Paying attention

I cringe when I think of how I used to go out the door. A mirror and a camera show different things. It is funny how when I started to take pictures of what I was about to head out in I would stop and make some quick changes. Recently I observed that how I did something as simple as buttoning up my sweater either visually added 20 pound or subtracted 5.

Take a look. I always thought buttoning my sweater in the middle would create a waistline for me. Well sort of but it did a better job of pointing out what hangs over and pokes out under my waist. And added about 20 pounds to my appearance.

The same sweater buttoned all the way up (even with the color poking out) at the bottom made me look about 5 pounds thinner.

What look have you been wearing that you were startled to discover created exactly the appearance you were trying to avoid?

High Heels make me slow down

For years I would go to REI and pick up a pair of quasi hiking boots and those would be my daily shoes because they were supportive and comfortable. I am on my feet a lot going from place to place and always wanting to be prepared to take a walk at the drop of a hat. Since I already have a lot to lug around I didn’t bring a pair of so called cute shoes to put on at any point in the day.I had a list longer than the day. Taking a moment to consider how well the shoes went with anything I was wearing was unthinkable. Besides I was wearing blue jeans and my khaki uniform pants most days. Rushing around.Not evaluating what items on the agenda could be done by others or dropped totally.

Plus only having to buy one pair of shoes each year saved me A LOT of time and I didn’t have to worry about mistakes or comfort.

I kept putting myself aside, not taking the time to treat myself well. This shoe thing carried over into all the other areas of my life as well. Not taking the time to cook for myself once I became an empty nester OR the total opposite – spending all evening cooking (and drinking wine while preparing) and resenting my husband for never cooking. Letting my evening get taken up with an activity that I didn’t particularly like and ignoring the activities that would bring me joy. Denying myself.

I finally broke down and bought some heels – low heels but heels nonetheless. What I discovered is that they forced me to walk slower to slow down on my journey through the day and to occasionally kick my shoes off and sit down! What a joy!

Are you finding the time to slow down and take care of yourself and think about what brings you joy?

The jacket

The experimental jacket

You may have read about my skirt last week. I considered that a relative success.

Now I am going to share my failure – the jacket. Not a total failure because I can see how to improve it and that is what happens in design. You try it, redesign it or trash it and start over. Since this is my first project I am not quite ready for the trash it option. Instead I will tweak it.

I am going to try adding a seam so the pockets are in seam and not welt. I am trying to decide about the length in the front. I think 2-3 inches longer will be more flattering. The sleeves twist because I did not think up front about how to incorporate the zipper and ended up simply cutting the front left to create a place to add a zipper – all of which made the front too small and twisted everything enough to make the sleeves pull. I know this because when I unzip it the sleeves are fine!

I like the length in the back (covers my bootie). I like the brown. I like the zipper contrast with the brown. I like the side zip. And it was a fun project. It gave my brain a new problem to solve which will hopefully keep it young.

Now I just need to find a free few hours to try again.

What project are you trying to challenge your brain?

Slow Clothes

Brown skirt made from my muslin fabric

In the fall I decided I would make myself a new wardrobe in the next year. From scratch – this means coming up with the designs, making the patterns and actually sewing the garment (It did not mean making the fabric – although it would be a dream to actually find the fabrics I want to work with).

So far I have……………….. a skirt.And the skirt is only made from my muslin fabric.

I also have a …………………….jacket – a muslin jacket that does not fit because the mechanical part of putting together the front of it did not make sense until I had tried to put together the muslin. Now I get it but need to find the time to try again with the pattern altered slightly and find another piece of inexpensive fabric to work with for the test garment.

But it is OK. I am enjoying the learning.

It is a good thing I didn’t tell myself I couldn’t wear anything I didn’t make myself. Because this is slow clothes. Makes you think about what life was like before ready to wear. Your clothes probably¬† fit better but you better have planned way ahead if you needed something for a special occasion. Slow cooking – slow clothes – how did they do it?

Ready to wear doesn’t give us an appreciation for the sweat and tears that must go into the things we wear. From the raw materials being turned into cloth. From the original concept to the drawing, to the pattern maker, to the sample maker to the grader. Then sourcing appropriate fabrics or finding someone to manufacture what you need for a garment that may or may not sell. Textile makers guessing what will sell.

Then there is the actual factory floor where things are made. How can you be sure the process there wasn’t one of those horrors we hear about?

Then there are the hours spent by sales reps selling the clothes and warehouse and stock people getting the clothing on the shelves. I am getting exhausted writing about it.

Selling in volume to the masses is the only logical way to make a profit for many clothing companies. It explains why you can’t find a garment with pockets. It explains why it is hard to find a garment that fits. It explains why there is a lot of black.

Makes you wonder who got shorted when you buy that $20 dress.  And it makes the hours spent producing my muslin skirt seem like nothing.

Have you ever thought about all the processes what you wear has gone through? And all the lives it has touched?