so finally, finally, i am offering a post about this amazing challenge i have committed to. the mastermind behind this is moonlight, nicki, organizes this global project that inspires makers/sewists from all over the world to construct a whole outfit entirely from locally sourced and processed materials from within one’s fibershed. (you can check out the northern california fibershed here.)
this project is exciting for so many reasons. first, a little context about what a fibershed really is. the northern california fibershed puts it this way, “Fibershed is a non-profit organization that provides experiential education that both generates awareness, and teaches the necessary skills within our community to build and sustain a thriving bioregional textile culture that functions hand-in-hand with principles of ecological balance, local economies, and regional organic agriculture.” good, right? so there is an alternative to buying into and supporting the myriad issues that come with consuming mass produced, toxic, conventional clothing. you have heard of farm-to-table. this is soil-to-skin.
there are many projects and initiatives here in california that are exploring ways to get slow fashion into the hands of the people. there is the grow your jeans project, north face’s backyard project, and many, many more innovative projects undertaken by local producers and makers. i love living here just to be inspired by and close to the resources of this area.
and then there are our own angora bunnies. oh, how we love them. and i have bags and bags of their fiber just waiting for for a super local fiber challenge to put them to use. i have big dreams for this fiber.
the official guidelines for the #1year1outfit challenge are based on the western australian fibershed’s requirements and taken directly from this is moonlight’s post:
– the fibre must be farmed and processed wholly in southwest Western Australia (a generous 500km radius). (insert northern california for western australia) Note that Fibreshed does allow some remote manufacturing where it is not available locally.
– all fibres must be natural
– any dyeing must use local non synthetic materials
– all fabric and clothing made must be of quality construction so as to ensure the life of the clothing is long, and not need excessive ironing or washing.
it’s so easy to say, ‘yeah! sign me up! i can do that!’ especially in an area so rich in resources as northern california.
and now i am working with the reality of how deeply i am able and willing to dive into this project. here are my challenges: i am a very, very new spinner who has yet to devote enough time to the craft to develop skill or speed. there is a lot of fiber being grown here, but it is mostly being processed far outside of our fibershed. i don’t think i am that interested in felting or knitting (or wearing) an entire dress out of local wool. i would be hard-pressed to even knit a whole sweater. (i am coming to terms with my limited time as a homeschooling mama to the under 10 set.) i would love to sew some fabric into a fabulous outfit, but there really is no fabric being produced locally from the cotton being grown here. and finally, there isn’t really local thread being made here either.
HOWEVER, that is not going to stop me. i am determined. i am creative. i am also flexible. here is what i am planning at this moment. (it really does change moment to moment. ha!)
a suede dress inspired by this image found on pinterest.
side note: i am attending an ancestral skills gathering in a few weeks where i fully intend to learn how to process a hide into useable leather. i may be dreaming about the reality of making a dress from a raw hide that i process myself, but i am inspired. expect a full post on that adventure…
a cowl handspun from my bunnies’ fiber and local merino by a local spinner that i will befriend soon. big plans, i know. inspired, i tell you. the pattern i will use is this from purl soho.
and perhaps a long skirt using alabama chanin‘s patterns and american made organic cotton. not local to our fibershed, but definitely local to our country. i have made a few pieces using natalie chanin’s patterns and fabric and it is super fun. i do think they have turned out beautifully.
or maybe a pair of breezy pants made from sally fox‘s organic color grown cotton from marin county. the fabric was milled in japan, so that technically takes it out of the running for this project. but that’s also where a little flexibility comes in.
and it is already april. so i better get to work! i am determined. i am creative. i am flexible. deep breath. focus.