Saturday, February 19, 2011

Handmade? Or Handmade Fashion? Or Just Fashion?

I don't know. I'm trying to figure out where I belong with handmade clothing. In one large sense, this is fashion. But it is not trendy fashion, by a long shot. It's just the stuff I make and enjoy, and my plus-size ladies seem to like it. But this clothing is also handmade, and therefore, can it have a presence in the "handcrafted community"? The answer? Sort of.

Without a doubt, the most telling evidence of whether my garments are "handmade" or "fashion" will be where and how they sell. In the past, I had reps sell my work, and it was therefore most definitely considered "fashion". However, I think it is actually becoming very "fashionable" to have your product be called "handmade" there's a twist on the whole thing!

Personally, I really don't mind one way or the other. My only question is: where do I feature and show my work the most? A handmade forum, or a fashion one? I'm becoming increasingly convinced that I should go into both areas, and let it work itself out. I think there are a lot of plus-sized women who have never considered the handmade marketplaces as anywhere they could buy clothing for them. It's easy to see why; there just isn't much on eBay and ArtFire for plus-sized women. Sure, you'll find T-shirts up the wazoo, but interesting and unique clothing? Not so much.

Bottom line for me is that I envision a garment, cut the fabric strategically, and sit at an industrial sewing machine and make it all come together. That is certainly "handmade", and it's wearable. A similar thing happens when I dye fiber, yarn, and fabric, and spin yarn. It's all "handmade"...but isn't it also destined to be "fashion"?

I think so!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The End of Another V-Day

I am a perennial hater of Valentine's Day. When I was young, in school, no one ever sent me those carnations that would get passed out by the popular girls. I never really had a boyfriend in high school. I just didn't seem to be the right "type" of girl, and I couldn't figure out why! I always assumed it was because I wasn't skinny, and of course, I hated myself and my body because of that. Even when I was a junior in high school, and I weighed 145 pounds and was almost 5'10" tall, I still could only see the "fat girl" inside me.

College came...few dates to even speak of. Since I went to design school, most of the guys there were gay, and so that was that. I did meet a sweet man toward the end of school, and eventually got engaged. I broke it off, though. He was FAR too tied to his mother's apron strings. Talk about unappealing!

While I was married, Valentine's Day was always the day before my husband got paid. That meant that anything for the holiday that was going to happen would happen for 50% off. I didn't mind. I suppose one of the mistakes we made was not celebrating these kinds of days, and living and breathing only for the children.

Tonight I am here, alone, sipping a glass of wine, and looking back over all these past V-days. I'm not sad because I am "single". I am "taken" but not in the way I'd like to be. My heart's been given away, and now I sit and wait to see what will happen to it. It's not a position I would have wished for, but I know that time can determine things for us when we can't make up our minds. Maybe this will happen to him.

Valentine's Day doesn't fail to inspire me, though. Red IS my favorite color, and it's everywhere right now, of course. Red colors passion, anger, and hot-headedness, but it also fuels ambition and success. I'll go on that!

Back to my wine now...or is it...WHINE??

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Expanding on a Good Thing

Yes, I am aware it's been four months. You should know what a terrible blogger I am by now, so I'll spare you!

In the last couple months, I've realized that I really MISS creating fashion clothing for plus sized women. It was something I did very very well a few years ago. Life got in the way of the business, as usually happens. Autism entered my life, I left my husband, and found myself in not a very good spot. It's been five years, and I've been on so many creative "adventures" that I've lost count. But still, deep in my soul, there lives a desire to create clothing for the women I understand best: those that wear a size 16 and above.

It was a very tough decision to make; deciding to go back to the fashion business. But I know it's where I belong, and I'm excited to do it again! I got acquainted with my beloved "Bernie" again, and had him tuned up.
I have Bernie situated so I can see out the window, and have a speaker system for my music. I can't do anything without music. Many of my scissors are missing from the glory days of my business, but I located the company from where I ordered them , and will pick them up again. Wolff Industries is simply the best place to get scissors.

All of the hundreds of pounds of fabric I had I hung onto. I couldn't bear to let any of it go. My set-up isn't like I had before, so I can't have it all in here, but I have my rayons here and will be working through them. My cottons are in storage, but I can easily get to them.

Next on the list of must-buys is a gravity feed iron. I've been through two of them, and it seems the price has come down on them. I'll head back to my trusty favorite site, All-Brands, for the iron. I got my machine from them, and have never been sorry.

My cutting table has been with me since I was in high school, and sadly, it is so broken that it is nearly unusable. Tomorrow's job will be picking up a new one, then the agony of putting it together!

Now, you might be wondering: will I stop dyeing fiber and spinning and designing yarns? Heck no! While I have yet to figure out how I will operate two seemingly different product lines, I still intend to try it. So, hanging in my workroom, alongside the spinning wheel, there will be gorgeous clothing...
I'd love to say that I'll be offering one-of-a-kind knitwear for plus sizes, but the work involved would be too much. Patterns are the next best thing, and I am perfecting my pattern-writing skills to be able to offer them. It is no small task writing a pattern; so when you get one for free, please appreciate it!

So, I am now surrounded by wool AND fabric, plus gorgeous pieces of Japanese kimono silks, Bali batik art panels, and Indian saris too numerous to count. They will become jackets, tunics, pant sets, and dresses. My Etsy and ArtFire shops will get all the one-of-a-kind pieces, and a website will be in the works for pieces that will be made to order. Then there will be advertising and promoting.

Sooo much to do! Stay tuned...