Monday, March 23, 2020

Make It Yourself March: Refashioning

Mending Mountain or Refashioning Range?
Boxes full of garments I refuse to give up on and plan to refashion.

I have them categorized:
Skirts (big box)

Skirts are a big issue for me -- I collected a lot of them from Cottage Arts, the most wonderful shop in Artesia (aka Little India). It has since closed (wah!). I don't wear them that often now -- the maxi hippie skirts are too long for the day job (I trip on the hem when ascending the stairs) and they don't work that well with my body shape. (My waist is currently convex and I have no bosom to stop them from riding up my torso).
I want to convert them into pinafores and dresses.
Like this:
Let's tour the Skirts box!. Lots of treasure!
[One week later. One week of the California's "stay-at-home" mandate. So many shiny objects, blog challenges, IG challenges, creative projects, the list goes on and on. Not to mention COVID-19 stress cooking].

I'll just show the compilation grid that I created for Instagram:
They all have stories. What I don't have is time to tell them right now.
Out of this assortment, I managed to hem this Shabby Apple skirt:
See how I've worn it before
Shortening a hem is not super aggressive refashioning, I guess it's more an alteration.
I'm hoping it'll make the skirt more appealing to me.

Linking up with:
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness
Catherine's #sharealllinkup

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Bad Ass Lumberjack

I wore my Fluevog Tates on Saturday for the last on-campus session of my Digital Design for Fashion class at Otis:
The campus is now closed and we're transitioning to eLearning over Spring Break.
This is the Bad Ass Lumberjack look.
Or is this? I saw this guy in Rumford, Maine

As I stomped around in my boots, I thought of my friend Shelbee and I thought "What would Shelbee wear?"

Shelbee has been blogging "inspired by" posts, and a while back I challenged her to do me.
She came up with a great SpyGirl outfit [she'll give us the link in the comments, I'm sure. I don't have the patience to look for it. #sorrynotsorry].
Anyhow, my boots inspired me to return the favor:
Link to Shelbee's post about her look
I couldn't find her wearing all the elements that I chose in one outfit.
This is my compilation of the Shelbeest of Shelbee. UrShelbee, if you will.
Flannel shirt, band/graphic tee, denim cutoffs, tights, bad ass boots, beanie, pose.
BTW, I totally forgot I had the blue beanie. I found it in the hat drawer. Shelbee, do you want it? It's new!

Stay healthy everyone!

Linking up with
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness
Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Make It Yourself March, Week 2: Sustainable Making

This week's MIY March subjects are Sharing and Caring:
• Sustainable sewing tips
• Material sourcing
• Our most treasured textiles

I'm going to reminisce on some of my own workshop experiences that fall in the "sustainable" category. These also might give you some ideas for sourcing fabrics, fibers, and even art materials.
The boldface type will link to individual posts.

Slow Clothing and Mending at #CAFAM July 24, 2017
I mentioned Ruth Katzenstein Souza in the previous post. She is the goddess of sustainable practice and mending.
Read her "Original Call to Mending" from 2014!
Seeing these amulets, formed from saved bits of thread ends, fabric scraps, etc sparked my imagination.
[image source]

That time I learned how to make "yarn" from teeshirts.
Which led to turning my old jeans into an art piece (still a WIP)
And my return to weaving.

Fiber Workshop with Carrie Burckle at Otis (no posts!) June, 2018
Experimented with various upcycling techniques, including
• Paper bags into yarn (difficult):
• Weaving warp ends that Carrie collected from Diedrek Bracken's projects that he worked on at Cal State Long Beach upcycled into my own off-loom weaving:
Original cotton, Diedrick dyed it pink.
Mock ikat with poured bits of red dye
Still sewing the squares together.
Note to self: I really need to write up a post or two about that workshop! Even if I have to predate it to get in onto the blog chronologically. 

Upcycling = lots of fun possibilities!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Make It Yourself March, Week 2: Sustainable Treasure!

Wendy has me doing some deep thinking with her MIY March this year!
I'm loving the slow approach of weekly prompts and creating thoughtful posts.

This week's subjects are Sharing and Caring:
• Sustainable sewing tips
• Material sourcing
• Our most treasured textiles

I'm going to start with my number one textile treasure: The Crazy Quilt!
photo from 2013
click to embiggen
This is my major mending WIP and I'm featuring it in the daily prompts for #MendMarch2020 (see last week's post. The IG hashtag is #crazyquilt_amb). This was "on hiatus" in storage for a few years, I brought it back into use last year, inspired by the mending workshop I took with Ruth Katzenstein Souza. It is both "in progress" and on my bed, so the shredded, holey parts are getting progressively worse.
Moth holes, shredded parts revealing the base sleeping bag, these patches dating from 1973-1987
It's not easy to work on while in active use (potential stabbing from forgotten pins or lost needles) and last summer I got lazy when it was off the bed and more workable and I did no mending.

It's full of nostalgic scraps -- I started it my Junior or Senior year of high school in 1973-74.
I've also made half of it twice! [Here's THAT story]
I think the oldest scrap is from the fabric that covered the couch in our living room and I'm thinking the couch was reupholstered with it when we moved to Millbrook, NY in 1968.

The newest addition has been cut but not yet sewn.
I think I'll use some visible mending, the former sock is super bulky.

I made a memory sketchbook about the quilt in 2013 (here's the video compilation).

Last year, I started a new digital version, which I quickly abandoned.
I digitally collaged this using the Notebook app on my iPad.
Wasn't sure about the results and it was a lot of work.
I'm feeling the urge to resuscitate the project here on SpyGirl.
Tests done quickly this morning in Photoshop:
Quilt Dossier concept -- memories of each patch

Patchwork quilts have been a way to use scraps for centuries! Historical sustainability!
And there are "sew" many ways to approach the craft.

Linking up with
Catherine's #sharealllinkup
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness

Sunday, March 1, 2020

It's Mending and Make It Yourself March!

Today as I was #slowly (Prompt #1 at @visiblemend) working my way through "Stitching the World", it came to me that today is March 1st and the Mending March Instagram challenges commence.
I interrupted my stitching, brought my threaded needle with me to the computer room (so I wouldn't misplace it),

and checked out the prompts for today.
Visiblemend has daily prompts:

MendMarch! It’s on. Here you go, all the prompts—and I think this year, year three, they all make sense? Maybe not the 10th. Anyway, as before, you are welcome to—you must!—mess with them as you please. If you’re new here, this is technically an instagram challenge but really it’s an excuse to mend, share mends, make mendfriends, force yourself to face your mend pile, etc. It is fun. Do as many or few as you like, but do note that this year I am prizing you. Some lucky mender who manages ALL 31 wins a box of fabulous vintage mend supplies ie #haberdasheryporn Are you in? Tell me tell me! And ama if not making sense (ps when will dumb phone /instagram overlords stop autocorrecting “mends” to “men’s”?) #mends #itsmends #mendmarch #mendmarch2020 #visiblemending #darning #stopfen #repriser #raccommodage #zurcir #slowstitching #handstitch #slowfashion #instagramchallenge #igchallenge
A post shared by MendyKate (@visiblemend) on

Wendy Ward, the creator of "MIY [make it yourself] March" is doing a slower approach this year.
She has a thought-provoking questionnaire in the above linked post which I stopped answering midway to write this.
Actually, I came over to SpyGirl to find some outfit links to add to the above answer and then realized I should be writing a post!
The green tunic:
I sewed this in This first appeared on SpyGirl July 2012 and was sewn before I was blogging for an Otis Fashion event, so I estimate 2005? I bought the fabric in downtown LA, at one of those $1/a yard places when Otis had its Fashion Campus located in the Cal Mart. It's that overdyed stripy rayon that was so popular in the late 80s.
The Italian rayon tunic:
I obtained this fabric when I was a Sample Cutter at Warren Z in 1986. It was sample yardage.
I sewed the tunic in January 2013. (I love the fact that blogging enables me to date things).
I've been doing my work-day outfit posts on Instagram. I've come up with a system for avoiding too much outfit repetition (I would be judged by the office-mate) and a key component is the phone app that I use to create the outfit/textile collages: Instasize.
I check the App to see what I've worn the past three weeks or so.
I also hang garments the order worn.
Here's another good question:
I answered with the tunic that I made in May 2018 at a workshop with Amy Bond:
I'm not sure if it's statistically the least worn me-made garment, but it's perhaps the most disappointing.
The base cloth is so scratchy and stiff. I even tried "softening" it by using it as a couch cover, but it was too scratchy for even that.
OK, gotta get back to stitching!
I gathered 93 answers to my 4 questions at the stARTup Art Fair two weeks ago.
That's a lot of journeys to stitch!
There's still time to join in, click here.

Linking up with
Patti's Visible Monday [maybe. Last one].
Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike