(This is maybe the second cleanest, a desk of mine has ever been.)
I lived out of a suitcase for months, and never touched two of the dresses I packed.
I packed a suitcase for 10 weeks of traveling, and ended up living out of it for 8 months.
As it turns out, I routinely need fewer things than I think I will.
It’s taken me about two months to finally unpack and sort through everything I had in storage during the 8 months I was living out of a carry-on suitcase (and a purse).
The sorting has left in its wake, about two garbage bags to get donated. And I get the sense there’s more to come.
I’ve never desired that my space, and my things look minimalist-Insta-perfect. Not even Insta-crafter-perfect.
First of all, I have too many books to fit on a single bookcase. Let alone a single bookcase that has books, plants, PLUS chachkes.
Secondly, I make things. I make things, that are made out of stuff.
I make things out of stuff. And in order to make things, you first need the stuff.
Stuff: yarn, fabric, needles, thread, bead, paper, etc. etc.
Things: clothes, accessories, costumes, blankets, decoration, and anything else I damn well please.
So, I need stuff (and I love it) to make things.
And at the same time, it turns out, that I routinely need less than I think I will.
Maybe it’s time to plant a thought seed of possibility in my yarn, fabric & fiber stashes.
Maybe I don’t need to hold on to yarn (or fabric, or fiber, or buttons, or shoes, or clothes) “just in case…” or because “it could become…”
Maybe being a maker (who needs stuff to make things) and letting stuff go are not mutually exclusive.
I know many of you who read are makers, I’d love to hear your approach to keeping the balance between having “stuff” (materials, tools, etc.) and not being overwhelmed by having “stuff.”
We’re about halfway through July, and there are no ifs, ands, or buts, about summer being well and truly here. But my plans for infusing my wardrobe with summery clothing? Feeling a little stuck in the muck at the moment.
So I thought now would be a good time to take a step back and look at the whole picture.
My Original Summer Wardrobe Infusion Plans
In case you don’t remember (because I certainly didn’t) my original plan was:
: tank tops & camisoles
: PJ bottoms (!?)
: maxi sundresses
: my well-traveled sweater
Not sure what the PJ bottoms were about, but whatever, they’ve gotten nixed.
So how’s the plan going?
Tank tops & camisoles
Status: drafted the pattern. Made one. Tweaked the pattern. And have fabric for more.
Next Step: make a second to test the tweaks to the pattern (and to have another tank top).
Status: pattern drafted. Cut one.
Next Steps: sew first shirt together. Tweak pattern if necessary.
Sundresses #1: the no-longer-really-an-Anna Dress
Mental Status: bogged down in over thinking.
In the Fabric Status: the skirt is cut & sewn, the skirt lining is cut & sewn, the bodice was decided on, the bodice fabric & lining were cut.
Next Steps: buy a zipper. sew the bodice together.
Sundress #2: the Plaid Sundress from SFO Fabric
Status: waiting in the wings.
Status: Finished!! Just in time for summer…
It is the perfect weight for sometimes chilly summer evenings, so I’m sure it’ll get worn this summer, but I did manage to finish it just as spring turned into summer.
And then there are the unplanned clothing projects
Of course some of the reason that my summer wardrobe infusion plans aren’t going quite as planned, is because of the clothing projects I’ve worked on that weren’t part of the original plan.
Mended Uniqlo Jeans
Status: Finished! Washed! Fantastic!
Lady Bat Sweater
Status: on the needles.
Getting ready to add more length to the front & back pieces.
I have the feeling that this sweater will be slow going for awhile. The yarn is pretty fuzzy, which makes knitting with it in high humidity weather rather horrible.
Summer Wardrobe Infusion Next Steps
I know from my self-made wardrobe project, that I prefer sewing when I have an extended period of time to concentrate on a project. I like sewing in multi hour chunks of time, and prefer sewing during the day, rather than in the evenings.
So, I think the next step for this wardrobe project is to see if I can do some schedule flipping about and find an afternoon to devote to this project. Where that afternoon will come from, I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll find it somewhere.
Another possibility is spending a day alternating between scribbling out Shawl Geometry edits, and sewing. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, feels far more doable than freeing up an entire afternoon in my schedule.
Buying, mending, and disposable fashion.
Writing about mending my favorite pair of jeans last week got me thinking about how we decide when it’s time to throw a piece of clothing out.
How do we decide it’s time to throw a piece of clothing out?
Or rather, when do we decided it’s time to donate a piece of clothing, so someone else can throw it out?
When a piece of clothing can easily and cheaply be replaced, it’s almost never a case of necessity that prompts us to dispose of a piece of clothing.
And more than that, when the common avenue for disposing of our clothing is by donation, then we’re asked to donate them in “good working condition” – way sooner than the end of a piece of clothing’s life cycle.
It used to be (not that long ago) that clothing was designed, patterned, and manufactured with the idea that it would be altered, worn, altered, worn, passed along, altered again, worn, altered, worn, mended, worn, altered, worn, mended, worn, and re-purposed until they became rags.
Clothing was designed, manufactured, and purchased with an intimate understanding of how labor intensive & expensive making fabric is.
Wide seam allowances & generous hems make it exceptionally easy for garments to be altered – both to fit the original purchaser, and also to fit whoever ended up with the garment next. Consumers knew what a quality garment was, and shopped with quality (as well as price) in mind.
Disposable fashion isn’t disposable until we throw it out.
When it comes to fast & disposable fashion, tons of attention is given to the beginning of a garment’s life cycle. Lots of focus is put on manufacturing clothing in ways that is less devastating to the people making them, and the environment.
With all this attention on the creation of a garment (which should absolutely be getting attention), it’s simple to forget about the end of a garment’s life cycle.
What exactly happens after we donate a piece of clothing is information that is readily available with a quick google search, but hadn’t entered the collective public consciousness in the same way the exploitation of garment laborers has.
Which is kind of a shame, because the end of a clothing’s life cycle is something we, as consumers, have a tremendous amount of influence over.
Just because a piece of clothing was designed to last for 30 seconds, doesn’t mean we have to pass it along after 30 seconds. Disposable clothing and fast fashion, aren’t disposable until we dispose of them.