Day 8 is about mending... a necessary evil! I love sewing but hate hemming, sewing on buttons and all those other boring but necessary skills! I'm even walking around outside with a coat that has 2 buttons in the pocket that fell off so I will complete this assignment and sew them on as soon as I'm done typing!
I love today's suggestions on finding how to's online!.. wish that was an option as I was learning. My learning was from reading several books and was a star home ec student that loved sewing as soon as I leaned how! It was the first thing that clicked and I could do well. So well that against most sane people's advice I studied Apparel Design/Manufacturing in college. Now working as a Technical Designer I tell factories how to sew all day long so I need to sometimes tell myself to sew on that button or adjust that hem and think about those in that factor on the other side of the world following my instructions.
I still do enjoy sewing and keep up with reading on it. Lately I've been pondering taking a few classes or workshops for some inspiration. A few on my dream list are:
Alabama Chanin Workshop - I love what Natalie Chanin created in Alabama, besides beautiful clothing, the community around creating it and bringing back good old made in USA charm.
The Makerie Retreats - I would love to be transported away into the pages of Sweet Paul Magazine... or one of their retreats! I see them crafting it up on instagram and would love to join the party!
Etsy Labs - Somewhere I saw an image of the Etsy offices and it's as awesome looking at I imagined. But what I can't get out of my head is the labs and crafting events!
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting... if you know of any awesome workshops I should put on my list please share!
I should mention that I am lucky enough to live not terribly far from one of the best sewing teachers on PBS (we went to the same college and studied the same program!), the Sewing with Nancy, Nancy Zieman! Her Sewing Weekend is a lot of fun with some great seminars.
Anyway, back to the boring part of sewing... mending! Here's a recent project of mine on the topic. I don't know why I bought jeans already ripped up. I'm too old for that. I quickly realized I hate having holes in my jeans and patched them up in kind of a quilting manor. I put a purple/pink swirly cotton print and hand stitched with pink thread. I love the pop of colors much more than I liked the breeze of all those holes!
Day 7 is getting tough... I spend my work days surrounded by piles of clothes so getting creative with my closet can be overwhelming... I read the challenge during my mid day workout and immediately dreaded it. Ugh... I'm not the kind of gal to pull out a pretty dress and tone it down for my casual office. I spent a few meetings daydreaming about the contents of my closet and remembered a closet in the basement I haven't addressed... it's a sort of archive of my professional life filled with all sorts of garments I've made or specified and fit!.. I remembered back to one of my favorite places to work early in my career and the few pieces I held onto and may be able to pull off still many many many years later... yes it's a men's safari shirt but if I put it with that cute zipper belt and metal doiley turned moth necklace my aunt made me I can call it a redress!.. this could become addicting!
Day 6 of the 20 Day Sustainable Fashion challenge is telling me to give my clothes away!... something I enjoy doing because I've found some great local options. Here's what I do with my unwanted items:
Sell - It takes a bit of work but a good reminder to only buy things I really love and will last a long time!
* eBay - If it's like new and a popular name brand I'll list it. I tend to save a big pile and do a few every day for a month or so to keep a good assortment and offer shipping discounts on multiple items.
Trade In - This is my favorite option! I have a few places I rotate among in my area.
* Lela's - This great 3rd Ward boutique takes seasonally appropriate gently used apparel! You set up a consignor account, bring in your items on Tuesday (or by appointment on another day). They are particular on what they take but what I love is when your item sells it goes onto your account so when I come in to drop stuff off I usually have a credit waiting for me to shop away with! The store has a great selection of resale items, new small designer labels and some local items.
* Swanky Seconds - I've only shopped this great resale spot but the ladies were so great I plan to bring a few bags here from this last clean out.
Any other suggestions for places I should check out in the MKE area?!
Donate - For the random items or off brands that I can't find a trade for I donate for those much need tax deductions!
* Easter Seals - I have a regular pick up from this local charity that takes both clothing and household items. What I like about it is I don't have to go anywhere. I just box it up and they take it away!
* Free the Girls - My favorite yoga studio, Core Essence is a drop off location for this great charity that collects bras.
Recycle - This is a topic I've but a lot of research into and have found some great options.
* Milwaukee Textile Recycling - They have bins all around the city for you to drop bags of clothing items into. They have several channels of processing items. For large amounts of items, they will do a pick up.
* City of Milwaukee Shoe Recycling Program - Used shoes (excluding high heels) are accepted at several locations around the city.
* Blue Jeans go Green - This is my favorite recycling program! Take your jeans to the retailers listed on this site and you can trade them in for a discount on new jeans. They send the jeans to a converter in Arizona that turns them into insulation that is donated for use in Habitat for Humanity homes.
* H&M - Another one I love is taking my worn out clothes to H&M to trade in for a discount coupon. They have several methods of processing their collections with any profits going into research on textile recycling options.
I hope this information helps make it a little easier to find ways to reuse clothing items!
Day 5 on this sustainable fashion is getting real... as I'm piling up all my unworn clothes my husband looks at me nervously and asks "oh no. Are we dressing up tonight?!" referring to our evening plans. I laughed and wondered when was the last time we dressed up? Then I felt better about parting with all these piles taking up space in my life!
Today's assignment was to group my clothes into 5 piles. Luckily I had less than 5. Since I work in apparel I'm always seeing new trends I need and getting tired of old ones so I rotate pretty well. And if something needs mending I generally realize it at work where we have sewing supplies and I can do it right away. Also, I love crafting so I have tons of piles of clothes to repurpose... I know I just admitted to piles, I will deal with those another day! Not today!
The 5 piles of unworn clothes per the wise Tortoise & Lady Grey are:
1. Clothes that need mending
2. Clothes that can be re-purposed
3. Clothes to be re-fitted
4. Clothes that are sentimental or for special occasions
5. Clothes to give away
I felt a little better after realizing I didn't make the 5 piles and they weren't too bad!... my new year's resolution was to clean things out of the house so I already tackled my giant collection of sweater and t-shirts (that was a project!). My main problem I was avoiding was sentimental or special occasion items. I had a few re-purposed plans but with my craft ADD that might be another problem I need to address. And the last pile was the clothes to give away. Some of my piles crossed over but I'm committed to having a cleaner closet and life so it's time to let go. Most of the sentimental ones I realized I have photographs of me wearing them so they will not be forgotten!
I'm glad day 4 is falling on a Friday where I came home from work and opened a bottle of wine (my dinner recipe called for it so I just had to drink some to make sure it will taste ok!). It's a thinker... time to put my wine down and get up and ponder why I don't wear some of these things in my closet! Since I fit clothes for a living, I definitely weed out ill fitting clothes pretty quickly. My problem is more of sentiment... I may not wear that sweater any more but I bought it at a cute place in Hong Kong, or that flimsy shirt in Spain or crazy top in Japan! Trusting this process I'll start grouping my unused items by reason... as soon as I finish this glass!
Day 3 of the Tortoise & Lady Grey 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge is getting personal... today's task is to ponder my fashion personality... ugh. Kind of a mess is what comes to mind. Since I work in apparel my tastes are super random mix of latest trends, vintage ridiculousness, travel finds and items I just love due to interesting fabric, construction or other details but hate because of the fit! Luckily I have a very small house and not a lot of space so I don't have tons of stuff but enough "what was I thinking?" purchases! And since I love local vintage stores and have fashion ADD I do rotate pretty regularly taking things in for trade. But I do have many items I've held onto for too long and should really face the facts and clear out making room for better things... maybe tomorrow?... facing this reality was enough for today!
Day 2 of the Tortoise & Grey 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge has me pondering my relationship with clothes. Easier said than done since I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember! I dedicated my career to it and spare time with random sewing projects. Once I learned to sew I made everything I could; skirts, tops, pants, dresses, shorts, pajamas, etc...
Once I realized I could make a career out of it I made a plan to study apparel design/manufacturing in college. I've worked for several companies, big and small, learning a lot about the good and bad of the apparel industry. One of my favorite thoughts is that every culture has it's own apparel industry. It's something that we all have in common is that we all wear clothes!
That said industry can either help it's people or take advantage of them. I will never forget my first trip to apparel factories in China when I saw how the workers live. It was totally commonplace to live in dormitories in the factory complex sharing tight quarters with their coworkers sharing a small space to use the bathroom and bunk beds. It amazed me that these quarters passed our inspection and were a totally normal thing. I thought about what people back home would think it we had to live like this!
That realization and all the bad press the apparel industry receives about poor working conditions made me start to think more before I buy. When I see inexpensive clothes I think about how they came to that price and who was exploited for it. I started looking for companies that are doing things right and building their communities and supporting their people. It definitely takes more time and effort but I feel much better about where I put my money and who I choose to support. When I need something new it takes a little more research and advance planning but it's worth it. Since I read up on sustainability topics I make notes on a pinterest board of companies that meet my values. If I can't find something or I really get the urge to browse instead of heading to the mall I head to the local vintage and resale shops.
I look forward to learning more on this 20 day challenge and hearing other people's success stories. Hope you can join me; sign up here!
I try to take a pause from my usual work duties and spend a few minutes reading up on the topic of sustainability in fashion, one of my passions! Last week I stumbled upon a very cool slow fashion blog, Tortoise & Lady Grey. Great articles on companies that are doing things right... very inspiring!
I was immediately drawn to the 20 day sustainable fashion challenge. I try to be up on topics of sustainable fashion and have made the transition myself to only buying sustainable clothing so I welcome a challenge and signed right up hoping for more inspiration and connecting with others that share my passion!
Day 1 - Phew, pretty easy one. I'm asked to evaluate my knowledge of sustainable fashion on a scale of 1-5. Easy, after studying the topic for the last 5 years or so and even going to FIT in NYC for several classes/seminars I'm giving myself a top score of 5, meaning I'm pretty confident about what's going on out there. I've been lucky enough to have some great teachers on the topic and support to push the apparel company I work for to make a few sustainable changes.
The blog also asks to read this great article giving their definition of sustainable fashion which is right on with my own values: Top Tips for a Sustainable Fashion Wardrobe. I'm so excited and inspired for tomorrow's assignment!
One last part of my assignment today is to invite others to join! So friends, join me let's do this!... sign up via this link!
All 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge Bowling Ball Buell Buttons Candy Car Chargepoint Earrings Electric Family Fermentation Friends Fruit Harley-Davidson Japan Jewelry Kefir Kombucha Milwaukee Motorcycle Nissan Leaf North Carolina Recycle Recycling Sewing Slow Fashion Sustainability Tea U2 Vintage Wedding