Archive for January, 2022

Illustration by Kathryn Uhl in Fifth Chinese Daughter.

With great anticipation of a new day dawning, she dressed with care the next morning in what she thought the smart career girl should wear: her new gray tweed suit, a gift from Older Brother, a freshly pressed white shirt, shiny alligator shoes and brown bag, all of them graduation presents. She even wore precious nylons and spotless white gloves.

Jade Snow Wong (1922-2006), American ceramicist.

This quote is from Ms. Wong’s first memoir published in 1945, Fifth Chinese Daughter (Harper & Brothers). She made the unusual choice to write in the third person. In the quote, Ms. Wong is talking about her first day working for the US Government as a “typist-clerk” at the shipyard in Marin County. WWII was raging and there was a great need for all kinds of workers. (This was her first job after college.)

Ms. Wong grew up in San Francisco Chinatown, where her parents owned a jeans factory. She got her AA from City College of San Francisco and attended Mills College, from which she graduated in 1942. She had studied economics, but while there she took an art class and discovered a love of ceramics. After graduation, she was invited to stay on campus for the summer and take a ceramics class from Carlton Ball, who was an accomplished potter and taught at Mills from 1939 to 1950.

After she left her government job, Wong split her time between writing her memoir and pottery, which she initially made and sold in the window of a small Chinatown shop. She would go on to be become a renowned ceramicist exhibiting her work in museums around the country.

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These are so cozy warm, they are my go-to winter gloves and that’s why there’s a big hole. But I’m going to make that hole into something interesting.

We all have them: favorite clothes that we want to last longer. Some might have holes, others have lost their shape and some might just feel a little out of date. Darning and patching of clothes is problem solving that involves a creative challenge. To mend can become a fun and interesting craft project at the same time as old clothes are being salvaged, maybe with a new attitude or other qualities that give them a new role in the wardrobe.

Katarina Brieditis

We produce more clothes than we need, we buy more clothes than we need and we throw away more clothes than we have to. It doesn’t have to be that way. By giving our existing clothes some time and love we can continue wearing them rather than throwing them away. The pile of clothes that need mending gets a new value, it’s no longer a chore and a task, but an exciting crafts project where you can add a personal touch to garments. The most sustainable clothes in your wardrobe is the one that is already there.

Katarina Evans

These quotes are from a Q&A about “why we mend” with Selvedge magazine, August 2021. The two Katrinias are textile designers from Sweden: www.brieditis-evans.se/en-GB/about.

The practice of mending has been getting a lot of media attention lately. There are articles, books, videos, workshops all about how to mend and the new approach – visible mending. The August 2021 issue of Selvedge is completely dedicated to the craft of mending.

Mending of course has a long history. It used to be that fabric was all hand woven and therefore of great value. People didn’t have an array of clothing hanging in their closets so taking good care of what they did have was essential. In more recent history, such as The Depression of the 1930s and WWII, clothing was expensive and not all that easy to find even if one did have the money. Women remade suits, hemmed dresses, and darned many a pair of stockings and socks. But then in the 1950s manufacturing increased, inexpensive manmade fabrics hit the market, and the price of clothing decreased. Soon we were a throwaway society and no one had any idea how to darn a sock.

Today we are facing climate change and the fact that the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to the destruction of our planet. People, even fashionable ones, are rethinking their closets and figuring out that a little mending is what’s truly fashionable.

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The gentleman who always dressed well.

ODFL pauses to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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My dresses usually have pockets. I’m taking into consideration the realities women face today.

Meryll Rogge, Belgian fashion designer.

Ms. Rogge started her own fashion house in 2020, after working for fashion icons Marc Jacobs and Dries Van Noten.

Pockets in women’s clothing is such an issue. Ask any woman and she will confirm that YES! we want pockets. Particularly these days when certain things need to be accessible as we navigate our mask covered pandemic world. But designers say – pockets add bulk and can ruin a silhouette.

Well, there is an answer and I call it the Pocket Bag. Last year, I noticed that there were things I needed to consistently get to quickly and so I started carrying, in addition to a regular handbag or tote, a little pocket of sorts. Over my head or around my waist, this pocket holds keys, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and a pen. (Everyone should use their own pen!) I made a couple of these bags, but I also have one from Great Bags (pictured). Pocket Bags are handy as well if you’re carrying a backpack and/or you’re traveling and need to access your passport, etc. Plus, I think you can have fun with the look.

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Day Twelve here we are. This was made for me by my godson, although, he may have had a little help. I don’t think he or his helper knew that crescent moons are a favorite of mine. I have a collection of crescent moon brooches; come to think of it, perhaps a tree completely decorated with crescent moons is in my future.

What is in your future, readers, is another year of fashion, style, vintage, and the arts here on ODFL.

Don’t miss a post – SUBSCRIBE. On the upper right side of the front page of ODFL you can enter your email and receive a notification every time there’s a new post. Now that’s a stylish way to start the new year.

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It’s Day Eleven and we’re taking a peek underneath the tree at the felt NYC taxi cab with a Christmas tree atop.

This ornament is too big to hang, but it’s a perfect addition to the scene going on under the tree. I bought this felt cab at Leroy’s Place in Brooklyn. Yet another reminder of yet another travel adventure.

Our last day is tomorrow. You made it this far, don’t miss Day Twelve.

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Welcome to Day Ten. Today we have a boy snowshoeing, something that I would like to do some day. He’s made of wood and is hand painted. I have quite a few of these wood ornaments and they have a European feel to me.

We’re getting close to the end. Come back tomorrow.

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On Day Nine we take a trip to South Korea.

Traditional Korean clothing (called hanbok) had no pockets, so people carried little round pouches (called jumeoni) to hold their necessities. There are different styles of jumeoni and while some are embroidered most include traditional Korean knots. The ornament pictured above is made of silk fabric in traditional Korean colors and is a welcome reminder of my travels to South Korea.

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This crescent-moon-shape Santa is so very charming. He was part of a package of miniature ornaments that I bought at the Mills College Bookstore. They often had random things and I lucked out with this find. I love a whimsical ornament.

If it’s Day Eight then it’s New Year’s Day. Happy New Year!! Wishing all ODFL readers a stylin’ 2022.

And what will Day Nine bring us? Come on back tomorrow and find out.

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