Monday 17 September 2012

Stockings and shoes

It's been ages since I've posted anything I've bought, hasen't it? I have been shopping, but mostly practical and slightly boring stuff (dance sneakers might be good investment, but it's not a very fun one). But now I ditched my responsible shopping overboard and treated myself to these lovelies:

Look what I've found! What Katie Did's CC09-stockings from Tradera (Ebay). These are sadly out of sale, I don't know why WKD stopped carrying these (anyone who knows?) but they are great. 40 den and very authentic for the 40s. A terrific way to stay warm in style during fall!

I've seen countless times in movies and photos how girls would wear their stockings rolled down to under their knees, and the stockings stayed there on their own, even while the girls were dancing. How has been a complete mystery to me, but now I know: they used stockings like these! =)

These Clarks got me the moment I took a step in them. Sure, they're quite regular to look at, cute, but a standard modern classic. It's what's underneth that I fell in love with...

The crepe soles makes these unbelivebly kind to the feet, it softens the step so much that it's almost like walking on clouds. My feet are superpicky on shoes, but these are actually ok. I won't take long walks in them, but for work or getting around the town they're perfect.

Here with red nylons from Lindex, a recent purchase

Shoes and stockings for fall, can a girl ask for more in early September? =)

Love, Erika

Monday 10 September 2012

New take on the t-shirt pattern

In March I made my first ever attempt at jersey sewing. Examining my t-shirts and the patterns that came with "Sew U Home Stretch" I realised I would have the same issues with that pattern as I have with my RTW knits. So I made my own pattern =) I wasn't 100% happy with that pattern though, and I haven't worn the t-shirt much. I felt it was a good start, but somehow I didn't feel comfortable in it. It might have been the heavy jersey, but I think it's also the style. Cute, but not really me. So I set about to alter it just a little, and used my jersey dresspattern as a point of reference.

First I made a top that's divided and gathered under the bust, with short sleeves that are slightly gathered in the cap. The back is just a single piece.

I liked it, and it felt like I was getting somewhere, but I had two issues: First, the neckline was too narrow and high, it didn't look good underneth a cardigan. Second, I didn't like the pouf between my... eh...cups? you know what I mean. It's a bit too hard see due to the busy print, but after just 10 min and some movement, the fabric really droops in the mid-front.

I corrected these issues by taking out a horizontal wedge over the bust, and just chopping off 2 cm from the neckline. Then I of course wanted to change something else... So I made a second version of this top, this one with grown-on sleeves =)

A lot better! Much nicer neckline, and more flattering in the bust-area. There's still some drooping going on mid-front, but at least it's less. On future makes I might try to not gather all the way along the front, but leave 4-5 cm ungathered in the mid-front.

Please excuse the wobbly top-stitching! 

Using a twinneedle, I topstitched the bands to make the overlocked seams lie flat and still, but I'm not sure I like the pintuck effect. Sure, when pressed it's fine, but I don't want to press my knits, and also the bands stretched during pressing, making it necessary to wash the t-shirt before these pictures could be taken (and yes, the pintuck effect re-appeared after washing).

I'm starting to feel more confident in my jersey-sewing, and think I'm finding my balance with this new t-shirt pattern. There's so many possibilites with it! I can add a buttonstrip, change it to a v-neck, cover the top front with lace, etc. Looking forward to playing around more with this pattern in the future! =)

Right now, I'm trying to tie up an old, old project: changing the terry lining on my grandmother's dressing robe. It's going be great, but the project itself doesn't excite me. I'm keeping the "I'm going to love wearing this!" firmly in my mind! What's on your sewing agenda?

Love, Erika

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Overdressed - review

Reviews of Elizabeth Cline's "Overdressed - the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion" has been springing up all over the internet, read Solanahs here, or Peter's, or Trena's. A book that looks inside the fashion industry in search for answers about our fashion-comsumption? Yes, please! I started reading, all excited about the many new and mind-boggling truths and ideas that would be presented to me. I found the correlation between cheap fashion getting cheaper and high fashion getting even more expensive intriguing. I loved the detailing of what happens with our garments when we donate them to charity. But overall... It's wellwritten. It's interesting. However, the major question of the book seems to be: Why is the fast fashion industry bad? The answer is roughly divided into:

-Labour. Cheap fashion demands cheap labour, and in search of this cheap labour production moved outside USA, leading to huge unemployment in the US garment industry. Cheap labour abroad is payed way too low, often living on the verge of starvation and working under slavelike and sometimes dangerous conditions.
-Pollution and overuse of the worlds resources. From the growth of the cotton or the refinement of oil that begins the production of our clothes, through dyeing, transportation, electricity to run looms and sewing machines to the final dispense of the discarded garments, fast fashion is an ecological disaster.
-Quality. Cheap means fast and lighter. Fast means less construcion, less interesting details, less variation and poorer executed sewing. Lighter fabrics often means less sturdy and lasting clothes. Low quality leads to short lifespan for garments, meaning low afterlifevalue for our clothes even as "rags".

Cline ends with suggesting a couple of solutions: homesewing, ecological and sustainable materials, and the return to mending, altering and fitting clothes either ourselvs or pay a dressmaker to do it for us.

Of course I agree with all of Clines comments, with her feeling towards the industry and her solutions. So why am I not smitten with this book? For two reasons.

The first: Facts.
Although Cline points out some intersting tidbits, and some of the information was new to me, the overall knowledge was something I had figured out years ago. The correlation between low price, low quality and low living standard for the workers seemed a given to me in my teens. I was waiting the whole book for what would be "shocking" about the cost of high fashion. I was far from shocked at any time during my read.

Second reason: Argumentation, or lack thereof.
Maybe I've read too many academic texts. Maybe the problem is that even the popular science I've read has been written by scientists active in the academic field. But still, I miss the basic "problem - question - discussion" first introduced to me by my high school teacher in Swedish. There's no question. No "red thread". No discussion about a potential answer to the inquery (as there is no question asked to this text). There is no "why?" and no argumentation above "Fast fashion is bad because..." Maybe this kind of book doesn't need it, but I would have liked the text to take it to the next level.

It's not a bad or insignificant book. I'm sure that for many this book might be a wake-up call, but for those  already awake it might be a lot of stating the obvious. It's wellwritten, but don't expect a text at an academic or even popular science level. All in all, I don't consider it a waste of money nor time, but I have to conclude that it offered me very little new, and it was not a very satisfying reading experience. I think it's safe to say that I might not be the type of reader the book targets to.

One problem I can see is this: if I'm not a target reader, then who would be? Someone who has never once considered why their H&M t-shirt is so cheap? Perhaps. Would they buy this book? Doubtful. Only way - at least in Sweden - to be oblivious of the origin of your cheap clothes is to voluntarily and purposedly have equipped yourself with blinders. Those blinders would undoubtfully be just as good at blocking out this book as it is at blocking out all other information of the clothing industry's danger to people and enviroment.

To conclude, it's a good book that runs the risk of preaching only to the already saved, without giving them anything new to consider. I'd recommend it primarily to someone who aspires to shop sustainable and would like some help and motivation to resist that cheap H&M dress, or that roll of really cheap cotton jersey... But then again, I did enjoy it, so if you find the subject at all interesting, it's still worth a read, even if you've already turned away from fast fashion =)