Archives for category: kawaii

Okay, fashionistas and fatshionistas, here’s my dilemma. I’ve been looking for office clothes with difficulty for over 40 years. What it is now is almost what it was then: basically men’s wear cut for women. Jackets. I’ve had short sleeved batik ones over sundresses, I’ve had khaki jumpsuits, zippered flight type jackets in Prince of Wales plaid (with matching bell bottoms, to be sure), long-sleeved midi length washable poly velvet Jane Avril dress for those parties I had to cover, you name it. One of my favorites was a hip academic outfit confected for a conference in Ireland: widewale corduroy leggings in eau de Nil, gigantic white cashmere sweater, knee length Wellingtons, and pink pearls. No nipples. And, after 25, no minis.

What it is now is what all the serious girls at the uni around the corner from where I used to live wore and wear: techno fiber pants (black, black or black), $100+ V-necked t shirt (dark, dark, dark or jewel), jacket (“), Rolex and ankle boots. My t shirts cost $9, my big black face Timex $30, and I can’t get my freakishly high arches into boots. No jewelry. Although my discovery of $8 necklaces at Forever21 is a big monkey wrench in my Afro Pomo Homo minimalist femme costume. Don’t forget the hair *cut* not a hair *do*.

Coming up, because it’s 400 degrees outside, an LBD with a black linen moto and ballet flats.

(Wouldn’t this $6.80 gigantic faux pearl necklace look awesome with my moto?

(I think perhaps not. One of the secrets of dressing the ancient avoirdupois is to let your wrinkles and your hair cut be the jewels.)

I am very interested in fashion and the cutting edge of future fashion, which as everybody knows is coming out of art schools in Britain, headed up by the late Alexander McQueen, with punk and artisanal references. He had some other references in there, also sublime. Part of the punk thing is sustainable, locavore, dumpster-diving, upcycled fashion, in which I am extremely interested. As we all know, street fashion drives couture. One of the biggest influences in street fashion since, I think, the Pointer Sisters started raiding the Good Will Stores of ’60s San Francisco for ’40s suits and ’30s panne velvet, is the Good Will. Now monetized by bottom feeder Hollywood stylists into “vintage” clothes, Good Will outfits worn by chic club kids have been fashion’s — and couture’s — leading influence. (All those chicken hawks like Lagerfeld and Galliano circle, cawing, over kids’ nightclubs.)

Courtesy of Alabama Chanin, who is selling a book called <em>Refashioned: Cutting Edge Clothing From Upcycled Materials, I have just perused the very interesting straight edge DIY books on how to turn old clothes into new ones.

Without exception, the new clothes are all performance wear. Nothing for the office. Extraordinary that paupers should be fashioning ball gowns out of t shirts. Why is this? I ask you.

The only actual instructions, for example, I’ve found for turning a man’s overcoat into a lady’s jacket or a child’s coat are in ‘40s WW2 British sewing dictionaries, discovered in Kate Davies’ wonderful blog, along with instructions on how to make underwear out of worn nightgowns and other useful information. It’s called Odham’s Big Book of Needlecraft.

I think the tailored recycling of good old clothes is because there were no throwaway clothes in those days, and also because fabric was rationed. I was born close enough to those times to have worn clothes made by seamstresses. I miss them, and I am stunned by the Harajuku ho tutus all those straight edge designers are making out of shitty old concert t shirts. Where are the upcycled work clothes?

It may be part of the Art School Confidential syndrome that every upcycled garment looks like a circus poodle outfit. I’m on it. Watch this space.

1. Pondering the Tarot reading with the reverse Ace of Cups. It has to do with last year’s oracular voice saying You’re working out of the wrong energy.

2. Some mountains require no movement from Mohammed. Some, like the Mexican evening primroses which ambushed me this morning seed themselves. I found them glowing in the sunrise in the gravel of my xeric desert front yard. They are the desert blooms promised.

Mexican Evening Primrose at dawn in my garden.

3. Godzilla Pillow #7: Hiromi, after a three year hiatus, begins to take shape.

Hiromi, from Fruits, by Shoichi Aoki.

Instead of headphones, this Hiromi gets a prayer flag, made with hand-made kumihimo cord, upcycled Madeira embroidery, and old lace. Click for deets.

The Madeira embroidery for Hiromi’s prayer flag, located on e-Bay, was inspired by Kate Davies,  the Intelligent Craftafarian. Click for deets.

4. I got the plan, the 1881 lace, the kantha stitching, the fabric painting, the Madeira embroidery, the kumihimo loom, instructions, and supplies done in D.C.

I moved them across the continent to be with me.

I was a different person then.

Kantha stitching, inspired by Jude Hill at Spirit Cloth.

5. The challenge of the entire Godzilla Room project was to learn crochet, fine dressmaking techniques (French seams and lingerie finishes), smocking, embroidery, kantha stitching, shisha and sashiko embroidery, kumihimo cord weaving, omiyage small biomorphic sewn objects such as the Inca/samurai warrior butterfly morphed from one of Kumiko Sudo’s insects, rag rug making and…

I learned to do filet crochet in 2007, with lessons from the fabulous Karen Klemp and the coven at Aylin’s Woolgatherer in Falls Church, VA.

This is a chart, by me, for the Godzilla lace. If you steal it, make sure you’ve got the stones to make it on a .4 mm crochet hook.
I don’t think you do.

6. The Himalaya for Hiromi — after her trans-continental move, of course — is kumihimo, and an embroidered lingerie edging for the prayer flags.

7. Tried it, with some success, in glow-in-the-dark floss, on the banner for the afghan I made from Local Harvest, homeground, Clun Forest sheeps’ wool from Touchstone Farm in Amissville, Va..

Two embroidery projects. In the foreground, the banner identifying provenance of wool in afghan, to be displayed woven through the interstices of the lacey stitch. The scalloped edges of the banner were embroidered according to the instructions in the vintage Odham’s needlework book recommended by Kate Davies.

8. Ace of Cups reversed tells me I can’t do it for Hiromi.

Experience tells me I can.

Godzilla Pillow #3: Yuko: Inca warrior butterfly by me morphed from Kumiko Sudo and The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork, 1530-1830

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