winter, keeping warm

The shortest day is coming and I know after that, the worst of the winter weather will strike.   At the moment, walking on the beach is a weekend activity or on those days when I can get home in time for this . . . . staying warm is on my mind.

IMG_1762When Diana Trout asked the question “How do you feel about your clothing?” and spoke of Fast Fashion, I began thinking about the Slow Fashion movement and began responding about how I thought about clothes.  When I started rabbiting on, as is my wont, I decided my feelings needed a whole post.

Sometimes my attitude to my clothes is that they just cover my body and keep me warm.  At other times, I dress to alter my mood . . . I clothe myself much more carefully if I’m feeling low.  I made my first wearable garment fro myself at 11 and made almost everything for many years after, even earning my living sewing for clients for a while.   My claim to fame is making a strapless wedding dress that was worn by the bride for 12 hours straight without having to be hitched up once!  Sewing now?  Well I have boxes of fabrics I can’t bring myself to part with, and sometimes I’ll have a burst of enthusiasm and make my granddaughters dress-ups or tights (there’s a neat factory shop that sells the fabric nearby) or I might make merino tops for myself for the winter.  I wish I had more time to make more interesting garments than these pedestrian items but a full-time job doesn’t leave me with enough daylight hours.

I’m no more vain that the next person, I like to look good however I don’t really like shopping for clothes.  Fabric, yes, clothes, no.  I get annoyed by racks of clothing that are all the same, racks of clothing cheaply made from cheaper fabrics by someone in India, Pakistan or China that must be bemused by the size of these garments given that they could fit 2 or 3 people into one of them.  I get annoyed when a shop assistant tells me that something is popular, as if that should make me want it . . . it has the opposite effect.  I get especially annoyed when I see women slavishly following a fashion trend that must have been thought up by some misogynistic, money-grasping charlatan (male or female). I get especially annoyed to see young women looking self-conscious or uncomfortable in their fancy-dress (yes I know that’s my opinion but I think that’s how some look).

So from that little rant you’ll know I like good fabric, quality construction and practical yet interesting design that allows me to express myself.  So do I make or buy clothes regularly?  Not really, a few garments each winter or summer: good quality, thoughtfully sourced, classic items that augment what I have . . . and some garments have been in my wardrobe a long time.

It all comes back to consumerism, we must buy, buy, buy so someone else can work in substandard environment and some one else can make more money than they really need (my socialist leanings exposed here).  I try to be a minimal consumer, a recycler, a reuser, endeavouring to have as little impact on the environment as I can . . . I’m not very successful in some areas of my life but I try and I’m getting there.

When I read the following in my book of mediations by Deng Min-Dao recently, I realised how important my efforts are in this respect.   I’m sharing just a few of the thoughts expressed in the daily meditation.


How do you know when your life verges on decadence?

When etiquette and morals become more important than righteousness . . . When procedure becomes more important than creativity . . . When patriotism becomes more important than measured governing and enlightened treatment of other nations . . . When the act of eating becomes more important than considerations of nutrition . .  When the opera becomes more important than helping the homeless . . . When style becomes more important than function . . . When books become more important than teachers . . . When expediency becomes more important than the elderly.

When you smell these things happening, you are not far from decadence.


Recycled and repurposed grocery bags became kites that cost nothing and gave great pleasure.

Does that answer your question Diana?

10 thoughts on “winter, keeping warm

  1. Yes, and brings up more. As usual. (I was just going to say “yes” so that I wouldn’t give in to decadance 🙂 It is empowering to learn to sew your own clothes. To realize that you can re-purpose older things. It is change brought on by need, in my case. The biggest problem I have with clothing is the fancy dress stuff. It is cheap and uncomfortable and never ever makes me feel good. and I am tired of wearing my husbands t-shirts all summer and feeling like a slug.
    It is 11:30 pm on Sat night here and I have one more pattern piece to resize for a shirt. So that is how I spend my free time. And it’s good. xo

    • There is nothing more satisfying to me than standing back and saying “I did that!” That includes everything from looking at a newly planted vegetable patch to a new garment . . . anything really. Repurposing something just adds to my pleasure. I have some ideas along those lines for when I resign from the day job . . . courage to do so is beginning to build. 😉

  2. Wonderful post – how did you get in my head? My thoughts on ‘fashion’ are too ponderous for this early morning, but thank you for kick-starting my brain today.
    As for decadence … well described here. Sadly, I feel more surrounded by it daily.

  3. I always wonder at the story my clothes tell about me. I hope that it involves the fact I care, but I don’t desire to be like everyone else. I like to be comfortable, warm and feel good about myself.

    On days I feel less good about myself I make a special effort. I do envy the people who can work magic and create bearable clothes from fabric.

    The definition of decadence is going to ruminate in my head for some days.

    • It sounds as thought our attitudes to clothing is very similar Natasha, and with such clever hands, I’m sure you could make clothes that could be proudly worn.
      The book of meditations often sets me thinking . . . I was procrastinating one day and came across the line “each day passes whether you participate or not” and it certainly got me moving!

  4. Wendy, the thoughts on decadence really resonate with me. I live in one of the most materialistic areas of the country and see outrageous decadence all around me. It sickens and saddens me. BTW, I once sewed professionally also … today my machine is used solely for art purposes.

    • When I first read the meditation I was quite angry during the day as I saw so much evidence of decadence . . . in the community and in myself. It took a while to resolve but I have. Will a trip overseas to met up with friends be too decadent?

  5. What a great post! I love that meditation. I started to say I liked one of his points but then rereading I love it all.

    • Hi Lynda, and welcome! There was more to it than what I cited, all of it equally thought provoking. It’s a favourite book of mine that I have dipped into for a number of years now and I highly recommend it . . . and I’m not paid to say that either!

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