MAKING IT, OURSELVES: Waves of Work / Waves of Pleasure

Waves of Work / Waves of Pleasure Sewing Machine Art

This installment of Making It, Ourselves feels very different from the last one (about my Bellows cardigan). The Bellows post came at the end of a 2-month-long process. Today’s is the result of just an afternoon of labor. Partly, that’s the difference between knitting and sewing. But also it’s the difference between a garment that I hope to wear for ages and a piece of quiet art that doesn’t need to fit any particular dimensions; it just needs to serve as a little reminder, a little tribute to the 19th-century seamstresses whose bodies were exploited and exhausted—and sometimes excited by the immoral rhythms of their sewing machines. (<– See last month’s History Project for more on that.) So, what I’ve made is not a perfect example of master sewing (not even close!), but it’ll hang on my wall and send out a reminding wave whenever I pass by.

When I thought about what might constitute a fitting homage to the excited seamstresses, I knew that it would have to be created using my sewing machine (obvs) and that its design would be based on rhythm and repetition. A wave motif seemed appropriate, as it satisfied the rhythmic-and-repetitive requirement and also could capture the back-and-forth surges of the act of sewing (especially as it would have been strenuously enacted on those first sewing machines). Additionally, I had the metaphorical meanings of a wave in mind—the experience of “waves” of pain or “waves” of pleasure. With these ideas in mind, I gathered my materials and set to work. Continue reading MAKING IT, OURSELVES: Waves of Work / Waves of Pleasure

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POP FIBER: Mariah Carey’s Heartbreaker Crop Top

Mariah Carey Pink Crochet Crop Top Heartbreaker

We may be on our way to the first woman president, but events this week have shown that patriarchy is still the law of the land. So let today’s post stand as a hair flip of sorts towards the legal system that commands an assault victim to answer questions like, “What were you wearing?”

Inspired by the current 90s revival and the recent flourishing of crop top patterns, I want to take a moment to honor a memorable moment of babedom—and crochet!—in pop culture: Mariah Carey’s pink crop top in the 1999 video for her song “Heartbreaker.” Continue reading POP FIBER: Mariah Carey’s Heartbreaker Crop Top

MAKING IT, OURSELVES: Bellows Cardigan

Bellows Cardigan FO Front Brooklyn Tweed

I wish there were a font to convey my smile as I type this edition of Making It, Ourselves—you know how you can hear if the person on the other end of the phone is smiling? Well, I can’t help but grin from ear to ear when I talk about my Bellows Cardigan.

It’s been done for a few days, and I’ve worn it in public a couple of times so far. I’d like to say that I take a demure “oh, this old thing?” attitude when people compliment my sweater, but it’s more like, “HEY EVERYONE CHECK OUT MY SWEATER I MADE IT AHHHH!” Sorry, everyone—I’m pretty excited. There’s nothing quite like seeing something through, from the first glimmer to the final product. Continue reading MAKING IT, OURSELVES: Bellows Cardigan

WIP CHECK: Bellows Cardigan (SOS!) + Sewing Waves of Pleasure/Work

The last few posts have glanced backwards, toward the historical: Cary Grant and WWII, sheep in the White House’s early days, the arousing side effects of the 19th-century sewing machine. But behind the scenes I’ve been stitching away and planning summer projects, so it’s time for a little DIY check-in—and a cry for help. Continue reading WIP CHECK: Bellows Cardigan (SOS!) + Sewing Waves of Pleasure/Work

MAKING IT, OURSELVES: Dianna Walla’s Aspen Socks/Warmers

For the second project in our “Making It, Ourselves” series—our series of DIY projects inspired by history—we look back to Dr. Gustav Jaeger and his animal-fiber philosophy. He and his adherents claimed that all dress should be not only practical but healthful, which for him meant clothing made purely of wool, camel, mohair or other animal material. (For the full post, see our Brief History of Long Underwear from back in February.) Inspired by the Jaeger story and its reverberations in the Rational Dress Movement of the same era, I set off to create my own animal-based garment to insulate, ventilate, regulate, circulate, and uhh de-fluxionate(?) my body. I found just the garment in Dianna Walla’s Aspen Socks. Continue reading MAKING IT, OURSELVES: Dianna Walla’s Aspen Socks/Warmers

WIP CHECK

Happy Friday! Our fingers have been busy over here, and not just with blogging. Half of Fiber Archive’s mission is to showcase inspirational projects from the annals of textile history*, but the OTHER half is to put our own hands to work—to re-make those historical objects into inspired new pieces.

In that spirit, we will follow up many of our History Project entries with DIY projects of our own making—some, from original designs; others, based on existing patterns that we think capture the essence of the historical object. So, with a couple of History Project posts under our belt now, it’s a good time for a check-in of sorts, a little sneak peek at two of the history-inspired projects currently underway. Continue reading WIP CHECK