I've been quietly participating in the #2018makenine challenge and I am sort of surprised by how nice it is to follow along on Instagram. I give a little mental hurrah! for every finished project I see in this feed because I know part of what that finished project would have entailed and the resulting spark of happiness it brings. I like knowing there are people out there making joy.
I mentioned in my previous post that my #2018makenine is pretty unambitious, at least comparatively. I have all the materials and patterns in my stash already so there isn't any time being spent on sourcing, some of my projects are WiPs, and several others are of the small and simple variety (which is not why I have suddenly taken an interest in sock knitting). (See previous post.)
However, the operative word is "comparatively". As far as I'm concerned, my list presents a decent challenge for me since I am good at making lists and not so good at making time. It probably doesn't help that I seem to lay down multiple obstacles to my making of anything for a variety of reasons, one of which is guilt--the guilt that I "should be doing more important things". Which is entirely true, but if I actually got right down to doing those important things instead of finding some other unrelated task to work on (such as blogging or surfing), I'd probably have time left over to indulge my love of knitting and sewing, right?
Anyhow, I've been seeing lots of pants and Ginger Jeans popping up in my IG feed and it got me thinking that indeed, I really could use a pair of well-fitting pants and/or jeans. Pants are a bugbear if you don't have the body of a runway model. I am not at all trying to suggest we'd all be better off if we'd only been born with a "better" set of genes. What I mean is that there are so many ways a pair of pants won't fit a female body, and that most manufacturers, in all their wisdom, have chosen their average proportions from the rather narrow segment of the population we have collectively deemed "better looking than the rest of us". The rest of us just have to squeeze in or cinch or resort to wearing long cardigans or all of the above.
If you've ever attempted drafting a pant pattern for yourself, you would know just how many measurements and calculations are required and unless you are a master pattern drafter, you still have to tweak and tweak again and then some. But sewing experience isn't at all necessary to have intimate knowledge of the fact that pants are hard to fit. Trying to buy pants off the rack is a bit of a nightmare for a lot of women and I suspect that's why so many of us have a predilection for bifurcated garments with spandex.
Also, this is the reason I own an entirely ridiculous number of RTW pants. And why about 80% of them don't get worn.* I don't sew my own pants anymore (see previous paragraph) so I buy them (entirely too often) but so, SO rarely do they ever fit straight off the rack. At the very least, they will require hemming. I'm under average height and since pants usually come with a little extra inseam to not exclude the reasonably tall people among us, I have to hack off a good chunk so that I'm not sporting donuts around my ankles or tripping over my own feet. (Nowadays, I just say no to flares, for my own safety.)** But, in truth, many don't even get hemmed because in my heart of hearts, I know that I won't likely wear them because they are bunching a little too much somewhere or sagging a bit elsewhere. Of course, I don't make that admission until it's well too late for returns or exchanges.
You'd think that a three-way mirror and my own good sense would have prevented me from repeatedly making this mistake, yet here I am with very few pants to wear and far too many pairs in my closet that are almost wearable. Clearly, the answer to my troubles is not more shopping. For a moment, I thought the answer was to buckle down and make my own pants, but every time I open my closet or that particular dresser drawer, I see that stack of clothes (and let's be clear, it's not just pants or just RTW***) which, with a few hours of work and a perhaps a little creativity, could become useful, contributing members of my wardrobe. Which is where the #mendormodifynine hashtag comes in.
I'm setting this challenge for myself, not to necessarily mend or modify nine articles of clothing in 2018, but to use the remaining nine months of this year to practice. To practice the arts of mending and modifying and to practice the new decision-making processes that I want to develop when it comes to consuming, hoarding, and discarding material things. I want to use that time that I practice to think about how I came to have the current consumption habits I have and how I can modify those behaviours to reflect my ideals and my concerns.
When I think about my thought processes for deciding what I wanted and subsequently, what I bought, I'm starting to see how many lies I had to tell myself and how many conclusions I avoided making to justify all those things. But this challenge isn't about the mea culpas or atonement, although they kind of figure in a little bit because I can't help myself. It's about learning how to go forward with what I have, and learning more about how I can make better decisions as a consumer. I'd like to make #mendormodify something that I do as a matter of course and not just a single-use hashtag on IG.****
*Full disclosure, not all of that 80% have a fit issue. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I don't stray far from the path of trendiness. You'd have a hard time getting me to enter a public space wearing a pair of low-rise, whiskered jeans circa 2005
**This isn't really a footnote on the text. This is just the point in my editing where a few mistaken keystrokes erased about two hours of writing and editing and I uttered a litany of curses upon the House of Squarespace for their evil wysiwyg editor. Until I reluctantly admitted that it was entirely my fault--this time. But still, it was way too easy to accidentally erase all that work. When will I EVER learn to write all the text in a different app, one that has a revision history???
***I don't like to claim that I make my own clothes because they fit better or are nicer than RTW because the evidence (which is jammed into the farthest reaches of my closet) proves otherwise. Sure, I have made items that I love and use, but I have also sewn and knit a number of garments that never made it out the front door. A few of those are going into the "modify it" queue this year.
****I don't expect this hashtag to catch on since I can safely assume this blog post will just take its place in the food chain of the internet somewhere between plankton and krill.