I have had this sheet I picked up at a thrift shop sitting around for a few months now, and I was glad to finally use it. To make the dress, I used Simplicity 4070. I made it pretty much as is, with the addition of straps.
I hate buying things new - I thrift and make the majority of what I wear and use. However, when I do buy new, I buy ethical and high-quality. Sometimes that means spending more money - but not only does that ensure I consume less in the long run (I can’t go around buying a ton of $70 shoes or anything!), it’s also the price of buying ethically.
It initially seems great to be able to score a $5 shirt at a store in your local mall, but that’s not what it should cost for the responsible consumer. The reason it’s so cheap is a combination of poor labor practices and lack of environmental responsibilities. If you aren’t worrying about human rights or other ethical issues, it doesn’t cost as much to produce. Not to mention, the $5 shirt will fall apart much faster than a $25 shirt. (Disclaimer: Just because something is $25 rather than $5 does not mean it’s well-made or ethical; it may just be overpriced. Do your research before buying.)
So, here I am with quality, relatively ethical solutions to items you may need for summer. Of course, if you have perfectly functioning versions of these, try to refrain from buying more; less consumption is even better than ethical consumption. But sometimes we must replace things, which brings us to…
Sandals. Prior to this year, I’d been buying a new pair of ankle-strap sandals every year at K-Mart or Target, and frankly each pair was a piece of crap that I ended up throwing away because they continually broke or failed to last long enough for my satisfaction. So that’s like $15-$20 a year on sandals. This year I decided to research online a bit, after failing to find high-quality, well-fitting sandals in the stores in my area. I follow ModCloth’s blog on my reader, and one day a post about their new stock of Saltwater Sandals magically popped up. Saltwater Sandals has been producing sandals for over 60 years. Their reviews are quite good (the average on Zappos is around 5 of 5 stars). They are leather*, which generally is longer-lasting than synthetics, and according to Modcloth, they are made in the US.
I also highly recommend SoleRebels. The company employs about 100people in Ethiopia with a wage 3 times the typical local wage. It also pays for their healthcare, and for their childrens’ education. Its shoes are also sustainably produced, using recycled tires as the shoe soles. It has a variety of shoes available, but of course the shoes relevant to this post are its sandals. It sells flip flops in a number of styles, as well as a few more supportive styles.
Swimsuit. Personally I am a fan of Modcloth for their one-piece suits (then again, I guess I’m a fan of Modcloth for pretty much everything ever). But really, the suits are so cute! They’re a little pricey, with most of them around $90, but they’re very classic, wearable, and cute. And Modcloth is a great company in my opinion because they support smaller designers. The reviews on the Bathing Beauty suit, their most popular style which comes in a rainbow of colors, boast high quality and great fit. It comes in regular and plus sizes.
As far as two-pieces are concerned, Fables by Barrie makes gorgeous ones. Fables by Barrie is a designer based out of California, and all the apparel it makes is manufactured right in San Diego. Modcloth sells some of their pieces, but their Etsy site offers a larger selection. Fables by Barrie sells both one- and two- pieces, but their two-piece suits are probably some of the most attractive (in my opinion) on the market.
Fables by Barrie
Beach bag. I’d recommend thrifting this if at all possible. There are usually a plethora of large straw beach bags available at thrift shops. However, if for some reason this is not available to you, you have options. First off, if you have a sewing machine, it is overwhelmingly easy to make your own bag. Tipnut has a page dedicated to beach bag tutorials of different types. It’s pretty cheap to make a beach bag, so it would certainly be economical, and it’s more ethical than buying one made by sweatshop labor (though it is hard to source fabric, unfortunately). If you can’t sew, I’d suggest searching Etsy. There are seriously TONS of every kind of bag you can imagine available on Etsy, in hundreds of prints. Plus, everything on the site is either handmade, or vintage. The one below is available for $37 from The Heart Hat on Etsy.
As always, if it’s a nice day I like to go outside if I don’t have to work, so I went out to walk around campus and play some badminton with my boyfriend and a friend. I wore this dress I made a few years back.
As a American Eagle rewards card holder, I get emails from them alerting me of their new arrivals. Rarely do I actually buy anything there, but I do like to look through their stuff to see if there’s any kind of sewing inspiration to be found. Today I got an email with the “AE Festival Crop Corset” at the top of the page:
That is not even CLOSE to being able to be called a “corset”. It might pass as a bustier; the most appropriate word would be “crop top”. But there is NO WAY this should be listed as a corset. I just don’t understand at all.
For comparison, a corset:
A corset can be identified as “A woman’s tightly fitting undergarment extending from below the chest to the hips, worn to shape the figure”. A corset includes boning, usually metal, and is generally fitted to the customer and custom-made.
A bustier is like the baby sister of the corset. It is tightly fitting, and usually constructed with similar lines to a corset; however, it is usually not custom made, has little to no boning, and is not intended as shapewear (though it can emphasize the shape in a very pleasing way).
And last, the definition of a crop top: “A woman’s garment or undergarment for the upper body, cut so that it reveals the midriff.” This can be any midriff-baring shirt.
So, by these definitions I’d definitely call American Eagle’s shirt a bustier or crop top…not a corset. I know it’s not really a huge deal, but a lot of people are misinformed on what makes a corset. A corset is a high-quality, specially-fitted garment made for shaping; a bustier or crop top are more casual street clothing. Now, go forth and use proper terminology!
A while back I posted a very popular photo post of this Anthropologie necklace:
I got a lot of reblogs, as well as a request to do a tutorial. This was in, like, August, so this has been a looooong time coming. But it’s here. To whoever asked for the tutorial - sorry it took so long, I hope you’re still following my blog so you see this!
What you will need:
Some moss (just the leaves, no roots or dirt!) and some tiny pebbles
A small bottle, cork optional (I lost my cork along the way)
A straw, some tape, and some paper
Fill the bottle 1/3-1/2 of the way with the tiny pebbles.
Make a funnel with the straw, paper, and tape by wrapping the paper in a funnel shape around the straw, and taping.
Place the funnel into the bottle and use it to funnel glue into the bottle. This glue will harden and hold the rocks in place.
If you got any glue on the rim, use a q-tip to clear it out.
Let your glue dry. This took weeks for me, so you might just put it away in a cabinet or something for a while. It’s a lot of glue with little ventilation. But don’t worry, it’ll dry. I did it in late August, went away to school, and when I was back during Thanksgiving break it was all set. It’s wasn’t all dry yet in late October, though.
Next, take your moss and place it on a surface you don’t mind getting glue on - I used a scrap of fabric, which I felt was better than paper because that way no paper got stuck to my moss after I put glue on it. Cover your pieces of moss individually with glue to preserve them and let dry.
After your moss has dried, and your gluey rocks have dried, you can put the moss inside the jar. You have your pendant. You can attach it to a necklace by glue, or any way you want really.
I had a plain wooden-framed mirror hanging around and I had been intending on doing something fun to it for a while. Today I decided to use some of my Mendocino fabric, which I got a few Christmases ago, to cover the frame, thereby making it awesome. The mirror is from Target, I believe, and the fabric is Heather Ross’ Mendocino kelp forest cotton.
Now I just need to decide where to put it…it may sit around for a while until I move to an apartment from a dorm next year! But it will still be super cute then too. :-)
Why I Support the Girl Scouts and not the Boy Scouts
I am a Gold Award Girl Scout and was in a Girl Scout troop from age 5 until I graduated high school. I am now a lifetime member of GSUSA. I continue to support the Girl Scouts by buying cookies and will consider one day becoming a troop leader or assistant leader. I think that Girl Scouts is a fantastic organization which helps girls to learn new skills, be compassionate, make friends, and build good character. I had a fantastic experience in Girl Scouts and if I ever have daughters I will encourage them to join a troop as well.
Boy Scouts, on the other hand, I have a problem with. Their discriminatory policies leave me unable to support them, despite whatever good points they have. That’s not to say I don’t support individual Boy Scouts - just because their organization is bigoted does not mean that the individual is, and besides, many Boy Scouts do great community service and leadership projects. However, I cannot fully support an organization which bars people from participating based on their sexual orientation or religion.
The Boy Scouts have been known to remove members if it comes out that they are homosexuals. Just recently, an Ohio den leader was asked to resign because she was a lesbian, which the Boy Scouts say their policy prohibits (specifically, that “homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law”). There have been a number of other cases like this in the news and locally. In fact, one Boy Scout I know was prohibited from working toward his Eagle Award because he was a homosexual, in addition to not meeting the “spiritual requirements”.
Apparently, these requirements are that one believe in a God. The official policy says that “no member can become the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.” This also implies, at least to me, that one must be monotheistic, as it goes on to say that one must recognize “God as the ruling and leading power in the universe” and that one must gratefully acknowledge “His favors and blessings”. Sounds very Judeo-Christian to me. However, even if it is not meant to imply that one must follow a monotheistic religion (which I believe it does), it explicitly excludes atheists and agnostics from being members.
Girl Scouts is an entirely different story. GSUSA has a reputation for being open and accepting to anyone who identifies as female. Just this year, the a Girl Scout council in Colorado allowed a transgendered girl to join a local troop, despite this girl’s being anatomically male. In addition, they do not restrict membership based on sexual orientation, maintaining that orientation is basically that it is none of GSUSA’s business. In an official statement dating to 1991, “There are no membership policies on sexual preference,” and the Girl Scouts do not permit the “promotion of [any particular] lifestyle or sexual preference”.
GSUSA also disallows religious discrimination. Anyone of any religion is allowed to be a member or leader in Girl Scouts. The Girl Scout Promise, which begins, “On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country”, has been a subject of question; however, in 1993, GSUSA released a statement that “individuals when making the Girl Scout Promise may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs” in order to be “inclusive of the full range of spiritual beliefs.”
If only the Boy Scouts would become as progressive in their policies as the Girl Scouts, I would be fully supportive of them. But I simply cannot give attention, time, or money to an organization with blatantly bigoted policies. If ever I have sons, I will find alternative organizations for them to join until BSA changes their archaic ways. I can’t understand how they can justify imposing their almost exclusively Christian morals on those who might otherwise wish to join.
As some of you may be aware, I try my best to sew my own clothes or buy things used by thrifting, going to tagsales, and taking friends’ unwanted items. However, there are some things I buy new. I do my best to be as sustainable as possible in buying new things (when it’s within my budget, of course). Here’s what clothing I buy new, not used.
T-shirts and cami shirts. A women’s t-shirt or cami, in my size, in good condition, is a rare, rare find. When I do find one that appeals to me, I snatch it right up; however, these finds are the exception. Most t-shirts and almost all cami tops are just not made that well, and most fall apart before they have the chance to reach a thrift shop. So, I buy these new. I try not to buy them from obscenely unethical stores (i.e. not from Forever21 or Walmart), but since I cannot afford to be buying top-quality, long-lasting t-shirts all the time on my student budget (or spend the time sewing a wardrobe of plain t-shirts) I will usually go for Target or for sales at American Eagle. I wear my t-shirts until their deaths, many of which are years after purchase (I just had to throw one out after owning it for 5 years or so). This makes me feel a bit less guilty about buying new, I guess.
Underwear, socks, bathing suits, and anything of that nature. If it sounds unsanitary to share, I do not buy it used. Usually I get enough free underwear gift cards in the mail from Victoria’s Secret, and go to enough American Eagle outlet sales, that I do not need to spend much on underwear anyway. Socks, I buy at Ocean State Job Lot for a few dollars a pack. Bathing suits I generally sew myself.
Shoes. This is going to sound crazy from a vegetarian environmentalist, but I buy expensive, new, leather shoes. Let me explain. I spent ages resisting buying expensive footwear. I went to K-mart for my summer sandals, Marshall’s for my sneakers and flats. That sort of thing. However, these shoes just fall apart SO quickly and have to be replaced. It feels so wasteful to constantly buy cheap shoes that I have to replace each year. However, at the same time, I cannot bring myself to buy used shoes - I have an intense aversion to feet (wierd, I know) not to mention how difficult it is to find a size 8.5 wide in a thrift store. So, I instead choose to buy high-quality leather shoes, which cost a lot of money but I can assure you, will last me a long time. Spending the money on overly expensive clothing is often not worth it, but I do not regret buying the shoes I have purchased. They are comfortable and durable, and since they will last so long, I feel like I am reducing the waste I might otherwise produce. As for the leather, leather shoes last much longer than synthetics, further reducing my waste.
Random stuff on sale. I’m not perfect, and I can have difficulty resisting a sale on something I need but could theoretically buy used; or even stuff I don’t need, just want. It can be hard to resist consumerism, unfortunately. Luckily, with practice, I get better and better at resisting!