Learn. Choose. Change.

I pledge to learn the true cost, to people and the planet, of what I eat, wear, drive, use and do every day. I choose to consume justly and to increasingly change my habits.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Just Sew: Alice in Wonderland Collection

Earlier this summer I agreed to be the featured artist for our local textile collective's First Friday show in October.  Since then I unexpectedly took a full time job at my kids' school which included hours and hours of commuting and training off-island.  Nevertheless(!!!) I was able to deliver my collection in time for the show.  Each look was inspired by a character from Alice in Wonderland.  Each look also did double duty as a sew-a-long entry for Project Run and Play.  Thankfully, I worked two weeks ahead of PR&P's schedule to finish in time for First Friday.  If I hadn't, I would have once again been unable to submit entries for the last two weeks as my life went into super-crazy mode (now I'm just in kinda' crazy mode).
 The photo shoot was hastily done on the one evening my models and I were all available the week of the show between school and sunset.  Even then, our little Cheshire Cat would only crawl (like a kitty, of course!) and had to be photographed separately, anyway.

My son can't wait to wear the t-shirt and blazer to school.  Meanwhile, his younger sister claimed the mini top hat. 

My favorite shot from that evening.  The sunflowers are so tall it reminded me of Alice being in the garden with the talking flowers.
The collection on display inside the textile collective.  The available space was smaller than I thought and I only put out a tiny portion of my personal Alice collection of books and other items. 
Although I did not put some finishing details on two of the looks and cut one out entirely (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum)  I am so pleased I was able to complete what I did, both for the First Friday show and for Project Run and Play.  I tried some new techniques and feel I have become a stronger sewer in just two months.  I am grateful for both opportunities and look forward to the next challenge around the bend.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just Watch: SNL TechTalk iPhone 5

Every once in a while the American public is made aware of the millions of people who make our stuff.  Usually it is through disturbing news like the suicides at Foxconn or the rioting in South Africa.  Last weekend Saturday Night Live managed to put the workers in the spotlight and provided a little perspective when it comes to our expectations regarding new gadgets versus the reality of the workers' lives.  And although we laugh at the sketch, it still puts this topic in the mainstream consciousness.  Hopefully, some people will think twice and do their research once they're done chuckling.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Just Use: Remnant Fabric

As Project Run and Play draws to a close this month and my Alice in Wonderland collection goes on display tomorrow night, it is time to turn my attention to some sewing projects around the house.  We have been in our home for a little over a year, and although we accomplished some pretty major renovations (knocking out two walls, new flooring, building a peninsula in the kitchen) my husband and I are both feeling inspired to get back at it again.  This winter we hope to finish painting, tile the backsplash, install countertops, and paint the kitchen cabinets.  We have also determined our north facing windows need window treatments after all.  It has been tempting to leave all of our windows exposed to keep an illusion of openness despite the small square footage of our house, but we need a little more privacy and a way to block some neighboring light sources on this side of the house.

In order to keep the lines as clean as possible I am making Roman shades.  Normally, I would have checked at the Pacific Fabrics Outlet on 4th in Seattle for any great deals on remnant decorator fabrics.  Unfortunately, they switched this store to a regular retail location earlier this year and I am not sure where their remnants end up now.

So, I have been researching sites dealing specifically in remnants online.  The two I am most excited about are Modern Fabrics and Warehouse Fabric, Inc.  Both have a pretty wide selection of home decorator fabrics that you can buy in yardage (as opposed to precut one-yard samples).  Also, both are reputable and carry recognizable lines of fabric.  Initially, I looked on ebay, but it was difficult to wade through the choices and none of the sellers instilled confidence in case I did not like my purchase.  I find it intimidating to buy fabric or other textiles online without having seen them in person first.  The color might be off and the weight or texture might not work with your project.  Warehouse has a blanket 30 day return policy and Modern considers returns on a case by case basis.

Although the majority of textile waste comes from the garment industry, it certainly exists in every area that produces fabric.  Both sites are run by married couples, and James and Ewa at Modern Fabrics are very pointed about the environmental impact you can make by choosing to use remnants.  If all goes according to plan, I should be posting soon about my purchase and my finished shades.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just Sew: Boy's Week

With two girls and one boy, I definitely find myself more inspired and motivated to sew for my daughters.  Boys clothes do seem more technical to me and it is hard to make them look cool and not too cutesy and homemade.  Project Run and Play usually incorporates a boy's look challenge into their seasons and this is it.  This week I went with a pretty simple look, dyeing the sweatshirt blazer I made for the Fashion Icon challenge purple and adding some wide "piping" (made from a black t-shirt) for the trim.  My favorite way to dress up a boy is to put him in a t-shirt with a tie applique (using my easy applique techniques found here).  Although these two items will pull double duty this month as the Mad Hatter look for my Alice in Wonderland collection, my son has already asked if he can wear them to school when the show is over at the textile collective (success!).

Originally, I had ambitiously planned a Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum look for Boy's Week which included turning sweatpants into tailored, but comfy pinstriped shorts.  However, that was before I took a full-time job at our local elementary school and had to frantically sew during my "spare time" on the weekends.  I do still want to try it, but will probably wait until shorts weather makes its appearance in the Pacific Northwest again, which, realistically is July 2013.

After being met with such enthusiasm for this outfit by my son (don't let the goofy facial expressions fool you) I would like to try something else.  I look forward to being inspired by the designers and other sew-alongers this week.  What's your favorite sewing project for a boy?