The Ideal Skirt: Adjustable Waist and POCKETS!

Yes, it is possible! One can have a skirt with a waist that is easily adjustable to one’s fluctuating circumference, and also with pockets! Huzzah!

I started with Liz Haywood’s free pattern for a three gore wrap skirt. She has a variety of options as far as gores go, but I went with three, because why sew more seams than I had to? I did make a couple of changes, however. For one, I didn’t bother about a buttonhole to thread the waist ties through. I figured I could just overlap them and live with the minor unevenness at hem that would result.

And for another, I added POCKETS! I cut my own pattern piece from a sheet of A4, basing the size of the angled cut on the pocket bag of a favourite dress. Please note: when actually cutting out the pieces, I decided this was too small and added about five centimetres to the bottom for one pair of pocket pieces. Both pockets are fully functional but I prefer the larger one.

A sheet of paper with an angled cut, marked "Pocket" butted up against a larger skirt pattern piece.
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Gandhi, Chaplin, and the Symbol of Non-Violence

When Charlie Chaplin met Gandhi…sounds like the beginning of a joke. But in fact they did meet, in London, in 1931. Here you see Chaplin (seated, dark suit) next to Gandhi (seated, Gandhi).

Black and white photograph of M K Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Charlie Chaplin, and others.

The conversation included Gandhi explaining to Chaplin that his use and promotion of the charkha (traditional Indian spinning wheel, used for spinning cotton) wasn’t a rejection of more recent technologies – Luddite, we’d probably say these days – but rather a rejection of the exploitative system that those technologies were then serving.

Which, to be fair, is also how the actual Luddites looked at it. They didn’t object to labour-saving machinery. They objected to the idea that labour-saving was interpreted by employers to mean not “the machine does more, so now workers don’t have to work quite so hard” but rather “the machine does more, so we can work fewer people just as hard as before (and it’s not our business if the rest of them starve)”.

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Who Made This?

The nature of creativity has been given a bit of extra scrutiny lately, with the rise of AI art. Which (you may be relieved to hear) I do not propose to discuss. But the question of who is the creator of a work – or what involvement counts as creation – is one that isn’t limited to interactions with bots, algorithms, or any of that other techy stuff.

I read a book recently, about a garden called Federal Twist. James Golden, the man who wrote the book, lives in the house in the garden (at least part-time; I wasn’t sure if it’s just a weekend place or what), and designed the garden. And he identifies very closely with the garden. So much so that he says, “I am Federal Twist.” Well, he wouldn’t be the first human to identify with place, and he’ll be far from the last.


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