Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Camo Moment

We survived back to school shopping without killing each other.

When she wanted a camouflage print scarf, I balked. I know that camo is supposed to be a big trend this year, but I didn't think that camouflage is an appropriate fashion statement while we are at war in two different countries and on the brink of war with another one.

She insisted that she loved the scarf so we agreed she could purchase it with her own money.  On the way home, she made a valid point that camo can be used in other contexts, such as hunting or even in irony. I saw what she meant.  I envisioned another one of her purchases (that I didn't approve of at the time), paired with camo.

I went to SAS the next day on the off-chance that they had the appropriate fabric.  Score!  ~2.5 yards of cotton/lycra camo print for $3.50/pound.   I cut out a pair of Kwik Sew 3476 leggings (her 4th pair this year!).  I added 2" in length to accommodate her growth spurt at the beginning of summer.  I managed to cut out another pair of Kwik Sew 2666 shorts from the large scraps leftover at the sides after cutting out the leggings.

If you are a data geek, the legging pieces weighed 130 grams, the shorts 88 grams, small scraps 66 grams--an overall 86% cutting efficiency.  The remaining 1+ yards will be saved for another pair of leggings, either for her or one of her friends.

After laundering, I put the fabric on the cutting table and got to work. This is an extremely quick and unusual turnaround for me, but I decided to strike before the fashion winds blew away from camo or I strangled my teenager. (If you have a teenaged girl at home, you know what I mean.)  Both camo pieces, as well as the black KS 2666 shorts have seen heavy wear as soon as they left the sewing room.

The Arm the Animals shirt is growing on me.  In talking to the kids young entrepreneurs selling the shirts at the Hermosa Beach festival, I thought that they were a bunch of pretty hardworking and savvy animal rights activists.  Instead of breaking into labs, they are raising money to help save animals in a peaceful way.  I didn't like the shirts with the animals holding guns pointed at would-be hunters.  But brass knuckles are kinda funny.  Besides, would anyone pick on my kid when she is wearing this?

The shirts are made locally; they are sewn in Mexico, designed and screened in LA.  The cotton is very soft, not sheer, and the seams are well sewn.  After washing it all summer, I decided it was reasonably priced for the quality.  I'm still not going to buy her clothes that (even ironically) condone violence.  But, I don't feel upset about her buying and wearing it either.

According to my pattern spreadsheet, I've made her 11 pairs of pants and 5 pairs of shorts from KS 2666.  I cut out and sewed most of it in 1 hour the first evening.  I hemmed and put in the elastic in 30 more minutes the next night.  Luckily, the serger was already threaded in black.  I plan to sew some black pieces for myself soon, if this monsoonal flow (hot, humid) weather ever lets up.

I like quick, well-engineered patterns for casual day clothes.  They give a lot of bang for my sewing time.  How about you?  Do you think about (time) cost per wear when sewing?  Do you track your cutting efficiency?  Kathleen says I am an Aspie in denial.  I say that I am just data-driven.


  1. I don't track cutting efficiency but I have thought about how inefficient my own cutting is.

    I do recognize a great mom when I see one. Way to go (I like the way you handled your issues with cam and heard her out. I wish I had been more understanding with mine.)

  2. I don't think about time spent per wear in terms of sewing, but I do find that a pattern used a second and third time is always so much faster to make up, because I have already cut out the paper pattern, and possibly adjusted it. For me that is a time saving of several hours (I'm pretty slow at cutting out). The other way I try to think about time cost is when I'm buying fabric. I try to think about how many hours of washing/cutting/sewing I'm signing up for with the yardage I'm buying.

    1. If the fabric is expensive, do you want the experience of sewing with it to last longer?

      I'm that way with yarn, but not with fabric. Knitting is very tactile so I want my more involved projects to start with good yarn.

  3. I will try to remember this lesson when the issue inevitable comes up in my house. I am def not a fan of camo, but will try hard to remember that it is a decision I made for myself (my family all hunts). I will allow her to make a decision when the time comes...

  4. that Elle link is frightening.. $165 for a camo t-shirt ? I balked at paying $30 for a high-tech camo hunting t-shirt, got a cotton one for $8 instead. Shop at Cabelas or Gander Mountain for authentic unironic camo, cheaper too..

    I asked my highschooler if he'd seen much camo at school, he reported none. Either the fashion has not reached flyover land yet, or he's a boy and doesn't notice clothes much. Hm. He does have some hunting clothes in the closet, so will be ready when it hits. It's hard for a guy to wear camo ironically though. I remember when Castro made camo fashionable the last time, then it was a symbol of rebellion. Now I don't know. We need a semiotician..

    1. I agree with you about some of the prices.

      I used to shop from Cabela's catalog, but I just can't stomach it after seeing this shirt.
      It says, "Cabela's, Texas Gun Control. He who has the BIGGEST Gun is in CONTROL.

      That's a hateful message and I won't shop Cabela's again.

      I was already on the fence before, when CA instituted limits on how much ammo CA residents can purchase over the internet. Cabela's sent me email alerts to stock up before the law went into effect. They weren't gentle reminders. They verged on anti-government rants.

      I believe that people should be able to hunt responsibly. But I also believe that government should be able to regulate hunting and gun ownership.

      After these two incidents, I think I will spend my $ with people who don't disseminate such hateful messages.

  5. Google's Ngram viewer suggests that we haven't seen the last of camouflage print popularity.

    1. That is a cool tool! It will be a big time suck at our house.


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