Sunday, June 26, 2016

Simplicity 2938 Take 7

I've tried Instagram and Twitter. They fill their niche.

But blogging is not dead, at least for me. I like to read blogs that share deep knowledge about subjects and give a peek into the lives of their writers.

It takes me more than 140 characters or a picture and a quick sentence to express some of my ideas. I also like that my ideas from 2005-present are all collected right here.  Some 2003-2006 ideas can also be found at my sister's blog.

ASIDE: When my sister watched me knit in December 2002, she asked me if I was interested in posting on her fiber arts blog.  I asked, "What's a blog?"

When I increasingly went off-topic (not about fiber arts), she told me I would be happier with my own blog and suggested Wordpress or Blogger.  I found the Blogger interface easier to learn (YMMV) and here we are in 2016.

META: I'm going to keep writing about whatever interests me and I think should be more broadly known.  That means, it's not all knitting and sewing.  I read environmental science news and journal articles and I'm going to write about how that translates into real life for people who aren't scientists.  Occasionally, I'll multi-task by connecting science, sociology and making stuff.

When I see bullshit, I'm just going to write about that, breathe, and then let the anger go.  I don't know if exposing bullshit does any good when so many people appear to be unswayed by facts or reason, but, pushing back makes me feel better.

Some sewing happened

Simplicity 2938

Pattern by Karen Z and endorsed by ASG (always good signs.)
When I searched for Simplicity 2938 on this blog and on my pattern spreadsheet, I discovered that this is the 7th version of this top that I have sewn.

Four versions, all sewn with recycled shirts.
I really like this pattern because the pattern pieces fit inside the usable bits of Bad Dad's shirts that are frayed at the collars, cuffs or seams, yet have perfectly good fabric in the interior.

Perfect for recycling shirts that are frayed at the collar/cuffs.
When I need a top, I pull a shirt from my refashioning bin and look for a coordinating center panel fabric from my scraps bin.  Rather than use facings, I piece bias strips from the sleeve of the shirt (if it has long sleeves) or from scrap fabric.  I omit the zipper as it pulls on over my head easily without it.

The only knit version.
I've only sewn one version that did not begin life as another shirt.  But, I bought this < 1yard remnant from SAS, which receives/sells truckloads of scraps from clothing manufacturers around SoCal.  I made the two-piece outfit below for a friend's daughter (as a going off to college present) from stuff that used to go to a landfill.  I paid SAS ~$6 for the two pieces and spent a day sewing it up.
The only one not sewn from a recycled shirt.  But the remnant was purchased by the pound from an odd jobber.
Textiles are not environmentally benign.  It takes huge amounts of water and pesticides to grow and process cotton.  Organic cotton is not the answer as seeds that are genetically modified to use less water can not earn the organic designation.

Natural dyes are also not the answer.  It takes about 13 acres to grow enough natural dyes to dye 1 acre of cotton.

Those rayon pants?  I used every last scrap of that remnant.  I can't bear to see rayon wasted after I chanced across a textbook on rayon manufacturing at Moe's used bookstore in Berkeley.  It was written for chemical engineers in industry and cost $200 *used* and in the 1980s.  However, it was 800 pages thick.  I managed to skim-read much of it on repeated visits to Moe's because I can't afford the $ or shelf space for that book.

I love the feel of rayon, but not the environmental impact of the irresponsibly made ones.  If the rayon was made in Germany, or has the Tencel trademark, it was made with an environmentally-friendly closed-loop process.  Enviro-guilt free.

Back to this top.

I over-dyed a green/white striped pinpoint oxford shirt with (cobalt? ultramarine?) blue Procion fiber reactive dye from Dharma Trading the same day I tried the snow-dye experiment.  You can see the shirt in the plastic shoebox in those photos.  The color is made up of different dye components, and they can separate, as they did here on the lower back.

Color separation happens.
When working with dyes that contain fuchsia, 'bursts' of fuchsia can happen unless you filter the dye through cheesecloth first. I don't bother and live with the results.

Star bursts of dye happen, if you don't filter your dye for undissolved dye particles.
I use very little water, scrunch the fabric, and let unevenness happen.  Just for fun, I put the bias binding on the outside instead of the inside.

I employed Grandma Sewing techniques, so the top can be worn inside out.  The contrast between the quilting cotton and the shirt is more muted on the reverse side.

The shoulder is a bit strange, because I attempted (and failed at) a square-shoulder adjustment.  I should have left it alone because the other 6 tops hang much better.
I bought some heather cotton jersey from The Fabric Store that pick up many the colors in the top.  I'm going to make an unstructured, open cardigan to match.


  1. Everything in this post is exactly why I have your blog tagged in my blog reader as high value and a must read. Very glad I "discovered" you from your guest blogging on James Fallows' blog some years ago.

    My stage 4 cancer adventure over the past two years is starting to rack up a bunch of ideas for posts. It's a complex lifestyle I'm now living, with lots of stuff to chew on besides symptoms, etc. I need to buckle down and do some writing!

    1. Exactly! We need to write stuff that contains actual information instead of sponsored posts written by PR hacks and advertising agencies.

  2. Love your blog and the range of topics. I like to share bits of it with my daughters, too -- not only are the topics interesting, but you set a great example as a woman who is intelligent, educated, and creative.

  3. I started reading your blog for the sewing. It's your thoughts on the other stuff that really keeps me coming back. You seem to be able to poke holes in, or fill in gaps, of what's usually on the news or spouted by politicians. Holes and gaps that I don't know where to start looking for information to fill them in with.

    I used to think we were doing good by donating our no-longer wanted, but still good clothing. Until I read how much ends up being shipped overseas, and into landfills there. And bamboo fabric & batting was presented as an environment saver, then I read it all depends on how it's processed. Wool & cashmere? Not so fast - while sheep & goats do well on land that's not fit for much else (domesticated crops/livestock anyway), our taste and demand for cheap cost fabric and garments is leading to disaster in those areas. GAH!!! maybe I should stop reading your blog...Just kidding! There's too many who choose to not even try to understand the backstories.

    1. On the topic of donating clothes-- I have some clothing that I have purchased at thrifts stores that I don't want any more, because for whatever reason it just doesn't work for me. Is it better (environmentally or whatever else) to sew that clothing into something else, or just donate it back to the same thrift store.

      Somewhat related: from the perspective of enviroguilt, is it preferable to buy "raw material" in the form of existing clothing at thrift stores, or to buy plan fabric? (assuming that either will work for my purpose)

    2. I follow the principle of highest use.

      What is the highest use of that object? If it is perfectly usable as-is, but not by you, send it back to the thrift store.

      If it is broken or worn in places, so that it can not perform it's original use, then mine it for raw materials.

  4. you are such a wealth of information. I love the part about the shirts for the man working with kids w head trauma. melt my heart.


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