Sunday, 30 June 2013

Size Matters

I've been thinking about size a lot recently. More specifically clothes sizing, most specifically women's clothes sizing and how very arbitrary and unhelpful it is for numerous reasons. I proably won't be able to cover all of my problems with it in one post, so I might try to cover the issues very generally now, and then come back to some select points at a later date, we shall see.

Why must we define our size with just one number?
I understand that it is not possible to make every item of clothing a company has for sale in every single possible combination of sizes, obviously it would be never ending. I also see that compared to men's clothing it makes sense, as they tend not to go in for all in one items*, and these numbers are 'dress' sizes. When trying to design and fit an item that covers 3 of the key measurement areas (bust, waist, hips) as well as the question of length in body, skirt and arms, it must be difficult to average it all out to a point where it fits the majority of women. Clearly the people in the know have had to perform some complex maths in order to create a univerally applicable sizing system that makes shopping a breeze.
 But they haven't. Or they did, but it was decades ago and it's become largely obsolete with modern diets, lifestyles, style of clothes we're wearing and the underwear we are choosing.
Even if it did still function it wouldn't matter because individual retailers and designers have free rein to fudge the numbers and make the customer feel better or worse about themselves, to sell more clothes (flattery), to sell less clothes (exclusivity) or just to be a pain in the arse (I have no proof of this one, it's just a suspicion). I've found that the older the target market of a store, the more generous the sizing. Also, the more expensive the shop the smaller the range of sizes they hold. Is this an indicator of production limitations or an effort to refine the customer base (the range will be at the smallest end, without fail.)
 *Perhaps the ubiquitous onesie may change this, should it prove to have sartorial staying power, but I doubt it. On a similar note I have never fathomed the logic of selling men's shirts sized only in relation to neck measurement, the smallest measurement you could base it on, except perhaps wrists. At least for women it tends to be your widest part that gets the deciding vote. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

Arts Hub 47

This was my view on Wednesday afternoon;
I've recently joined a creative co-operative called Arts Hub 47. Based in a little shop on Lark Lane, just round the corner from my flat, they sell the work of local artists, hold workshops and provide a space for artists to work and share their skills (please excuse the terrible phone photographs).

Colourful jewellery by Beady Gecko.

Grinning Cat Designs hand pierced jewellery.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Non-Specific Patchwork Project

My Mum got me a couple of bundles of fat quarters for Christmas, with the intention that I use them for myself.
So I've begun an English paper piecing project. If you don't know, EPP is the patchwork technique where your fabric is tacked around a paper template to hold the intricate shapes, and then hand stitched into segments, and then they are stitched together to make the finsihed quilt top, or whatever it is you are making. And then you take all the papers out. All done by hand. Though once the whole patchwork part is complete I think you could probably machine stitch the backing, binding and quilting lines.

I'd never used this technique before, but I've been following the tutorial from Flossie Teacakes, which gives a very straightforward breakdown of what you need, various methods and links to some good resources too.
I've opted for 1" hexagons to start with.
Hexagon templates for sewing around.
Hexagon with 1/4" seam allowance to cut my fabrics from.
Tacking the shapes in place is a good TV watching activity for those of you who can't just sit and watch without doing something. You get a good stash going pretty quickly too.

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