To sew or not to sew

How many times over the last 15 years have I vowed not to make my own clothes?

Alanna enjoys window shopping in Northern Italy
While living in Italy, interesting clothing options popped from every shop window. Why do I need to sew with so many fabulous options nearby?

While focusing on art quilts, accepting reluctantly that there are only 24 hours in a day. Why would I neglect my fiber art?

Then reality hits: Italian fashions are often too short for my limbs, too expensive for my budget.

I find fabulous fashion fabrics that I definitely want in my life! So much for my vow not to sew my clothing. Temptation and opportunity lure me back into paper patterns and fitting sessions. So the zig zag continues. I enjoy sewing my own clothes.

Last winter, I vowed to update my wardrobe with clothing purchases. Shuffling through Boston’s dressing rooms yielded more skinny jeans (yawn!) that stuck to my calves when I stood up. The color palettes suited winter or summer complexions, but not this contrasting persimmon autumn. Really? Can’t I find interesting clothing that fits my lifestyle? What to do?

Summer arrived and favorite duds came out of boxes to save the situation(many of them made by me!). My vow to update my wardrobe pops into my mind as the fall/winter fashions hit the news stands and shop windows. In October, I will buy some new clothes.

During the studio move, all of my wonderful fashion fabric passed through my hands. Scrumptious.

Oh, yes, I will sew this fall.

Cool, Baby: MFA’s Hippie Chic

Cool, Baby: MFA’s Hippie Chic

Did you catch it yet? It’s a total trip that I really dig. The Museum of Fine Art’s Hippie Chic fashion exhibit is a blast from the past.

The fifty-three outfits span the 1960s and 70s and are curated into five themes according to influence.  The installation is super, complete with a juke box full of period music. Frequently, you can the view the garments from several angles which I appreciated. The enthusiasm of the time period radiated, as suddenly I loved the shag carpet in neon colors on round go go platforms!

Hippie Chic is on view until November 11, 2013, so there’s still plenty of time to soak it up.  Meanwhile, the MFA web site has great features to whet your anticipation.  There’s even a fab game (this coming from some one who would rather do just about anything than play games on her computer!) where you create your own album cover.

Don’t miss this fun exhibit! I heartily recommend soaking it up as soon as possible, then heading back to Lauren Whitley’s gallery talk on November 7.

Textilfilia excited about Hippie Chic at the MFA Boston

Love the dress!

Dressing Carefully: Thinking about textile choices

A barometer of culture and class, fashion has always reflected our values.  The textiles in your life are, in essence, a reflection of your style and a statement of time and place.  One of today’s guests on the WBUR On Point radio highlighted just how true this is.

Elizabeth Cline, author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” was today’s guest. Her travels in Asia, researching the factories and lifestyles of those who produce much of the world’s inexpensive clothing, resulted in a not surprisingly dismal report.   It is all quite obvious…. how else can shirts sell for less than $20 or shoes at the same price?  I haven’t read the book, but it appears that her analysis is on target, and it will be interesting to see how the larger manufacturers, retailers and fashion media respond to her journalism.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this come up in public discourse.  Last month, at the Common Cod Fiber Guild, Clara Parkes of the Knitter’s Review spoke about a Texas company which has become the last remaining large fleece processing plant in the US.  She spoke of disappearing small lot dye houses.  She reminded us that many of our favorite US yarn brands are simply distributors of products milled increasingly in China (although South America, Italy and Turkey still have a big stake in the game). She also shared some of the stellar U.S., British and European yarn brands who are holding on against the tide.

You are what you wear and what you create.  Choose carefully.

Roving Braids

Roving braids seen at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival