Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Buying Clothing With Ethics In Mind

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the clothing that I buy. For the most part, I buy most of my clothing at the thrift store, or off of clearance racks at departments stores. I pride myself on never, ever paying retail for anything, and I rarely spend more than $10 on an item. Given the two criteria above, it is exceedingly rare that I buy anything that is made in the USA. I have also noticed that clothing seems to last only a few wears and washes before it begins to lose its shape or the fabric starts to pick and pill.

When I buy something I want it to last for more than one year. Furthermore, I want to support companies that make their items in the USA and pay their employees a fair wage, with more "good points" for companies who offer benefits (like insurance) that are actually affordable on the salary the employee is paid. Given the current state of domestic manufacturing, I completely understand that this may not always be an achievable goal. I also realize even though I have a desire to support American companies, I may not always be able to afford to do so. I don't have any sort of long, drawn out plan on how I will change my buying habits, I just want to be more mindful of where things are made and attempt to buy USA made items when it is feasible. Perhaps when I am a bit older and more established, thus hopefully having more spending power, I will be able to be more consistent with buying American made items.

Sure, I am only one person, buying a few items, but I still feel that it matters to buy items that are made in the USA. Millions of people doing one small thing can make a huge difference! Here are a few companies that I have found that make items in the USA that are reasonable to moderately priced. ( Just to note, I have not bought anything from these companies, so I cannot attest to the products of services they offer.) I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and would love to find out about any other companies making things in the USA.  And lastly, I don't mean to alienate any of my readers who don't reside in the USA. I think one should strive to support their home country where ever that may be, and mine happens to be the US.)

1. A.S Tees are made in South Carolina, and according to their website, employees are offered paid vacation, retirement packages, and insurance plans. They sell T-shirts in a variety of styles, all reasonable priced under $20.

2. Okabashi sandals are also made in the USA and are very competitively priced. They seem to offer more athletic looking sandals and flip flips, which also look very supportive. Strangely, they also note their shoes are dishwasher safe. That's a first.

3. All American Clothing Company doesn't seem to offer a very stylish selection, but they do have spaghetti strap camisoles for around $10 that are still made right here at home. This company seems to offer more options for men, including a large selection of US made boots for men.

4. American Apparel had definitely had their share of controversy, but their clothing is still made in downtown LA.

5. Jack Rogers is a shoe and handbag company that makes all of their items in Florida. The shoes they offer are pricey, $100-$200 a pair, but it seems they do offer some sales occasionally on the website.

Finding companies that make all of their items in the USA is a very time consuming task. I'd love to hear about any made in the USA clothing that you love! Chime on in!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Have You Heard Of Amerimark? ( Vintage Looking Shoes!)

I had never heard of this company before today, when I spotted some interesting looking pins on Pinterest and decided to peruse the source. After spending a few moments on the site, I soon understood why I had never heard of the company before. I am approximately 50 years younger than their target audience. The key word here is target. This seems to be a company that markets clothing, shoes, and other such items to the retiree crowd. However, if you happen to be a Gen Y'er, or a Gen X'er for that matter, who likes to wear vintage inspired dress, then you may want to give this site a whirl. While I'd personally stay away from the polyester, perma-pleat  pants they offer, I have a thing for the shoes. Well, not the orthopedic shoes, but there are still lots of goodies too. Take a look here.

I'm sure whomever designs the footwear would never in a million years believe that there would be a market of 20 and 30 somethings to sell the footwear too. While some of the options looks a bit too 80s for my taste, there are tons of cute, and affordable, vintage-esque footwear options available on this site. Just for the record, I am not affiliated with this site, nor have I purchased anything from them yet, so I cannot attest to quality or customer service. If I do decide to purchase something, I will definitely write a blog post on it.

These shoes definitely have a 20's feel to them. The scalloped edges are wonderful and best of all they only cost around $12! I bet I have you're attention now! Even better, medium, wide, and extra wide widths are available, something you're certainly not going to find in authentic 20s shoes.

How about these? I think they have a 50's vibe with the moderate, sensible heel as well as being in a fun shade of pink. It also seems to come up a bit higher, showing no "toe cleavage" that screams modern shoe to me. A tad bit pricier at $30, but not outlandish either.

How darling and 40's are these? I love the hot pink color and the neutral base. If you ask me, these also shoe the perfect amount of toe to evoke thoughts of the 40s. These will set you back less than $15.

A flat shoe like this would be so cute and fun with a great pair of fitted, tapered 60s pants. Perfect for a picnic or out to dinner. The little bow is just icing on the cake.

But wait, there's more! This site sells more than just shoes that would work well with vintage.

They sell long-line bras if you truly want that vintage look under your clothing. This bra certainly isn't most peoples definition of sexy, but I can image this would do wonders under a wiggle dress.

They even sell full length slips! Try finding one of those at the mall. You'll have an easier time just buying a dress that looks like a slip.

Have you ever ordered anything from this website? Is this the company that also sells things by advertising in the coupon section of the Sunday news paper? Do you all like any of the shoe styles they offer, or would I just look goofy sporting any of those kicks? Chime on in!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do You Scrapbook Your Sewn Creations?

Despite my lack of actual sewing as of late, I have been spending copious amounts of time thinking about sewing, patterns, and fabric. I have also been thinking about scrapbooking. Let me explain, I always have grand ideas about scrapbooking, but in reality, I'm lucky if I get my pictures developed before my memory card is full. No pictures, no scrapbook.

 However, I really like the idea of having a scrapbook dedicated solely to my sewing projects. Sure, I have this blog, but I'd like something a bit more tangible. As someone who is a self described packrat, I want a book that I can keep forever and ever. Something that I can hold in my hand and thumb through the pages when I'm old and gray. I love the idea of having a sewing timeline in a book that I can look upon to see how far I've come. I truly hope to sew all of my life, so it would be amazing in 30 or 40 years to look back and see all of my creations. A life story, if you will, that is told by outfits that I have sewn could be created if I was diligent about the scrapbook. 

As for the logistics, I'd want to dedicate one page to each garment that is sewn. So, if I sew an outfit, that would actually get two pages in the book. Each page would contain one or two photos of the garment, a picture of the pattern envelope, and a name that I gave the garment for the blog post. Since I have a picture of everything I've sewn, I could truly start at the beginning of my sewing "career". However, a few of the items I made as soon as I started sewing have already bit the dust, so I'm unsure if I'd want to include them. For example, two shirts I made early on had no seam finishes, were put through the washing machine a few times, and then met the trash can. Would I really want to include them in my scrapbook?

What do you all think? Do you scrapbook in general? Do you keep a creative scrapbook of things you've sewn? Do I really need another money sucking hobby? Chime on in!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where Have All The Coat Patterns Gone?

Hello lovely and fabulous readers! Yes, I am still out of town, which means no sewing for me.

So, today I want to talk about coat patterns, or more specifically my perceived lack of coat patterns available from the pattern companies. In particular, I am going to focus on Vogue patterns, since they offer more designer patterns than the other companies do. While Vogue certainly isn't devoid of coat patterns, it offers 23 selections in the coats and capes section, I feel that their designer coat patterns could use a bit of a revamp. While Vogue does offer a few more fitted, tailored styles, many of it's offerings fall under the "easy wear" category, if you will.

For example, Vogue offers this pattern by Donna Karen. While it is not my style, I could see it looking nice on someone. However, this type of shapeless coat seems to be rather prevalent.

Arguably, many of the vintage coat patterns I drool over are out of my current skill set range, but that doesn't change the fact that I like the patterns. If Vogue offered more fitted, flattering designs, being out of my skill set wouldn't deter me from buying them. I can always grow into my patterns, skill wise. I wish Vogue would commission more tailored, designer coat patterns to help suppress my seemingly insatiable pattern appetite. Lets look at a few vintage coat patterns, shall we? If only Vogue would reproduce these amazing jewels.

Look at this fabulous Nina Ricci number from the late 60s. It has a unique collar, interesting button placement,and is just fabulous all around if you ask me. I would buy this pattern in a heartbeat if a re-print were available, as I've seen originals cost a pretty penny on Ebay.

Look at this Pierre Cardin number! This is a fabulous, chic coat. I must argue that one would feel exponentially more chic wearing this number, as opposed to the modern Donna Karen pattern. Would you sew this up and proudly parade it while out on the town?

While this pattern isn't a designer offering, it is phenomenal nonetheless. Though asymmetry is generally not something I am drawn to, I seem to make a glaring exception for coats. I love off center placed buttons. I'd love to make this up in a navy colored wool and sport some red pumps while wearing it. Oh la la!

If you think I want Vogue to bring every patterns ever made out of their vaults, don't worry. There is one little number that should be locked up and the key forever lost. If you have small children in the room I advise you send them away before perching your eyes upon this horror.

What is that?? A floor length duster coat, with what appears to be the remnants of a very fluffy dog attached to the top and bottom. Sure, it's Givenchy, but is is an absolute horror to feast your eyes upon.

So, what do you think of the current coat offerings? Would you like Vogue to release some more tailored, designer coat options? I'd love to hear from you!