Tag Archives: fashion

Slow Fashion Revolution // Part 3 of 3

To some, Slow Fashion might look like just another trendy gimmick to market to consumers; indeed, there are companies who, quite predictably, use the “green” label to persuade people to buy items that may not, in reality, be all that green.  And yes, ethical, sustainable, and artisan brands of clothing typically do cost the consumer more than their fast fashion counterparts.  HOWEVER— exclusively buying from sustainable brands is just one method to a sustainable closet.  With the right knowledge, you can still build a slow wardrobe and even save money by doing so.  In fact, as mentioned previously, thrifting or swapping, which is probably the cheapest way of getting clothes, is also the best way to keep things truly green.

Everyone can create a more sustainable wardrobe without spending a fortune.  Just remember that big changes start out small.  These are some key practices to keep in mind:

  • Choose wisely, and stick with the classics.  Classic items won’t look dated in a couple seasons, but trendy items probably will.  Ask yourself…will I be tired of wearing this in a year?  If the answer is yes, just say no!  Also, look for pieces that are versatile and will mix well with several other items in your wardrobe.  If you find yourself in a situation where you really just can’t buy ethical, or find the otherwise perfect item that happens to be less than eco-friendly, yet absolutely love it, it’s still not a total loss if you can see yourself wearing it for the next five or ten years! (This is an interesting read on building a capsule wardrobe: The Sustainable Wardrobe Part 1.)
  • Learn to sew (or knit, crochet, weave…)  No, you don’t have to be able to make your own tailored suits (though that’s an admirable goal!) But do learn to make minor repairs: sewing on buttons, repairing holes, hemming pants and skirts.  This will save your money and your clothing.  Learning to create garments will also give you a greater appreciation for the process, and help you know what to look for when choosing clothes off the rack.  While you can find lots of books, videos, and online sources that will teach you these skills, having a real life, in-person teacher will give you an advantage because you can ask questions, and they can see how you progress.  Check out local recreation centers for classes, or ask around at fabric or sewing machine stores; these places can usually point you in the right direction.
  • Choose quality fabrics. As a general rule, pick natural fibers over synthetics.
    • Great natural fabrics include cotton (organic if possible), wool, silk, linen, and hemp.  Rayon and acetate are “semi-synthetic” fibers; they’re actually derived from wood pulp, but require a chemical process to synthesize the strands. I’ve recently started a Slow Fashion Resources directory, which you can view here; in addition to educational resources, there is a small list of shops where you can find sustainable fabrics.
    • Synthetic fabrics to avoid are polyester and acrylic.  When these materials, which are basically plastic, are washed, microfibers make their way into our water supply, as illustrated here:
    •  However, that being said, there are times when you may find exceptions to these rules, as illustrated by My Green Closet in this video:
  • Ask, Who Made My Clothes?  —This one is tricky.  There is very little transparency in the fashion industry and much has been written about the long journey that a garment makes before it reaches you, passing through so many factories and so many hands.  Fashion Revolution is a non-profit dedicated to promoting transparency in fashion industry, and thereby overcoming the appalling conditions that most garment workers currently endure.  You can learn about Fashion Revolution and how to get involved here.

On May 5th, I will be at Tissu Sewing Studio in Wichita, KS, from 11am to 3pm to celebrate Slow Fashion!  If you’re in the area, I’d like to invite you to this free, fun, educational event.  There will be sewing demos, hands-on projects, a clothing swap, handcrafted snacks, shopping, and more!  Tissu is located in Clifton Square, at 3700 E Douglas, Suite 59, Wichita, KS 67208.

You can view more event details and stay updated here.

This is the conclusion to my three part series on slow fashion; (if you haven’t already, check out part 1 and part 2 here..)

Slow Fashion Revolution // Part 2 of 3

After exploring the definition of slow fashion in Monday’s post, let’s take a closer look at its three elements that I mentioned:  care, quality, and cultivation.

First, let’s talk about Cultivation (or, if you prefer, curation.)  This refers to the way you build your wardrobe.  How are you obtaining your clothes–are you buying new, hitting up the thrift shops, swapping with friends, or creating your own?

Thrifting or swapping is often seen as the most responsible, eco-friendly way to get “new” clothes.  These clothes have already been purchased (or made), but are no longer wanted by their original wearers.  Passing them onto someone else keeps them from the landfill.  But whether you’re thrifting; buying new; or planning to sew, weave, crochet, or knit your own; you’ll want to think about quality.

Quality refers to the materials used, the way the garment is constructed, and even the design or style.  (Is it something trendy that’ll grow stale quickly, or a classic you can wear for years to come?)  Are the materials used natural, like cotton, wool, linen, hemp?  Or are they derived from petroleum?  Plastic microfibers, like those from polyester, can cause big trouble.  

Another important aspect of quality to think about refers to the life and working conditions of the people who make your clothes (this is relevant mostly to those who are buying new items.)  Are they paid fairly?  Are they working in safe factories?  The answer is often a resounding “NO,” but transparency in the fashion industry is so infamously non-existent that it’s difficult to know exactly what is going on.  Organizations like Fashion Revolution are investigating so that we can be better informed about the choices we make and brands we support, but there is still a long way to go.

Care is fairly self-explanatory, but certainly worth mentioning: how do you treat the garments you have?  This includes wearing, washing, storing, mending.  Are you washing your clothes in the recommended way?  Are you keeping the moths from getting to your wool sweaters?  When a button pops off or a seam begins to fray, what do you do?  A little sewing know-how can go a long way!

If you get a chance, glance through your wardrobe tonight.  If you’re like many, you’ll find a full closet but nothing to wear.  Think about what pieces you love and wear often.  Are there certain characteristics common to those garments?  Now look at the pieces you bought and wore once, or maybe haven’t worn at all.   What is it that you don’t like about those pieces you aren’t wearing?  Think about what gaps need to be filled in, and what you might pass on to others.

Later in the week, I’ll conclude this series with part 3, in which I’ll explain in more detail how to implement these concepts, share some of my favorite resources, and talk about how you can get involved in the slow revolution.

Slow Fashion Revolution // Part 1 of 3

The Slow Fashion movement is gaining momentum.  But what exactly is it?

Here’s an apt description from slow fashion brand Study NY:

Slow fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. Slow fashion encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste.

Just as the Slow Food movement is seen as a solution to fast food, the Slow Fashion is, similarly, a solution to fast fashion, which the brand Not Just a Label explains this way:

[Fast fashion] relies on globalised, mass production where garments are transformed from the design stage to the retail floor in only a few weeks. With retailers selling the latest fashion trends at very low prices, consumers are easily swayed to purchase more than they need. But this overconsumption comes with a hidden price tag, and it is the environment and workers in the supply chain that pay. […] this industry is constantly contributing to the depletion of fossil fuels, used, for example, in textile & garment production and transportation. Fresh water reservoirs are also being increasingly diminished for cotton crop irrigation. The fashion industry is also introducing, in a systematic way and in ever-greater amounts, manmade compounds such as pesticides and synthetic fibres, which increase their persistent presence in nature.

Fast fashion is viewed as disposable, it hurts people, and it damages the environment.  It is ever-changing but steadily entering landfills, and at an alarming rate.  In fact, is is estimated that 13.1 million tons of textiles are thrown away each year, and that only 15% of this is recovered for reuse or recycling.

Slow fashion, on the other hand, challenges us to think about where our clothes come from and where they’re heading.  It urges us to use better (natural) materials, take care of what we already have, and reuse whatever we can.

I believe there are three essential elements of slow fashion: care, quality, and cultivation.  Because of the nature of slow fashion, the care it takes to create a new “slow fashion” garment, it can be seen as expensive and something only for the privileged.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way; with a little bit of knowledge, everyone can nurture a healthier wardrobe, no matter their budget.

Over the next week I’ll be posting parts 2 and 3 of this series, where we’ll explore these concepts and learn how to put them into action.

Until then, stay slow, my friends!!
xo

 

Stay Cozy Tees: Giveaway!!

Happy Monday!  Guess what time it is?   Yep…GIVEAWAY TIME!

I am sooo excited to be hosting this giveaway for Stay Cozy Tees.  The owner, Christin, is a Wichita maker who creates adorable, handprinted t-shirts.  Christin believes each person has something valuable and unique to offer, and her super sweet designs are all about inspiring the confidence to be who you are.

So, let’s get down to brass tacks!  The prize: one fabulous Stay Cozy Tee of your choice.  This giveaway will be held across several platforms; you can either enter here on the blog, on facebook, or instagram.  The giveaway will run through Easter Sunday, April 1, and then one winner will be randomly drawn.  The winner will be contacted and once we have their sizing info and address, Christin will print their shirt and have it sent to its loving new owner!

To play:

1. Visit staycozytees.etsy.com and have a look around (and don’t forget to favorite her shop!)

2. Come back here (or find the facebook or instagram post) and comment with your favorite tee.

3.  Share with your friends while you’re patiently waiting for a winner to be drawn!

Good luck!

 

Favorite Fabrics: The Feedsack Dress

There is something so appealing to me about the feedsack dress.  Though sometimes viewed as a symbol of the necessary frugality (or, poverty,) of the Depression era, it was also a way to “[give] rural women a sense of fashion.”  I’d love to see this type of practical reuse come back (though granted, less people are living in rural settings and don’t usually find themselves purchasing large bags of feed…)

I know “the good old days” were not always a fairy tale, but you have to admit this aspect of past times is pretty dreamy.  And aside from the upcycling aspect, the prints were so fun and cheerful!

Yellow tiered feedsack dress from Dreem Co, $165
’30s feedsack dress from Vintage Clothing and Co, $114.99
1940s Dress from Carla and Carla, $145

When searching for examples, I even found this children’s play costume of Cleopatra!

Vintage feedsack from Maudelynn, $98

Of course, these colorful fabrics were also utilized for crafting quilts and other items that were useful around the house…

Yo-yo Twin Size Quilt from Upswing Vintage, $225
Floral Feedsack Apron from Hatfeathers Vintage, $32.49

Craftsy has a lovely post about feedsack quilting that talks a bit more about feedsack fabric, which you can read here.

Breton / French Sailor Top! (Free Sewing Pattern.)

{This pattern was originally published July 2016 on my now defunct blog, Prairiesque.}

I’ve been wanting to make my own striped blouse/Breton top/French sailor shirt for a long time.   I had made the pattern, but it was surprisingly difficult to find just the right fabric.  I finally found a great fabric at Needle Nook Fabrics here in Wichita.  (One of my favorite shops, by the way.  Check them out!!)

sailor top fabric

This is my original pattern, which I’m offering for free–please use as you wish!   (If you plan to sell a finished product based on the pattern, it would be much appreciated if you would mention Moth & Rust as the source of your pattern. Thank you!)

This particular pattern only covers a small range of sizes; however, it is a fairly basic two-piece pattern, which can be easily adjusted at the sides and in the middle or hem.  Also, it may fit differently depending on how stretchy your knit fabric is.   The best thing to do is experiment with some comparable but inexpensive fabric before making the final piece!  Instructions are as follows:

  1.  Print all pages (in the gallery below) and piece together with tape, using the picture below and alignment bars as a guide.
  2. The front and back of the bodice are the same, except for the neckline.  Place on fold to cut.  The sleeve is also placed on the fold when cutting.
  3.  With right sides together, stitch at shoulders.  You can use a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance.  I would also suggest stitching some non-stretch lace or ribbon along the shoulder seems to keep them from stretching.
  4. Pin armhole side of sleeve to bodice armhole, right sides together, and stitch.   Make sure your stripes align, at least close to the armpit/bottom of the armhole.
  5. With right sides together, pin garment so that sleeve edges and side edges are together (again, aligning stripes) and stitch up sides.  Be especially careful when matching up the stripes on the bodice!!  I learned the hard way that stripes may be together, but if you don’t match the corresponding stripes, you will end up essentially with a spiral going around the body, which makes getting a straight hem impossible.
  6. Hem arm holes, bottom, and neckline. You may also want to use ribbon or a running stitch in your neckline to prevent stretching.

sailortop5

sailortop3

The chart here shows how the sections will print and how they are pieced together:breton pattern layout

To print the pattern pieces, click on each thumbnail below and print directly from that page, or save to your computer.

 

Gypsy Belle Jacket

This is just a little project/prototype I made for myself, and I wanted to share it…it was somewhat inspired by the lovely jacket Belle (Emma Watson) wears in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast.  (#nerdalert)

This was my first version of the jacket from the pattern I came up with.  There are quite a few things I will change when I make it in the future, most notably the style of peplum, but this particular garment is still special to me for a couple reasons.

As you can see, it has a super patchy, ragamuffin vibe, which, incidentally, is totally fine with me.  The yellow linen outside and the blue plaid lining are both repurposed fabrics taken from old garments.  The darker beige/green lustrous fabric you see in places on the outside are silk remnants.

I’m really pleased with the texture of the fabric and I’m glad I took the time to do some hand stitching around the edges…I always forget how much I love hand sewing like this.  I really love the buttons as well.  This was a fun exercise and inspired me to focus even more on repurposing/upcycling of garments and fabric in the future…

Book Review: The Lost Art of Dress

 Recently, I finished reading The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski; I first learned about the book on Thread Cult (a favorite podcast about sewing and fashion.)  Being a fan of both fashion and history, the topic itself was tempting enough.  I found, though, that beyond simply providing a historical account of fashion, this book offers up a lot of food for thought on the way society has changed over time.

The book begins by introducing Mary Brooks Picken, one of the first “Dress Doctors,” or women who were designers, teachers, and writers, educating others on how to dress well, and even getting the government involved via the Bureau of Home Economics.

The Dress Doctors looked to the Five Principles of Art–harmony rhythm, balance, proportion, and emphasis–to advise women in their dress.  (Part of the reason vintage fashions are still so appealing is because they adhere to these very effective principles.)  The book discusses the “duties” and occasions of dress, offers lots of interesting facts and anecdotes, and finally looks at the decline of the Dress Doctors  (hint: it had a lot to do with the 1960s.)

What I enjoyed most about this book, though, was that it provided a bit of a window into the mindset of women of the past–a time when being sophisticated (read: over 30) was actually something young girls looked forward to, a time when people didn’t have the compulsion to tell every stranger they met about every detail of their life, a time when certain colors or articles of dress had a significant meaning.

You may not care to follow all the Dress Doctors’ rules for dress, but you may be inspired to take a cue from their outlook on living.  To them, fashion wasn’t just superficial, but ultimately held a connection to deeper things.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, art, fashion, or sociology.