Knitmaineia 2018

Here are some highlights from the Knitmaineia fashion show.

I loved the dresses! I thought the color combination with the fluorescent orange heels and bright Fair isle sweater was striking!

Dresses! My friend Sara knits like I sew: all the time, and at all hours.

My new really cool friend, MJ. She’s got great style.

More friends and inspiring knitting.

And me. Next year I would like to have something to submit, and model. That’s my goal!

For the love of lingerie

I’ve been dragging my heels regarding this confession. But here it goes…[deep breath in….gusty exhalation]. I love lingerie. I mean, I may as well wear a tee shirt that says, “will work for shoes and lingerie.” I pay bills, contribute to our retirement accounts, some groceries and gas for my car, but every extra cent is saved for shoes and lingerie.

“Real elegance is everywhere, especially in the things we do not show.” -Christian Dior

“Lingerie is NOT about seducing men. It’s about embracing womanhood.” -Dita Von Teese

“Without foundation, there can be no fashion.” -Christian Dior

There are four lingerie companies that I feel passionate about, Cosabella, Aniela Parys, Fleur du mal and Cadolle.

Aniela Parys, originally from Portland, Oregon is now based primarily out of Barcelona, Spain. She hand makes many of her articles from dead stock (leftover fabric that goes unused by the mill or brand that fabricated it. Be it because the fabric turned out blue when it was meant to be purple, the brand ordered more than they could use or they simply decided it wasn’t right for the piece for which they intended it, deadstock fabric is any textile that’s sitting around as a leftover without plans for future use.).

Now Cosabella is more mainstream. An Italian couple relocated for work from their homeland to Miami, Florida. While her husband was away at work, Valeria needed something to do! She started exporting a selection of Italian made garments to sell in Miami. As other European companies started outsourcing their manufacturing to cheaper countries, Cosabella began producing their own line of lingerie (thus eliminating the middle man) in Italy. Where they are to this day!

Fleur du mal is about dressing up and undressing (that’s their tag line!) . A little edgier then the other two, an e-commerce business with a studio in Soho NYC. I also love their description of goods, “Feminine, chic and slightly subversive.” The founder, Jennifer Zuccarini used to be the design director at Victoria’s Secret before going off on her own. I have never bought a piece of hers yet, but I like looking at them.

Another company I draw inspiration from is Cadolle. Cadolle is THE Parisian lingerie house, Herminie Cadolle literally invented the bra in 1889.

“Lingerie is a woman’s inner, secret glamour.” -Alice Temperley

This is the start to my exploration in lingerie making. There is so much specialty “equipment” ! Look at those tiny pins (game changer right there). I found sewsassy.com as a resource for special elastic, stretch lace, stretch satin, hardware and software. I picked a few things up at Joann’s but selection was limited.

Alabama Chanin baby doll top. Imagine this in different materials: leather, satin, lace trim, a black sequined bodice with a light weight flowy leather “skirt”.

“The first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night, make it good!” -unknown

The past, present and future

Fun outfit! The “teddy” is made up of upcycled black denim from donated pants and a vest. The jacket is double layer flannel from a bed sheet bought at a yard sale for a dollar. I dyed it black. Trim is left over from that other dress, and the buckle salvaged from an old sweater. I made this outfit to wear to the Common Ground Country Fair and I literally finished it on the car ride there!

A skirt and dress that I bought at the fair. Made by my friend Rose, under her label Dippermouth. She does the screen printing, the design and making of each piece. She is still working on a website. I got a sneak peak the other day, and it is truly magnificent!

Really into this color combination at present. I was playing around with some gifted fabric, getting ready for another project, perhaps another dress. Also really into dresses and skirts right now…again.

I bought this gray satin at a salvage store: Marden’s, for $3 a yard! It’s gorgeous and has a nice heaviness. I am definitely making another slip dress with this, floor length. Complete with French seams and a blind hem. Maybe in time for Christmas.

I practiced hemming on my new Dippermouth dress. Not too shabby!

Now back to work!

I love being a woman, what feminism means to me

I had an awkward adolescence. Filled with the desire to appear more capable, I adopted a masculine demeanor. I was a “Tom-boy” to the extreme. I dressed in boys clothes, I buzzed my hair, and played tackle football at recess. People were always asking if I was a girl or a boy.

It has only been recently that I came to realize the power in being a woman. Because self confidence and self love is an evolutionary process. I still HATE being short. I’m frustrated that despite my training I can’t jog any faster than a 10 minute mile. I hate my food cravings, and slips of will power regarding food. I wish I could lose 5-10 more pounds. I still have a hard time accepting compliments.

Despite all that….

What I love most about being a woman is how men treat me. Most men look at me with a mixture of amusement and admiration, and treat me with an uncanny respect.

“It is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” -unknown

I used to get annoyed when a man would help carry something, or open a door for me, etc… like it was an insult, like they thought I was weak and helpless. I’ve come to realize it’s just a sign of respect, akin to bowing to a queen.

“An independent woman doesn’t need a man, but still prefers a gentleman who could take care of her, ravage her in bed, and put her in her place once in a while. And watch how she’ll move mountains and make room for you in her life. “. -britta.who

My best friend KelLee always wears long skirts, and almost always wears a head piece because she is a devote Catholic. She has been amongst some nefarious looking folks, people she was initially frightened to walk by. She was put in an unavoidable situation where she had to speak to them and ask for help, it was all “yes ma’am…your welcome ma’am…anything else I can do for you ma’am?” This is a perfect example of a woman being feminine and some public’s response to her.

I have met a few misogynistic males and I don’t try to change their opinion of me or women in general. I just ignore them and refuse to interact with them, they are not worth my time. Men that don’t respect or like me I don’t associate with, their loss, not mine.

“Truly powerful women don’t explain why they want respect. They simply don’t engage those who don’t give it to them.” – extramadness.com

I feel blessed to have such healthy, positive relationships with men.

“I love men, for all the ways they are different from women.” -Veronique Vial

It seems strange that an essay titled I love being a woman would be mostly about men but it’s like the Foreigner song “I guess it’s just the man in you that brings out the woman in me. ” ( pronouns switched for my purposes)

Celebrating my fellow makers

When you find your passion you start to attract like-minded individuals.

Like friend and coworker Amanda. Here is a sample of her sweet tops.

My friend Rose in her wedding dress! She is Dippermouth sewing and textiles. I got a sneak peak at the collection she is working on for the Common Ground Country Fair held in Unity, Maine on the third weekend in September. Stunning! I need to start preparing to bring some money!

Kate Beck of Kate Beck New Orleans Textile and Design. katebeckneworleans.com

A random stranger at the Farmers market! Her beautiful handmade blouse.

Keep on making everyone!

“Why do you get up at 2 a.m. ?”

I get asked a lot about the significance of 2 a.m. I tell them, “that’s my ME time, my time to do MY thing, mostly sewing.” Some people get it, most are just aghast. In this post I am going to really open up about the truth of my life. On social media, (or any public platform) we naturally want to show ourselves, and our lives in the best possible light. I was going to post about my amazing day off; a morning jog, going to the beach, ending with a yoga class. BUT… I was listening to a podcast talking about the disconnect, resentment, and loneliness with your friends and followers that can happen if you never talk about the nitty gritty, the ugly parts of your life.

A brief background on myself. I work at a restaurant/farmer’s market/art gallery as the produce manager, cook, and jack of all trades, master of none. I also have a second job as a lab tech making artificial eyes. I LOVE MY JOBS!!!

I’m also married to a man living with cancer, and I have a special needs teenage son.

I’m ashamed to say that my biggest lifelong regret is having a child. I like kids, I just wasn’t one of those girls who had an interest in having one. Maybe I’m too self centered and selfish. It was a compromise in my marriage to have up to 2 children. Maybe I would feel different if he was a normally developing human, but he isn’t.

I read a lot about mothers of special needs children who literally mourn for the child that should have been. So I know I’m not alone. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my young man and care for him as a decent human being, but I do feel a lot of regret, anger, and sadness for the life that was taken from me.

My husband’s cancer is like a looming black cloud. This is his second round and we’ve made the decision to not go through traditional treatments. We are instead focusing on different diet strategies with whole foods and staying physically fit. Now, there are suppose to be these different stages of grief and you move from one to the next until you reach acceptance. Well for me there are different stages all right, I can go through each stage in 5 minutes then start all over again. Anger, denial, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I experience them all and more. It’s exhausting. Alternating between having dreams and plans that will take longer than a month to come to fruition, and planning and preparing for eminent death is also taxing.

As a wife, a mother, and an employee I can get overwhelmed by all the demands and expectations placed on me to the point where I feel like a title with a job discription. 2 a.m. is the time I carve out to just be myself, for myself, and have no one to answer to. Sometimes it lasts only 1 or 2 hours, at times until 7 a.m. (when our son needs to wake up for his morning medication).

However long I get, the time is mine to plug in and recharge.

Collaboration and proposal

Now that the outfit for the wedding is just about finished, its time to gear up to work on the pieces for an art show proposal.

Here is the fabric I will be working with.

Here is a sketch of the outfit. A plaid spencer jacket with leg of mutton sleeves and alligator print leather back panel. I may use the stainless steel washers as some sort of fastener. Hand dyed maroon denim covered with hand dyed gray lace for skinny jeans. And a vintage fascinator to top it all off. There will be more, but that’s a start.

A couple quick sketches of clothes that came to mind on my morning jogs.

Seeds are being sown for a possible artist collaboration between myself and Lesia Socher, the creator of the above multimedia paintings. Last night, that proposal was delivered and met with enthusiasm, and she took photos of some of my work that she would like to paint. Something is evolving, and I’m very excited!