An oft-quoted adage in sustainable fashion is that the most sustainable thing you can do is wear the clothing you already own. This concept is further bolstered by the #30wears campaign.
To truly get the most out of clothing, whether it is RTW or handmade, I think it is essential to cultivate a relationship with each garment, taking time to check in and see how they're doing on a regular basis. I like to do this after each wash. As I am folding or ironing each piece, I look at the seams and hems, checking for any spots that need care. On knits or fragile woven pieces, I often hold them up to light to better spot small holes or thin spots in the fabric - the sooner things are caught, the easier they are to fix & the more quality wears I can get out of each beloved garment through simple mends.
As such, I have a continually overflowing mending basket. Some things merely need a quick fix, such as a button sewn back on or a seam restitched. Others require significant reinforcement, alteration or refashioning. Those are the items that tend to percolate for longer in the basket until inspiration strikes and a vision becomes clear for how to breathe new life back into them.
Recently, I've been thrilled to bring a few things I really missed out of the mending basket and back into my wardrobe. Both fixes I'll share today are variations of my favorite dress pattern the Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated Patterns. I now have 6 versions in my wardrobe. I've come to depend on the jumper style in winter as one of my favorite layering pieces. My linen and cotton versions also transition smoothly into spring or fall layering and work beautifully as sundresses in the hottest of summer days. Not many garments have such versatility - but, operating as wardrobe staples all year round is hard on these treasures. They are washed and worn hard, so they need more upkeep. I have three Metamorphic mending stories to share & I'll start with two today in my first chapter of "Tales from The Mending Basket".
First is a simple fix, but it had me stumped for a long time. Here are both sides of the my 5th Metamorphic in their original state, made in early 2019.
Welcome to Make Do Magick.
Hello. I'm Kate. I'm so excited to share this new endeavor to chronicle and reflect on my creative output and sustainable/ethical fashion journey.
Back in 2014, I discovered the world of sewing bloggers. A decade before that, I'd found the world of knitting bloggers and knitty.com message boards. I've been in search of an online makers' community for years. I have found wonderful content and learned a great deal, but never quite fit in or fully connected. I didn't see many bodies like mine, I didn't see a focus on mindful or resourceful making, I didn't see awareness of diversity in class, race, gender, or queerness. I felt a tinge of FOMO, consumerism, perfectionism, and exclusivity gnawing at the edges of something I wanted to hold near and dear to me.
I love quality fibers and textiles, but with limited resources and time; an awareness of the environmental and ethical impact of constantly producing content by way of the latest patterns, fabrics, and styles; and the fact that my body shape isn't always suited to off-the-rack or out-of-the-pattern-envelope sizing... I've been doing my own thing for a long time. In the past, I've drawn inspiration from the online making world, but I've also needed to unplug because it felt too perfect to have a place for me in it. Being on the edges can be liberating, but it can also be lonely.
Over the last couple of years, especially on Instagram, things are changing. I've seen increasing momentum toward self-awareness, authenticity, and community connection amongst makers and between makers and the greater world. Many makers on the margins of the online creator community are drawing toward a new, more inclusive, central heart. 2019 was hard and transformative at an exponential pace. It was a game changer - but mostly for the fact that brave, amazing people brought to light things that have been the same for a long time - some good and beautiful, others terrible and urgently in need of change.
I feel a profound gratitude and respect for makers of color who have put their hearts, their safety, and their livelihoods on the line to share their voices and art. I am humbled by all that I learned and saw in 2019. I am grateful to fellow curvy makers, fat makers, and everyone who has taken risks and participated in raising momentum around inclusive sizing for sewing and knitting patterns. I am grateful to the Sewcialists for being ahead of the curve in highlighting many unique groups of makers, including diversity of body shapes, older makers, disabled makers, queer makers, and more. Their Who We Are series has meant so much to me & taught me so much in the last few years. I am grateful to Rochelle of Home Row Fiber Co. for sharing her journey from Lucky Lucille to Make Nine and more. Seeing her beautiful authenticity and vulnerability gradually come through more and more in photographs and words was something I really needed & a huge gift to this community. I am grateful to Meg of Sew Liberated Patterns for her amazing patterns that are not fueling us to consume more and more, but rather teaching us how to make what we need into heirlooms that honor our bodies and our earth.
What a time to be alive and creative. It feels more important than ever to make what I need to protect and adore myself and those I love with useful, beautiful, sustainable garments and objects. Microcosmic actions can affect the macrocosm and this making is a tangible thing I can do in a bigger world where I often feel at a loss for words and actions.
This new year, this new decade - I want to think more, reflect more, share more, and make more mindfully. I want to connect more deeply. To learn. To ask for help. To be a resource or a source of support and comfort where I am able. To find friends. To find and foster community - a making community in which we honor and support each other and nourish our hearts. I truly feel that 2020 is the seed of something fruitful to come for many years in the future.
That felt so big that I wanted to create a new space, a new mission, a new focus... and thus: Make Do Magick was born.
Thank you for being here.
A bit about me:
My grandmothers grew up in the Great Depression and their stories, skills, and resourcefulness made a beautiful mark on my heart. I am always making something, usually with fiber or textiles. I love scraps and reusing things and rescuing overlooked treasures. I think about a lot of things while I am making. Here is a record and, hopefully, a connection to the thread of my story.