Friday 6 November 2009

A Tale of Two Items

Let me tell you about this little couplet. This top is ANOTHER version that has its origins in the Built by Wendy/Simplicity 3835. The pattern is the same as my grey version, but I omitted the key-hole back and added some cute little pockets to make it more of a ‘day’ garm. For a while I’d been mulling over the possibility of accentuating the raglan sleeve detail with contrasting fabric. These pieces of cotton were from my Springfield stash, and were too small to make a full garment from each anyway, so the dye was cast!

Now, onto the bag. A couple of months ago, when it was still blisteringly hot, I braved leaving the relative coolness of our flat to go and pick up some supplies. As an apparent gift for my efforts, I found this bag on the street on my way to the shop. It was in almost brand new condition. Such Asian kitsch is so up my street that when it goes on holiday, I water its plants, so I was very excited and have used it heaps since that fortuitous day.

However, predictably, it hadn’t been exposed to the highest quality level of manufacture, and one of the straps started to fray and come loose. So I trimmed it and stitched it back on, then adjusted the other to match, and wondered if this particular bag was the only one from its batch to have been repaired rather than thrown away when the first signs of wear began to show. If I had possessed this bag when I was in my teens or early twenties, I don’t think it would have crossed my mind to fix it rather than discard it when it broke. And that’s coming from me, who even back in the day always had a sewing needle within arm’s reach. I think that largely in Western culture, manufactured items that cost little receive the disrespect that a more expensive item would not generally be granted. I guess it’s a question of relative and perceived value.

I can’t blame malodious social values entirely for my formative wastefulness. Obviously, these days I possess a personal set of values that questions and prohibits such wastefulness, the development of which has been inspired by, and reflected in, changes in mood and discourse of certain groups and sections of society. But I think that a portion of the blame needs to be heaped on youth in general. When I was younger, I almost welcomed the ‘death’ of a garment or accessory because it justified the acquiring of a replacement. This meant getting something new and exciting, through which I could experiment with my style and the trends of the time. But now I’m a bit older, I have a far more solid sense of my own style and how it relates to ‘fashion’, thus I can confidently say ‘Yes I like this bag, it agrees with certain elements of my desired aesthetic, it is broken, subsequently I will fix it to elongate it’s lifespan as far as possible’. Job done.


Karin van Dam said...

Cute top, I really like the colour of the sleeves! And the bag is fun. I agree: It's great to fix something and prolong it's life that way.

Drop Stitches Not Bombs said...

Great post - I've been thinking about 'disposable fashion' quite a lot recently too. Repairing something rather than throwing it away seems like a mark of respect for the labour that went into making it.

Also, that top is gorgeous!

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