Friday, 14 November 2014

Hand making, op shopping and up-cycling challenge re-visit.

Ok, I'm almost half way into my personal challenge to hand make, opshop or up-cycle everything I buy to wear for the next 12 months.  Well let me just say that ALL BETS ARE OFF.

I started this little experiment as a bit of an 'Earth Mother' and ended up a Bogan.  Well almost.

Over the last months I've spent countless hours trawling through the op shops.  I recently  paid $15 for a ratty plain brown Katies dress, complete with underarm stains mind you, just because I had a funky brown and orange leather belt that I wanted to wear.  Then I paid $10 for a pair of jeans, when jeans were on special in Target for $10 that same week.  My Yoga pants are faded and 'ball-y' with no chance of replacement from either the op shops or my current sewing skills...imagine being in 'downward dog' and feeling your seams slowly giving way.  My cute little ballet flats have paper thin soles that are now feeling every crack in the footpath....and if I step on a bug, I can feel it....ewwwww. 

Op shopping and up-cycling is very trendy at the moment and the charity stores seem to have hopped on the bandwagon.  I'm all for recycling and supporting local charities and businesses as opposed to fuelling the coffers of multinational chains that use overseas sweatshops, but I really do believe that the charity stores are out pricing themselves because in reality, these are items that someone else has thrown out.  I can afford to op shop and I enjoy it, especially fossicking for vintage fabrics and unusual linens, but sometimes I wonder how families who are forced to visit op shops through circumstance or financial difficulty can even afford to shop.

Ok, rant over.

I've learnt lots over the last six months while not buying anything new.  I've noticed that I've been taking really good care of the items that I'm afraid I won't be able to replace, like my Vigorella layering tops, and bras....thankfully I haven't yet had to resort to opshopping for those! I have taken the time to look after and polish my leather shoes and boots.  I've researched and become part of the 'slow fashion' and 'slow stitch' movements. I've knitted socks, learnt how to make knickers,  taken time to mend clothes instead of just throwing them out and best of all, have almost mastered my new pattern drafting ruler to make custom fitted clothing.  I also have a gorgeous collection of 'Indie' patterns and lengths of fabric ready to go.  

I Initially set this challenge for myself as I was always 'waffling on' about wanting to sew my  own clothes and be more creative.  I also thought I'd miss the artistic and fun atmosphere (and colleagues!) of a 12 month contract I had recently completed, so felt I needed to focus on something else challenging and fun.  However with Christmas fast approaching I really do need to spend less time trawling the op shops and sewing, and more time getting ready to par-tay

Of course I'll still opshop....just not for everything.  I'll relax the rules a little.

This is the ratty brown dress (minus a shot of the underarms) and my gorgeous belt which I bought a couple of years ago at a belly dancing festival.  It's leather and apparently hand made in Kenya.

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