Make It Last: How to Mend Your Own Clothes

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Sewing is a practice of sustainability. You probably forgot sewing was an actual skill-set and not just the punchline of sexist jokes. However, producing, consuming, and throwing away fewer pieces of clothing all hinge on one habit– keeping your clothes for longer. When you dance a little too hard and a hole materializes in the armpit of your favorite top, don’t just throw it away. That’s your favorite top, darn it. A lot of people are held back by the assumption that they are not skilled enough to fix their clothing or that it is a skill that older, more feminine humans are supposed to learn. I do not care how old you are or what your gender identity is, you can and should learn how to mend your own clothing. Emphasis on can.

I may tell you some things that would make my mother’s professional-seamstress-heart cry, but it will get you through. I’m not going to make my own tutorials because there already so many great ones out there, so I will just link you to think ones that are most helpful.

Create a small kit.

This shouldn’t cost more than seven dollars, and should last a long time. Items on this list can be purchased from your favorite craft store, Walmart, or stolen from your grandmother’s house.

  • scissors
  • a package of needles (I always get the widest eyes to make threading easier.)
  • black and white thread (You’ll almost always sew from the inside, so they won’t be seen anyway.)
  • a cheap pin and cushion set
  • a good attitude (You got this!)

How to repair a hole in most garments.

This video from youtuber Koumori No Hime Cosplay is so clear and simple, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. This can go for any hole, not just one in a seem. The ladder stitch makes the thread almost invisible.

How to repair a hole in a sweater, specifically.

This video by Professor Pincushion is a bit similar to the first video that I linked, but it contains some important information pertaining specifically to sweaters. When a clothing item is knitted, a hole could cause the entire garment to unravel, so sewing up a hole takes just a bit of extra care.

How to sew on a button.

I love that giant button. Also, Nicki Callahan’s dolphin simile: 10/10. Anyway, everyone needs to know how to sew on a button. This video makes it super easy to see how it is done.

Ending thoughts: security over beauty. When you’re repairing a garment, you’re usually going to flip it inside out, so you’re not going to see the stitching anyway. Don’t worry about perfection, your clothes will appreciate the TLC nonetheless. If you’re getting frustrated, take a break.

If you’re financially secure enough, you can just pay a tailor to do it. They’ve got to put bread on the table too. It’s important to know how to fix something in a pinch, but it’s no less sustainable to pay a professional if you can afford it.

Creative Color Blocking

The best part of 2018 is that I got to live out the purple eyeshadow look of my  junior-high dreams.

I spent a weekend in Oklahoma with my friends a week or two ago, and forgot most of my accessories at home, per usual. I did remember my tooth brush for once, so it was a partial-win.

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I put on my favorite mustard colored turtleneck and orange scarf, but still felt like I need a bit more color. I have been layering my square scarves over my turtlenecks lately. I’m sure I’m not the first to do this, but I haven’t been seeing it around much, so I just gave it a go and liked the results.

Makeup can play a big role in a finished look, so I decided to go bold and add the finishing element to my color blocking look with eyeshadow.

I have been seeing matte single-color eyeshadow looks quite a bit on my instagram feed, but this was the first time I tried it out for myself. Honkytonkwomann is one of my favorites who has been rocking it for a while and inspired me to try it out. I raided my friend Ryan’s eyeshadow pallets, and found a bright purple that looked good with my skin tone and complemented the yellow and orange in my outfit. I think people often shy away from bright makeup, fearing that it will turn out looking like they’re stuck in the 1980s (which I don’t see as a problem, but whatever). However, I think this look is a lot more reminiscent of the playful 1960s’. Especially with some winged eyeliner.

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I know bright eyeshadow is usually considered a fashion-don’t. But style is personal, and does not have to fit into conventional standards. Do your thing. If something looks like fun, try it out. You may surprise yourself.

Put a Sweater Under It

My fall and winter motto: put a sweater under it. Specifically, a turtleneck. This way, I can wear all of my favorite summer dresses all winter long and no one (or temperature) can stop me.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it is the absolute best time in history to have ears because the earring trends are INSANE right now. I bought these earrings at Dig It in OKC and I can’t stop wearing them. They were super reasonably priced, too, at around $12. I’ve been trying to shop minimally for winter and fall, but these earrings were worth adding to my wardrobe.

I handmade this dress in early high school and it’s still going strong. A lot of the dresses I made back then are a little big on me now, but they actually work out perfectly for putting over sweaters. I loving mixing brighter colors with muted tones and pastels. 

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This outfit is full of pieces I’ve owned for years, yet I’m still finding new ways to style them. I totally recommend walking into your closet with a fresh mindset before you decide to go out and buy something new.

One Year of Blogging: On Creativity and Well-Being

One year ago, I was a sophomore in college struggling with an anxiety diagnoses and general unhappiness that felt unjustified. I was doing all of the “right” things: volunteering, turning in assignments early, exercising daily, and eating healthy meals. I consumed myself in work and school, studying 24/7, partially fueled by intense anxiety about grades and the other half to avoid thinking about not having made the friends or built the life I had hoped to in school. I didn’t even listen to music anymore. I told myself I didn’t have time. I removed all avenues of beauty. Most people, professors and friends, patted me on the back. What a good student. Sarah’s such a hard worker.

To be fair, I paved this path to burnout myself. It was easier to feel like I was doing well when I was doing more than everyone else. I was deeply entrenched in the American ideology that my worth was only in my production. I treated myself like a machine.

I was not a machine.

Self-care is a hot topic right now, not just because bubble baths are nice, but, because we live in a culture that so desperately needs it. We and our parents and probably their parents work overtime and weekends. It’s what we are used to. It’s how we’ve all grown up. It took a season of panic attacks, of spending more time crying than not, of secluding myself from others to push me to ask myself what was wrong. I write a lot about sustainability on this blog. Here is something I know is unsustainable: measuring your worth by output. How much can I do? How high can I score? How far can I stretch?

So, one year ago, I challenged myself in a different way. I asked my friend Ryan to show me how to set up a blog. I wanted to keep myself accountable to do something that wasn’t measurably productive. I wanted to bring creativity back into my life but I knew that if I didn’t set myself up to be accountable I’d eventually shirk it off for things that felt more “valuable”.

Creativity is life-giving. There is something vital to human wellness in the act of creating that we can’t get anywhere else. I believe that the need to create is present inside of all humans, but it’s a part of our identity that we often ignore. It cannot be done quickly. It is not a formula. It does not make sense with conventional values of success. And yet it’s the very slowness of creativity that, in many ways, saves us from ruin.

I am not saying that blogging cured my anxiety and workaholism. (Surprise! It doesn’t work that way. I saw a professional and went on medication as well. I do not advocate ANYTHING as a substitute for that.) But weaving creativity back into my daily life, the act of writing, allowing myself to put together colorful outfits again, helped me reshape what I saw as meaningful. Slowly, it brought balance and beauty back into my life. Even though I still have hard days, I am overwhelmingly happier with my life now than I was a year ago.

Sometimes I feel completely hopeless and stuck and I can’t do anything about it. I can journal and talk my friends’ ears off and pray until I exhaust myself. I just have to live until it passes. But sometimes, I can sit down and brain storm ideas for blog posts, or come up with a photo shoot idea, or sit in my closet for hours creating new pairings. I can feel my heart jolt back to life a little bit.

Blogging is an expression of my need to create. And maybe it isn’t yours. But I hope you find the thing that you love, something that probably isn’t useful on your resume, and I hope you do it. You deserve to enjoy your life. Maybe it is too simple a thing to say, but I sure need to hear it sometimes. If no one has told you today, you are vast. There is a whole world inside of you that is not meant to stay there. The things inside of you are worth being expressed and shared.

Thank you for this past year, for being a part of my little victories. I hope to be a part of yours too.

Crayon Box Colors

I write a lot about where to and not to shop, but another side of sustainability deals with how much to shop as well. I’m often tempted to buy gobs of new cozy sweaters at Goodwill the seconds the temperature drops in the slightest. This season I’ve made it a goal to purchase as few pieces as possible while still keeping my look fresh for fall.

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Nothing about this look is tired even though every item except one is from AT LEAST a year ago. Getting the full use out of my items is a big part of creating less clothing waste. I kind of enjoy the creative challenge of restyling my old pieces into new outfits.

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Playing with accessories and layering is one of the best ways to make an old outfit new. I bought this vintage coat from Re-Runs in Kansas City and it is going to make my entire wardrobe feel like new. This coat is a 1960’s piece that probably originally came in a set with a matching dress or skirt. It is unexpected to pair it with some ripped jeans, but I love styling a vintage piece in a modern way. If you’re in a bit of a rut, try searching out one or two pieces that really intrigue you instead of getting a whole new wardrobe.

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These pictures were taken by my favorite creative collaborator, Andrea Schultz. If you want to see more of her photography, check out her new website https://andreaschultz.blog/.

Summer’s Last Hurrah

It may not be summer anymore but this is my last warm weather look for the season. It’s not actually getting cold, I am just trying to will the universe into submission by wearing turtlenecks.

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This post is mostly going to be a photo-drop, but if you’ll notice I’m taking a bit of my own advice from Daytime Disco Dress. This rainbow crop-top is 1980’s piece I picked up from the OKC Mod Swap. I balanced it out a bit by wearing jeans, but kept it fun with my Classic Sarah (TM) yellow beret and some bubblegum pink Keds.

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These photos were taken by my multi-faceted friend Andrea Schultz. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve seen her fabulous work many times. She is launching her website soon, and you can (and should) keep an eye out for it by watching her Instagram.

This blog is about to turn one years old! What should I do for my blog-birthday post? Help me decide in the comments.

 

Back in Time

Let’s go back in time. I don’t mean to the 1960s’ as my outfit might lead you to believe. (I’d rather stay in 2018, thank you very much.) I am referring to close to two months ago when this photo set was taken by my dear friend, Andrea.


I made this dress YEARS ago. When I was in the 11th grade, I decided to make this dress, inspired by Marina and the Diamonds’ Electra Heart phase. Thankfully, I still had pretty good taste back then, as this hot pink mini dress has stood the test of time.



It is crazy that I’ve waited so long to post these pictures considering how awesome Andrea did taking these. This was from one of the last times I hung out with my friends before leaving on a super long trip.


If you didn’t know, I’ve been in Hong Kong teaching English for the summer and I’m current in Cambodia. I have been insanely busy since the minute I got on the first plane, which is why I sat on this post for so long. It’s been a once in a life time experience for sure. I apologize for any mistakes in this post as I only have access to the internet through my phone right now. I am sorry to be so short but am excited to begin posting more in the weeks to come!

Thanks for your patience.

Early Summer Sunset

Summer weather recently hit the Midwest full force and I am 100% more of a person than I was before it came. I always forget how much more alive I feel in the sunshine.

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I love novelty prints and bright colors no matter the season. However, I look a lot less out of place in the summer. Believe it or not, this is not the only lemon printed shirt that I own. I bought this shirt in high school, but these vintage peachy shorts were a recent Salvation Army purchase.

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This girl loves to be ridiculously matchy-matchy, hence the shirt and scarf combination, so I had to grab this lemon mug at Goodwill. It was fate. Besides tied scarves, which are a personal favorite in every season, my favorite accessories for the summer are colorful barrettes. They are a simple way to add some extra color to an outfit, especially for us short-haired girls who don’t have many options for switching up hairstyles. I like stacking several colors, especially yellow, orange, and pink as they resemble a sunset. Just pick up a rainbow pack from your favorite store in the little girls’ section (no shame).

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Velco sneakers are comfy, casual, and quirky. They add a silly touch to my already fairly silly outfit. Shoes always make the final decision about how casual or dressed up an outfit is, making these shoes perfect for everyday summer looks. I love to wear dresses on a daily basis and these shoes are the perfect paring to keep me from being too overdressed, if one believes in such a thing.

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This is one of the first summers I won’t be spending my time in class or working. I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities to travel, which is why I have gone back to a lower maintenance hair color. I am not sure what my blogging schedule will be like, but I am excited to find more unique places to take pictures as well as just to soak up new experiences.