About Me

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On accomplishments and judgment against them

Some days I know who I am, some days I think I have no clue. 
Some days I am confident with my life choices while on other days criticism really hurts me. 

We had a long weekend, and I wanted to deep-clean the apartment. I LOVE our apartment, it's the first place in my adult life I call HOME. I want to spend time (and money) making it prettier and more "us". Rented apartments in Israel are usually kept in a bad condition. Despite the (very) high prices it's not uncommon to have lousy and old facilities. When we moved in two years ago we cleaned the place thoroughly, painted the walls, hung shelves etc, but we didn't do much with the bathroom since it was all too much and we didn't want to start painting both walls and ceiling.

It was fine for two years, but after the winter the bathroom needed a face-lift. So I bought hydrogen peroxide (diluted it to 3%) to get rid of the mold, and gave the washing machine its annual treatment with vinegar and baking soda. As it wasn't enough, I also applied new grout on the bathroom floor.

I felt like a super-hero!

All happy and stinky I went to a family dinner, and proudly shared my afternoon act of magic. The first reaction was "oh, you have too much free time!", followed by another key line  "but it's a rented apartment, why would you go through all the trouble?"

This reaction crushed me. MY HOME is so important to me. Coming back from work to a place I can call HOME is a feeling nothing can replace. having a place that I love, knowing that most of it is my own creation, this is something I care so much for. Being surrounded by items that spark joy is precious. And having it all dismissed by someone implying my time is better spent doing other things is hurtful.

I didn't know what to do, so I went back HOME and went all out: painted the bathroom (walls and ceiling! primer and paint!), scrubbed the ceramic with vinegar to get rid of all the limescale, took the sinks apart to clean the pipes, removed the carpet from the bedroom floor (my landlord approved) and more. The bathroom looks amazing, and three days from now I'll take myself on a date to the flee market to find accessories. Every shower I now take is different and refreshing. And I have myself to thank for it.

But I'm still sad.  I choose to live a different life. I have a "normal" day-job I will not replace for anything in the world, I think what I do is important. But at the same time I feel that sewing my own clothes, using ecological cleaning supplies, recycling and reusing is my way of living a balanced life, feeling that I'm a positive force in the world, that I do more good than bad. I also choose to spend my (hard-earned) money on dance classes, trips, fabric and craft supplies. Should I be ashamed?

When somebody dismisses my choices, saying I'm wasting my time with all this, there still is a little voice in my head thinking that he might be right.

Should I do something else? Be somebody else? Am I a young idealist that still hasn't grown out of it? (I'm 27, will I change?)

and most importantly - am I alone with my point of view on life?

Did anyone ever insulted you, laughed at you for sewing and DIYing?  How should I react if/when it happens again?


Monday, May 18, 2015

Me Made May - a celebration of me-mades (?)

I am one of these people who anticipate May since March. For the past few years May was a month for celebrating all the self made garments and reflecting on the sewing process in the year that passed. May is also the month during which blogs discuss broader aspects of sewing rather than publishing only posts with new finished projects. So this year I anticipated reading and watching pictures capturing the dynamic aspects of clothes and how they work in real-life, outside the "finished garment" posts. I anticipated reading posts about the successes and failures in sewing, and how these experiences affect the "to-sew" lists. 

I was a bit disappointing reading that many of the big bloggers decided to ditch this experience. I know the sewing community develops over time and it is true that many of us wear our me-mades on a daily basis anyway. But circumscribing me-mades to finished-garment posts takes the point out of making and writing about our sewing, and makes sewing similar to RTW where the only job a garment has is to look good and picture-ready.

The lack of documentation in MMM15 reflects a bigger change in sewing blogs over the past two years - the easier patterns are to sew, and the greater frequency with which patterns are released makes sewing more like fast fashion. Maddie posted her take on that exactly one yer ago, during May. This change is also apparent in the photo shoots presenting finished garments - sewing photography becomes as important as sewing itself. Much like in RTW.

The growing sewing community is amazing, and it is because of these changes that we are able to sew most of our clothes. The quality and detailed information that comes with the new patterns helps us all conquer sewing garments we would otherwise skip such as jeans. But these changes could also make us less aware of the actual job our me-mades have in the real world, which is to be comfortable and pretty outside the settings of the photo-shoots and blog posts.

I wish that while the community continues to grow and new patterns are released, we will remember to reflect on the process more often and continue the discussion over garments long after they were first photographed.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Me Made May 2015 - 2nd week

Hi all!

I was better at documenting my outfits this week, and since I like reading round up posts I thought I'll contribute with my own. I think when all results are shown together trends are starting to emerge from the data. If it works for day-job science it could work for hobby-science as well, so here we go:

 I made the above top a week ago, the sleeves are sewn front-to-back but I don't really mind. This is a Scout tee from grainline studio, but I altered the side seams for a more fitted silhouette. I also did a small-bust-adjustment, this pattern is drafted for a B cup and I'm AA so it was necessary. Since I'm as flat as a board I have no trouble putting it on, even in a woven fabric. worn here with my worn-out RTW  jeans and fitflops. From the mess behind me it appears it was either early in the morning or late at night. The past week was busy and passed real fast, especially since I was still tired from the work-trip the week before. 

 Above is my self-drafted striped tshirt, worn last Thursday. It was still cold so I wore an RTW jacket (that I bought 11 years ago in GAP during my first visit to NYC) and black RTW loose fitting jeans (bought 6 years ago in Old Navy, NYC). 

It was my first attempt with a long-sleeved variation of the pattern. The sleeves are a bit wide but I like the fabric so I wear it a lot. 

Friday, another Scout tee in viscose and the same RTW black jeans. All seams are french seams as I always do with wovens, but since the fabric on this one is a bit sheer I also faced all hems with self bias binding (sleeve hems included). I think I'll continue with faced hems on wovens, it's nice that the pattern is very simple but I can play with the details and finishes. 

Saturday, another Scout tee and blue Ultimate Trousers. I wore the pants before hemming to check the fit and at the end of the day lowered the front waistline in about an inch, as I felt as if it was cutting my circulation when I sat. The fabric has NO give and I'm used to more ease in my clothes so it's a change. I can't do a split in those pants... but apparently I can easily climb a ladder as evidenced by our successful mulberries picking day. I'll save the splits for another pair of pants.

I'm still experimenting with the pattern and I have a way to go, but this is a (heavily) modified size 10. I narrowed the side seams to size 8 and then shaved the side curves off. I always thought I was a pear shape but I guess I'm not. I also used a smaller seam allowance at the side seams at the waist, but took a wedge off the center back. I'm happy with the fit of those, but would like to have a more flared leg opening on my next version. Also this pair has an exposed metal zipper instead of the recommended hidden zipper. 

Sunday, at the ugly lab environment. (Work week in Israel is Sunday-Thursday, don't mistake me for a workaholic). 

My self drafted knit top, the same pattern used for the striped tshirt from Thursday, crop variation. One of my favorite garments, worn over an RTW black tank and RTW jeans. This crop top was one of my first makes on the overlocker about a year ago, and I wish I had more of this fabric so I could make a longer version as well. The fabric is so soft and easy to wear on hot summer days, and to my eyes the shibori looks like clouds, making me feel free and energetic. 

5 minutes after arriving home this is what I looked like:

 I didn't forget the lounge wear part of my pledge. I change clothes the minute I get back home, this time I jumped into my red fleece pants. I like them a lot and wear them during the winter all the time, but it's 27 degrees today, I should have an alternative for summer!

From this documentation it's very clear that I have a preference to loose fitting garments irrespective of the temperature. Skinny jeans are around for a few years now, but I only care for loose fitting "boyfriend" type silhouettes. I know there's a rule saying that if you wear wide pants you should wear tight top, but as evidenced by my (crappy) selfies I ignore it. I like to move a lot and I hate anything that restricts my movements so I'll try to focus on looser pants from now on. The Ultimates could be a good path to follow, maybe I can add a back yoke and draft my way towards a proper jeans variation without the negative ease (they are drafted with 1" of ease, which is the minimal amount for me to feel good in my clothes). 

Another conclusion is that I should focus my fabric quests on lounge wear material, to be used with the "go-to knit pants" I already tried. 

This Me-Made-May proves very effective! I hope you are all enjoying this month as well,


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Are you ashamed with your RTW purchases?

Hi all!

I'm 75% done with my KonMary project. I gave away so many things that I'm lacking some essentials at this point. I started organizing and tiding my stuff more than a month ago, but the process is still on-going as I keep giving away items I don't like anymore, never liked (but got as presents), or simply getting rid of things that are too worn/used to hold on to.

As I'm letting go of things, I understand I need to replace some essential garments. For instance my winter coat has seen better days (also I always hated it, got it from my sister and never enjoyed wearing it) and in the past two winters didn't fight the rain as it should. I gave it away, but had to buy a new one. The same goes with "formal shoes" (my previous pair was lost by the airline company) and the list goes on.

The list actually goes on longer than I anticipated. I started writing down all the items I need to replace/ make/ buy, and am slowly working my way through it. However I'm surprised by how ashamed I feel whenever I need/ want to purchase an item of clothing. From the moment I write it down to the moment I actually buy it a year can pass. That's a regular for me, But at this moment some things should not be postponed anymore. Summer is just around the corner and the number of simple tees I have for walking/ lounging can't last even a week.

are you always trying to justify purchases? trying to avoid them? feeling ashamed with your material needs?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Me-Made-May 2015 - My pledge!

Hi all!

I know may has started two days ago, but I couldn't decide on the right words for this year's pledge. Last year I went with the regular pledge of "one me-made-a-day" but I find I wear my everyday me-mades anyway, and I don't particularly mind wearing all RTW for a day, if it fits me and my schedule. Since I have older RTW that I still like, I don't see much point in retiring them for a month just for the sake of wearing solely me-made fashion.

Thinking about my wardrobe for the past few weeks proved that the areas in which I'm lacking enough options (at least options that are legit to step out of the house in) are lounge wear and "walking wear". I tend to go on long walks to clear my mind, and I don't like wearing running clothes while I walk. I still haven't found the best "walking outfit" but given I threw out most of my old ratty tshirts during my KonMary journey, I do need to invest more energy and sewing time in finding the best option. Currently I thing the go-to knit pants show some promise, but luckily I have May to help me empirically test them!

So my official pledge:

 'I, Roni Arbel of Wardrobe Histology, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear a me-made lounge garment at least twice a week for the duration of may. Additionally I will wear at least 1 me-made garment 5 days a week for the duration of May 2015.   

As may has already started, I'm leaving you with a dirty-mirror selfie of my newest Strathcona, which I love despite the obvious plaid-fail, worn over a Scout tee (I tried to match the plaid over the shoulder seams and forgot about everything else. Also the back of it is in a completely different fabric because I ran out of plaid. I should call it "The Stratchona of All Mistakes").

Can you tell I like it? Also, I'm flying tonight to a conference, once I'm back I'll share my (me-made) traveling wardrobe. I hope I made the right choices!