The weather has been warm here for a few weeks now, but it was still changeable and sometimes the evenings were quite chilly. A distant memory now.... its suddenly got a lot warmer, our thermometer is measuring 32C in the shade of the veranda this afternoon.
I don't have much wardrobe space so in order to make room for the summer wear I have to pack away all my winter clothes. Its not by design, but by accident that most of my winter stuff is the sombre colours of green, brown and black. Such a contrast to my summer clobber which is a rainbow of brightness.
I dragged the box of Summer out from under the bed and greeted my dresses and skirts like old friends I haven't seen since last Autumn. Crisp cottons and cool silk, some badly faded now, but all precious memories of where I wore them, who I was with, or when I bought them. I have a story that is clothes related that I think sums up my feeling towards my apparel. During the making of the epic film Gone With The Wind the wardrobe department initially didn't make any period underwear for the ladies to wear... but Mr DeMille insisted that they have the appropriate undergarments made from cotton or silk depending upon the character they were playing. But no one will see them Mr DeMille the wardrobe department replied... 'but the girls will know' was the response. There are secrets about my clothes that no one else knows.
I can't bear to part with some of these, even though they have seen better days. I do buy new clothes from time to time but I nearly always prefer the stuff I have had for years. So many memories woven into the fabric and stitching.
The skirt I made from an old 1970's sari - I designed the skirt myself and wrestled with the fabric for days to get it to hang just right.
The other skirt that is also fashioned from a 1970's sari. The colours are the most zingy and bright and sometimes its hard to find a top to go with them... but I love to wear them. The feel of the fabric next to my skin... the slight swishy noise as I walk.
The second hand shop find that must have been expensive when it was new. Always crisp and clean and cool looking. Yes its out of date, (1980's I think) but I don't follow the latest trends, I'm happier just doing my own thing. Maybe its an age thing. You do get more confident as you get older but I seem to remember when I was 14 I was given a 1950's knee length, full skirted, cotton dress with a very fitted bodice top and I wore it until it practically fell off me - all my chums were wearing mini skirts and hot pants and many were unkind enough to laugh. Actually now I think of it, I got laughed at alot when I was younger, I wouldn't say I didn't care... but I survived... and I still wear just what I like.
The Indian Salwar Kameez with its lush embroidery so perfect for the hottest of days, so comfortable and yet so very elegant. There is no reason why these should be exclusive to Indian ladies.
And this year I proudly add to the collection with a couple of silk tops made from the offcuts of other projects - one of these was a challenge to myself... a top in an hour and a half 'sewing bee style' just to prove to myself I could be a contender.
I liked the end result so much I made a second more simple one. Its almost too hot to knit or spin now so thoughts turn to the sewing machine instead and the patterns waiting patiently in their packets for me to give them a life of their own, more memories in the making. Very few bought clothes give me the same pleasure as the ones I make myself and so over the past year and looking forward I have been slowly trying to replace my entire wardrobe with clothes I have made myself - its a bit slow going and often I weaken and see something on the market that pleases me but in general I am heading in the right direction.
I seem to find summer wear easier to make than winter stuff (but that could change now that I am spinning yarn as well). The only drawback to sewing your own clothes is the difficulty in finding the right fabric at the right price. When you look at old patchwork quilts from Victorian times you can see the amazing variety of printed cottons that were available compared to what you can buy now. I suppose if more people were sewing there would be more fabric available. So here's to all those people out there who are busy making memories on their sewing machines right now and to those who would like to start making fashion statements of their own!
What are we all about?
The focus of this blog is simple - and that's the goal too. A more simple way of life. A life in tune with the rhythms of nature and of human nature. Where everything has its time and place and purpose, including us.
We have left the rat race behind and taken on new challenges. We aim to tread as lightly as we can upon the planet, to reconnect with nature, to eat good food, drink excellent wine, enjoy the best of company.... even if that is sometimes just our own! Please feel free to eavesdrop from time to time on our lives and see how we are doing and if you are ever in Extremadura... drop us an email and we'll give you directions.