Friday, April 24, 2015

Who Made My Clothes?


The answer to that question is: I did! I made everything I’m wearing right down to the undies. At least everything except my glasses and hearing aids which are a tad beyond my skills. I even painted my Birkenstocks. But you know what? This is not an unusual situation for me.

But right now there’s an extra reason: it’s Fashion Revolution Day today. Have you heard about this? From their website:

On 24th April each year, Fashion Revolution Day will bring everyone in the fashion value chain together and help to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future.

The “why” is here. Unfortunately I can’t send the #whomademyclothes hashtag because I’m not on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. So it’s just here on my blog. And I can’t turn my clothes inside out to show the labels – there aren’t any. So I won’t bother. And yes, I do look like I’m not feeling tip-top still, don’t I? Sniffle. Hack.

So now we know the top level of where my clothes come from and I can go a second level and even a third with a few pieces:

  • ShawlFlower Basket Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark, yarn is NZ wool handspun and naturally dyed by me.
  • SweaterTrellis by Lili Comme Tout, yarn from is dyed by me, buttons from Maiwa and hand-carved in India.
  • SocksRetro Rib Socks by Evelyn A. Clark (a two-fer!), yarn “Phoenix Rising” from Sweet Georgia.
  • T-shirt, popover apron, pants, undies – sewn by me, all patterns self-drafted, underpants fabric dyed by me.

What I don’t know is where the fabrics were made (cotton, cotton/lycra and polyester knits and polyester woven) and under what conditions. And there is no way to find out! I bought all of these ones at Dressew, our local purveyor of mill ends, closeouts, leftovers and general “100% unknown fibres”. Fun, eclectic, reasonable, but a little iffy on the quality and mostly un-labelled. You can already see that tracking who made your clothing can get complicated very quickly, can’t you? I think it’s a great thing that people are starting to pay attention though. Maybe it will spark some changes. Anyway, I’ve done my tiny bit.

One thing about making your own clothes is that you gain a new understanding of what goes into the manufacturing and why the good stuff costs more. Even if I buy lower-cost fabrics the amount of time that it can take from pattern-making to fitting to cutting and sewing is incredible. Good thing I have the time, the skills and the inclination to do it, huh? Otherwise I certainly would have a much smaller wardrobe – not that it’s particularly extensive now if you only count the things I can actually wear in public. Old worn out extra-large t-shirts that I wear as jammies definitely don’t count!

Meanwhile I’ve been knitting on my Mia Tunic. It’s already farther ahead than this:

Mia Tunic prog

You can see my African Market basket down there under the ironing board holding my yarn cones. I was right, it does hold everything better!

I’ve enjoyed the interesting construction on this tunic: beginning with the back to the underarm and picking up the fronts to the bottom of the neckline, joining and filling the gap and then down to the underarm. Then you add stitches under the arms and join it all into a tube which is where I am right now. Just knit/knit/knit for awhile. No real concentration necessary except to not split the 3 threads. The neckline on this tunic came out about an inch and a half higher than the pattern because of my too-tight row gauge. But that’s ok. I managed to make it work and still get the armholes big enough but not too big. Good thing I took this progress photo though. Now it just looks like a scrunched up blob because the 254 stitches (so far!) just barely fit on my 24” Addi Lace circular needle. I may have to buy a longer one before I’m done but that would negate the zero cost of this garment so I’m reluctant to do it unless I have to. Sadly my Addi Lace Clicks which can be made much longer only go down to 3.5mm tips and I need a 3mm needle for this project.

The weather has gone rainy and cool (even hail!) and many of my plants are getting kind of tired of hanging about in pots in the greenhouse. I didn’t even put the cukes and squashes out there for the last couple of days but left them in the house under the lights (which they are getting to big to fit under!) I was going to plant my dye garden on Earth Day but that idea got kyboshed by this stupid cold bug. Just as well since they suffered when I left them outside the greenhouse overnight on Wednesday. I’m going to have to transplant them soon though come hell or high water because they are outgrowing their pots. Why does this always happen? And why do I not expect this to always happen?

In other news, there’s a postcard out now for the exhibit that Thom & I are participating in:


Turnabout, the guitar is featured in the photos! Yippee! We will also be at the opening May 3 from 3-5pm. If you’re local, hope to see you there!


Heather said...

I love your outfit and thanks for letting me know about Fashion Revolution Day. I had no idea, but will be ready for next year!

Anonymous said...

well done, great outfit.

Louisa said...

Thanks so much, my dears! That was just me being me. ;)