Monday, December 7, 2009

Righteous Remix

I bought this sweater fabric in the summer. It was cheaper then. I wasn't real sure what I was gonna do with it. Originally it was gonna be a long jacket, but..... I wasn't really feeling that. I saw a sweater dress a in Victoria's Secret catelog and was like that's it! That's what I want. So thats what I made. a righteous sweater dress unlike the one in the catelog but based on it all the same. I did use a bit of a pattern. McCalls 8523. It's an old pattern. I just used the top part for the top. The bottom I mentally made it more form fitting to imitate the sweater dress I saw in the VS catelog... BUT... It must be modest. And modesty in my mind is no boobies showing and below the knee. Here it is. Pay no attention to all the shit on my counter. And btw... I need all that shit!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Culture vs. Pattern

Y'all know I like to sew. I have been noticing that Original people through the diaspora rock colors and prints. Sometimes even that don't match. I have also learned that in countries where the colonialism is the strongest, the Original people, though still fly, adopt the boring-ness. Why?

Is it more natural and Cuturally significant to dispaly more pattern? Or do our people just work with what is at hand. I'm going to incorporate more patterns in my wardrobe and see if that makes me feel more connected. More resolution of 7:14. We aren't all different.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Sew On and Sew On....

I'm not sure when I started this blog if I posted my frustrations with patterns. If not I'll reiterate....

When I first started sewing around 25 years ago, my mother gave me some patterns to work with. She then put me in some sewing classes to learn how to use the patterns. I got really frustrated with patterns not really giving me what I wanted and even more frustrated when I would follow a pattern exactly and the garment turn out too big or too small. My father sewed (I didn't know this). His mother had been a seamstress and taught her children, girls and boys, how to sew and crochet. Daddy taught me that I didn't need patterns to create the clothes tht I wanted. Which was very freeing. and basically that's how I have sewed since then. Lately I have been reading a lot of sewing blogs and all these people used patterns. So after 25 years I decided to give patterns another try. Initially I found them jokers very expensive. So expensive in fact that if you account for the pattern, fabric, the notions and labor, garments are cheaper to purchase rather than make. The ability to sew now a days, is not something to be proud of. But that's another blog.

Anywho... Thanks to the goodness of a hood fabric shop, I have acquired several new patterns on the low low and have discovred for my self how to work and personalize patterns to my needs. Why didn't that class say that? Why didn't they tell me I could take the top from one and add it to the bottom of another? I used to feel like patterns stifled my creativity. I feel differently now. I see patterns as a template jumping off point. I will still sketch what is in my mind, but then I will look through my pattern stash to see if there is anything that I have there that will work with my vision. If so, I use it, if not I create my own patterns with newspaper. Now my sewing is still creative and authentically me, but it has also become incredibly prolific. I don't have to reinvent the wheel for every project. And I don't get as frustrated during production like I used to because I have no idea how to proceed.

I'm not a pattern hater anymore. That is until my hood connection dries up and I have to pay full price for them jokers.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

The 14th Degree Don't Lie

I was doing some alterations for a dear friend of mine. They would have to be a dear friend in order for me to do alterations for people. I hate alterations. And since I never charge and folks you know are never satisfied AND they keep coming back with more and more shit... But I digress....

I was doing alterations on a velvet jacket and a blouse. My friend is a baller (though she doesn't admit it). I know she paid $$$$ for these clothes. The jacket, I actually was gonna buy, but it was hella expensive and velvet is one of those fabrics that you shouldn't wear after the holidays pass, so I passed on it. I was with her when she bought the jacket (does that make me a baller?) and I remember how much it cost.

Anywho..... This jacket was torn at the seam almost the entire length. It was also lined with a really cute fabric. But once I got inside, I found that the velvet was not the regular plush velvet, but a really cheap, fake nasty velvet that left nasty little traces on my sewing machine. I had to clean inside and outside of the machine. The lining wasn't any better. It was a thin, smelly, cheap piece of polyester. SMH. Having to take apart the jacket to get at the repair location. I saw that even the stitches were cheesy. This stitches I used were superior to what the garment came with. No reinforcing stitches either.

So the moral of this story is just because a garment is expensive and store bought does not mean that it is better than a 'homemade' garment.

Learn to sew people. It is not that hard and will save money in the long run!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Look for the Union Label

I recently watched a documentary on what has happened to the garment industry. It chronicled the decline of said industry. At one time, the garment industry was the largest employer in NYC. Now less than 5% of clothing worn in this country is made in this country. The reason why this latched on in my mental mind, (1) because I have been on a purchasing fast with regard to clothing and (2) my mother took me shopping for my bornday. She wanted to buy me something pretty.

I buy as much American as I can find. I have owned 5 cars, all of them American. I really wanted a Prius this last time, but I could not bring myself to buy one. And every time I see one pass me I tear up a little. But I think it’s important to support your own. And since I am a resident and citizen of this country, I feel it’s our duty to make supporting your own a priority.

In this society we have moved away from ‘we’ to ‘me’. That’s not cool. Me cannot support a whole country and our nonchalance for what happens to others will eventually slap us in the face. If our choices cause another family to starve, then our taxes will increase to support them on welfare or in prison. And there are more than just one person losing the ability to feed their families. Then it will become too expensive to own property. You got it like that?

You cannot have a society where all three classes are not represented. Low, middle and upper. It is real easy for people to turn their noses up at people who work jobs you think are beneath you. Blue color jobs in this country, support this country. But in the last few decades, it has become shameful in being a blue collar employee. Very few children now a days aspire to jobs like firemen, police officers, teachers, hairdressers, and so on. People usually fall into these jobs because what they were shooting for didn’t work out. But what happens when there is nothing to fall back on? Then what are you supposed to do? And don’t get it twisted, there are some jobs that grown folks just won’t get hired to do. Yeah, you got grown folks delivering papers, but how many grown folks you see flipping burgers. And you wonder why there are so many homeless, jobless folks out there. Being middle class has become shameful.

OK. I have said all of this to say, it is important for all of us to be mindful to support our own. Yes you may feel, and validly so, that big companies won’t miss your money. But for every cheap blouse you buy, you are supporting some Indian or Chinese family while starving your cousin in NY. For every foreign car you purchase, you support a German or Japanese family but causing widespread poverty in Detroit. You free to do what you want, after all this is America. But if we don’t look after our own, who will? You think people abroad are buying Chryslers and Fords? And do the Knowledge, the United States of America does not have a big export market unless you wanna count the military.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Last Minute....

Have you ever not had anything to wear to work/school/rally/whatever the next day and went to the store and bought something to wear? Well... I had that urge this morning. But instead of heading off to the mall, I went into my sweing room. I made a brown turtleneck with no pattern and a brown skirt with a kickpleat; also no pattern. It took 2 hours to make the turtleneck but only 20 minutes to make the skirt. The funny thing is the least expensive turtleneck I have seen of late was $20. Mine cost about $1.50 if you don't count the labor. The skirt was another $2. Oh! I'm a be big timing tomorrow!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You would think....

That since my shopping restriction has been lifted that I would have been to the malls by now. I haven't. Nor do I have plans to go. I'm really rather blah about the whole thing. Who knew?

Maybe the addiction to shopping has passed? I am VERY clear that I have far too many clothes. That's good information to have. And I like to make my own clothes. I get a weird satisfaction from making my own clothes. Like the feeling I get when I put in that last stitch or wear the garment for the 1st time or when I get complimented on what I'm wearing. Good feelings. That's reinforcement that has to just keep coming

I realize that since I live in GA, all the turtlenecks that I have planned for the fall/winter, though I'm still planning on making them, there is no rush for them since it gets cool later here. I also have new boots as well that are creenign to see daylight. They probably will stay on lock down until the end of October. I saw some tops with ruffles that would make some nice transitional pieces, but I really want cotton blouses. Since tops are my cryptonite, I'm thinking maybe I'll buy a few of those. Again, we'll see.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Incredibly Lazy

I have been incredibly lazy when it comes to making my fall collection. I have all of the fabric, the notions even a few pictures and patterns. I just don't feel like it. That's horrible! I'm thinking it's because I don't really need the clothes just at this moment. Its still rather warm. If I needed the clothes I probably would be all over the sewing machine.

The one thing I need bad, and need before Wednesday (today is Monday) is a new nightgown. Again, I have the fabric and the notions. I just don't feel like it. But I'm gonna have to find some energy because I'm having company and I ain't walking around naked or in the raggedy nightgowns that I already have.


It's gonna be a long couple of days.....

I hate when I feel lazy like this.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

9/28/2009 is Coming!!!!!

Peace to my Universal Family!

Well the clock is winding down on this Fashion challenge. Come Monday the 28th I will be free to shop up a storm. And I’m not going to lie when I say that I have already been in the shops planning what I will snatch up. I saw a white silk blouse in Ashley Stewart that I have my eyes on and 2 other blouses that I am stalking. But that is really it. Having to make do with what I have or creatively finding ways to score the booty has made me not fiend for the commercially bought clothes like I had been in the past. RELIEF. I now have a new addiction to making clothes for self and celestials in my Universe.

I decided to give patterns another shot. Not so much making them bibles, but for inspiration and learning purposes. In the past my sewing has been figuring it out as I go along. But why reinvent the wheel when I don’t have to? If using a pattern for some things helps, then use away. I have learned some sewing lingo and some techniques that have really helped me. Now I can discuss my sewing with other sewists. I made a gift for the God, using a pattern which really came out nice. I haven’t reinforced it because I made it without him being here. If I don’t have to make any alterations then I will reinforce the seams so it doesn’t come apart. It’s a surprise, so don’t tell.

Also, I have learned that the people in the stores are a resource. I have learned how to make my own patterns, bias tape and how to choose interfacing. But that’s if you go to a local store and not someplace like Wal-Mart. Them folks at Wal-Mart don’t know how to sew. They cut and charge. But don’t sleep on Wal-Mart. They have dirt cheep fabric in crafty choices. And you can’t beat their prices on notions, machines, yarn, stuff like that.

That all being said, I’m not abandoning my free styling sewing. I always feel a greater sense of accomplishment when something that was initially in my head appears in from of me. And I don’t want to be totally dependant on patterns. It’s good to have options.

My current goal is to master jacket making. Currently, my jacket attempts are not at all successful. But I am planning to make a customized dress form and try my hand on that. I have awkward measurements. I still have not come to understand the need for muslins and lining. I patterns and slips. That’s not to say that I never will understand it or that I’m blocked but we shall see won’t we what develops.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What is Black and White and Read all over?

I have already told you that I was in a ghetto fabric store this weekend. I learned something from these ladies (and 1 man) that I wanted to share with you….

I was bitching that patterns were expensive and often when I get to the end of the outfit, they don’t fit. I was talking with these ladies (and 1 man) about this dilemma. One old lady said to me since I was more comfortable freehanded sewing, that I should make my own patterns. That way all my clothes could match. My poorly arched eyebrows flew up. “How do you make your own patterns?” I asked. She said with newspaper. This was an unexpected jewel.

Her advice was after cutting the fabric for whatever I was envisioning in my mind for a garment. Trace it over a open piece of newspaper. Then adjust it so that it worked. Mark it and write out the directions on a manila envelope (best) or regular envelope. What every you have. Then place the newspaper pattern in the envelope and BOOM! There’s your custom pattern.

I’m making a bunch of turtle necks and shirts for the fall and why shouldn’t they all look the same and be easy to make? Also those thin papers patterns are on are thin like tissue paper. News paper is not much thicker. I’m doing this and I will let you know how it turns out.

Now this may be old information for some folk, but it’s brand new for me. I’m running with it!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Support Your Local Swapmeeet!

I am out of perfume. That is a huge accomplishment for me because I don’t ‘run’ out of anything. Last year I looked at my fragrance shelf and thought, “My, I have a lot of fragrances.” I don’t want you to think me excessive, but if you did, I couldn’t dispute that.

Anyway… Since I only smell like the scented shea butter, I decided to go get some more perfume. I have some essential oils that I could mix, but I have no medium to dissolve it in. I dissolve EO’s in vodka This joker came through and drank everything that I have. And I keep a stocked bar! At least I did. The nigga promised that he was gonna replace what he drank. But after a year, I suppose he’s not gonna keep his word. Plus that would take at least 2 weeks for the scent to develop in vodka. So…. I went off to the hood Beauty Supply Store.

Why a hood BSS and not Sally’s? Because hood stores have hood needs. And I wanted oils. Not oils that smell like popular blends like Dior, Glow and White Linen. Nope. I wanted, Black Love, Butt Naked and Lick Me All Over. And that’s what I got. I purchased some China and Egyptian Musk for the toiletry mixes and some, for real this is the name… “Pussy”… to wear on a daily basis. Already I have gotten compliments on how I smell. SMH. And I’m not one of those people who tell everything about themselves. I’m not gonna tell where and how much I paid for something.

But that got me thinking. Why is it when we get a few quarters to rub together, we leave the hood? I know that the hood is NOT known for quality but the neither is the mall. The same polyester clothes that hang on the racks of hood shops hang in Neiman Marcus. The name in the collar is different is all. And Manolos are a rip off! They run smaller and the heel is not sturdy. Try running down a bus in one of them jokers. I know this from experience. But them plastic platforms aren’t any better for you. Because when they break, and they will, it is cheaper to buy a new pair than to have them repaired.

Another good thing about hood shopping is it usually done in cash. That keeps you honest about your finances. And one learns to deal in Equality with your own people. I like that. I have been feeling a little cut off nowadays.

So. What does this mean for Serenity? It means that my jump off will be the hood and I’ll move up in price as my needs require. That is until I start looking like a full bloom hoochie. Then the upscale retail therapy will have to take precedence.


Hood Shopping

I'm excited!!!! I went to a fabric store. Not the 'good' fabric store. You know the one that is open daily and is known because its a chain. Nope. I went to the one in the 'hood'. You know, the one that is open only on the weekend. Where the employee don't have a full compliment of teeth and somebody is always calling for the Lord while eating chicken. That one. And guess what? I found ALL, not some, of the fabric that I needed to complete my entire fall collection! I am mad geeked y'all!

The grand total for all the fabric I bought was $19.26! That's it! Another thing I got from them is like 10 paterns for a dollar. i went to the 'known' fabric shop earlier and they were having a sale on Butterick patterns for .99 each. I got 10 mixed patterns for a dollar at the hood shop. It was a grab bag wrapped in grocery bags so you don't know what your getting. And if y'all have read my other blogs you know I am not a big fan of patterns, but I can see the value in owning some.

You know.... You can say what you want. But I am neither shamed or mad at shopping in the hood. I'm glad I have mental and physical option.

Now all I nee now is the energy to get crack-a-lacking!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Fall Collection...

In a previous post in my ‘Righteous Urban Crunchiness’ blog I decided to do a lifestyle makeover. One of aspects of the make over was to completely re-vamp my wardrobe. I’m going to decrease it by 1/3. I plan to rid myself of synthetic fabrics (they smell bad) and make/sew the larger percentage of my garments.

I have decided to fill my closet with basics. Yes, of course, I will be following the current fashion trends (I love that shit!) but the trends will be customized to appear timeless. One of the staples that I will add on with is turtlenecks and long sleeved shirts. The place I go the most is work. And I want to step up my work wardrobe. My current boss doesn’t really seem to care what I put on my body, but I want to obtain a different opportunity. When I get home, I’m either naked or in sweats. I suppose when my God moves in permanently I’ll want to change that bit I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I will entertain suggestions.

From what I’ve seen in the Fall 2009 RTW trends, some of which I probably will not do. Biker chic is big. A lot of black leather and buckles. Now that’s mad cool for a 20-something year old, but I’m almost 40. I have some black boots with a big buckle and a leather jacket. But that jacket is definitely not biker chic. I’ll probably pick up a short and cheap leather jacket from somewhere. I am prohibited from buying brand new until September 28th of this year. I live in ATL so it won’t be cold here anyway until hopefully after Thanksgiving. I will look to catalogs for some cheap leather jackets in October. Probably one of the only new things I’ll buy this year. Unless I can find something at a thrift store. I have big boobs and that seems very unlikely to me that I will find something I can close.

Another thing is a lot of stretch pants and pant suits. Ummm….. No. I don’t wear pant like that. I wear them to work out, do yard work and to just lounge in. I don’t wear them out. And I don’t wear them long term. I only own one pair for each task. So nope. There is a lot of gray and metallic out there too. Those colors don’t look good on me so they will be in the details.

One thing that has me excited it the tribal/animal prints. Cool! I have a silk skirt. I am going to get a few more skirts probably. The trick thing with tribal or animal prints is you have to balance them. You can’t rock them at the job the same way you would elsewhere especially if you work for the devil. You have to mellow it so you blend in some. So there will be tribal skirts with turtlenecks. I want some jackets too. I am jacket lite. I want to make them but I am bad with jackets. That’s saying to me that that’s gonna be my goal for the next few months is to make jackets that I would actually wear.

I need a LBJ and a sheath dress. I have brown tweed that I plan to make a sheath dress from (a la Michelle Obama) and a cape. I have already made a skirt from it. I haven’t decided on the nature of the LBJ, but I want something with lace. That part I know. We’ll see how everything develops.

I’m dying to go to Hancocks and see what they have new. But I suspect that it will be very little. They were still selling off a lot of their summer stuff last time I went. I am so over summer. Though, if I see some cotton tribal fabric on sale I will scoop that up.

For some reason, I want to wear my pearls this fall. Back to the justice!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Okay Okay

Yeah, yeah , yeah.... Yada, yada, yada.... I suppose I'm opinionated enought to handle yet another blog. Here we go....

Clearly I am addicted to clothes and blogging. So I set this blog up to support my co-dependency.

My fashion blog is going to be a little different than other fashion blogs. I am a Refined Earth in the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths. that means I have a clothing restriction. I really have to come up with a better word than restriction because I don't feel restricted at all. But As I am Earth and as the planet Earth is cover approximately 3/4th of it's surface with water, I cover my body 3/4th with clothing. Case closed.

So this blog is me and my clothes addiction. I buy. I create. I sew. I design. I question. I ponder. I do a lot of things. Come follow me and watch how I get down.


PS: I'm on as serenity Earth!