The Endless Summer Wardrobe

Hello! I have been a bit radio silent here, haven’t I? We ran away to San Francisco. We never wanted to come back. Cool breezes, fog, rain. Novel! We came home fully relaxed, only to spend the next week packing boxes. Argh, moving. It was exciting at first–a bigger house to live in while we do some major upgrades to our teensy but beloved old craftsman home. Then a week of I-can’t-find-my-freaking *insert essential daily item* craziness. We only moved a few blocks away but still totally discombobulating.

While Austin’s weather is still hovering in the 100s, this week finally brought in some cooler days that don’t feel like they are hijacking our sanity. I’m not sure if it ever plans on raining here again. I’m counting five months without a drop.

I’ve been chipping away at my multi-pattern project when I’ve had space or time to sew. At last I’ve arrived at the stage where all my garments are ready to be assembled at the machine!

If you’re just arriving here, I’ve been working on eight patterns at once as an organizational strategy. I wanted to try a bit of an assembly-line style of garment-making. Most of these patterns are summer clothes and I’d hoped to be done just a wee bit sooner but obviously in our current state of weather, they’ll still get some wear.

Along the way I was heartened by Robin’s guest entry at Gertie’s blog. She wrote that organizing the same stages of tasks together builds motor skills. Things I did like adding seam allowances to every pattern at the same time, cutting a ton of fabric for four days, and fusing all the fabric at the same time definitely resulted in more muscle memory and speed, and less second-guessing of what I was doing. I know these patterns so well I think I could sew them backwards in my head.

I was quite proud of myself when I was able to bundle each cut project with all its requisite notions. One of the things that tends to get me backed up in projects is that I forget I need buttons or run out of thread and then have to wait for the mail or trudge to Joann’s.

Of course, since my process of preparing all these garments was taking so long and I am desperate for a summer wardrobe refresher, I shoved everything aside to sew up an instant gratification dress. You can see the dress on the floor in the above photo… I’m just waiting for (didn’t I just say this backs me up?) the right size elastic to finish it. Here’s another sneak peak:

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All Kinds of Insanity

Way back in the 90s, you used to be able to find deadstock 70s clothes for next to nothing–denim, leather, all kinds of craziness. My friends and I frequented this big dingy warehouse of vintage gold in downtown Cincinnati. (Can’t remember the name, but I suspect it has been run off by the new art district gentrication since then.) We’d bring out-of-towners to witness the platforms: rows and rows of the clowniest patchwork 6-inch-high things, still with the tags on.

Sort of like these Jeffrey Campbell boots.

I confess to thinking at first, what total shoe insanity.

Dorothy finds her way home insanity.

Renaissance fair insanity.

My Pretty Pony insanity.

Let’s not leave out Colorado fashion insanity.

They come in at least 50 flavors. It was only after seeing them in person at Nordstrom today that I kinda fell for the insanity. Jeffrey Campbell shoes always looked a bit cheap to me, but the varieties I saw were lovely melty-soft suede.

And yet this little shoe crush bought up an issue I’ve been mulling as of late. Apparently they seem to be marketed as something of a “cult item”–have them in every color! sort of thing. I have a knee-jerk reaction to cult fashion. I know too well the insanity of women pushing each other to get at a particular sale item with Where The Wild Things Are googly eyes. Just today in Zara, a woman in this zombified state pushed me over a pair of rather boring olive rayon pants, and I almost pulled a “Detroit” on her. Just ask my husband what that means.

The one site that seems to sell the most of these boots even includes in their description of the shoe, “Get ready to fight it out, girls. It’s gonna get ugly in here!” I don’t like businesses that encourage manic-woman trampling, physical or virtual.

When it comes to something faddish, no matter how expensive or cheap, I often ask myself: did you like it before you found out how popular it was? (In this case, yes.) Nothing wrong with the influence of others, but hype is another thing–it tends to trample true desire. Then I ask myself an economical question: if these were $10, would you like them more or less? If they were $500 would you like them more or less? Both sides of the coin–perceived economy or luxury–are tricky values.

Still, I’m not yet over the lace-up platform bootie thing. I fell for it last year and bought two pairs of black lace-ups with the full intention of returning the pair I liked least. A highly unrecommended shopping practice if you are a shoe fanatic.

[Credit: patchwork, dorothy, renaissance, pretty pony, Colorado, colorblock)

oh and p.s. I know I’ve been lax in sewing posts. I made quite a bit of headway on my multi-pattern project before our much-needed holiday. I promise, I have some garments to show soon!

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