12/31/08

And a year passes...

It's been 2 years since that fateful day that the idea, of the Used Couture challenge, came to me. And a year since I thought I was through with it. I often find myself in awe of how much time has passed. Where did it all go! I don't know! I guess, it would probably be better for my health of I didn't think about it to much. I never realized that this is what it would do to me! Sometimes I hate it, but mostly I'm terribly in love with it.

Some things have changed drastically, others haven't at all.

I still don't like buying "new" clothing. For that matter, I don't even feel comfortable buying clothes from thrift stores, that resemble items one might find at the mall. I don't want to dress like everyone else! I know that it is probably impossible to be the one and only, since there is a ton of people around, but I would prefer to not meet one. Few and far between is the way I like it. If I don't have a unique and individual style, then it would probably be a good idea to find another calling.

So, I've gotten pickier in regards to what I like. And even if I do like some item, if I didn't design/sew it myself, I feel a lot of contempt towards it. (Vintage items are in their own category, and I don't have any qualms against them) Why would I settle for something designed by someone else (in the last 50 years)? Treason, is the word that comes to mind. I don't want to like what other people make! Though these feelings are probably only a symptom of my insecurities. Do all designers feel like that once in awhile, or is it a sign of failure? Okay, well you might have noticed that I have a lot of self doubt. Which is kinda driving me crazy. You might have noticed that too. : P

There is nothing that can describe the feeling that comes with getting a new design idea. "On top of the world" is the best I could come up with. And I suppose that applies to all crafts. Though sometimes I wonder if these "ideas" I get, are actually just variations of things I have seen in the past that are now floating around in my subconscious. People say that there is nothing new under the sun, so I suppose that this is true.

The main thing I've been into lately is handbags. I suppose a big reason is because they seem simpler to me, and that I don't have to deal with fitting. Any size person, can were any size bag. Not that they should, but they could! And the other factor that plays a part, is that when I walk into a store now-a-days, I find myself hard pressed to find anything that is remotely unique.

I guess that is really the key to this whole mess, I'm not satisfied with the apparel and accessories that are available. So what does a girl do in this kinda predicament?! Well, start making lots of experiments, and follow every single bit of inspiration you get, and if that idea starts to dwindle and taper off, then cut you loses and get on to the next idea. Not every idea is a success. And it's okay to have a ton of unfinished projects, I let mine get me into all kinds of mental pickles. I gotta remember sewing used to be fun, and it's only the silly critical things I say to myself that are making it torture.

12/31/07

For every beginning, there is an end.

Ahh! Just a few more minutes and it'll be over!!! (this required three exclamations) I've gotten so used to saying "No!" to myself, whenever I got the urge to buy something from a regular retail store. You do something for a whole year, and it'll get to be one heck of a habit.

I've got this weird sad feeling, I feel like I'm saying good-bye or something.

Just the other day, Grandma Jenny was commenting on the change in my shopping habits (she's a long time thrift store shopper). I used to hate going to thrift stores, as matter of fact I hated the word "thrift". Though it wasn't always like that either. When I was really little, when my Dad was going to college and we lived in the student family housing, at the rec. office they had a "free box" that my sisters and I loved to dig and crawl through. I also remember, when I was 9 or 10 years old, going to the Salvation Army and looking through the shoes and having no problem with it. But then something happened...Ugh!...I turned 13 and was now a teenager. My priorities got so messed up. I'd somehow gotten the idea, that if I went to, or was even in the parking lot of a thrift store, I was "uncool". I used to give my mom the hardest time about it. "Whew!" sure am glad I got over that. And I hope that when I'm 40 years old, I don't look back and cringe at the ideas I have now! Why do some of the things that I did, or thought, when I was younger, and at the time seemed perfectly reasonable, have to seem so ridiculous now??? Though, I suppose it would be worse, if those things still seemed reasonable......that'd be pretty sad.

And you know, now that it's all over, I'm not sure that I could go back to shopping at the mall or Target, etc. I don't think I could just go to the store and buy a shirt, it would probably bother me to no end that any other girl could walk in and buy that exact same shirt. I don't want to wear what they think is going to sell. That's for anyone who wants to be "in style". Not me, I want to wear what I think is neat or funky, and be making the styles....or....at least....not dressing like everyone else.....Goodness, what did I do to myself?

Though, I do plan, as soon as I can get to town, on buying a pair of jeans. I have only one and my legs get cold in cropped pants and skirts. It's terribly difficult to find a pair that are long enough at the mall, let alone a thrift store. I've lost count of the number of pairs I've tried on, and over this entire year I've only found one that fit! What's a girl to do?! Though I was out somewhere the other day, and I noticed that a very high percentage of the people mulling around were wearing jeans. And I thought "maybe I should just wear skirts", I don't want to look like everyone else! Now, I don't think I'll go that far, but I should think two pairs would be enough.

The challenge may be over, but Used Couture is not. I plan on shopping at thrift stores, altering and making my own clothes as long as I have two hands to do it with.

12/30/07

Green High-waist Skirt w/ Purple Sriped Button-up Shirt

Stripes again! Though these ones are going vertical rather then horizontal : )
I've never found a button-up shirt that's sleeves were as long as my arms are. They're pretty much always a good two inches short. So I roll them up. And you know, I actually like the look of it anyway.
The shirt I picked up at Goodwill. And I think it even had the "sale number" on the tag! Saved a whole $2.00 (shrug).
Though, when you come across them, there is something fun about getting a neat item for a quarter or less, or at least for me. I always imagine that I live a long time ago, and that it's the normal price : ) I know, that sounds kinda weird.
The skirt, I was so pleased to find. I believe it's older, maybe from the '60, in perfect condition, and 100% virgin wool. And that wonderful shade of green, not some dull gray or brown, but green! (of
course, there's nothing wrong with gray or brown, and I would probably even buy it, if it was like this one).

Blue and White Striped Crew-neck Sweater

As I've said before, I love stripes! Especially blue and white ones.
This is another terribly comfortable cotton sweater. I don't care how adorable something might be, if I can't wear it and think of anything other then, I'm wanting to rip this thing off, I just don't wear it. Of course it can go the other way too (comfortable, but every time I look in the mirror I want to...like I said above).
And no holes! At Salvation Army, after I
had tried it on, I checked if over 3 or 4 times to make sure. I liked it so much, I was afraid I might over look some.
Dressing rooms are one of those things that can get on my nerves. Do they think that a person will be comfortable removing their clothing inside there? I suppose they really don't think about it. At some places, I don't even like to put my purse on the floor. Then again sometimes I have to, the door won't lock and so I kinda set it in the way, then if someone tries to come in, they will see the bag and get the idea "oh! someone's in there". I know, that sounds kinda dumb. I did asked my sister to stand guard, but she said, she hadn't had any problem when she'd used it, and she was going to go find the bathroom. And so, the purse was my only defense against intruders.
Outside of those really cold days, when the wind blows right through the looser knit of a sweater, I like them better then sweat-shirts. They've such a nice texture to them. Plus, at thrift store, I don't come across very many sweat-shirts in pretty blue and white stripes : )

12/19/07

Gray and Black Deep-V Top

When I first saw this top, I wasn't sure if I really wanted it. I loved the design, but I was pretty sure the fabric has quite a bit of polyester in it. I was afraid it would kinda feel like wearing a plastic bag. I was at the Free Store when this shirt and I crossed paths, and so it being free, I decided it wouldn't hurt to take it home. And well, I was wearing it around the house yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised, it was actually pretty
comfortable! I did not feel like I was wearing a plastic bag!
Now I don't want to give anyone the wrong idea, in past posts it may sounded like I hated anything but natural fibers, but that's not so, t-shirts that are 50% cotton and 50% polyester are my favorite kinds. Synthetic fibers have there place, as natural ones do.
I love the deep-v neck line, and it has such a nice waistband.
There has been something bothering me about this shirt and I think I just figured it out, the buttons! I will have to see what I can find to replace them with.

Red Hip-Length Sweater

My sister Susan actually said that she liked this sweater! It took me entirely by surprise. Usually I get theses funny grins and shakes of the head. She doesn't like to come right out and tell me....."Sister, you look like a weirdo!" (her style is much more conservative then mine). After she gave me the thumbs up, I had to get it!
I used to not like the color red at all, and now I've really no idea why. It's such a
pumped color, I'm becoming very fond of it.
A person can always have to much of a good thing, but some bright colors mixed with some more neutral ones makes an outfit so much more interesting. Of course my motto is "rules are meant to be broken" so I may contradict myself in the future (but don't mistake rules for laws, and there's not to many of them).
This sweater is made out of ramie and
cotton, which I really like. I'd been wondering what ramie exactly is (I did know it was a plant), so I checked on Wikipedia, and apparently it's native to eastern Asia, and is one of the oldest fiber crops, having been used for at least six thousand years. And now I know.
Anyways back to my lovely sweater, it has two rows of cable stitch going down the front at each shoulder and has a nice long torso
ending just below the hips, which kinda gives it a unique look. The only thing that I'm not entirely happy with...is the buttons, I think I might swap them out some time.
Also a note about natural fibers, I find, that they seem to hold their color a lot better and not get all the little pill things like synthetic fibers sometimes do. Of course both natural and synthetic are susceptible to getting holes. And I would
say that the synthetic fibers are a little more stain resistant.

Navy Blue Skirt w/ Large pockets

I found this skirt on the dress rack at our local goodwill, in its past life it had been a jumper like thing. Now I usually like jumpers, but this one made me look like a dork, so off went the upper half. The only thing that had been holding the two parts together were 3 buttons in the front and back, so removal was quick and painless.
On each side of the skirt there is a large pocket, that I think look pretty funky.
After examining the seams and such, I've come to the conclusion that it was homemade. So I don't know if they meant for the pockets to kinda hang out in the way they do, or if that is why it was at the thrift store. But neither do I really care, because I like it.
The fabric is corduroy with little paisleys all over it. Since it has been so cold, I've been steering completely clear of all skirts made with any light weight woven materials. Wool, denim and corduroy provide so much more protection against the friged wind. Put a pair of long underwear underneath and your ready for anything! Even getting stuck on the side of the road because you smashed up the car on a icy bridge, like I did.

12/18/07

Light Pink Ramie-Cotton Sweater

You know, I just realized that I look nice and warm in that photo.........I wasn't though. It was definitely coat weather. Though the gloves were keeping my hands warm.........or at least the palms of my hands.
I really like the feel of knitted ramie-cotton. Not nearly as itchy as wool can be, or at least this sweater isn't. Super comfortable. I really like the neckline on this sweater,
the short collar that kinda stands up and the all the little buttons going down the front. I also like how there is the two rows of cable stitch down the front and down each arm. I don't know exactly why, but sweaters that have some kind of waist band almost always appeal to me more, verses those with no waist band. The ones without often seem frumpy.
Usually a person might want to avoid wearing colors that are close to there own skin tone, or worse, in my case, something that might be a little more tan then my own skin tone, thus making me look pale-er, and vice-versa. The pink color of this sweater is pretty light, and next to my skin it makes me look a little darker then I might really be. Or at least thats my theory : )
And I might have said this before, but remember to watch for holes, especially in sweaters! Just because it came from a thrift store, doesn't mean I want it to really look like it did. (and that's a whole n'other thing that really gets me*) You would think I'd have learned by now. I must be in to much of a hurry.

*It has always been a mystery to me, why some people send things to a thrift store that really belong in the trash? And on top of that, how the people who price the items can expect to get that same amount for it as some of the other, more worthy, items? I mean who's really going to buy the beat-up "used to be white" gym shoes? Let alone pay $2.00 for them..............Oh well.

11/19/07

Bright Red Flats

These are probably the neatest thing I have ever found at a thrift store! I'd been doubting that I would ever find a pair of shoes that I liked and that actually fit!
I love the bright color. I like how the toe area is real short and how the sides are low. And that thin strap and little buckle are very cute.

Perseverance! That must be the key,

keep checking back and your bound to find something neat.