Quotes for National Sewing Month

Although my sewing projects aren’t as frequent or as prevalent as they used to be, I still have respect for National Sewing Month this September.  Because of my costuming work, I’m aware of how much work sewing is and I continue to advocate for artisans all over the world, no matter their medium.  This belief is what makes National Sewing Month resonate with me even more.  And, as a supporter of sustainability, I believe everyone should learn to sew.  Like most people, you are probably very apprehensive to pick up a sewing needle and thread.  To inspire you to pursue your inner sewing creativity, consider a few of these unique quotes to discover what possibilities may be in store for you (even if that means you only attempt to replace buttons on a shirt instead of taking it to a tailor). Continue Reading ›

It’s Just Sewing

I was having a typical conversation about my work with my roommate, discussing my multiple costume jobs and costume shop procedures, when he exclaimed, “It’s Just Sewing!”  This wasn’t the first time I had heard this point of view.  Numerous times people have expressed shock that I was paid for sewing.  How could I be paid for something that is so easy?  Since I know how to sew everything why would I charge money to do something that comes quickly to me and takes virtually no time?  Even though I no longer work as a costumer, after learning how the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013 killed over 1000 garment workers and injured about 2500, I was hopeful people might see the result of not thinking about how our clothing is made and who makes it.  Although Fashion Revolution Day is upon us, it unfortunately seems that sewing is still regarded with these attitudes: Continue Reading ›

Art Vs. Craft

On the final day of my drawing class, a classmate eagerly pursued me and asked, “Can I draw you in class today?”  He seemed intrigued as his eyes looked over my features, not that I got the sense he was necessarily pursuing me romantically.  Instead he seemed to be taking me on like a challenge, but I wasn’t sure what the challenge was.  “Sure,” I responded, shrugging my shoulders and not thinking much about it.  I didn’t think more on it as I concentrated on drawing another classmate, until I saw the final result.  It hit me hard.  It wasn’t that it was terrible.  It was that the drawing was so accurate my heart jumped.  I couldn’t believe how I looked.  He perfectly captured my large dark brown Italian pupils perched in the narrow Epicanthic folds of my eyelids.  I always thought I looked Mediterranean, but never Asian.  “I look Japanese,” I replied in shock.  He took this as an offense, but that wasn’t the problem.  It surprised me that someone could capture me so well.  Other students tried, and some were close, but none had drawings like this final result.  Continue Reading ›

Sustainable and Ethical Fashion for Summer

Main PhotoIf you follow fashion bloggers, by now you’ve seen many posts featuring popular looks and styles as well as endorsements for products this summer. There’s a lot of different trends, fashions, and styles out there, eager for your purchase, but before you make your purchase, I’d urge you to consider a few principles I’ve adopted from sustainable and ethical fashion. Why should that matter? After completing Tortoise and Lady Grey’s 20-Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge and considering other challenges like The 30×30 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge discussed on Celeste Fohl’s blog Bookish & Belle, I’m beginning to see how little I need in my wardrobe to be stylish. As an advocate of sustainable and ethical fashion, I’ve found the importance of reducing waste and supporting companies and organizations that use natural dyes, recycled materials, and provide fair treatment for their workers. Hearing this description, you probably think sustainable and ethical fashion is for Hippies, or its support of eco-friendly practices means it’s ugly. This actually isn’t the case. To show you what I mean, I’ve created some outfits to show you how you can use certain principles from sustainable and ethical fashion to create fun, fashionable summer outfits.

For each outfit, these are the guidelines I’ve set for myself to incorporate sustainable and ethical fashion:

  • Using items already in my wardrobe instead of purchasing.
  • Purchase new only from sustainable and ethical companies.
  • Purchase from second-hand shops.
  • Make items for my wardrobe.
  • Mend and repair items, instead of throwing them out.
  • Repurpose wardrobe items into another piece of clothing or other item.

With each purchase I’ll also list prices and companies so you know where you can shop and how affordable it can be. If I make something, I’ll also indicate where I plan on using leftover scraps so you can see that each piece of fabric is used. Last but not least, if I have something already from my wardrobe, I’ll share how many years I’ve had it so you can see how timeless, classic pieces have longevity and can enhance your wardrobe. Even if I don’t all of these principles in my post, I’ll have them handy for future outfits so you can see how to do the same with your wardrobe. So, without further hesitation, let’s begin! Continue Reading ›

How Travel and Costumes Led to My Involvement in Sustainable and Ethical Fashion

As a costume technician buried in a garment while frantically hand-sewing or coordinating quick-changes to assist actors with costume changes backstage as a dresser, I had always chosen to work for specific companies for their location. Whether it was to be near family and friends or explore what the area had to offer, I was ready for a travel adventure. After working many places from the colorful deserts of Utah to the mountains of Boulder to the beautiful San Diego, I felt the need to keep wandering. While becoming a wandering nomad sounded amazing, I wanted more than travel from place to place—I wanted a purpose attached. My passion to discover and learn about traditional ethnic clothing combined with my pursuits of culture through local fashion magazines was a start, but I needed more direction. Then, my answer arrived. A colleague suggested an area I had seen, but never considered—fair trade crafts. But fair trade was only the beginning as I learned more about sustainable and ethical fashion. What made this industry so appealing? Here are a few connections to show you what made me a part of sustainable and ethical fashion. Continue Reading ›