Today’s outfit was a joy to wear in today’s lovely spring weather, even if it was a bit chilly by the time we got around to taking the photograph!
T-Shirt – People Tree. It’s an old one, but I like it. In case you can’t read the wording, it says ‘Smile and the World Smiles With You.’ Trite, but sweet and it goes very nicely with the skirt. This one is no longer available, but they have lots more here.
Skirt – People Tree. I’m having to recycle some things from my wardrobe to make it through 2 weeks, but at least it’s only the skirt from Day 4 that I’m wearing again. Oh, and the bra…
Bra – Made by me from Fairtrade certified cotton fabric. It’s the second bra, and I have also made…
Pants – Yes, I’ve made matching pants and am delighted with them! Made from the same Fairtrade certified cotton as the bra. I’ve been thinking that perhaps my bras needed matching knickers and when I found I had no clean fair trade pants this morning it provided all the motivation I needed. The pattern is mercifully quick to make.
Shoes – Ethletic Fairtrade certified trainers. Still loving these. I think they are one of my favourite purchases. Fair Corp are running a promotion on these at the moment – £10 off if you use the voucher code TAKEASTEP. It’s quite hard not to pick up a second pair, but I really can’t justify spending any more on clothes at the moment. Offer ends Sunday, so don’t hang about if you are considering it!
About 6 years ago I lived, for a few months, with my Aunty whilst I was trying to buy a house. It was very good of her to have me especially as she’d lived on her own for many years so it must have been very strange to have me in the house. We got on very well and shared nicely, but she really wasn’t a fan of my pants at all. ‘More like scraps’ was her frequent refrain. I don’t think she liked hanging my too-smalls on the line for the neighbours to see.
Well these are genuine scraps! You can make a pair of pants from very little fabric, and I reckon this is where my scrap filing system really comes into its own.
I mentioned early on that I’ve become used to thinking about the handloom woven cotton I sell and use in terms of how long it took someone to weave. It makes it truly difficult to throw away even very small pieces when you can picture the effort someone has invested in making it. But beyond that, cotton is very ‘costly’ to produce in resource terms. It requires lots of water, and then there is either liberal spraying with pesticides and insecticides, or in the case of organic cotton, lots of weeding, cultivation of companion plants to minimise pests, and the careful management of natural predators as an additional control for common cotton pests. Commentators on sustainability speculate that bamboo fibre, which absorbs greenhouse gases during its life cycle and grows quickly and plentifully without pesticides, might be a better long term solution to our need for clothing fibres. However, even bamboo fabric can cause environmental harm in production due to the chemicals used to create a soft viscose from hard bamboo. Others believe hemp is one of the best choices as an eco fabric due to its ease of growth, though it remains illegal to grow in some countries. As in so many other areas, the optimal solution seems to be to make the very best use of the fabrics we have, using scraps and recycling old clothing, furnishings etc through one means or another.
And so to my pants. A good rummage through the ‘larger piece’ basket provided some bits of the bra fabric and I still had some of the trimming left. I used a pattern published in Cloth magazine and still available free online here. I used a scrap of the cotton jersey left over from making the tie top from Day 2 for the gusset. (Why is the word ‘gusset’ so funny? I can’t even type it without wanting to giggle like a school girl.). I sewed strips of my fabrics together to create a larger piece from which to cut the pattern, then decorated with the trim. The instructions advise you to use a decorative stitch around the top of the pants and round the leg holes to make a pretty edge rather than hemming it. This worked surprisingly well. Then you just add the elastic. The pattern says to attach 4 pieces of elastic, beginning at point A and sewing the stretched elastic in place until you reach point B. On the actual pattern, there is no reference to points A or B, but it’s fairly obvious which are the 4 edges that require elastic. Then you sew up the side seams and hey presto, a new pair of pants. Hurrah!