Sunday, October 1, 2017

Slow Fashion October: Take 3

Ladies and gentlemen, start your maker engines, because it is once again time for that month dedicated to all things wardrobe which are “small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, and known-origins.” The brain behind Slow Fashion October is Karen Templer of Fringe Supply Co. and, and much thanks to her for once again spearheading this mammoth 31 day social media event.

I plan on posting blog entries throughout the entire month here on the blog, definitely in response to each weekly prompt, and perhaps beyond and/or ancillary to them. This initial week's prompt is the "who" - obvious and not so much. Obvious in the introducing of oneself; not so much in the who/what has influenced my personal clothing path.

To answer the obvious, I am a handknit- and crochet-wear designer. I’ve been at this now for six amazing years; I’ve self-published a first book of designs based on the early females of flight – Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace. I currently continue designing and publishing utilizing that same inspirational material with the Aviatrix Pullover (and an accompanying in-depth article on Raymonde de Laroche) in the current Knitting Traditions Magazine, as well as my own fall mini-remix of knit designs in the Flying Sticks remix e-book.

As anyone who has read this interview or this blog post (from last year's Slow Fashion October) or the acknowledgement to Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace knows, my initial wardrobe influencer was my maternal grandmother. Her clothes shopping trips, and their related purchase reveals to an audience of one (yours truly) when I was barely a tween, left an indelible mark in my fashion memory. The fact that she was a New England textile worker (which I learned only many years later) provides such context to those reveals, in which she would tell me the alterations she planned for each piece. My grandmother used her sewing machine regularly well into her mid-70s, and while I had no desire to use the sewing machine, her willingness to share what she had in mind absolutely had an impact on my approach to clothes and wardrobe.
Just a few of the many Vogue
Knitting editions in my
personal library

Of course, initially I had no desire to alter my off-the-rack purchases beyond a hemming here and there. However, handmade has had a long, slow simmer on my clothes’ making back burner, as well-thumbed and much traveled issues of Vogue Knitting, purchased when originally published over the almost last 30 years, can attest.

It wasn’t until the middle to late 2000s, coinciding with my time instructing ethics to design school students, that I started to really focus on handmade and DIY with some semblance of mindfulness. The back and forth with students really helped to bring my own thoughts into focus. It doesn’t hurt that I also have a fair amount of curiosity about how things work, some natural mechanical and spatial abilities, and a deep love of color. I am currently a huge follower of all things Sonya Philip. We may have very different styles, but the breadth and depth of her handmade wardrobe is so damn impressive, not to mention her awesome way with color and pattern. Katrina Rodabaugh and Tom Holland have made me reimagine mending across all the textiles of my world (and found via Slow Fashion October Take 1); designer Veronik Avery remains a design and pattern grading inspiration. Oh, and let me not forget Norah Gaughan - because in addition to the designs, she's an amazing human being.

I do have wardrobe goals for the month, and they feature me actually completing several handmade pieces, a few of which are part of my Ravelry group’s maker event which started in September and ends mid-October. I have two pullovers, a cardigan, and a cover-up in various stages of completion that, if I can manage to get them off my making plate, are perfect fall weather wearables. I also have a few long-overdue model thank-you’s to complete; my regularly scheduled original design life continues behind the scenes.

It’s a good thing I like this hand-making stuff.




  1. I love your Aviatrix pullover! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about slowfashionoctober, I really enjoyed reading about your journey. :-)