Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Can't We All Be a Bit More Crafty? And Notes on Anthropologie...

By now I'm sure we all know I've got a terrible addiction to Pinterest, looking at all the pretty pictures of food I want to make (which will be much easier due to the fact that I'm back to reading grocery store labels in English and can get large quantities of cheap basics), and all the pretty shoes and clothes that I would die for.  I'm also looking at everyone posting all these clothing options from places like Anthropologie and others, and I'm asking myself why I would pay $100+ for something that looks like I could make it for $30, tops.  (Also, I look at the clothes, specifically from Anthro, and I've decided that they throw back to the 70's a lot, with much better results in mixing colors and patterns.  Some of their stuff is just garish with no hope of my ever purchasing it.  I'm glad I didn't live my teenage years back then...yikes.)  I'm into DIY, I want to do more "DIY" and the fact that I'm back to a country where I can find craft supplies in more than two aisles of an entire department store makes me very happy.  I also want to sew!!  I was a year and a half without a sewing machine but we are back in the states and I'm sending for mine from home.  Being in super-sunny, humid Florida makes me want to tear into all my up-cycled t-shirt books but I'm not really one for hand-sewing, especially when there's a lot of it to be done.  So I'm planning on projects!  
I also ran across this website where this gal posts pictures luxurious (and luxuriously priced) celebrity outfits and where to shop to "find the look for less" touted for those of us who are "on a budget."  We should ALL be on a budget when it comes to most clothing.  I'll admit key pieces, like my anniversary boots, wonderfully hand-made in Italian leather, are worth the price tag.  But two pieces of fabric, sheer and liner, pieced into a short cocktail dress?  There's no reason it should cost your rent payment. This also makes me wonder if we're too dependent on celebrities to tell us what to wear because personally, some of the shouldn't be wearing the things they're wearing.  Hmmmm...this may be another topic for another topic for another blog post....Hmmm, indeed.
Point being, if I know I can make a top for $20 that I could otherwise buy for $90, why aren't more people realizing it and doing it themselves?  If it's a very basic-style garment, which most of these are, the patterns for them can be found everywhere online by people who have graciously posted them along with their tips to a better sewing experience, or of course, in a sewing store where they sell them and you can keep going back to you what know will end up in your size.  I know not everyone has a sewing machine, but everyone at least has someone in their family who might have one, or might be willing to teach you how to sew.  Sewing used to be a very important skill back in the 1600's and 1700's when we didn't have this lovely thing called electricity and so it was all done by hand until the treadle sewing machine came along.  With the advances we've made in technology, making a sewing machine do a perfect straight stitch and all, and all the "Activities for Dummies" volumes out there, what used to take all day can be done in 2 hours or less. Why are we willing to let ourselves spend money for one garment that we could instead spend to make 3 or 4 from larger garments, swaths of fabric, treasure linens from second-hand stores in the form of old sheets and tablecloths?  (I know, I know, it's all very old draperies ala The Sound of Music, but it's very, very do-able!)  
If making a garment more fashionable (to whoever's idea of fashion) only takes adding a sheer or lacy overlay, raising the hem or lowering the neckline, why aren't we all attempting to do it on our own, with or without some book or mentor-given  guidance?  In the future, if we need to cut some pants into shorts capris because we've worn out the hems, it'll be that much easier to do and you'll still have a pair of pants that you bought because they fit you so perfectly in the hips and the waist and hopefully, your ass isn't falling out of them.  (Side note: Pet peeve, ladies and gentlemen.  Please, don't wear slightly baggy lycra-denim pants and then a thong so that we can all see multiple inches of butt when you bend down or over to pick something up.  Or merely sit in a chair.  Not being able to see butt crack is worse only next to seeing most of your bare butt in the first place.)  
Back to my point!  It's really not that hard, and you can make the garment you want, in the color or print you want, in the exact size you need, and you're not laying down extra green in order to do so.  (Unless you go out and purchase a sewing machine for yourself, in which case it will eventually pay for itself.  You don't need a fancy one with a digital interface with a billion different types of stitches.  A basic one with everything you really need will run you less than $150.)  
So get out there, ladies! DIY! Don't spend all your money on something that you really could do yourself, and pick up a valuable skill while you're at it.
Happy Fashioning-for-Less!

Allie H.

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