is paper). We can whip this up + spread it out in about ten minutes. We add the toppings + it cooks in 20 minutes. It's a pretty quick meal.
Best Gluten-free Pizza Crust
2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups 1-1 gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 425F. Mix yeast, sugar + water. Let sit 5 minutes. Mix in other ingredients. Spread onto compostable parchment covered pan. (Can let stand for 10-15 minutes for a thicker crust.) Add toppings. Cook 15-20 minutes. (this recipe slightly tweaked)
The pizza pictured just above is topped with olive oil, sliced potatoes (purposely left over from earlier in the week), pepper jack cheese, feta (put into our own container at the salad bar), salt + cracked pepper. Top it with a big pile of greens tossed with lemon juice + a little olive oil- yum! (some fresh chives from the garden sprinkled on top would have been great as well) The pizza up top is a taco pizza topped with salsa, beans + cheese...with greens, cilantro, avocado, cayenne + salt added after removing from the oven. So good.
Let seasonal vegetables or ethnic flavors steer the direction. Pizza is extremely versatile + quite nutritious when piled with protein + vegetables (go easy on the cheese). :) Top it with some nutritional yeast (found in the bulk bins) +/or fresh herbs for a little more goodness.
Jeans are one of the most worn items of clothing today. Almost everyone would like to have a pair of jeans that feels like home...comfortable and familiar. Lots of us would also like those jeans to make our butts look great. :) I won't say that the search for a perfect pair of jeans is easy, but at least it can start fair.
First things first...do you or I really need another pair of jeans? We might want to take a look at refashioning, altering or mending a pair of jeans already in our possession. Swapping or thrifting are great options as well...because there are literal tons of great jeans out there already. The prices are amazing (like $7-$10 where we live), but a willingness to search is necessary. Thrift stores, flea markets, etsy + eBay are great places to find vintage denim. Find inspiration to see thrifted jeans as treasures by perusing Bliss + Mischief and B-sides. With a little ingenuity, almost any pair of jeans can be reworked into a masterpiece.
Each of the brands pictured above takes a different approach to ethical and/or fair practices. It would be amazing if every brand was committed to organic denim grown, manufactured + sewn locally...but many brands are being thoughtful, creative + innovative. There are various styles + sizes (plus + petites too) offered by most of the brands, so take your time and investigate.
The super adventurous may even want to try making a pair of jeans. There are some great jeans sewing patterns, along with in-depth tutorials, out there. Closet Case, Megan Nielsen, Anna Allen, Merchant & Mills, and Named Clothing offer jeans patterns. Thread Theory makes some incredible men's patterns too. Use some USA grown, organic denim from Houston Textiles or Sally Fox for the ultimate fair pair of jeans.
Quick reference for the fair jeans listed here:
organic denim + fair wages ::
industry of nations :: organic cotton :: fair wages :: natural dyes :: unisex :: $
j.crew fair-trade collection :: organic denim made in italy :: fair-trade certified factory :: men's too :: $
kowtow :: fair-trade certified organic cotton :: SA8000 certified factory :: $$$
madewell fair-trade collection :: organic denim made in italy :: fair-trade certified factory ::$
monkee genes :: organic cotton :: living wages :: GOTS :: men's too :: uk based :: $
nudie :: organic cotton :: made in italy + tunisia :: fair wear foundation audits :: repairs :: resells :: recycling :: men too :: $$
patagonia :: 98% organic cotton :: fair-trade certified sewing :: men's too :: $
people tree :: organic cotton :: GOTS :: fairwear foundation audited :: UK based :: $
outerknown :: organic cotton made in italy :: sewn in "the world's leading sustainable denim factory" in Vietnam :: life-time guarantee (repair or replace) :: recycling :: men's too $
organic or deadstock cotton + made in usa ::
agolde x amour vert :: organic + recycled denim :: made in usa :: $$
bliss + mischief :: deadstock cotton :: made in los angeles :: $$$
jesse kamm :: made in usa :: deadstock fabric :: $$$
organic cotton ::
eileen fisher :: organic cotton :: sustainable emphasis $$
prana :: 79% organic cotton :: sustainable emphasis $
made in north america ::
arturo :: made in canada :: alterations + repairs (one year) :: men's too $
bluer denim :: made in los angeles :: men's too $
b-sides :: made + milled in the usa :: also re-worked vintage collection ($$$) :: men's too $$
doen :: made in the usa $$
emerson fry :: made in nyc $$
esby :: made in usa $$$
father's daughter :: made in los angeles $$
gamine workwear :: deadstock cone mill denim :: made in the usa by a single seamstress $
good american :: made in los angeles :: sizes for everyone $
ilana kohn :: made in nyc $$$
imogene + willie :: sewn in the usa $$
industry standard :: made in los angeles $
mother :: made in los angeles $$
prairie underground :: made in seattle (usa) $$
reformation :: made in los angeles $
renewal workshop :: reworked discards from the apparel industry $
the great :: made in the usa $$$
also: search "made in the usa" on Nordstrom
$ :: $150 + under
$$ :: $150-$250
$$$ :: $250 + over
This is just a sampling or fair denim, so search for "organic denim" or "Australian jeans" or whatever makes jeans fair to you...and then please let us know, if you find (or already know of) some fair jeans brands that you love! This post will be linked toward the bottom of the ethical brands page for reference. Happy jeans hunting!
All photos via links.
When I decided to try this zero-waste thing, food was my biggest concern. In most of our homes, the biggest trash can is located in the kitchen...because that's where the majority of our trash is made. I'd read about how the only person out there at the time doing zero-waste bought her groceries...and decided to drive past four grocery stores to the one that had bulk bins. I skipped the middle aisles + gathered my (mostly) package free foods. At the time, I felt a bit cut-off from our usual staple meals. There was a bit of a learning curve...an adjustment to making do with what was now available to me...but I could see that eating zero-waste was possible + in so many ways...preferable.
A list of flexible recipe categories is very helpful to me today. Each week, I use these six categories to guide my meal planning + grocery list making. On the seventh day of the week, we might order pizza (+ recycle the box), go out to eat (somewhere with real plates) or eat leftovers. Food almost never goes to waste this way.
So...the first category we'll dive into is soup or salad. In the summer, we are more likely to eat salad...in the winter, it is almost always soup. We like hearty soups + salads that really count as meals...so I make sure there are in-season vegetables, protein + grains involved. Soups + salads are very simple + forgiving, so this can be a great fridge-clean-out meal to eat just before grocery day.
When I first started cooking, I wasn't exactly sure how to get soup to taste like soup rather than stuff floating around in water. Here's what works for me now:
-heat some olive oil over medium heat + add some chopped onion (I use about 1/6 of a big red onion) + cook until translucent
-add water, vegetables, protein, spices, grain + a spoonful of bouillon (I like this brand) + bring to a boil
-reduce heat + simmer until vegetables are tender + grain is cooked
-adding a squeeze of lime, small glug of vinegar, coconut milk or cream after removing from heat often adds a great hit of flavor or creaminess
The soup above was the one we ate last week. It started with the olive oil + onion, had a broth of bouillon, water + tomato sauce (a chopped tomato works well too), and also included carrots, broccoli, chickpeas (cooked + frozen), rice (extra cooked earlier in the week), salt, cayenne + cilantro. It might sound like there are lots of ingredients to gather, but one of the reasons that we ended up with this combination is that I already had rice in a jar and tomato sauce + chickpeas in the freezer when I made my grocery list. We already had onion + bouillon + spices. I wanted broccoli + cilantro for different meals this week, so used what I knew would be leftover in this meal. The only thing that went on the grocery list for this soup was carrots. I want my meals to fit together like puzzle pieces. That way we save money + eat everything we buy.
Zero-waste salads are simple enough to put together with seasonal ingredients. Homegrown herbs, nuts, seeds + cheeses are tasty additions. My favorite dressings are simple combinations of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, salt + pepper. I also like a mixture of yogurt + salsa as a dressing.
Soup + salad are easily adjustable for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free or other dietary needs or preferences. Since I cook for a family of four, we usually eat all of what I make. If I were cooking for one or two, I would put some into jars for dinners or lunches later in the week.
More soup + salad inspiration here. :)
"Is true freedom having the right to own a gun, or is true freedom having the ability to live unarmed + fearless, refusing to fight violence on its own terms?" We watched as a piece of a gun was pounded + reshaped into a garden tool in front of our eyes. Powerful.
"It should never be about what you take with you...but about what you might find when you get there."
The manufacturer pays.
Plus-size ethical fashion brands.
Is fear the best motivator?
No packaging would be better, but "100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025" is engagement.
"It's about what matters most to you in life. It's not just about less."
Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend, friends!
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time