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.

Sister Style – Fall Fashion

Today I am introducing my sister, Lauren, who is entirely opposite of me and yet still my best friend. I wanted to feature her Thanksgiving outfit alongside mine to showcase how different styles can still compliment one another.

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My sister’s outfit is almost entirely thrifted. Like me, she is also pretty concerned with where all the clothes she owns were made. Her outfit passes the ethics test. I am really into the top she is wearing. It is a little hard to see from the pictures, but it is kind of shiny and iridescent. My outfit is second-hand besides the overalls which are from the Gap.

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Lauren and I have vastly different styles. I am very girly and playful, bordering on childish at times. She is always earth-toned and cool – a little dark, even. But I have always admired her style and, even if she rolls her eyes every once in a while, she loves mine too.

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Today I am at my grandparents’ cattle ranch, surrounded by the joyful hearts of family, friends, and even a few strangers. In the midst of all of this, I am thankful for my hospitable family who love and appreciate the quirks in me. I am thankful that I have grown up in a family, immediate and extended, that has always cultivated creativity.

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I am not giving as many details because I just felt like keeping it simple and focusing on the pictures today. (Pictures which were, once again, taken by my dear friend Julie Montoya.)

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I also wanted to show-off my fierce older sister, her epic bangs and butt-kickin’ mom jeans.

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I hope that this Thanksgiving day leaves your belly full of food and your heart full of love. If this holiday season is hard for you, I pray that you are able to hold on through it and know that you are deserving of love even if it feels far away.

 

 

One Dress, Three Looks – Fall Fashion

I got a little carried away while planning an outfit this week and couldn’t pick just one. So this week I bring to you, not one, but three unique outfits that I styled starting with one simple black and white dress. It is easier than you’d think to layer your way into a diverse wardrobe without buying tons of different pieces.

Outfit # 1

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This first look is the most out of the box and it is definitely my favorite of the three. Wearing a turtleneck underneath a collared dress may sound a little goofy in theory, but it looks a lot more put together than one might imagine. I love the quirky combination of my second-hand Who What Wear brand dress and my favorite cozy turtleneck. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Outfit #2

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For this look, rather than wearing the sweater underneath, I pulled one over the top. This allows the collar to peak out from over the sweater in cutesy way. It also creates an allusion that one is wearing a skirt and shirt, rather than a dress, which causes the outfit to be even more versatile. Any sweater or long sleeved shirt could be worn over a dress like this, but I love the playful vibe this ruffled sweater gives this look. If you’re feeling a little more risky, you could venture beyond solid colors and wear a sweatshirt with a graphic or lettering to create something more fun and casual.

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I’m not huge on accessories – I like to let the main pieces of the outfit do the talking. However, I am big-time into socks. This one pair of socks worked well with all three of my looks, creating a color blocking effect. (Also, I majorly dig the Wes Anderson vibes from this backdrop.)

Outfit # 3

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Last but not least, the simplest of the three outfits. By just throwing on my favorite cardigan, I let the dress itself be the main focus of this outfit. When it comes to choosing cardigans, the length makes all of the difference. Because this dress is a loose-fit, a longer cardigan was more appropriate. A shorter sweater would have hit in an unflattering place on my body. If you are not sure, try on a couple of them.

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Whether you are thinking about starting a capsule wardrobe, participating in Dressember,  or just trying to save space in a suitcase this holiday season, it is possible to create several unique looks with just one staple piece. Wear your sweaters over, under, or open – the possibilities are endless. I hope this post was helpful to anyone in a style rut this season.

Stay kind!

Sunshine in November – Fall Fashion

 

Fun fact: this entire photo set was taken by my sister at a Panera Bread.

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These are the only pair of earrings I currently own and, honestly, they are the only pair I need. They jazz up any solid colored shirt I own, especially turtlenecks. I’m in love with turtlenecks and this shade of yellow. It’s so vibrant and warm and yet still totally appropriate for autumn. (Although, to be honest, I have never really cared much about trivial fashion “rules” for the seasons.)

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This day was fairly warm for a fall day, but still cold enough to manage a sweater. I kept a balance by wearing this sweater with high-waisted shorts, and these vintage knee-high socks for a little extra warmth.

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This outfit is entirely second-hand, from thrift shops, hand-me-downs and estate sales. It is channeling a some-what era confused vibe, landing mostly in the 1970s’, which is a favorite of mine right now.

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If your are looking for a pair of staple shoes for your wardrobe, saddle shoes are it. I can wear them with almost everything I own and they are super comfortable! I admit, people often confuse them for bowling shoes, but that is not as much of a insult to me as it was probably meant to be. I’ve got no beef with bowling shoes. Plus, these shoes can be worn all year round, rain or shine.

Whether the days are chilly or warm, I hope this week treats you well!