Seasonal shuffle

Weekend before last was warm and in a burst of spring enthusiasm, I packed away my thermals and bulky jumpers, thinking we won't be needing these until next year. Sometimes I do the shuffle way too early, and get caught out, but not this year. I'm already wearing sandals or thongs (as in footwear) most days. I like to stretch the sandal wearing season as long as I possibly can. Grace is also casting off her shoes at every opportunity, although this may have more to do with learning that she can, than the weather. I have unpacked the first lot of summer clothes, just a few short sleeved shirts and t-shirts. This t-shirt is on high rotation for round home wear and was my first ever attempt to refashion a t-shirt beyond sewing a coloured patch onto it.

Yes, I realise it is not the best photo of the t-shirt but although I'm quite drawn for some reason to wearing it, it's a little small for my taste and not all that flattering (wear unflattering t-shirt in public and be seen by hundreds, no problem. Post unflattering photo on blog ... well). But I love the colour and the way I cut all the banding off, did some gathers and just let the edges roll. A very significant letting go for someone who insists on sewing flat felled seams and straight edges when the rest of the world is going all frayed and asymmetrical. I'm trying to loosen up a little.

Summer wardrobe planning has begun. Each season, I make just a couple of things from my list, way less than I'd like. However I'm learning that if I don't rush and if I make garments as well as I can, I'll love them for many years. My wish list is always long but my wardrobe (as in where my clothes hang) is small and shared. I like it best when it isn't too cramped and everything in it is something I like both in terms of comfort and my own peculiar sense of style. I went to town the other week and out of habit went to look in the big lady section of Myer (department store in Melbourne). Usually, I would buy a couple of t-shirts and every now and then some other item. But this time, I looked at them and thought, blegh, I could make some out of material I already have, in better colours. I didn't even bother looking in any of the other big lady places I used to frequent because I know that even though there will be garments in my size, none will fit properly, or be the sort of clothing that I could be friends with for seasons on end.

I think I've taken the wardrobe refashion pledge more to heart than I ever thought I would. Although I've been making and remaking one way or another since high school, there is something about not buying new mass produced clothes that is really working for me. Until this winter, I have bought most of my t-shirts, shirts, knitwear and hoodies. (Except for when I was pregnant because as we all know, big women don't get knocked up. Or they get pregnant and wear doona covers or somesuch. Pregnancy forced me to make or alter nearly everything I wore and I loved my pregnancy wardrobe, bigtime.) Anyway, what I used to buy were all those top half garments that I could easily buy to fit. Pants I gave up on ages ago and just learnt to make. Same with summer dresses. Skirts I made because they are so easy. So after six months of no shopping for new clothes at all, just looking through Myer made me realise that I have come to expect more.

However, it's not really practical for me to make absolutely everything I wear, so I commissioned my sister Betty to make me two pairs of pants and a new black wool wrap top. I love the top she gave me after Grace was born and it's starting to show. I'll keep it for round the house and the new one for work etc. I don't think she charged me quite what she charges everyone else but even so it is worth paying a bit extra, I figure, to get something that fits well and that I will happily wear for several years. I'm still wearing the jeans she made me before we went to Uluru in 2004 (see below). They are well faded and worn in but probably have another two years in them, at least. My new trousers need to be worn in a bit but they are fabulous, and because I was clever and asked for black denim and green denim like material, I can wear them to work. (Dress code: anything but blue denim, rubber thongs or t-shirts with words).

So now that I am spending better and less on clothes, I have more to spend on shoes. I am way past wearing anything that isn't ultra comfortable and often find myself buying men's shoes. If they don't make the grade, I pass them over to G, who wears them until they are unfit even for the opshop. I bought these on impulse, so I don't have to wear my horrible black runners as often.

They are probably the lightest coloured shoes I have had since the eighties. G keeps asking when he can start wearing his new "cats". But they are very comfortable on. I also have my eye on some modern mary-jane slash runner hybrid type shoes in a rather startling bright green, if they come in my size, that is.


Rachel said...

I stopped by this morning to tell you I am book tagging you. Stop by my site to get the info if you want to write about books you love.
I've been shopping for a new fall wardrobe. Prompted mostly by vacation plans. I'm gravitating towards plums and browns. hope to post on my new goodies soon. I just finished a beginners sewing class and now that I have the most comfortable pair of pajama pants ever and they were made by me, I am hooked. I've gone mad and want to sew everything I wear. Especially the pants.
Happy summer to you!

sooz said...

Great post! I so agree on the disappointment of clothes shopping. Once you have made great stuff you realise how crap most of the store bought stuff is. Can't wait to see the stuff Betty has made for you!

Penni said...

I am so with you. Viva la wardrobe refashion. Just before I began I went on this soul destroying search for something nice to wear to an award's ceremony...something that would suit my new unfamiliar body, changed so radically by pregnancy that I couldn't imagine anymore what things would look like on me. Changerooms are horrendous, poorly lit, all the clothes were made for 13 year old boys with no boobs, hips or bellies...I ended up buying something nice but hideously expensive from Lupa in Westgarth, but at the time I looked at most of the stuff in there and thought I could almost make something like this. Wardrobe refashion has at least forced me to think outside the box and to revisit clothes I have and think about them in a new way. I now skip blythely past stores I always went into (Cotton On mainly) and spent money at the beginning of every season on things that literally fall apart by the end of the season. I'm planning on extending my pledge (for me anyway, maybe not for the girls - cheap t-shirts for them from K-Mart or the Ticklish factory outlet sometimes sing siren songs to me, but we'll see) until the end of the year, I think Martin will too.
Your sister is called Betty? I LOVE that name! It's so cool in a retro chic librarian kind of way.

Emily said...

I am so jealous. Of course, as you take out your summer wardrobe, I am getting ready to pack mine away.