Tag Archives: smock

Pale Green Plaid Smock and My Cleaning Playlist

green plaid smock 5I made this cute smock from an XXL men’s shirt from the thrift store. I have a tutorial for a different version of recycling a men’s shirt into a smock. This time I did something more complicated and I’m really excited about the results.

green plaid smock 4Smocks are an essential part of a post apocalyptic wardrobe. They were also an essential part of most pre-80’s wardrobes. Back when clothes were more precious, they were made better, and people had this idea that they should be protected from the grime of creativity and work. Who wears smocks and aprons? Painters, cooks, welders, butchers, food preservers, gardeners, farmers (sometimes), woodworkers, fish mongers, housekeepers, and me.

green plaid smock 3Any person of action and/or creativity needs to protect their clothes and do it in the most stylish manner possible. I believe in putting on lipstick to clean the house. I believe in playing folk songs on my accordion to serenade bread dough (to make it rise higher). I believe in blasting opera while gardening or making jam. I believe in blasting Laibach’s cover of “I Me Mine” while scrubbing the floor. I believe in looking natty while foraging mushrooms near the misty forest floor.

When I was 17 years old I went to a standing room only opera dressed to the nines in a 1940’s inspired outfit, gloves and ALL, and ended up standing next to this really old man who was dressed in a pressed western shirt and slacks with his hair pomaded in place. This man was easily 90 years old and leaning on a cane. He told me he gave his seat to a young girl who was at the opera for the first time in standing room only. He said no one should see their first opera standing up. He told me he loved that I dressed up like people used to do. Watching the opera standing next to this old gent was the best opera experience I ever had.

I’m a casual person. I tend not to do what’s “proper” or expected unless it makes good sense to me. Tradition means very little to me as an institution. It’s only meaningful to me if it’s worthy in a modern setting to keep it alive. Dressing up for the opera is something I GET. You probably do too. Most modern people don’t get dressing up to do chores. Why wear a smock over a dress to cook in or clean house in?

green plaid smock 2Because cleaning can be dreary and dirty but if you play music that makes you happy and dance and you dress up – it’s a hell of a lot more fun! It goes faster too.

green plaid smock 6If you can’t blast music because you live in an apartment or a super stuffy neighborhood – you can stash an MP3 player in your smock pocket and listen on headphones. So I suggest if you don’t have a smock – make one or buy one of mine!

green plaid smock 7

You can buy this smock at my Etsy shop:

Light Green Plaid Smock

Wanna know what my cleaning playlist is these days? Here’s what’s on it right now:

Respect – Aretha Franklin

I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles

Help! – The Beatles

I Want You – Bob Dylan

The Quest – Bryn Christopher

Rie Y Llora – Celia Cruz

Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps – Doris Day

Rocket Man – Elton John

Like a Prayer – Madonna

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues

Bella Biao – from the album “Italia; A Festival of Music”

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

Dancing Queen – ABBA

Volare – Dean Martin

Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney

And a new addition just for scrubbing the toilet to:

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi – Carl Orff

Post Apocalyptic Clothing Line Notes

IMG_20140827_120209[1]I’m designing a micro line of post apocalyptic style clothing inspired by my novel Cricket and Grey. I’m starting with smocks made from men’s shirts. As I’m making these I’m thinking about whole outfits to wear with them.

This started because I am faced with the reality that I need to make some money and I can either try to sell my own things in my Etsy shop or I can get a job at an office or retail store. I don’t want to have to work outside my home. So I made a push to label my salves which I was already working on because I wanted to make some apothecary items inspired by my book. Then I asked myself what else I could make that wouldn’t bore me or annoy me.

IMG_20140823_184433[1]That’s when I decided to turn my Stitch and Boots shop into a shop wholly inspired by Cricket and Grey. To create a shop that might exist in my own novel. I did the whole apron thing in the past and am tired of making retro style aprons. I want smocks! I want to recycle some things in the spirit of a post apocalyptic world. As I started cutting and pleating this first one I couldn’t help but imagine what I would wear with it.

IMG_20140825_140541[1]Especially because it looks like a cute sun dress. Designing and selling clothing is tricky if you don’t have a professional pattern grader or grading skills or a set of slopers in different sizes to work with. So in all the years I’ve been sewing professionally I have never attempted to make and sell my own clothing designs.

I had a revelation yesterday in a facebook conversation about selling hand made goods that being a fashion designer was my only design ambition and it’s the one thing I’ve never done. I’ve been the shipping manager for a fashion designer, I’ve been a costumer, I’ve designed aprons and pot holders, and I’ve been a design assistant at a men’s necktie company but not once have I attempted to design and sell my own line of clothing.

I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it on my terms and with pretty much no budget. No budget means a lot of limitations but this is perfect because anyone sewing clothes in a post apocalyptic world would have many limitations such as buying materials and lack of industrial machinery.

In talking with people out loud about this I have found that I’m very clear about a few things. I’m going to list them here:

  • I will do NO custom orders. People really take advantage of you when you offer custom. They don’t think that’s what they’re doing, but I’ve had a lot of experience with this and I’m not going to offer it.
  • I am going to price my line like a professional fashion line and that means I’m not catering to the bargain hunting crowd. If you want cheap, go to Target. My price range will be $45 – $300 per item. My sewing skills are professional and I went to school to learn this shit so my prices will reflect the quality and expertise I bring to my sewn things. No apologies. And anyone who says “I can make that myself for much cheaper” – good, go do it and stop being rude.
  • There will be pockets! There may even be one or two secret pockets.
  • Every garment will be designed with these activities in mind: gardening, bicycling, walking, running from zombies or angry mobs, going on road trips, foraging and hunting, and doing all kinds of urban homesteading activities. So no ball gowns or tight pencil skirts.
  • Sizing: I will be doing general size ranges rather than number sizes. S, M, L, and XL.
  • No wholesale orders. I can’t afford to do wholesale and am not interested. There will be no selling in other people’s shops.
  • I need to figure out a cheap way to make labels.

Alright – it’s time to get to work on my second smock!

Hope you have a great weekend!



The Black Smock with Striped Seersucker Details

bandw shirtThis is my favorite of all the smocks I’ve made recently.  I admit that it’s largely because it’s mostly black.  With stripy details.  I should have washed my cotton gauze before sewing this because when I washed it the black bled into the seersucker a little bit.  It’s not that I don’t know about pre-washing, it’s that I’m insanely lazy and the one piece of housework I loathe with every fiber of my being is laundry.  I hate it.  I avoid it.  Here’s the other thing – I love ironing seams and hems flat but I don’t like ironing yardage because it’s unwieldy.

back bandw shirtBack detail.  I love the black and white stripes.  I want to do a jacket in pillow ticking.  I also want to do one of these over-shirts in solid black.

front facing bandw shirtThe facings continue to give surprise enjoyment.  So do the buttons.  I’m using buttons I’ve had around for ages.  No button buying for me.

pocket detail bandw shirtLove the pockets.  However, last night I ripped the damn pocket which got caught on a door knob.  I destroyed the first shirt by catching its pockets on a door knob too.  I mended it but it will never be the same.  So these big pockets are a design flaw.  What sucks is that I really love them – perfect size for shoving my hands into and for putting tissues and lip balm in when taking walks.  On future smock-shirty-things I need to consider either putting the pockets on the side seams or putting them inside.  The other option is to put a button and button-hole on the pocket to keep it closed.  But then I can’t just shove my hands into them without fussing with buttons first.  There’s nothing insouciant about that.