Monday, June 25, 2012

Do We Have Too Many Clothes?

Not my picture, but it easily could be. And I'm just one person!
I had a weird epiphany recently. It involved me not really wanting any more clothes or fabric. Which, I know, is so strange. Let me explain.

When I was growing up (and even now when I go home), and I was bored my mother, sister, and I would all load up and go shopping. Even a few years ago, whenever I got really upset about something, if I went into a store and found a cute dress or shoes or whatever, I would buy it and feel so much better. (Plus, new, cute things!)

But when I decided I wanted to move from Chicago to New York, I had to cut my shopping expenses down. Way down. And when I got to New York and was getting paid nothing (literally nothing - it was an internship), I completely eliminated shopping. Completely! Do you know how difficult that was?

But I did it. And it was nice because even when I got a decently paying job, I was in that mindset of, "Do I really need to drop this much money on this dress?" Sometimes the answer was an emphatic yes, but most often, the answer was no. I didn't really need it.

My solution to being broke and liking nice things and have an excessive amount of free time on my hands was to take up sewing. But I have a new problem!

I go into fabric stores and buy the prettiest and softest fabric I can find. And then I bring it home where it sits in a bag on the floor of my craft room. I'm essentially collecting fabric. So I've banned myself from buying fabric until I get on those untouched fabrics.

But that's not really what sparked the epiphany. That's just background. It was this:

1. A friend commented that I wear the same dress over and over again. And it's true. I generally only wear the same 3-6 dresses every day. I have a closet full of clothes that I rarely use.

2. I'm not really into trendy clothes. I prefer simple, classic, clean lines. They're easier to make and I have a bunch of patterns to help me do this. So why do I obsess over finding more patterns and newer things? I'm not even into them!

3. I read somewhere recently (can't find it or I would link!) that the average closet size in America is now the size of what used to be the average sized bedroom. That's so ridiculous!

4. I read this article about problems with the Salvation Army. It essentially outlined that because clothing is moderately cheap, everyone tends to buy a lot of it. It had statistics like 1 in 4 women own 7 pairs of jeans, but she only wears 4 of them regularly. Which is basically backed up by my own closet of dresses that I rarely wear. BUT THEN it talked about how there is too much clothing for thrift stores. So much so that they're shipping most of our unused clothing to poorer continents like Africa, which I know isn't new, but what IS new is that because the countries they were going to in Africa are becoming more developed and less poor, they're encountering the exact same problem we are, which is that there are too many clothes.

So what's happening to our discarded clothing? I'm sure it will all end up in a land dump somewhere.

But it really bothers me, not only because it's so wasteful, but because we're spending so much money on items that we never use. I've traded unwanted, cheap clothing for fabric that sits collecting dust. Yes, I WILL turn that fabric into curtains, but when? It's been there for the last few weeks. How many more will it take?

Perhaps I'm also disgusted with my procrastination and not just potentially wasting money. But regardless, I'm not interested in spending lots of money on things that I just realized I don't really need.

What do you guys think? Have you ever thought about this before? Am I overthinking it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Finished: Anime Costume

My sister's costume is finished! The only thing left is that she might dye her hair blonde, but that's not really crafty, is it? (Unless she does it at home, which I'm 99% sure she won't.

Just to remind you, this is the character she's copying.

This is where she was when I left. Click here to see how we made it.
This is the backpack she decided to make after I showed her how simple sewing can be!


And here's the finished outfit! How cute is she?! She made everything except the socks and the hat, though she did dye the blue stripes on the socks herself, and she had to alter the hat because when it arrived, the sizing was all wonky. I'm so proud!

(Also, ignore the mess in the background. My mom is redoing her closet!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

DIY Skull T-Shirt

While I was home on vacation, my brother walked over with a stack of men's white tshirts, sized large, and handed them to me.

Somehow, even though I'm not a man, nor am I into oversized white tshirts (that coincidentally fit him), he was convinced that the shirts were mine and had somehow ended up in his room. He was returning them. I laughed and gave them back, but then, of course, I ran across across a site explaining how to make a skull tshirt. And you guessed it! I needed a large, white tshirt.

Luckily, my brother was willing to part with one, though it became a battle! The website tells you to print out a skull shape and transfer it to the shirt, but where's the fun in that?

I had my sister trace my bra straps (since I had no intentions of going braless!) so that I could then draw the skull around them. I drew it in pencil, then cut it out.

It was pretty easy, but I ran into one problem: if the nose isn't pointy, but more rounded, it looks rather like a gorilla. And that's not cool. Ha, luckily it was an easy fix, though the skull face is still a little friendly, and I think the point is that it's supposed to be scary. Oh, well. I'm a friendly person, so I guess it works.

The other problem was that I'm pretty pale, and in order for the shirt to really stand out, I needed to wear a darker color underneath. I'm thinking of dying the shirt to a gray or black color so there's more of a contrast.

What do you think?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Visiting Home. Making Anime Costumes.

Sorry I've been out of commission for awhile! Part of it was that I was in a weird funk and didn't feel like creating anything (Does that happen to anyone else? Or just me?), but the other part of it was that I went home to visit my family and didn't really have time to post anything!

I was actually really excited to go home because I wanted to hit up Joann's Craft store because everyone talks about them. Luckily for me, they were having a sale on patterns when I went, so I grabbed 6 dresses I love and I'm so excited to start making them. (Add to the list, sheesh.)

Torturing the cat
Anyway, one of the goals of my trip was to teach my sister how to sew. She's been wanting to know just in general for hemming and things, but when she told me she was trying to find a costume for an anime con, I was like, "Gosh, just make one."

We were originally going to buy some fabric, but Joann's didn't have the right types or colors (also, it was surprisingly the same price as here in NYC!). Luckily, my sister found the right colors at Target. We bought 3 XL men's shirts.

Our yards of fabric
I taught her how to draft a pattern, which I had only really done in my head before, and it turned out beautifully.

We had a few problems with the sleeves. I don't really get sleeves. They confuse me immensely, but somehow we figured it out, and they went on without any issues (after the 4th or 5th time).

Based on her new skills, she's made a backpack, and she's working on the hat part of the costume. I'm so proud of her!

Made without my presence. *sniff* I'm so proud.

Also, can I just say that having a huge counter top at the perfect height made this so much easier. Normally, I lay everything out on the floor, and it kills my knees (and my spirit). I definitely need to invest in some sort of cabinet or SOMETHING immediately.
The preliminary outfit!