Monday, March 23, 2009

As worn by mass murderers and other interesting people

Time to fix my sewing machine, make my own clothes again. Had this realization- I just can’t do chain stores any more. In Cape Town, there are chains of clothing shops. I opened an account at one nearly fifteen years ago- broke, getting married, needed to buy shoes. Bought those Doc’s, and paid, paid, paid. Once you are paying, you have to buy clothes using the same account, until when the clerk asks ‘How much would you like to pay?’ you are tearing the very soul from your being and casting it down before her.

So any clothing I need, I trawl very dodgy crap stores, trying to find something that won’t give me electric shocks on escalators. Crappy chains- you can find them across South Africa. I see people on the train wearing the same shirt occasionally.

The problem is this- several times, and I am not exaggerating- I have watched the news- footage of drug dealers and murderers and other nasties- and had the same horrible feeling as I notice something. As they are being dragged into courtrooms from the prison van, jacket over their head, I see that they clearly have the same taste and budget as me- they are wearing the same shirt, t-shirt, trousers…

I’m not kidding. It is a lousy feeling! Watching the SA movie ‘Tsotsi’, which won an Oscar, the main character was a gangsta-killer. He was wearing EXACTLY the same red skinny-rib long sleeved t-shirt I bought at Mr Price, and wore to the movie…

I am not a hillbilly, criminal, miscreant. (Well- not any more!) Although my sister-in-law slept over the other day. I was on the couch. OK?

So I have to do designer-wear, but can’t afford to, so I’ll have to get back to my roots- interfacing, pleats, button-holes and stitching. I can do that. Cut patterns, do hems, sew on collars. I studied it during a bad year- I treated it as a gap year, but was actually studying clothing design. I dropped out, but it’s like falling off a bicycle- you pick it up easily again. (Except with all the needles and jutting bobbins, you don’t want to fall off a sewing machine).

But I will never, ever make another pair of tartan trousers with matching waistcoat again (see above pic- note cowboy shoestring tie). I have matured…


  1. I saw Tsotsi, and actually liked his taste in clothing. Just sayin'.

    So now you will sew. This could be good. Halloween costume for the runway? That's what all my sewing ends up like.

  2. In retrospect, I'd end up with a kaftan with leg o mutton sleeves, a cowl neck and badly done box pleats, so I guess I should just save, eh, Abby?
    I haven't sewn since the years when I would have worn a halloween costume out, and more or less did. Fun times.
    It was a great movie...

  3. I discovered that it is more expensive to buy the fabric, pattern and notions to make my own clothes so I only do alterations anymore.

    I have ceased buying junk, too. I wont pay a fortune for designer gear, though. So...we have discount stores here: Marshalls, Loehmanns, Stein Mart, TJ Maxx. They carry more expensive brands,(although you still have to wade through mediocre stuff to find it) at very discounted prices. That is pretty much how I shop.

  4. Hahahah hysterical picture.. I'd forgotten our days of yore.

  5. I can't afford designer anything!

  6. @ brandy: What are notions?- it does become more expensive than buying cheap clothes- bu at least you get to make what you like...
    @Bee: yore? I have no yore days! I was an idiot then.
    @wenchy: you have to learn to fake the look- a small part of me dies every time I go into Mr P.

  7. I thought that was Brian Setzer in the picture when I began reading this post.

    You've obviously got a future as a costume designer in the movies. Remember your friends and relatives when you hit the big time in South Africa's Hollywood.

  8. I believe that I shall stick with my Lindsay Lohan style leggings and my trailer trash tank tops, lol, if I tried to sew with a machine - yikes, just yikes. I can sew very very well by hand because my daddy was a longshoreman and he taught me -- but a machine? Hahaha!!! You sir, are very skilled indeed!

  9. @ Braine: Yup- but more psychobilly than Rockabilly. I was the baddest, most falling-off-the-stagiest singer in town... Yee haw
    @ Sam: And gut a bluefin tuna with the best of em? I prefer hand sewing, too- have done very fine Barbie costumes made out of silk ties (for my daughter, ahem). Why thank you, though!

  10. In a way, not. It is a 20 year old version of me, about to vomit in the toilets at that Brass Bell. Which is the last thing I remember about that afternoon/evening. Terrible.


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