The “Channelling my Anger” Tunic
- Fabric: Madras cotton from thrift store = $2
- Pattern: Cynthia Rowley / Simplicity 2586 = $1
- Notions: thread, pre-made bias tape from stash
- Year: 2009
- Time to complete: ~2 hours; mostly struggling with the neckline.
- First worn: September 2nd for photos; probably September 3rd to work.
- Wear again? Yes
- Total Cost: $3
- Challenge: Back to school with plaid
I work at a university, so this time of year always makes me reflect on my school days: the cool mornings, the spring in everyone’s step, the brand new school outfits chosen to impress the potential hottie classmates….although as I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before, I started university studying engineering. This was back in the ’80s, and although the male:female ratio back then was heavily in my favour (about 70:1), the pickings were still pretty slim. I could have shown up my first day of class in a sack, and as long as it was clean, I would have been head and shoulders above those guys fashionwise.
I never went to a private school, so I was never subjected to the plaid uniform skirt (although I did wear a lot of them with black tights and Doc Martins back in the day). I wasn’t really into making a plaid skirt for this challenge, and I actually didn’t have any plaid in my stash, but luckily I found this beautifully coloured madras cotton at my local thrift store. The plaid is not symmetrical, so I had to choose my pattern carefully: something without too many pieces and easy to fit onto the 1.5m of fabric.
I cut a size 14 based on my measurements, but there is tremendous ease built into this pattern and probably should have cut a 10 or 12 on top. I had to add a tiny box pleat to the back neckline because I needed a bit of shaping back there to prevent it from gaping. I lengthened it because that pattern image looked a bit too short for me, and I’m glad I did because the length is perfect now. I also didn’t have enough fabric to make self bias, so I had to use inferior premade poly-cotton tape. Hmm…I give it a B+.
As for the title of this project, after the fury I expressed in last week’s post started to die back, I began thinking about how I could channel my anger into something positive. I can’t vote in the USA, and I can’t change neanderthal minds, although I certainly try my best. Maybe I can help a woman who wasn’t as lucky as I was to be born in a time and place that allowed me to choose….well….almost anything I want. I’ve been a loaner to Kiva.org for many years, loaning and being paid back my original investment of $200 thirty-three times already. I also loan as part of the Colette Patterns lending group, so I decided to use the money I would have spent if I had paid full price for the fabric and pattern, and microloan it to a young businesswoman. I found the following compelling story that ties in women’s rights, sewing and education. Here is the link to the client on Kiva.org, but I’ve taken some quotes from her story and underlined the factors that made me choose her:
“…Mariela is a weaver. She uses the ancient back-strap loom method, learned from her mother from a young age, to hand-weave a variety of products. She sells her pieces on the side of a road in a market that is about 20 minutes from her home. Despite her young age, Mariela believes that she has overcome many challenges in her life. Although she was an outstanding student, family circumstances forced her to drop out of school in the sixth grade. She remains very positive and is focusing her energy and passion on building her business.
Mariela is so excited to have found Friendship Bridge. This will be her first loan cycle with the organization and her first experience with a microloan. With her new loan, she plans to buy a sewing machine to start a new garment business. Mariela says, “I am so happy to receive this loan, since it will ignite my dream.” Along with Mariela, eight additional women make up the Trust Bank Corazon (heart). These ladies meet once a month with Friendship Bridge staff to receive a participatory non-formal education, which will help to reinforce their knowledge in important aspects in daily life, such as women’s health, self-esteem, hygiene, loan and business management and administration, among others…”
I can’t tell you how much I admire the Grameen bank (microcredit) model and its founder, Muhammad Yunus. I read his book, Banker to the Poor, last year and recommend it to many people. Buy it here, read it, microlend and then pass it on. Remember what I said last week? Watch all of us change the world – If only for one young woman who lost the chance to get the kind of education we all take for granted. (and if you’d like to get involved in lending through Kiva, message me and I’ll send you an invite that will allow you to try out a $25 loan for free and get you hooked on microlending. C’mon! All the cool kids are doing it! And it’ll do more good than knocking Santorum and Akin’s heads together, which I’ve been futilely wishing someone would do.)