29 July 2010

Gimme a Tee!

I am awash in T-shirts. Sports fan T-shirts. Funny (and once funny) T-shirts. Loyal supporter T-shirts. Elementary school musical program costume T-shirts. Free T-shirts. Raggedy, much-loved T-shirts. Never-worn T-shirts. You get the picture. The recent room reshuffle that gave me my work room also stirred up the sediment of T-shirts at the bottom of every dresser drawer and they have now come to rest on every available surface. I have bagged and donated so many that all the local Goodwill stores now lock their donation doors when they see me coming. But many are not fit to be given away, and others are too precious.

So I decided to make a T-shirt quilt. I don't quilt, and I don't need a quilt, and I doubt it will be a very attractive quilt, but by promising to make a quilt of all the T-shirts with sentimental value to anyone in the house I can get away with reducing the bulk of what I have to keep from a pile of T-shirts to a pile of knit squares, one per shirt. Brilliant! But it seems such a waste simply to throw away three quarters of each shirt.

At this point the T-shirt presence was coming to resemble the Cat in the Hat's pink spot--every effort to clear it up was making it bigger. I decided to cut off the bands and bulky seams and shred the rest. A week of mindless cutting while watching TV and I have this:
Actually, a big bag of this, and more where that came from. Perfect for stuffing something--but what?

How do you recycle T-shirts? What would you do with this stuff?

27 July 2010

Punitive Plus Sizing

I believe I have already confessed that I typically take an oxymoronic Petite-Large or Petite X-L in RTW. And I'm OK with that. I ride my bicycle. I'm healthy. If I can find my size in a store I don't really care what it's called. Or I try not to anyway. But my recent decision to switch to skirts and dresses rather than jeans as my wardrobe basics has mired me in the real undisguised cruelty of RTW sizing.

Bare plus-sized legs in skirts mean thighs that chafe. Every woman over a size 14 knows this. There is an easy solution: just wear pettipants, cutotte slips, whatever you want to call them. (Unpadded bicycle shorts under skirts also work, I'm told, and there are powders and creams, of which I am highly sceptical.) All you need is a layer or two of thin fabric between the thighs and presto! No more chub rub.

But try to find pettipants in a store in the RL. Or save yourself the humiliation and don't. The mercantile logic seems to be that anyone who suffers from chafing thighs must (or should be required to) wish she was much thinner, so the only readily available intimate apparel with fabric between the legs is "shapewear," which you can find everywhere. Granted, sometimes I like a little help in smoothing the ripples of me as they cascade toward my feet, but on other occasions I just want to eat, or laugh, or breathe without being ensausaged in lycra.

Even if I do want to encase myself in shapewear, why am I not allowed to retain some dignity while I do so? Why am I a 16 or 18 in dresses and pants, while I can't cram my blobby bulk into a size XXL Miraclethis or Flexithat in the same store? Is body dysmorphia such a pandemic that profits can be made selling Size XS girdles to sylphs and sprites?


23 July 2010

Tearing Things Apart

I really want to get sewing and stitch up some skirts and tops and, maybe, pants to take with me to England, Wales, the Netherlands and parts east, but even more urgently I must weave together a text to present at the conference that makes the whole trip possible. I suppose I could be making more progress on both tasks. On the sewing front, I am held back by the fear that whatever I make won't fit. I know that the solution to that problem is to go ahead and sew, then alter to fit, and in the process zero in on my actual shape. Most likely, I don't actually want to know what shape my shape is in. As for the presentation, my fear is that it, too, won't "fit"--that instead of conveying an insight provoked by the call for conference papers, my contribution will simply illustrate that I didn't understand the question posed. I'm too old to be so insecure, but there you have it.

On a more positive(?) note, I've made some progress in tearing apart old ill-fitting and unattractive clothing so I can reuse the fabric in new projects. Here's a pretty bit of paisley I liberated from a wrap-around skirt that, despite being labeled a petite-large, was not large enough to go around me.


14 July 2010

Now I've Done It!

I've booked my flights to and from London Heathrow, departing August 10 and returning September 27--49 days and 48 nights! I'll actually be going to London, Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Bangor, Liverpool, Manchester, Utrecht and Pecs and sundry spots in between, most of the time alone but sometimes accompanied by my 80-year-old mother or my husband. The expedition began with a spur-of-the-moment decision to attend a festival and conference in Mid-August celebrating the influence of Wales on J.R.R. Tolkien (have I mentioned I'm a geek?).


Then there's the Critical Legal Conference, where I'm presenting a paper, in Utrecht two weeks later. Then the announcement of the conference on Electronic Justice in Pecs ten days after Utrecht. Why pay (or make my employer pay) for multiple round trips from LA to Europe when I could stay in dorms and hostels and try to make it through the day on one English Breakfast? I never did this sort of thing when I was young and foolish, so now that I'm old and foolish I guess I'll give it a whirl. In some wrinkle-proof, wash & dry me-made clothes, I hope.

07 July 2010

Kimono Quandary

I have had a kimono since I was 18. I guess, since I am 58 next week, that makes it at least 40 years old and, therefore, vintage. I received it from the Japanese family who hosted my younger brother as a high school exchange student in Hokkaido. My mother and I had asked him to bring home some silk; his host family told him the duties on fabric would be too high. He should bring us "used clothing" instead and so they gave him a used wedding kimono! (Since I got the story 40 years ago from a 16-year-old I could have it wrong.) It has no cranes on it that I can find, but it is certainly hand sewn silk and gorgeous. Here are some details:

My quandary is, what should I do with it? It has put in time as a curtain, a wall hanging and a halloween costume (!). I now know that the Japanese routinely take kimono apart to reuse the fabric, but I'm not sure I have the hutzpah for that and, anyway, what would I use it for? Help, please.

03 July 2010

Ignore me, please.

No, not you. Although I have done almost nothing to attract attention to this blog yet (I haven't even told my mother), I do like to check sitemeter to see if anyone has stumbled in here. But I can't get sitemeter to ignore me, so all but about 2 visits are me. I did manage to get my home ip address ignored, but then I promptly left town for a week. I suppose if I accepted all cookies the ignore-this-browser function would work. Come to think of it, maybe the persona I'm allowing to develop on this blog should adopt that as a philosophy of life: I accept all cookies!

Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhoto.net