May 27, 2013

SuperFast Fashion

Fashion so fast that it's obsolete before it leaves the store.  That's what I saw at Old Navy and other clothing stores this spring.  I saw rack after rack of badly drafted, sloppily finished garments in increasingly cheap fabrics.  It's a painful waste of resources, and leaves lower income customers without decent clothing.  As fit deteriorates visibly each year, what will we wear in 2-5 more years?

Most of the pieces I saw had no waist shaping, no darts, and poorly fitting shoulders and armscyes: the draft bears little relation to actual anatomy.  The shirtdresses are simply lengthened versions of an unfitted oxford shirt, with no shaping aside from a self-tie or drawstring waist.  Well drafted loose clothing can fit well and be flattering, not just look like a feedsack.

Many retailers are adding a hefty proportion of polyester to their previously all-cotton t-shirts, to save money.  Poly blends don't breath, so you feel sticky and get stinky even in mild weather.  They also pill faster, stain easier, and hold static.  For a wardrobe basic like the t-shirt, the small change of switching to cotton/poly blends has a dramatic impact on petrochemical consumption when multiplied over millions of shirts worldwide.

I hope that more people start to take a good look at clothes before they buy.  In the US, we're trained to assume that our bodies are at fault when clothing doesn't fit or flatter.  Hopefully women can start to see that no one, not even the mannequin, looks good in super fast fashion.

A $20 dress that doesn't make you feel attractive, so is only worn a few times, is not a bargain.  A $100 dress that fits great, is comfortable and versatile, becomes a wardrobe staple that lasts for years.  We need to seek out better clothing and support those stores by purchasing from them.  Viva la fashion revolucion!

May 23, 2013

Fast Fashion Stinks...

Literally.  I've noticed a disturbing trend: most of the cute t-shirts I've purchased in the last few years are poly/cotton blends.  This switch had gone unnoticed until one warm day, when after half a day I smelled bad.  Really bad!  I freely admit that, when it gets hot, my underarms are more soggy than dewy, but this had never forced me to change shirts halfway through the day.  Non-biodegradability aside, poly just doesn't breathe.

I've been searching out cotton or linen tops online, but pickings are slim if you want cute stripes.  $80 for a t-shirt?  JCrew I'm looking at you.  Gap has some cotton/modal blend striped tees, but I've found modal pills too easily.  I guess I'll keep looking...No bustin' tags for this girl :/

May 9, 2013

I Made Yarn!

I've been doing some spinning, and I think finally getting the hang of it.  Spinning is one of those physical skills where your body takes over and your brain just hangs out, half paying attention.  Initially it's more tear your hair out frustrating, but eventually it starts to click.

I played with wool, trying different thicknesses and methods of spinning.  I started with two large bunches of natural Jacob roving, plus some Finn and Wensleydale top.  I honestly don't know quite what to do with this yarn, besides knit cat toys.  But here are the results:

Left and above: My first 2-ply; Right: One ball from 3 sheep

All the balls and hanks I've spun so far.

May 4, 2013

Seattle Hearts Trees

I was walking yesterday, enjoying some spectacular weather, when I saw one of these:

Planting strip tree, before sidewalk construction

Seattle values its trees so much that they are legally protected.  Each tree over 6" in diameter is valued by a city arborist before construction.  In the notice above, the tree is valued at $3300.  In older neighborhoods trees can easily be worth $30,000.  Damage to a tree results, at minimum, in a fine equal to its value.  "If the violation is willful or malicious, the amount of the penalty may be trebled."

It's so pleasant to walk under beautiful old shady trees on a warm day.  The trees also harbor a host of wild birds, and help keep the city cool.  Good job Seattle!

May 2, 2013

Solar Powered Self

My energy bump due to sun and warmer weather has arrived, and it's so so welcome!  I've had a migraine respite for a couple days as well, and got out to see friends last night.  Yesterday was full of phone calls, which sorted out a hairy health insurance problem.  Pro tip: one great doctor will know and refer you to other great docs.  Merely good docs don't have this superpower.

Thanks to everyone for reading, it's a big boost to see the stats :)  I have a few small projects to share, of varying success, I just need to photograph them.
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