In the past year or so, I discovered visible mending with sashiko stitching and immediately liked the idea. I have always liked creatively using materials that would otherwise get thrown out. I also liked the idea of making something new, unique, creative and pretty out of clothes that are wearing out. I thought that that it looked cool and wanted to try it.
Recently, 2 pairs of my jeans started to wear out. One pair in particular was very close to tearing at the knees. I went shopping for a new pair of jeans and saw rack after rack of skinny jeans that would not fit me and distressed demim. I don’t understand the appeal of distressed demin. At the store,one of the pairs of distressed demin was 89 dollars and I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on jeans that were already ripped. This frustrated me and I decided to try my hand at sashiko mending.
On Pinterest, I had already pinned a bunch of images of sashiko mending and some tutorials. I had also bought a thimble, darning needles, embroidery floss, pearl cotton and a fabric pencil. Ideally you are supposed to use sashiko thread and needles but I decided to use what I easily buy locally and order sashiko supplies online if I ended liking the technigue. I had read that embrodiery thread and darning needles can be substitutes. If this project hadn’t worked out I could use what I bought for other projects. I went back on to Pinterest and looked at a couple of tutorials. I wasn’t sure what material to use for patching I asked for advice on the Thrifty Knitters group on Ravelry and they suggested I use an old demin shirt. I went to a local thrift store and got a couple of denim shirts to use. I was apprehensive about doing this stitch on jeans without practicing first so I practiced on squares of fabric I cut up. I immediately enjoyed the stitching and found it so relaxing. I ended up making 4 sqaures and playing around with color and how I put the stitches together.
I finally tried the technique on my jeans and I was nervous, I struggled with how to pin the fabric to the jeans, and how to see where to stitch. With the fabric pencil I bought, it was very hard to make a mark that would be visible on the fabric.I ended up pinning around the edges of the patch. I also had to pull the pant leg inside out several times to check my work and I kept worrying that I would knock the pins out. Once I got going, the stitching part went fine and it went better than I thought. Overall, I am very happy I tried this. I like how the jeans turned out and it makes me happy to give new life to my old jeans in a creative way. I found out that I enjoy doing hand stitching. Stitching the practice samples and jeans gave me ideas for other projects that use similar skills.
This is the third post in a 3 part series. For the first post I wrote an intro to Slow Fashion October. The second post was about how my focus on what I want to make has shifted to making more garments. This post is about slow fashion in general and what sparked my interest. I follow a lot of knitters who also sew. Through following the knit designer Andi Satterlund, I found out about the Me Made May hashtag because she participates it and posts on Instagram about it. Me Made May is an event each May where people post pictures of themselves wearing clothes they made. From this I found out about the handmade wardrobe hashtag on Instagram. All the pictures of people wearing the clothes they made really inspired me. I also found the slow fashion hashtag and started to read about slow fashion. I was reading more and more posts of people who were being very thoughtful about what they made and added to their wardrobes and that made me think about my own choices in my wardrobe.
At first I was skeptical of the slow fashion movement. When I first read about slow fashion my first thought was, “You mean the way I have been shopping for years because I never had much money?” At certain times in my life, most of my wardrobe was secondhand mostly because of economic necessity. Money was tight for me and it was the only way to have a decent wardrobe.But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the movement encompasses a lot of my values. I don’t like to waste things, I think it is important to use what you have. I like to reuse materials in creative ways. At 15 or 16 I had read advice saying to only buy a piece of clothing if it will fit with 2 other pieces in your wardrobe and I have been doing it ever since. I have always been pretty thoughtful about what clothes I buy mostly because I have a limited budget. I have been concerned about factory conditions for years but wasn’t sure what I could do about it. Years ago, there was a big scandal over conditions in Nike Factories. I don’t think I have worn Nike Since. At the time, it was very difficult to find concrete information on what fashion companies were doing. This was before the Internet was as big as it is now. It was harder find information. For this reason, I am glad to see a growing interest in slow fashion. It is easier now to track and find sustainable brands. While I read the slow fashion October posts, I find it comforting to read about others who have similar concerns. For now, I have been focusing on gradually making more sweaters I need, mending the clothes I have and checking out secondhand stores in the area.
I have been knitting and crocheting for years but lately my attitude about what I want to make has been shifting. I have decided that I want to focus on making to making more garments. I recently looked at my past projects on Ravelry and realized I hadn’t had a new sweater in over 2 years and that was a sweater I made myself. I also realized that I have been knitting for years but have only made a few sweaters. I had made mostly hats, scarves and shawls. I started to ask myself, “How many hats and scarves do I need?” It affected me to realize that I had made myself so few garments when I love to knit and crochet so much. Karen Templer wrote this blog post about doing a inventory of her fall wardrobe and it inspired me to do the same. I realized that I could use a few more sweaters in my wardrobe.
In the past, I have sometimes been pretty random about what I want to make. I would make something because I thougtht the project was cool or to to learn a new skill. I started realizing that I want to be more intentional about what I make. At the same time that I was thinking about this, I made the Green Gable Pullover and really enoyed making it. I am happy with how it turned out and the success of that project inspired me to make more garments. I also discovered the Me Made May and handmade wardrobe hashtags on Instagram. All the pictures of people showing the clothes they made themselves is inspiring to me. So all this has made me realize that I want to be more intentional about what I make and also what I add to my wardrobe.To be honest, I don’t see myself stopping making hats or scarves. I like making hats and they are a small project where I can try out a new skill. However, I also want to make sure I am also making items I can use in my wardrobe. Right now, I am making myself a wool sweater for colder weather. After I finish that sweater, I want to make a cardigan.
Lately I have been starting to get interested in slow fashion. I discovered Karen Templer’s blog on her website and enjoy it. This month is Slow Fashion October. I am just starting to look into this so I decided to participate in Slow Fashion October to see what I can learn from it. I will be posting a 3 part blog series on how I became more interested in this topic. With this first post, I want to introduce Slow Fashion October and include some links for further reading. The second post will be about how my attitude towards what I want to knit and crochet has been shifting and the third post will be more on how I become interested in slow fashion in general.
Slow Fashion October is an online event that was started and hosted by Karen Templer of Fringe Association. It is a discussion on the different aspects of slow fashion and how to have a more ethical wardrobe. The discussions revolve around what it means for various people to practice slow fashion. In a nutshell, Slow Fashion is about being more thoughtful and deliberate with your wardrobe. Most clothing today is made in overseas factories that often have bad conditions. Also many clothes today wear out fairly quickly and are not made to last. Slow Fashion is about making choices to get away from that. Some ways to do that are: making your own clothes, buying clothes that are build to last, mending the clothes you have, buying secondhand, buying clothes from sustainable brands, and being more thoughtful about what you choose to buy for your wardrobe.
You can read about Slow Fashion October on the Fringe Association blog. For this event, Katrina Rodabaugh will be posting an article each week on the blog. You can also follow Slow Fashion October and Karen Templer on Instagram. Karen Templer will be posting weekly prompts on the Slow Fashion October Instaram account. The first prompt is “who” and asks people to introduce themselves. This weeks prompt is “what.” In other words, what form does slow fashion take in out closets, what actions do we plan to take towards this. There has been a lot of discussion on the slow fashion October hashtag on Instagram and on the Fringe Association blog. I have enjoyed reading the discussions and have already learned some things. I have found out about some book titles I want to read.
Right now, I am making a lace scarf, a shawl, a tank top and a blanket. After I finish some of these projects, I want to make more garments. I have recently realized that I make a lot of accessories but not that many garments. The tank top I am experimenting with is the first garment I have made in 2 years. I feel like that is a long time to go without making garments. I also want to make sure I am making pieces I could use in my wardrobe. Here is a list of some of the items I want to make to round out my wardrobe.
First up, I want to make some summer tops. Once I finish one of my knitting projects. I want to make this top. It uses yarn I bought for another project that didn’t work out. I really like how this top looks and I am looking forward to making this. The style of this top and the color should work well with other pieces in my wardrobe. I have had this yarn for years and I am happy that I found a use for it. I already did gauge swatches and made gauge. The above photo shows the yarn I am going to use and a picture o f the pattern.
I also want to make this top by Andi Satterlund. I love the lace paneling on the top and I have some cotton/linen yarn that should work well with this pattern.
After summer tops, I want to make a cardigan to wear over skirts. and dresses. I don’t really have a cardigan that looks nice with my skirts and dresses. I think it would be nice to have a sweater I can wear over my dresses and skirts for when it gets colder at night. I am eyeing 2 more of Andi Satturlund’s patterns, either the Miette or Mary Mead. She makes a lot of cardigans that would look nice to wear with skirts and dresses.
I also really want a cardigan to wear with jeans and pants in colder weather. My favorite cardigan is wearing out and I am thinking I want to make a sweater instead buying one. I am eyeing this pattern from Knitty if I can find yarn that works. It calls for a heavy worsted and the yarns I looked at were either too light or too heavy. I am also eyeing this cardigan by Lion Brand. I am not sure I like the recommended yarn. I may have to substitute yarn if I decide to make it.