Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Scrap of Honesty

Becky nominated me for an "Honest Scrap Award". Hhmm do I want to reveal 10 honest things about myself. Well why not - afterall I enjoy reading about my blogging friends.

The rules are as follows:
I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it.I must list 10 honest things about myself.I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers & list their links.I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.

So here goes...

1. I grew up in a working class suburb of Brisbane (Australia’s Little Rock), one of six kids. My home life could kindly be called "dysfunctional".
2. I first left home at 16. By the time I was 19 I was working in London. Two years later I drew Israel out of a hat. I didn't want to go there, but it came out of the magic hat three times in a row. Rather than heading for Africa (where my heart was sending me) I went with the fates and met my future husband there.
3. My husband and I spent two years hitchhiking across Europe and Asia to Australia. We maintained a long distance love affair for several years before settling in Sydney. We did not marry for 11 years.
4. I did not realize that I was a high school drop out until I met Americans in Europe who told me that I was. I knew that I was smarter than them so I did something about it. I now have more degrees than a summer’s day.
5. I am no longer a hippie and am embarrassed about some of my youthful ideals. I did inhale.
6. I am a bit of a helicopter mother, overcompensating for my own childhood and youth. I want my two girls to have a better start than I did. Sometimes they don’t appreciate my concerns about making the most of your opportunities
7. I love New York. No I LOVE New York.
8. But I also love the feel of the sand between my toes, and swimming in warm, clear seas so Australia is not a bad place to live.
9. I dislike religious fundamentalism of any creed, but I am religious. I find racism and jingoistic patriotism abhorrent.
10. I’m worried that I don’t read as much as I used to.

11. I am a rule rather than nominating 7 particular bloggers, I invite all my followers to have a go at this. I promise to read with interest!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ethical fashion - a rebuttal

Somehow I know that I am going to regret this post...but here goes....

Recently I posted a comment raising reservations about anachronistic 50s fashion on Gertie's blog that brought forth an avalanche of comments making me feel like the judgemental and humourless boiler suit feminists of my university days. The jist of my comment was that I am concerned about the return to 50s fashion because it was not a great time for women and why would we want to go back there. While these fashions are extremely glamourous (and presented so in the equally ambiguous Mad Men TV show), they are also physically restricting and convey messages about women as frivolous, decorative and perhaps submissive. A theme among the retorts was that women still experience discrimination today so why focus on 50s fashion.

My instinctive response is why make it worse for ourselves? Virtually all of the women who wear these frocks in Mad Men are wives, secretaries, models, or waitresses. The one professional woman in the piece, Peggy, is at the bottom of Sterling Cooper’s white-collar hierarchy and knows it. Today's professional woman didn’t merely reject this world. She burned it to the ground and danced on its ashes. But there are many who would welcome 1950s values and discriminations to rise phoenix like from these ashes.

Then there are those who took the view that whatever feels good is ok. But is it? I've been mulling over this last point for a week now and have concluded that it is not. I'm not confining my thoughts to vintage fashion. Rather than doing any more 'tub thumping', I just want to put forward some questions that I've been discussing with my daughters and my friends.

  1. How can we enjoy fashion and glamour without being overtly sexualised in what we wear?
  2. Are stratispheric stilleto heels or wedges the modern equivalent of foot binding?
  3. Should we consider not just what a store bought garment looks like and costs , but where it is made and by whom?
  4. If we make garments, what should we know about the environmental and social impacts of the fabrics that we buy?
  5. How many clothes do we really need? Just because we make them ourselves is it ok to be so acquisitive?
On the last point, I read an interesting piece in the Herald about a New York girl who wore the same dress every day for a year. Apart from the obvious questions of hygiene, it is a little bit thought provoking about how much we really need.

Well that's enough for one day from the old boilersuit. And if you don't agree, don't kick too hard...It hurts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boho start to spring

I can't believe the weather we are having in Sydney. It is blue skies and 26 degrees celcius. I'm having a week off in between contract work, so went over to the Remnant Warehouse and bought loads of fabric. This dress took one and half hours to complete. It is made from mesh fabric that cost $3.50 for a 3 metre roll. If you have any ideas for the metre I have left post a comment.
I used the same self-drafted pattern that I made for my navy t-shirt. This time I added bell shaped sleeves. This picture doesn't show the details well. My daughter took it while talking to her boyfriend on the phone, so you can image who received the attention. The entire garment is serged, with a double layer of contrasting fabric for the hems.
I guess this dress is part of my overall experiment with colour. I like it, but don't love it.

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