Pact Clothing Review

Hello, everybody! Sorry it’s been a while. I tried so hard to keep up with blogging, but, obviously, not hard enough, ha ha ha. Anyway, I’ve been trying a lot harder to buy less from clothing companies that support sweat shops. This has been really easy for me and the kids’ clothing — what I can’t buy at the thrift store, I make, which is fun! Buuuuuttttt, for my husband’s clothes, I’ve really struggled. Men wear their clothes out, and the amount of fabric needed for basics like tee shirts was cost prohibitive for me to make, and let’s not even talk about the time required.

Let me back up just for a minute. You may be wondering… “This seems like a lot of work, and for what? There’s always gonna be sweat shops, and maybe they need a job anyway, so why bother?” Well, I started to think about this while my husband worked at the Gap during the time the factory in Bangladesh collapsed and then caught fire and hundreds of people died. At that time, I was very conflicted, because we had our living from the sales of clothing. After he left the company, I continued to be convicted about the thousands of people working to death for my clothes, and it just broke my heart.

Recently, I watched a documentary on Netfix called The True Cost and it really strengthened my resolve. There is no reason I should spend my hard earned money supporting these companies that are paying the people who make their clothing literally pennies per item. It does cost more, to stick to my guns in this way, but I just buy less, and that makes me happier anyway.

So, I’ve been on the look out for a good source for clothing basics like socks, undershirt T’s, and undies, because these are the things that we wear until they wear out, and we definitely can’t buy secondhand.

I came across Pact Clothing and boy was I excited, because they were actually affordable, plus fair trade certified and they use organic cotton. (No, they aren’t paying me for this, but I find that reviews on personal blogs are something that I increasingly search for and read, so I wanted to review them for future potential shoppers!) I quickly ordered a 2-pack of black basic socks, a 2-pack of grey boxer briefs, and a V-neck t-shirt for Andrew, to test out the quality. I placed this order on July 31, and today, August 3, I received them in the mail. I was so surprised at how quickly it all came! Super fast shipping, and it was free, since I spent more than $25.

Let’s talk about the socks first.

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They’re really soft, and seem nice and stretchy. Also, they were made in a wind powered factory, so there’s that. Ha ha. I dig them. Nice and basic; just what I wanted.

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The t-shirt is beyond my expectations. It was the most expensive item, at $19.99, but believe it or not, that is actually cheap for this type of item (fair trade, organic). The fabric is SO SOFT. I have actually found organic cotton to be extra soft in general, every time I’ve had the pleasure to sew with it, and this t-shirt was no exception. I like the cute little tag at the bottom, too. Nice touch.

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Oh, boxer briefs. At one point, I considered sewing some new undies for my husband, but the elastic was too expensive, so I gave up. This two pack solved my problems, as long as he likes them. They seem true to size, and are also very soft. I wish the fabric was just a teeny bit thicker (and thus more durable) but it has a lot of stretch, so that will probably end up making them pretty durable. Spandex lasts forever hahaha.

So, there you have it. I’m very pleased with this purchase. I will buy again, and probably some more fun pattern socks, because those are SOOO CUTE and I love fun socks. Let me know if you buy from them, and what you love/hate about it.

Wrap skirt tutorial

In my last post, I mentioned my burning desire to make a wrap maxi skirt. Well, dear readers, I did it. I made the skirt. And, boy, if it isn’t everything I’d dreamed of. To top it off, I made it out of a mere 1.75 yards of the 2+ yards of fabric I purchased from that yard sale a while back for… yes, $1. Cheapest skirt I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing. I’m still not sure what this fabric is made out of, but I think it’s mostly cotton. The drape of it is somewhat more pleasant than your everyday quilting cotton, though, which makes me think it’s some kind of blend. At any rate, mystery fabric, I love how you made my new skirt.

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Try to ignore my awkward pose and feast your eyes only on the skirt. I love the versatility of the wrap skirt. A) No elastic is involved. B) Not too many measurements are involved. C) Wear it as a high waisted skirt, or around the hips like a sarong.

Here are some helpful tips if you want to make your own maxi wrap skirt. Or, if you wanted to shorten it, I know that’d look cute too, especially as a high-waisted skirt. LOVE IT. Also, that would require less fabric. You cut each panel of the skirt right next to the other (flip-flopped so the top of one is next to the bottom of the other. This would not work if the print of your fabric has a top and bottom), so there’s very little fabric waste… another thing I like. I took pictures because when I read a tutorial, it is worthless to me without pictures. Please note that I measured my sash wrong and where it says 4 inches wide, I really mean 8. Sorry.

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Here is a basic idea of how I created my pattern. I started by measuring off 20 inches at the bottom of the fabric edge, and then measuring up 38 inches to what would eventually become the top of the skirt. At this point, in order to have an easier time cutting, I folded the fabric so that at the bottom, you have 10 inches, and at the top, you measure 4.5 inches, and then lay a line down from those edges to create the diagonal line.

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After you cut the first skirt piece, you can repeat the folding process. Measure 10 inches at the bottom (which, like I said before, was the top of the last skirt panel) and 4.5 inches at the top, and follow the diagonal of the fabric from the last piece you cut. The measuring is truly not necessary, but, you know what they say… “measure twice, cut once.” This is a lesson that has been hard for me to learn in my life. But it’s a good one.

I cut 5 panels, but to change the size of the skirt, you can cut more or less. With 5, there is a really generous wraparound. I never worry about the skirt blowing open and showing more than anyone wanted to see.

Moving on.

Next, we’ll learn about french seams. This is another step that isn’t totally necessary, but if you do it, you will end up with a skirt that looks completely professional, and maybe even (GASP) store-bought inside and out.

You want to put the wrong sides of two skirt panels together, and sew them.DSC_0021

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Pin, then sew. Especially important with diagonal edges. Another step that I used to skip, with detrimental effects. So, now you have a really ugly raw edge, on the OUTSIDE of your skirt! What? Don’t panic. Sew the rest of your skirt panels together in this way, and then come back to these instructions.

You’re going to take that each raw seam (At this point, I sometimes like to trim each seam down, so that it’s close to the stitching. This makes it easier to sew the second seam, and so you don’t end up with any dangling strings on the outside of your garment), iron it down, flip it over, right sides together, and then iron it so you can sew another seam just on the other side, on the wrong side, kind of creating a pocket to enclose the raw edges.

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It’s hard to see, but here is the seam, ironed and pinned down, ready to be sewn once more. You want to make sure that the entire raw edge is enclosed within the seam you’re about to sew. Do this for each skirt panel seam.

Now, here is where my photograph got really spotty, because, well, it got dark. Sorry, guys. But, The next part is easy. Take your two sash pieces, and sew them together, to make one 88″ long sash. Then, pin the right side of the sash to the inside of the skirt at the waist. Do not center the sash with the skirt. Instead, make one end of the sash hang about 13 inches off the edge of the skirt, and this will be the short end of the tie. The other end will be longer so that is can wrap around your body and tie with the short end.

Once you’ve sewn this, flip it up and iron it. Next, iron a 3/4 hem around the edge of the sash that is not sewn to the skirt yet. Fold the sash over itself, and center the ironed edge over the seam you just sewed. Pin it carefully, to cover this seam, and avoid any wrinkles. At this point, I went ahead and sewed a finishing stitch all the way around the sash, even the folded edge, because I thought it would look good. I did take a picture of this.

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Finally, iron a hem around the bottom of the skirt, pin it, sew it, and you’re done! It took me about 3 hours to complete this skirt, once I had the pattern in my mind, and the fabric all washed and ready. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help you if I can. It was an easy project and so perfect for summer. One of my friends called it “resort wear” and I loved that! For my resort life! haha!

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This week.

Well, as is typical for me, I have a head full of ideas, and not enough time or energy to pull them off. This week was the last week of Preschool Summer Session 1, and we visited the local science center three times, plus celebrating father’s day with me laying in bed trying not to puke. What a roller coaster of emotions… and other stuff. What I’m trying to say is that although I had lofty ideals of sewing myself a new wrap maxi skirt AND a new bra (I was going to try a non-underwire knit version of the Florence bra, a pattern that happens to be on sale right now…) I got none of that done, and instead, here’s what I have to show for this week in sewing.

DSC_0104 DSC_0105This is a bow tie that Andrew has been begging me to make him for at least a month. I bought the fabric for a Father’s day gift, and, here it is, almost one week after Father’s day, and I’m almost finished with it. Let the self deprecation abound. The reason I’m not actually finished with it is because I somehow made it way too small. This is a typical problem I have. This is the main reason why I only sell adjustable strap bow ties in my etsy shop. Anyway, this one is destined to be converted into a velcro strap mini bow tie for Micah, and I’ll make Andrew a brand new one that actually fits him.

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I’ve also been working to fulfill a bulk order of hair scarves placed by a charity that is run by one of my friends. Hope Remembered is a non-profit what works in Guinea-Bissau, and I was so happy to partner with them in this way. One of the ways they raise money, stateside, for their missions is by selling handmade and fair trade goods at various craft fairs, and I’m really excited that they’ll be able to sell some of my scarves for this awesome cause.

Finally, in the super sad absence of more sewing pictures, I’ll leave you with a before and after photo of my sewing area. Before I cleaned it and after. hahaha.

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My sewing area is in our bedroom, so I try really hard not to let it get really out of hand, but most of the time, I fail. I really hate how often I allow piles to just multiply until there is really just a path to the bathroom, and you can’t see the floor around the desk. Anyway, living the creative dream means making a huge mess all the time. Or, some other, more inspiring, incarnation of that saying.

Let us close this blog post by all praying that it will rain on my garden today so I don’t have to water it, AKA, become an all-you-can-eat buffet for all the mosquitoes in the neighborhood. Thank you.

Weekly roundup, like horses, or cattle, or A RODEO.

Well, what a week it’s been. It was Lucy’s birthday party on Saturday, and it was a very lovely day. Of course, I barely documented it, because it’s hard to take photos when you’re trying to enjoy the moment, which is the main reason I never made it as a photographer. I did take this photo of Lucy in her birthday dress.

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She’s an angel.

We’ve been sick with the dreaded stomach bug, (which, correct me if I’m wrong…. when you’re in the throes of, well, you know…. wouldn’t you almost rather cease from being alive than throw up one more time? because, yeah, I would.) and thankfully, I haven’t gotten it yet, but I have been washing, washing, washing. I’m not sure how long it’s been since our house and all our linens were this clean, but it was probably the last time we all got the stomach bug. So, a year. hah.

Anyway, since I’ve turned a new leaf and decided to be more consistent with my blogging, here I am, on this Thursday evening, typing the most pathetic of all blogs, while I stand at my ironing board, next to my pile of unfinished sewing.

Thankfully, a few weeks ago, I completed the curtains for the kids’ room, and then neglected to blog about it, so this is not a total waste of a blog post! HA HA!

In typical fashion and general cheapness (also because I have high-end taste and no money to spend on it) I made 60% of these curtains out of 1 flat sheet I bought from Wal-Mart, and then spent twice that amount buying the other 40% of the fabric online so it could look extra cute and exactly how I imagined it. The fabric in question is Made By Rae’s organic Lotus Pond fabric, and it is a thousand times softer and more luxurious than regular quilting cotton you buy from Joann’s. I wanted to make myself some sweet PJs out of it, but I forced myself to make these curtains because I’ve been dreaming of them for a while now.

DSC_0603 DSC_0602The kids’ room had curtains that were mismatched before, because there are three windows in there, and nobody sells or even ever possesses three matching curtains. It’s always in pairs, and let me tell you, I AM NOT ABOUT TO BUY 2 PAIRS, when I only need three panels. I like how these turned out, like there are 3 stripes, even though it’s just an illusion because I just folded the excess sheet fabric over at the top and let it hang down, double thickness.

Also, that lotus pond fabric. Seriously.

Well, as Andrew likes to tell me, “You better get back to your little sweat shop, Linz.” HA HA he is so funny. But f’real though, I gotta get back.

Weekending, thrifting style.

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This weekend, like many weekends, I hit the yard sales and the thrift store, on my quest for more fabric (I’m not ready to admit I have a problem. I don’t need less fabric. I need more shelving). I don’t know if any of you have ever yard saled with a three year old and a two year old before, but let me tell you: you haven’t lived till you try that.

Well, this weekend, I went to two yard sales, and got 4 yards of fabric for $1, so that’s a total win in my book, wandering toddlers and all. I don’t always get lucky in terms of fabric at yard sales, but since I’ve started cutting up discarded clothes and reusing the fabric, I’ve begun to look at clothes in a whole new way. A maxi skirt? 2 yards, plus elastic or zipper! Vintage button down shirt? 2 hair scarves and vintage buttons! Bigger is always better, so size doesn’t matter! In this case, however, I got 4 yards of uncut flat fabric, which was a total score and like a beautiful blank canvas.

Anyway, without further blahblahblah…. here’s what I got from the yard sales and the thrift store:

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These were the fabrics from the yard sale. I can’t decide how vintage they are. They certainly aren’t new, but I can’t tell how long they’ve been sitting in the yard sale owner’s closet. I’m also not really sure how old something has to be before it’s vintage. In my mind, anything that’s older than me counts as vintage, but pretty soon, I know that some things that are younger than me will be considered vintage. Maybe that day has come and gone and I’m in denial. Anyway, these look pretty 80’s to me. It’s possible they’re from Joann’s, like yesterday, but yeah… I snapped them up for $1, so who really cares?

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Love this neon fabric. I had my eye on this maxi dress last time I was at the thrift store, but it was still full price, so I passed that time, and I’m so glad it was still there, at half off this time. And, can we talk about what kind of crazy awesome this peacock feathers fabric is? I’m in love. I love finding this type of fabric, because this is the kind of thing that is impossible to find at the fabric store. It’s perfect.

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Polka dots and confetti and swiss dot, yes please! Dots are always welcome in my studio (and I use that word loosely. By studio, I mean my ironing board and desk chair, hahahah). That neon confetti dress was quite a find, too. Small prints like that make the best hair scarves. I can’t quite fathom what type of woman once wore that as a long sleeved, calf length dress, but she must’ve been quite a vision to behold.

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I’m always on the look out for simple, classic prints, and these made me very happy. Not everything needs to be neon or crazy wild, and these basics will be excellent to have on hand.

There you have it. I love coming home with a couple bags full of inspiration. I’ve got to get to work on making these up into hair scarves, headbands, and probably some new clothes for Lucy. Y’all found anything good on the cheap lately?

Weekly roundup.

Hello all. Given that I have lofty intentions of maintaining a relevant blog and sharing my crafting adventures with the internet (for whatever misguided reason), I’ve decided to at least try to post once a week. I’ll try to give a re-cap of my projects from the week, and just start with that.

This week, I’ve been on quite a roll making shorts for every member of my family except for Andrew. Poor husbands, in homes everywhere, getting left off the sewing to-do list, just because they’re too big, and men’s clothing is too boring, or whatever your reason is. Those are my reasons, and they’re so sad. I once offered to knit him a vest, (which he rudely declined!) because his arms are too long and “I am not about to knit TWO sleeves that long.”

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Anyway, I started by making myself some shorts out of this rad Alexander Henry fabric that was given to me, so alas, I don’t know what collection it came from. I included pockets, because, duh, shorts without pockets are useless/only for pajamas. They are elastic waist, because that’s how I roll. I wore them for three days in a row and did not wash them. If you think that’s gross, I’m sorry. I guess it wasn’t three full days, more like one night, a day, and then morning. Moving on.

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Next, I made some cute bloomers for Lucy out of the sleeves from a shirt I bought from the thrift store to make headbands out of. Waste not, you know. I didn’t even have to shirr them myself, because that was how the shirt was! Which is good, because… I don’t know how to shirr. A project for another day.

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After I showed the new bloomers to Lucy, Micah sidled up and said, “When are you going to make me some new shorts?” and my little heart just burst with happiness, as I said I would love to make him some new shorts. He picked out the fabric and I got to work. His took a couple of days, because, man, if boys clothes aren’t fussier to make than girls clothes. I included pockets on his, too, and I should’ve lined them, since the fabric was a little thin, but as long as he wears solid color underwear, it doesn’t matter. Also, he smartly styled them with rain boots for his (hash tag) ootd. Winky face.

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Lastly, I’m in the process of finishing up some new napkins. Some for my lovable little brother, who is living the bachelor life, and of course doesn’t have any cloth napkins to pretty up his place. And some for me, out of my favorite fabric ever, that I also made a curtain and a hair scarf out of. I guess I went a little crazy.

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When I write it all out like this, I feel really accomplished, instead of a mess like my sewing area suggests. A messy life is a life well-lived. Or however the saying goes.

I hope you all have had a wonderful week. I feel like I’ve had a whirlwind of a week now that I’m done writing this. What have you been up to?

Various justifications

I’m starting to get a little twitchy lately, because I haven’t been to the thrift store in at least a month. So, today, I decided I needed to get to work using some of the fabric I already have (hah hah, because I have piles and they’re taking up lots of floor space I could be using to store dust bunnies) so I can justify going to buy more. Am I two steps away from becoming a hoarder? Yes. But just go with it.

Anyway, I got out this soft ikat skirt, which I didn’t take a picture of pre-cut, because I forgot. (real smooth, Linz, real smooth.) I bought it to make headbands, and when I cut it up, I realized that it was even more perfect than I thought, because it’s two fabrics in one: lining and outer. Also, let’s not forget the nice elastic band that I can use for something else, later! After I cut the fabric and laid it out, I had about 3/4 yards of each fabric, which is enough for 4 hair scarves, and a nice length of bias tape. It’s hard to justify buying tons of fabric brand new when I write it out this way. Total cost: $1.50.

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