further thoughts on Slow Fashion October

Hello! Lucy here – Hanna’s co-writer on this blog, or, as a dear mutual friend once suggested, either her witch or her familiar…

While reflecting on what Slow Fashion October might mean for me, I have found myself returning repeatedly to the word ‘slow’, and its various implications. I sew and knit, but I have never participated in Me-Made-May, mainly because I inevitably recoiled from that sense of pressure – to make pledges, to take photographs, to make and finish garments quickly in order to have enough suitable things to wear, and to wear things for the sake of the pledge, rather than for any of the other reasons one might decide to dress in any particular way, ‘me-made’ or not, during the month of May. Slow Fashion October appeals much more to my nature, and is a far more realistic fit with how I think about my wardrobe as a mixture of me-made, thrifted, and other garments, and with how my sewing and knitting projects are a welcome ‘slow’ aspect of my life.

In our professional lives as academic researchers, Hanna and I are both fairly used to progress and achievements happening slowly, over months and years. ‘Slow’ goes without saying in that context – and can be a challenging, frustrating, and sometimes overwhelming feeling. I want to think more about the relationship between these two spheres – crafting, and writing – but for now, I’ll stick with how I hope Slow Fashion October will work for me. In both academic research and crafting, it’s very easy to feel guilty about ‘slow’ progress, unfinished projects, things not yet achieved. I want to use this month to focus on a more positive relationship with sewing and knitting projects that have slowed down to a complete halt, and to pick them up not in a rush to meet a deadline, or out of a sense of guilt, but with a focus on the good things about the ‘slow’ nature of craft.

So, during my Slow Fashion October, I will attempt to finish a couple of projects. One is Ysolda’s Blank Canvas sweater, which I started in March 2014, when Hanna and I were away on our annual writing retreat. I have the sleeves and most of the body, so just need to join them and finish the shoulders and neck. Another is a pinafore dress, New Look 6726, in a black and green large houndstooth woven wool blend. The fabric was a gift from my sister, and I cut out the pieces for the dress in October 2014 (see below). Finally, I have a Marks & Spencer size 18 skirt, in green needlecord, which I bought for £3 in a Norfolk charity shop earlier this year. It has pockets and a buttoned panel closure down the front, is completely unworn, and crying out to be remade into a skirt that fits me.

One that slowed to a complete halt...

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