All happy photos via links.
Bright colors are making me smile these days, so here's a little more colorful inspiration. Wear a little bright or go all in + wear it head to toe. Stick with different tones of one color or mix it up. Pull all of the brights to the front of the closet, borrow, or plan a dye project. Brights might be a great thing to search for secondhand. They will be easy to spot at the thrift store. :) Happy pop, pop, poppin'!
All happy photos via links.
Bright colors have been catching my eye lately...looking fresh + new. Adding a bright piece to a more neutral wardrobe feels like it just might add a little jolt of joy + fun to these subdued days.
Keep it simple by pairing a bright top with a pair of white shorts...or a bright bottom with a plain white or black tee. Embrace color by pairing an emerald top with a cobalt skirt or a hot pink top with some red pants. Some great brights (like these) can be found thrifting. Choosing simple, classic shapes like button up shirts + tanks keep these colors looking modern. Silk + linen are natural fabrics that hold up well over time.
Adding a little, extra pop of happy is a good thing...especially right now! If you're not in the market for a new piece of clothing, maybe some bright, berry ice cream is just the pop of color to try! :)
All lovely photos (of secondhand beauties) via links.
Last summer, I tried on a pair of shorts at Madewell. While Madewell does have a few pieces that are made in a fair-trade factory, those shorts were not part of that collection...so I did not make them part of my wardrobe. This summer, I found those short secondhand + since I knew that I liked the fit of them...I did not hesitate to buy them (secondhand)...twice.
I decided to try dyeing one of those pairs of shorts in indigo to make them a deeper, richer blue. The indigo dye obscured the varigated nature of the original fabric which was not the look I was after.
Since these shorts fit well + don't come in any other colors, I decided to sacrifice this pair of shorts in order to make a sewing pattern. Many sewists are able to make rub-offs of beloved pieces of clothing without taking them apart. I want a precise fit, however, and I find that the best way to achieve that is to have a precise pattern made up of the actual pieces of the garment (b).
I used the scraps from a pair of happy pants that I made a few years ago to make the first pair of shorts from this "pattern". I had to piece a couple of pieces together in order to make these shorts. The print camouflages this well enough for me (f). I didn't have enough fabric for the pockets + made them out of gingham fabric left over from another pair of pants (e). I used the elastic from the original shorts in these (b + c).
These shorts fit like a dream, have pockets (!), sewed up relatively quickly + feel like a zero-waste win! I'm looking forward to making a few more of these + think this whole progression is at least part of what slow fashion is all about...keeping a piece in use, keeping resources out of the landfill + being creative all the while.
This post started out as a place to collect all of my scattered thoughts about shirt dresses. I've been trying to choose the most versatile sewing pattern...one that could be used to sew the perfect button up shirt + also a variety of shirt dresses (+ maybe a chore coat too). Phew! That's a lot of pressure for one pattern!
I was hoping that seeing my sewing pattern choices + inspiration photos in one place would help me formulate a plan. Collecting these inspiration photos does help me to see that I love an oversized silhouette. Seeing so much inspiration collected over the years...all together in one place (rather than scattered through my pinterest boards)...confirms that I've loved this sort of shape for a long time. (I've even done a similar post here.)
I've made shirt dresses before + even documented a couple of them here:
My thoughts on shirt dresses now involve:
My top pattern choices at the moment include:
olya :: paper theory
lucienne :: i am patterns
I think I'm realizing that purchasing two patterns (instead of one) might not be a totally terrible choice. One pattern could be more oversized + the other could be a bit more fitted. I love both styles + would likely get a lot of use out of both patterns. This was definitely a helpful exercise...but this is still a hard decision!
All lovely photos via links.
When I started this indigo project, my main goal was to dye these two white tanks. They are lovely when white (and I still have one that I kept white), but a little sheer. I envisioned a deep, rich indigo for them. I lost count of how many times these two were dipped, but it was a lot. :)
This was a lovely project that took a some time...time spent under these trees on not-too- hot, summer days. I loved the process...dye dripping on my legs...laughing with my girls...experimenting + learning...creating something new. I am going to love wearing these tanks. They feel infused with sunshine + earth...in a way that they always were...now more evident to me. It's a real joy to be part of the making of one's clothing...whether forming the cloth through knitting or quilting...putting the pieces together through sewing...prolonging use through mending...or simply adding some depth of color through dying. Forging connection to what we wear is never a waste of time.
My preferred uniform consists of a white top (tank, tee, sweatshirt or button-up) + a pale, worn, denim bottom. I like white tops, but I'm no stranger to a coffee dribble or blueberry tart squirt on my front. Knowing this about myself, I have a plan for that. (sniff, sniff, Elizabeth Warren) White tops are are easiest color to dye.
I've been putting off this batch of dyeing, mostly because I don't want the fun to be over. But I need some tops to be wearable + the dye vat is ready...so here's what I've collected to dye so far:
-the aforementioned, blueberry-tart-stained tank
-an old, layering tank
-a couple of too transparent tanks
-a pair of thrifted shorts
-the bandanas that we wrap our gifts in
-a tea towel of which I have more than one
-a stained kitchen towel
Dye is a great tool for a more sustainable wardrobe. Not only can stained garments be made useful again, but things that we tire of can be made "new" again. Adding dye to the list of ways we could transform thrifted pieces expands options. I've also found that dyed pieces are often more durable than undyed ones.
Let the magic begin.
This summer there were a few pieces that I needed to add to my simple wardrobe. Thrifting is my first choice for "new" fair clothes. (Well, after refashioning pieces from our own closets.) Secondhand clothes already exist...and choosing them instead of new clothes saves new resources from having to be grown or extracted (polyester comes from petroleum), transported, processed + spun into fibers, transported, woven into fabric, transported, dyed, transported, cut, sewn, transported, stocked + sold. (phew!)
I love the idea that a single shirt or pair of shorts can be worn + enjoyed by many people. It's fantastic to find a piece of clothing to love + wear for years + years to come...but if a piece of clothing is only loved + worn for a period of time + has yet to become useless...why not let someone else wear it + love it?
Online thrifting can be a bit tricky, since we can't feel or smell the fabric or try clothing on before purchasing. This summer, however, I was able to find a few secondhand pieces that I am happy to add to my wardrobe. (yay!) I find it helpful to know my own + the garment's measurements. I appreciate that I can search for brands that I like online + know to be of higher quality. It's also nice to save a little money!
Buy secondhand. Swap secondhand. Sell secondhand (even for a low price). (Donate as a last resort, because donations are often sold overseas where they sabotage the local clothing economy or get put into the landfill.) If it's still got some life in it, get it worn! :)
How are you feeling about clothes this season? Has quarantine changed the way you're thinking about getting dressed? This might be a great time to do a little experimenting.
This might be a great time to:
:: happily wear what is already in the closet without much pressure to perform fashion.
:: test out how much is enough.
:: tackle the mending.
:: search for + try an (online) thrifted piece.
:: learn to sew (or knit)...and start (or finish) a project.
:: save all the pennies that would normally be spent from week to week on fast fashion + put them together toward a fair piece that has always seemed out of the budget.
I'm doing a little bit of most everything on this list. How is your fairdare summer going?
When it comes to shopping for clothing (a favorite shopping focus of mine), :) I practice a few habits that help to keep my wanties in check. I don't want to consume more than I need to- in regards both to the planet's resources + to items that I'm keeping from others. I like for my wardrobe to minimal + manageable...but also satisfying + supportive of my happiness + well-being.
A few of the habits that I've found to be supportive of these goals:
:: Keeping a list of pieces that are enough and that serve me, my lifestyle at the moment, + my climate well. I revisit this list periodically + make changes based on recent observations. My current year-round, every-day-wear list looks like this:
:: Going through all of my pieces, trying them on + assessing needs at the beginning of each season. With the above list in hand, I figure out what I need to replace + focus on finding only those pieces. (Though I'm not super strict about excluding a perfect, fair gem that I can afford.) Then I can settle in + be content with the good things I have at the ready.
:: Letting things go periodically not only funds necessary purchases + keeps those pieces in use...but it also helps to hone my preferences + reminds me to choose wisely.
:: Being quite picky. When my pieces of clothing are few, each one needs to work hard.
:: Being willing to go without. At this point, I know that I can make do with few pieces of clothing.
:: Keeping a (not-too-long) list of my personal go-to thrift spots/sites, sewing resources + fair brands. I start my shopping search at my local thrift shops...then I'll take a look at ebay, etsy + poshmark. I'll consider making, and then I refer to the ethical brands list (scanning for my favorites).
:: Keeping a "desirables" list. Sometimes I come across something lovely for which I don't currently have the money or need. I'll make a note of it + know that I can revisit it, if I want to. Somehow just having this list allows me to obsess a little less about lovely things. I try to keep this list minimal + delete items about as often as I add them.
:: Reminding myself that I don't need to own all of the lovely things. Sometimes just curating a collection of lovely things is enough.
:: Limiting exposure. I try to be mindful of the shops I go into, the instagram accounts I'm following + the email lists to which I'm subscribed. Sometimes these things are just invitations to look + want. I want to want what I already have.
I've probably said all of this before, but since it's not a one time + done thing...a reminder is helpful at least for me. :)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time