Sunday, June 10, 2012

Do You Thrift Your Footwear?

If you've been a reader of this blog for even a short while you most likely know about my love of buying secondhand things. I love estate sales and adore thrift stores. While I love buying thrifted clothes, I never buy thrifted shoes. I did come across a couple hundred pairs of vintage shoes at an estate sale, and I purchased a few pairs, but sold them on Etsy as they weren't my size. To date, I have never bought a pair of secondhand shoes with the intention of wearing them.

Why haven't I delved into the world of secondhand footwear? The answer is quite simple. Feet. I don't like footsies if they're owned by someone other than myself. Now, I love my feet. I like that they carry me places that I want to go. Sometimes I do wish they were a bit smaller, as I wear a 9 1/2 or 10, but at the end of the day I should simply be thankful for working feet.

During my thrifting adventures, I sometimes come across cute shoes in my size. Occasionally, I'll even pick them up then proceed to carry them around the store for a while. Inevitably, my dislike of feet, and the sweat and other ickiness that can go along with them, get the best of me and I sit the shoes back down. I try to remind myself that wearing a used shoe is no more nasty than say, showering in a hotel shower, but my attempt to rationalize hasn't worked yet. The ick factor still remains.

I want to overcome the ick factor and open up my world to the plethora of $2 shoes that exist at the thrift store. Tennis shoes are something I rarely wear, so I only want to be able to thrift heels and sandals. I have read a few various sites that say shoes can be disinfected with Lysol wipes, white vinegar, or rubbing alcohol. Perhaps cleaning them well would reduce the ick factor that seems to bog my mind down. For goodness sake, I eat off of secondhand dishes! I need to get over this!

So, do you wear secondhand shoes? Do you have good luck finding shoes at the thrift store? How can I get over this and open up a whole new thrifting category?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

America's Got Talent

If you live in the United States and tune into nighttime NBC programming you've probably seen the show America's Got Talent. If you're not here in the land of reality TV, then let me give you a brief rundown of what this show is. There are three judges consisting of Howie Mandell, Howard Stern, and Sharon Osbourne. They sit behind a table that has giant buzzers with huge red "X" signs that they push when they don't like the performers. The talented, and sometimes horrifyingly awful, contestants get about 90 seconds to showcase whatever act they believe is worthy of one million dollars if they win the show. There are singers, dancers, escape artists, animal acts, and some other things that are both bizarre and wildly wonderful. You get the idea.

Watching this show has made me think of the way we, as a modern culture, define talent. All of the acts on the show must be preformed in a 90 second time frame, which limits the kind of talents that can be showcased on the program. It seems in the sense of modern culture, talent and entertainment have become synonymous. If one cannot entertain others with their skill, then is isn't seen as talent by many. Now, there are many talented performers in the world who are both entertainers and talented. This post is not meant to downplay the talents of others, but rather to look at why some talents don't seem to get their share of the limelight. There are also many people who entertain whose talent is questionable at best. (I'm looking at you Miley Cyrus.)

I would argue that sewing is a talent. Sewing is a craft that takes time, patience, and practice to master. It cannot be rushed and even the fastest seamstress cannot make something in 90 seconds or less. Sewing requires you to mix together critical thinking skills, comprehension skills, and math skills and actually create a physical, 3D object. That is a talent. You're never going to see someone on stage chugging away making a coat on a reality TV talent show. Sewing, while it can be entertaining to the seamstress, doesn't really entertain others. Sure, a runaway bobbin unwinding on the floor may entertain your cat for a few minutes, but no one would describe that as entertainment. Setting in a non-wonky sleeve is a talent. Sewing a perfect fitting pair of pants is a talent. Learning how to thread a serger is a talent. Installing a fly-front zipper is a talent. Making a finished, wearable garment is a talent! A talent should not be defined by it's ability to make one a star or to entertain others.

We, as a society, need to redefine what constitutes a talent. Time consuming, laborious tasks such as sewing and woodworking are talents, and those who master these crafts are talented. We need to respect dying arts and restore them to their rightful place as talents. We need to redraw the line between talent and entertainment and realize, once again, that someone can be very talented without also being an entertainer.

What are your thoughts dear readers? Are talents such as sewing being overshadowed by more entertaining talents? Chime in! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

* I think the mass importation of cheaply made, both in quality and price, clothing has also downplayed the role of sewing as a talent, but we'll save that for another post.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Visual Proof For McCalls

Hello, wonderful readers! Well, since I am still out of town there has been no sewing going on for me. However, I did buy 4 sewing patterns at an antique store in Omaha about a week ago. If you can't sew you can always buy sewing supplies. So, instead, I'd like to present to you part two of why McCalls needs to release some of their fabulous vintage designs. Eye candy for the vintage pattern lover. All pics are from the vintage pattern wiki.

Feast your eyes upon McCalls 4084, a fabulous dress complete with open back and bows. I would shorten this to the knee and prance around my house pretending to be a Manhattan socialite in this dress. Care to join me?

I would sew this up for summer in a heartbeat! I like to be pretty covered up at a pool because of how pale I am and this would be perfect. This little beach jacket is so much cuter than modern, clingy cover ups.

An evening dress with sleeves? What a novel idea! *sarcasm* The lace overlay on the short sleeved version is gorgeous and would make such a pretty wedding dress. I can just imagine a modern bride getting married in a beautiful, lush garden walking down the aisle in that dress. Reprint this pattern so we can make that happen McCalls!

I'm pretty sure this is a night gown and a bed jacket. It is so lovely and elegant. Why wear stretchy, faded PJ pants when you can go to bed in this looking like a goddess? Just not one of Mr. Sheen's goddesses.

I cannot even begin to image how complicated this would be to sew, but I can imagine how fabulous it would be to wear. The drape! The bow! How can you not love this?

I'm not sure what the technical name is for a hem that flares out like this, but I do love it indeed! While I am not usually a fan of this length of dress, I would probably give it a try with this dress. Perfect for all the cocktail parties on yachts that I attend.

This pattern is simply glorious! I am quite jealous of the person who owns this little beauty.

Lastly, we have this absolutely adorable little number. This would be so perfect to wear on the beach and pick up sea shells in. You know, cause everyone needs a sea shell outfit.

So, how are we sewing bloggers going to convince McCalls to get on the ball and start releasing vintage patterns? Does anyone volunteer to get a job there to infiltrate their ranks?