while making “ella funt” #1 (only like twelve copies left–if you want a cloth cover instead of a boring old photocopy, reserve yours now by sending $4 to $10 sliding scale to firstname.lastname@example.org!), i discovered that i really enjoy sewing! my sewing machine was a hand-me-down from my former mother-in-law & i rarely used it because i didn’t really know how to sew, i didn’t have any sewing equipment, & i just wasn’t motivated. i made the occasional curtain when things got dire, but mostly the machine just languished in a forgotten corner somewhere.
back during what i now think of as “the glory days” of my zine career–approximately 2000-2004 or so–a few people did zines with fabric covers. by which i mean, they cut a square of quilting cotton, slapped it on a zine, & ran the spine through the sewing machine. very simple, but it’s all it took to elevate a zine to a whole different level.
i started my distro (pour one out for good old learning to leave a paper trail zine distro, 2003-2010) & learned that people will lose their fucking shit for a zine that is even marginally “special” or “artisanal”. do a spot color on the cover with a crayon or a rubber stamp & people will pay an extra buck & copies will fly at zine fests. to the point where it’s almost a gimmick. like, people would sometimes just throw together these really sloppy zines with poorly-written, boring content, but they’d, like, tie a ribbon around them & people would be like, “whoa, i gotta check that out!”
i wanted to do something special with “ella funt” #1 & i remembered my attraction to the cloth covers, so i decided to try them, but take them a step further by making backs…& the rest is history. they look nice, but they were definitely far more time-consuming & expensive to make than i had anticipated.
but i got bit by the sewing bug! now ramona & i are regulars at the fabric store. i picked up a couple of yards of typewriter print fabric last week & yesterday i sewed my very first adult clothing: an A-line skirt. i actually used a pattern, & the skirt is fully lined, with darts in the back to ensure a nice drape. it closes with an invisible zipper & it has pockets.
let me walk you through the photo shoot jared & i did, wherein i attempted to get a good photo to show to the internet. this is the first photo we took. i had directed him to “crop out my feet–no one needs to see my slippers”. i then turned to the side a bit because generally, front-on photos are not the world’s most flattering. but i realized that turning to the side obscured some of the details of the skirt. plus i felt that this was too wide a shot. the internet doesn’t need to see my whole yard. let’s focus on the skirt, people!
better…it’s closer in, anyway. & i look cute. but the downward angle obscures the dimensions & details of the skirt.
the skirt looks cute, but i look kind of grumpy. though…that’s really just the way my face is.
the skirt looks good! but the angle makes me look stumpy, & it looks like the skirt is just past knee-length, when it in fact stops just above the knee.
my face looks cute, but this is that unflattering front-on angle i was talking about. but hey, i just had a baby seven months ago. what do you want from me?
i look cute, the skirt looks cute, but i wish my pose was…less pose-y.
& this is when i gave up because my attempts at art direction were just making me self-conscious. & it’s not like any of the photos were especially bad. i mean, i’m wearing a cute skirt & my yard looks gorgeous. that makes up for a lot of sins. like the spit-up smeared across my tank top. i didn’t realize until it was too late how obvious it would be in photos.
so yeah! i’m already planning my next skirt! i have this little fantasy of making myself one interesting skirt per month, & by the time i’m like 50, i’ll have this incredible collection of handmade skirts.