10 Years

While scrolling our community this morning, I came across a blog post from someone I admire. It was her real self. Real life talking. Inspiring 🌈 🦄. There is our life and what we present our lives to be on IG. I hope that I can encourage and give hope whether it’s a beginning sewer or someone dealing with life on life’s terms.
So today is significant for me, I am ten years in recovery, sober, today. There is so much I would have missed. Below is a post from 2 years ago and it’s still true today. Dont let my God references turn you off. My God, is my God. You, do you.
“First picture a TB about ten weeks in from 5/10/2009
What I’ve learned:
That a drop of apprehensive hope is still hope.
That when I look inward at what about myself needs fixing, my relationships improve.
That when I am honest with myself and then with others with whom I’ve harmed, owning my part to them, My experience has been, 99% of the time they have forgiven me.
I stayed, and my father in heaven has continued to give me evidence that that was not in vain.
My dream of what it would be like having a relationship with my children when they were older was so small compared to what it looks like today.
I’ve learned not to have expectations of others but instead let go and be pleasantly surprised.
I’ve learned that every day that I stay embracing resentments or voiding relationships because of past shame and embarrassment is a day lost that I can never get back.
Show up, show up, show up because it becomes the evidence to others that they matter, they are loved and they can trust you.
Kindness is free, and I can always afford to be generous of spirit.
I have learned to smile, say hello, allow people to connect to me, though it is contrary action and makes me feel uncomfortable. The more I do it, the more comfortable I become.
I’ve learned that I’m allowed to have boundaries, that when a connection with others triggers an old narrative of “I’m not enough” I am allowed to limit how often I engage. I can take care of myself in a compassionate gracious way without a grand statement or being critical or judgmental of them.
I have learned that when I am of service to my fellow man/woman, I feel the most meaningful connection with my father in heaven.
I’ve learned that when I meditate and pray, fear passes, anxiety passes, self-loathing passes and the best version of myself emerges. When searching for answers while praying and meditating, answers always come in a still small voice, always from a place of compassion, ever much simpler and obvious than I would’ve imagined and again a version of myself that I did not even know existed.
To say I am grateful feels inadequate because I was as “the drowning man desperate for the life preserver” I was without hope and then, an act of Providence, a still small voice, a life preserver, one moment, where I made a decision ” I will do anything and everything you tell me to do, Heavenly Father. I’m just going to choose to trust in you.”
I stayed.

Refashioning “The Mini skirt prosecutor.”

In January of this year, as I set out to start this blog. I knew that I wanted to talk about Fashion, fashion history, and iconic people and do it visually by refashioning iconic “looks” of these people.

In the summer of 1974, my family was living in Northern Virginia. My father a major in the Air Force was working in the Pentagon. I remember vividly the national news each night on my families television. Watergate.

In July of 2017, I began noticing an MSNBC legal contributor. She was the new resident authority on Watergate and how it resembles our current President and our government. Two things I noticed about her, besides obvious class and intelligence, first, each night she had on these amazing brooch pins. A different one each night. Second, she commented on being known back in the early 70’s as “The mini skirt prosecutor.” Well, now I needed to know more…

Jill Wine-Banks was a Watergate prosecutor. ” She was the one who interrogated Rosemary Woods, the White House secretary responsible for the notorious missing 18½ minutes of the Watergate tapes.” (Author Rita Dragonette, http://www.ritadragonette.cohttp://www.ritadragonette.comm)

In mini skirts no less.

Jill has continued to succeed and have many firsts for women.

“List of achievements: first woman General Counsel of the Army, Illinois’ first Solicitor General and first female Deputy Attorney General of the state, first woman EVP/COO of The American Bar Association, Executive at Motorola and Maytag. After an equally impressive list of not for profit/social advocate positions she has championed causes in education and social services, most recently serving on the US Department of Defense Subcommittee investigating sexual assault in the military.

Jill never stopped fighting, particularly as an outspoken critic of sexism. An early iteration of her book was as a memoir contrasting what it was like to be at the pinnacle of success and attention, yet still facing sexist attitudes and practices in both professional and personal circumstances.”(Author Rita Dragonette, http://www.ritadragonette.com

Now those pins. So each time Jill appears on television she wears a different pin. The brilliant part is each pin has a meaning. She has on her website, Instagram and twitter #jillsPins with the photo and the meaning of each one. Yes, the like button is getting hit often. Definitely check these out.

Jill’s memoir about her years of Watergate is being revised and will be out February 25,2020 http://www.jillwinebanks.com#

Now my refashioning. This past Monday was Earth day and in the world of fashion, Fashion Revolution week (April 22nd-28th) is underway. I’m a big believer in sustainability and all of us doing our part. I make my clothes and try upcycle old garments instead of buying new. http://www.fashionrevolution.org

This project I did entirely out of thrifted clothing. Basically salvaging all yardage from the discarded.

First, Jill’s trench coat. I took three pairs of men’s thrift khaki’s from GoodWill. Let me just say there are way too many pairs of men’s khaki’s out there, I’m convinced our landfills must be full of them! I decided to do a color block version (like the inspiration photo below) and use the vintage Vouge pattern 1498 to make in 1970’s period appropriate. I hacked the pattern slightly by not lining it, because it’s hot here in southern Califorina. I did do Hong Kong finished steams though, refashioning old power ties, from my dead stock wardrobe from my regular job as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer. I often style celebrity men.

The “mini skirt” pinafore, I used three pairs of used old black stretch jeans of mine. Re-dyed them black with http://www.ritdye.com and used the Seamwork’s No.3093 Dani pinafore patternhttp://www.seamwork.com

The Pussy bow blouse, pattern by http://www.sewoverit.co.uk

was made out of a linen table clothed, from my wedding that the stains didn’t come out, but talk about good yardage! Slight hack, I slashed and spread the tie pattern piece to give it more of the 70’s style.

The boots I found thrift as well as the brief case.

Lastly, my pin. I wanted to find something to do with justice and with my fine tuned thrifting skills, I found it. A little cheeky, but I love it. Yes, I secretly want to send it to Jill.

A special thank you to Rita Dragonette and Jill Wine-Banks for allowing me to use the photos and to quote Rita’s blog post “The mini skirt prosecutor”

Vintage leopard faux fur coat,1964

So I picked up this great vintage leopard faux fur coat. Technically the print is that of a cheetah, but most spotted furs are generically all referred too as a leopard.

I loved the silhouette, and the pile of this faux fur was dense, sweet and short. It’s just so much more beautiful and ”real” looking than most faux furs we see out there today. When I saw the label on the inside, it was familiar to me. Always curious about the history of fashion brands, I decided to do a little research. The label said, ”Safari styled by Fairmoor.” I could tell by the typography that the company was for sure from the late fifties, probably the sixties. Sure enough, this coat came out in 1964. Pile fabric coats have been around for quite a while. Let’s face it; humans wearing fur goes way back. In the late ’50s, the new synthetic ”fake fur” as they were called were becoming hugely popular because the synthetic textiles were produced for about $12.00 a yard. Did you know that faux fur fabric is a knit fabric? If you look at the wrong side of the textile, you’ll see it looks just like most knits we use.

” The story goes that the late George Borg, owner of a knitting mill was producing deep pile fabrics for paint rollers. One of the colors coming off looked attractive enough for coats and, and he took the fabric to Seventh Avenue. This was in the late 40s. It caught on, and the knitters began producing the fabrics also.” ( June 17, 1964 page 59 The New York Times archives)

So my coat, like I said the faux fur was in excellent condition, but the acetate lining was thrashed! The pocket lining was four layers deep (yes

four) from previous owners adding a new lining over the last one once it developed a hole. The buttons were alright, but the gold now lacked their luster. I don’t know about you, but I find when refashioning a vintage piece I found myself asking myself ” I wonder where this coat has been, what kind of life experiences has it witnessed?”

So I knew I would replace the lining and the buttons and initially thought I’d use a similar new lining textile and color. I was at brunch with girlfriends for our friend Jen’s birthday. My friend Laura gave her a little make-up bag. A small leopard faux fur with a hot, shocking hot, pink lining. I saw it, and inspiration said, “that’s it, that’s your lining!” I love this coat; I love that it’s older than me and I even put the label back in like a passport booklet for all the adventures I’m going to take it on.

1976, Simplicity 7771

I first started sewing when I was 8 years old. My Mother sewed mostly home interiors and an occasional special event dress for herself. She occasionally sewed things for me. Her Mother, my grandmother, was a stylish meticulous seamstress. I started sewing by sneaking and using my Mother’s sewing machine, something I was forbidden to do. I made clothes for my Barbie’s from scraps from my Mother’s sewing projects. In the spring of 1976, my Mother agreed to show me how to sew with a pattern. She wasn’t very excited to do this, but I think I’d just worn her down, and she was sick and tired finding her machine obviously ” used” by me.

The pattern (Simplicity 7771) a wrap skirt that I made for myself to wear to church for Easter. The fabric was a lightweight off white broadcloth with tiny cerulean blue and coral colored flowers. Full yardage all of my own, I had arrived! I had often studied the backs of my Mom’s patterns, thinking to myself,” What does this all mean?” I really struggled with reading and math, so those pattern backs were over my head. I remember her pulling out the instructions; my mind was blown. I didn’t even know that these newsprint papers were even in all those patterns envelopes. When she pulled them out, I saw pictures, flat drawings, keys, wrong side white, right side colored. I knew right then, I can do this. This was a pivotal experience for me and would ultimately be the seed planted to what would be a lifetime of success and failure as a seamstress, designer, and creative. All I remember Mother saying was,” I don’t think I have the patience for this.” My thought was, “I got this!”