Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First the ranting, then the sewing.

I kind of love-hate fashion/what-I’m-wearing blogs, but are there any where the blog’s purveyor is not a slim young woman with great legs? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but seriously, I’m asking. I’ve been feeling frumpsville for like 2 years and cannot get down with all the twee pigeon-toed ladies in Deschanel bangs, babydoll dresses, and platform sandals (with socks). They’re cute (except for the fucking socks), but it’s impossible for me to glean an ounce of inspiration from that look. Hacking off every (or any) dress to miniskirt length is not a viable option in my world. Nor are leggings. Nor are skinny jeans.

If you could find me a 35 (or 50, or 65) year old with an average build who
  • knows how to dress herself
  • shops thrift and handmade
  • alters her own clothes
  • builds her own clothes
  • doesn’t buy fast fashion
  • doesn’t get/wear promo gifts from major designers
  • makes low-heeled shoes seem super-awesome
  • looks generally bad-ass and
  • has an engaging writing style then
  • I’d be all over that.

Realistically aspirational, is what I'm saying. For those of us who want to make better, more interesting choices, and who don't have time to do sun-kissed photo shoots in a meadow afterward. I guess what I want is for someone exactly like me (except motivated and more put-together) to start a style/project blog. Anyone?

In related news, I altered two pairs of pants like a month ago, which was an eye-opening experience because I did it properly (I think), taking the waistband and buttcrack seam apart completely before putting them back together smallened. Presto (several hours later), pants that fit, except one pair is made of that spandex-impregnated fabric that only fits you when it's freshly washed and dried and is drooping off you by the end of the day. Oh well. I have learned.

I still don't really know how to sew properly, though I think I am on my way. It's on my life list (along with making a dress from a vintage pattern and stash fabric, of which I have mucho, despite being a non-sewer). I let out the sleeves on a dress with too-tight sleeves, and now the sleeves fit. Sleeves. Sleeves. Sleeves. One of the weirdest words we have. I wonder if the singular was ever "sleef"? I also have a few other projects going, which I will tell you about in bullet form:
  • Making wool cycling/hiking knickerbockers out of some tragic pleated men's suit pants. Have you ever investigated wool cycling knickers on the interweb? Them shits are expensive, especially if you strongly suspect that the standard sizes won't fit your impressive thighs. B.Spoke Tailor will custom make a pair for you for $200, which is a totally appropriate price for a custom wool item but too much of a commitment when I don't even know if I'll like them in person. So I crawled Goodwill for some old wool pants to slice up as an experiment, and I found some good ones. The fabric is excellent superfine merino gabardine and I have hacked and pinned it--just have to figure out how/whether to articulate the knees and how to finish off the cuffs and then sew it all up. And then I will look like a proper hipster tool. Especially since I still haven't replaced my old bike and can't stop vacillating about the type of bike I want. I want all the bikes, but can only buy one.
  • Remaking this dress so that it's less aggressively 80s:

    September 20, 2007.
    So far I've hemmed the skirt and the sleeeeeves (they buttoned at the cuffs and were always too short) and cut out the neckline. Hacked hem remnant (hemnant?) will be used for belting purposes.
  • Altering a fleece hoodie that I bought on super-sale at the natural foods co-op in Iowa earlier this year (so you know how it probably looks). The aim is not to look like a neo-folk earth-fairy when I wear it, so the long pointy hood has to go. I might make the point into a catnip toy, but Ace has shown total disregard for all cat toys except string.
That's it for now, but there are other projects in the works. Esp since I keep busting the hems on all my trousers and they need mending.

(expanded from a post at my weak-ass tumblr site.)


  1. Yay, fashion post! I will be eager to hear what we come up with for your desired fashion blog because I want to see that too. For me, it was always you. I got so much inspiration out of your fashion pics. Nice job on the smallening of your garment.

  2. I hear you on the love/hate for style blogs. Once upon a time I might have risen to your challenge, there are only a few of your bullets that don't hit me... but I too lack motivation. And a working tripod-able camera. And a reason to get dressed other than just for myself. And so on.

    Advanced style and HEL-looks and sites like that are good, and wardrobe_remix is still kicking, though I don't post or comment as much as I used to.

  3. You and A.I. are my style icons, for sure. I always think of the 2 of you when I'm shopping at the thrift store. I imagine you gently willing me toward the funkier, cuter, less safe options, then lovingly tsk'ing me when I inevitably just buy another pair of brown cords.

  4. Sandra, those are like the only blogs I can stand! I like Franca's too, mostly for the thought-provoking posts. I just started browsing w_r again recently after a looooong hiatus.

    Marigoldie, that is just the nicest thing ever.

    Oh man, the motivation. On Monday I wore something interesting, and couldn't ever find the time to take a decent photograph. Today I intended to wear something interesting and ended up in head to toe black--a fine look but not particularly challenging. Whenever I go to my closet I see tumbleweeds. I think I need a defined project, or something.

  5. I have no answers, but I just wanted to say that that stripey dress is/is going to be rad. That fabric pattern delights me.

    I aspire to be a Real Sewer on day. You should totally document your alteration/sewing experiences on your blahg.

  6. After breaking the bobbin on my used sewing machine I aborted my first sewing project. I feel I need to take a sewing class to learn how to make a straight seam.

    My wardrobe is becoming more and more pre-owned, which feels good.

  7. I was thinking of Sandra, natch, as a person whose fashion is inspiring. But you too, maven, are someone I like to watch get dressed so I hope to see more clothing posts from you too. I have a really uncomfortable relationship with "fashion" but I still like clothes, ya know? I too can't do leggings (although I stupidly try from time to time)and I want to see flat shoes look rad (without someone having stick legs).

    Also, I love that dress you are wearing in the photo and I don't think it looks 80s in a bad way at all. Can't wait to see your alteration of same. And I wore one of your dresses to me yesterday - hope to post in w_r later this week.

  8. Also, Tina and her friend Robin are starting a fashion blog called modmucha dot blogspot dot com.

  9. You might try Sal's not at all the kind of girl you describe as being uninspiring - she thrifts like mad and puts together interesting color combinations.

  10. I feel we could join forces on this...