I am taking a break from posting about the wedding, my workouts, and food logs because I am so buried in it in everyday life now that I just need to talk about other stuff for a while. I will say that we finally met with the notary who will be our officiant, received about 75% of our party favor stuff from Oriental Trading, placed orders for the rest (pretty red bulk order chopsticks from Asianideas.com), and still need to figure out how to do flowers for under $150.
Last night I also tried on the red Chinese qipao dress I bought a few years ago in California and was somewhat surprised to discover that while my backside (barely) fits into the thing, my back and shoulders are now too broad for the bodice. I had altered it a bit after my first BFL challenge in 2004 by taking it in at the side seams to adjust for my long back-waist length, but I remember that it fit my upper body very well back then.
Not so much last night. I had to struggle to pull the dress on over my head, and when it was time to get back out of it…well, it got stuck right around my lower shoulder blades and would NOT come off.
I had to dig out my seam ripper from my sewing basket and tear out the stitches from my alteration just to give myself enough ease to escape from the dress.
I guess I’ve finally succeeded in bulking up my top half.
My lower half should come down enough in the next 4.5 weeks to fit comfortably in the dress, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do much about the extra muscle in my back, chest, and shoulders now.
As much as I hate to spend more money on another unitasker of a dress, I opted to order a new red qipao from Chinasprout that should make my parents happy when it’s time to do the traditional costume change at the reception.
And that is my last official ready-to-wear clothing purchase for the next year.
I recently came across artist Alex Martin’s Brown Dress Project, in which she made and wore the same brown dress for 365 days, and her more recently-begun Recycling Project, which entails wearing only clothing that she RE-makes herself out of the materials and clothes already in her closet.
I am not quite as brave and will make an exception for one category of items that I don’t know how to make myself–decent sport socks–but otherwise, I am going to give her challenge a go to the best of my ability. I am by no means a clotheshorse, but even I have managed to amass more than enough sale clothing, clearance bolts of fabric, 99 cent patterns, and $0.10 zippers (from a Hancock Fabric liquidation sale) to make and re-make at least a year’s worth of new-to-me clothes. My packrat, bulk bargain-shopping ways have also ensured that I have enough spare pairs of last season’s clearance running shoes to keep me shod without risking injury from working out in flat kicks that are past their prime.
I am doing this for several reasons:
- I want to save some extra money to pay off my 2002 Toyota Camry early and start putting away money in an emergency fund.
- I am tired of looking at the stash of unmade patterns and fabric in my home office closet and really want to turn all of those raw materials into wearable clothing before I start accumulating more.
- I need a reason to get off my butt and be creative again in some way. I think that attempting to knock off current fashions and design my own stuff using only the materials at hand for a year should do the trick.
- My wardrobe is starting to skew heavily toward nothing but workout clothes, jeans, and amusing t-shirts from Threadless. I need a closet makeover!
- I want to prove that “home-sewn” doesn’t necessarily mean “un-hip” and “godawful fugly.”
- I hate shopping for clothes at the mall.
So in the name of frugality, creativity, and the DIY spirit of reuse, recycle, or repurpose, I am cutting off all spending on clothing, shoes, fabric and accessories for myself through June 6, 2008 and following these DIY Clothing Experiment rules:
- I can still wear and use anything already in my wardrobe, but if I want something new, I have to make or re-make it myself using fabric, patterns, old clothes, thread, magazines, books and notions I already own as of today, June 7, 2007, or freely available sources such as library books or online downloads.
- I am not allowed to cheat by asking for ready-to-wear apparel items for Xmas or my birthday, and I will also refrain from snagging cast off clothing from my local Freecycle groups. The goal is to cut down on the quantity of unwearable (due to unmade state, poor fit, or outdated style) clothing in my house, not add more to it.
- I will also (sniffle) NOT purchase anything apparel-related–including 99 cent patterns and Halloween costume materials–at fabric and craft stores or even the sad little fabric department at my local Ghetto-Mart.
- I will complete a minimum of one item every two weeks, even if it is something as simple as taking in the side seams of a t-shirt so it fits properly. Items made as gifts for other people also count.
- Photos of the materials used and of the final product of each item of clothing will be posted to this blog.
- A minimum of two self-made or altered items will be worn each week.
- I must use up all of these two bolts of pink boucle’ suiting fabric I picked up at the Hancock’s inventory clearance for a grand total of $6. In case you were all wondering, yes, a cat bed is definitely on the slate for these bolts.
Wish me luck!