Lockdown Clothing: following up with Celina

Today in the Lockdown Clothing project we’re catching up with Celina McGinnis, who answered the original questions back in April 2020. It turns out she had a lot that she didn’t tell us the first time round!

1) Has your approach to clothing changed since you submitted your story to us?

In doing your project, I pulled out a bunch of clothing I had made and took pictures of them (which I never sent to you, but loaded on my Pinterest board instead), and then sat and looked at the result and what I had written. It became clear to me that:

  1. I have loved one pattern for 20 years, Vogue 1476 by Issey Miyake, the longest running pattern they have ever kept printed
  2. I really loved my yoga pants
  3. jeans didn’t feel like pajamas

I ordered more yoga pants, and made myself a tshirt from the pattern I’ve loved out of a 100 year old linen sheet. I then made it again, using a bunch of old tshirts and some Alabama Chanin hand sewing techniques. I wore them all summer with my new yoga pants as we stayed home. I am currently making another version of it, basing the back on a Schiaparelli dress embroidered with a Jean Cocteau design, once again all hand sewn. Thank you for giving me this.

Celina’s work-in-progress tshirt. The design on the back is based on a Schiaparelli dress that was embroidered with a Jean Cocteau design.

2) Can you describe how your daily routine and/or social life has changed in recent months?

Social life: We are not going anywhere but food shopping, and 50% of that is curbside pickup. We have had 1 couple over a few times to sit outside for dinner. We will be doing our holidays at home. Normally our holiday season features multiple large meals with 2-4 other families, not this year. I have started an online crafting session with a friend, we do a video call & work on something while we talk. My boardgame group has moved entirely online, as has my knitting group.

3) Has your approach to purchasing clothing changed as a result of lockdown? How so?

My clothing purchases have changed. Normally I hit our local thrift stores, buy stuff to wear or alter or use as material and that’s out for now. It was odd to order clothing for myself, but I’m pretty happy with the result. I am looking at what catches my attention a bit differently now. Given that no one really sees me, I feel like I wear things that might be impractical in the outside world, and are more whimsical. I made a jacket out of wool gauze that I would not have considered last year, and wore it when the AC got too cold. I am still not wearing shoes very much, but it has gotten colder so I have to put them on when I go outside.

Celina’s jacket made from the Issey Miyake Vogue 1693 pattern

Lori had asked Celina about her Issey Miyake patterns after she initially submitted her story, and she also gave us some follow up information on that…

I looked for some of the clothing I made using the Japanese pattern books, but none of them survived. However! I still have the books, and I’ve attached one of my favorites. I made this skirt out of a gray wool, and wore it when I worked in an office in the 90s. I’m short, and these patterns are based on body measurements, so they fit well.

Here’s what I wrote to you last time, and never sent:

In the Fall of 1983 I went to the Issey Miyake Bodyworks exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It was one of the more emotional experiences of my life, my heart was in my mouth the whole time. I can still feel the emotions I had then. My mother collects South-East Asian textiles and baskets, so I had an idea of what many of them would feel like. Before I went into the museum, I saw 2 elderly women on the steps, one wearing a Mongolian lamb vest with tie-dyed tights and a huge carved staff with ribbons. They have been my visual models as I move into old age. Looking at my friend group, we should be in good shape.

Issey Miyake patterns look pretty frumpy on the hanger. There is usually a swish built in to move around your body as you walk, they billow or swing as you turn. (OK, this is more the 80s patterns) I normally make 1 to 2 of them a year, although mothering cut my sewing time and for a few years I didn’t make anything.

A page from one of Celina’s Japanese pattern books
One of the tshirts Celina made using the Vogue 1476 pattern by Issey Miyake (front)
One of the tshirts Celina made using the Vogue 1476 pattern by Issey Miyake (back)

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