Do you know the basics of how to spin? or knit? or sew by hand?? If so, then you are already on your way to having the skills needed to create your own natural wardrobe.
In the midst of rampant consumerism it is time to slow our cloth and get back to the handiwork that our ancestors passed down from generation to generation. How and where did artistic embroidery and leather working skills get lost along the way?
Factories have displaced us from hand stitches laced with love and meaning, society has told us that we do not have the time for domestic work and that brand names are the labels we should seek and identify ourselves by.
To create your own natural wardrobe takes time indeed, but time is on our side if our priorities are in place.
Here are 10 wonderful books to empower you to create your own natural wardrobe, in your own time, at your own pace, with the ever growing set of skills you collect upon your way.
Learn the basics of spinning and so more with this book The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs. “The book has a chapter on “Spinning Basics”, followed by nine more chapters devoted to spinning different types of yarn: (1) singles for plying, (2) stand-alone singles, (3) spiral yarns, (4) opposing plies, (5) boucles, (6) cable yarns, (7) crepe yarns, (8) core yarns, and (9) novelty yarns. These chapters not only have step-by-step photos that explain how the yarn is made, they also have photos of problem yarns.” Spin away!
Take a contemporary direction with your spinning twist – The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn “provides a new generation of crafters with all the information they need in one accessible package, starting with tools and equipment, types of fibers, and spinning techniques to making, processing, and finishing off a skein of yarn.” There is much joy in processing your own yarn from the washing of the raw fleece to combing/carding and then the final act of spinning. It is calming and soothing for the soul.
If art yarns are your thing then this book Hand Spun: New Spins on Traditional Techniques by Lexi Boeger is the book for you! Learn to spin chunky yarns perfect for shawls and capes, spin thick and thin for a beautiful woven lace project that shows off your spinning prowess. Teach yourself innovative spinning techniques that will take your wardrobe making to the next level!
I can’t say it better than this: “This one-of-a-kind photographic encyclopedia features more than 200 animals and the fibers they produce. It covers almost every sheep breed in the world — from the longwool breeds of the United Kingdom to the Tasmanian merino, the Navajo churro, the northern European Faroese, and dozens and dozens more. It also includes goats, camelids (such as alpacas, llamas, and vicunas), bison, horses, musk oxen, rabbits, and even dogs.” Everyone proclaims The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarnto be a great resource, check it out for yourself.
To decorate or not, the choice is yours. Here are some creative ideas for your embroidery thoughts in Doodle Stitching. Many of the patterns are simple and easy to follow, add a little of your own crafty magic dust and the dresses you create will be uniquely yours and yours alone. Flip through the pages for inspiration in drawing up and sewing your own designs.
For intermediate to advanced knitters, Knitting Pattern Essentials: Adapting and Drafting Knitting Patterns for Great Knitwear, is essential. It teaches you to not just follow a pattern, but to follow your intuition, along with knitting knowledge, to create garments that fit you. “… • calculate your personal measurements, ease, and stitch patterns • create a pattern for an existing garment that you love • shape a variety of necklines, shoulders, sides, sleeves, and hemlines • combine garment elements for an endless array of design possibilities…” Knit with knowledge and courage!
This is my go to reference book for knit and purl stitches and joinings sewn aside. More than 9 years ago I purchased this book while taking a beginner knitting class in Seattle and it was one of the few books brought overseas, it is that useful! With Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book it is entirely possible to teach yourself how to knit because the drawings and diagrams are easy to comprehend and the language is simple, yet thorough.
Leather working is next on our list of handy skills to learn, to move past the rope soles and onto organic leather tanned in a natural way. The art comes first, perhaps the tools will come in time and this book The Art of Hand Sewing Leatherwill definitely be on our shelf when time comes to start sewing our leatherwork together. Learn basic stitches from the convenience of your own workspace.
Sewing your own natural wardrobe is a rewarding experience. You choose the fabrics, the wool, the fiber, the colors and customize it to your own likes. With a simple needle and thread clothes can be made that satisfy your basic needs as well as expressing your exquisite handcraft. Handsewn: The Essential Techniques for Tailoring and Embellishment “offers step-by-step instructions for a comprehensive collection of hand-finishing and embellishing techniques, including hems, edges, buttonholes, cuffs, tacking layers and linings, attaching or inserting fabric and trims…”
Of course natural color takes a major role in ecological clothing and this book Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyesis a great book to begin with if you are new to the realm of a plant dye pot. “The book is organized seasonally; as an added bonus, each section contains a knitting project using wools colored with dyes from plants harvested during that time of the year.” From subtle to stunning, wear natural wherever you may roam!
Where do your skills stand?
Are you ready to take your handmade wardrobe to the next level?