Monday, December 10, 2018

Hail Krampus! An Evening out at the Toronto Krampus Ball







A regular Yule tradition for us now is to attend the Krampus Parade and Ball in Toronto. A group of us get all dressed up and freeze our butts off outside in minus temperatures all so we can chant Hail Krampus! while walking down a busy Toronto street late at night. We started with a short parade and then a concert with some local entertainers and bands. Squid Lid was the headliner for the evening at the Opera House. I have to say that the parade was a bit of a let down compared to last year. We did a pub crawl instead last year which a lot more fun.





Who is Krampus? The Christmas Devil Krampus is described as a half goat and half demon spirit who travels with Saint Nickolas on Dec 5 (known as Krapusnacht) to determine whether children have been naughty or nice. If found to be on the naughty list. Krampus might beat the children with his twigs or kidnap them and steal them away to the underworld in his bag. He is much like the pied piper leading the naughty children away to their demise sometimes. He is basically a dark fairytale meant to warn children to behave correctly. He is believed to be a remnant left over from pre-christian times and definitely looks like the Pagan Horned God of the witches.



My hubby and I decided to make it a special event by staying in Toronto for the weekend. We stayed at The Broadview Hotel which is a historic Victorian hotel built in 1893. It has recently undergone a modern facelift and looks beautiful with amazing views from the bar on the 7th floor. We went in to the city early so we could check into the hotel and have a few drinks at the bar.






The following day we went to the Christmas Market at the Distillery District. There is a traditional German Christmas market every year complete with carolers and an outdoor market. I picked up a few ornaments and some treats at the market. We had a great time at both the concert and the market so hopefully we can go again next year and keep the tradition going.












A photo from last years parade:





Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sew Frosting! and the Evolution of the Sewing Blog World



As a regular reader (I hope), you probably know already that I have been sewing for what seems like  forever. I lost touch with the sewing community for quite a few years when I started working full time in retail in 2005. I used to read some sewing blogs and follow some folks over on the Pattern Review website years ago but that was the extent of it for about 5-7 years at least. I am now fully back and immersed in the sewing world again for a while now. I'm still trying to catch up with the new trends and whats popular out there. A lot of things have changed while I was absent and I thought I might discuss the evolution of my own sewing and the sewing blog world in general.

I recently rediscovered the sewing blog world through Instagram. Instagram does seem to be the place where every fashion or sewing blogger has migrated to in the past few years, myself included. Instagram is a great platform to follow and discover new and older bloggers, however I do miss seeing all the pictures from traditional blogs and reading the long detailed posts. Maybe I'm just a Dinosaur? Who else misses this platform? There is just something lacking and impersonal about Instagram. Anyway, that's another topic for another day.

The biggest change I see in the sewing world is the rise of independent patterns. I have my favourite indie designers like Gertie (One of the bloggers I have followed since she first started sewing) and Sew Over It. I am happy to see how they have evolved their love for sewing into a full fledged career and business over the years. On the flip side of that, I find the sewing world has become much more commercially driven. Every where I look is an ad for either fabric or patterns. Just like in the fashion blogging world, there are influencers now. So even Sewists you follow just to see what they making are always pushing new products. It used to be really subtle but now its everywhere. A thousand voices shouting buy this! buy that! It can be really overwhelming at times to be honest. And they all seem to use indie patterns now. I sometimes feel old and outdated using the big 4 patterns (Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, and Simplicity) still or self drafting my own patterns. I'm feeling the pressure to use indie patterns instead even though I have a massive collection of the big 4. If I'm being completely honest, I find most of the indie patterns too simplistic and basic. And besides that, I am just very used to using the big 4. I know them too well by now. So its hard for me to change that mindset even though I would rather support the smaller independent companies instead of the big corporations.

The next big change I see is that sewing has become a bigger community through Instagram and YT. It wasn't that long ago that there were hardly any sewing vloggers or bloggers out there. And even fewer alternative ones at that. Mari Mortem and Goth It Yourself are the two alternative sewists that stick out to me that have been around for years. And Gertie was the first blogger I can remember doing vintage and pin up style. I still miss her pink hair! Now there are tons of sewists doing vintage and alternative style. It's amazing! I just wish there were more of us Gothic sewists out there. Maybe we need to start a new tag so we can find each other? #gothsewist or #alternativesewist perhaps? There are also unique sewists with their own style that I wouldn't exactly call alternative so to speak but they are different and fun to follow and I love their style none the less. Sewists like Marcy Harriell (Oona Balloona), The Crafty Pinup, and Wanderstitch.

That brings me to the tag #sewfrosting. The term came about when blogger Tasia of Sewaholic said she was sewing too much frosting and not enough cake. In other words she was sewing too many statement garments and not enough basics. Then True Bias Patterns and Closet Case Patterns decided to make the saying into a contest on Instagram. To see how many people would like to make statement pieces instead of basics. I love that idea! Sewing frosting seems to be my go to thing anyway. I don't like to waste my precious sewing time on basics like tees or leggings. Or even if I did make those things they would be different in some way. I would make sparkly or velvet leggings or lace tees! That's just me.

This contest brings up another trend I've seen growing in the sewing community lately. And that is sewing basics or everyday items instead of special occasion. I think part of why this has changed over the years is that fashion itself has changed to rather boring basics. Anytime I dare to look up new fashion trends all I see are the same looks copied over and over. A blond girl wearing boots, jeans, and an oversized sweater in beige. Really? Is that what is considered trendy now? That seems pretty basic to me...I digress. That mainstream fashion trend of basic items has trickled into the sewing world with sewists making the same sweatshirtshirts, tees, leggings, and basic skirts over and over. All beginner level sewing and no frosting! When did sewing become so boring? When I first started sewing clothing in the 80s, it was all about being unique and standing out. No one played it safe. I think one of the first things I made in high school was a full length prom dress in taffeta. So I'm really hoping that this trend of sewing more unique items will catch on and we can give the sweatshirts a break for a while.

My basic sewing is almost always stretch velvet. Its my safe zone and its super easy to work with. I change the patterns up by altering a sleeve or skirt but its still pretty basic to me. When I think of #sewfrosting I think bigger more challenging sewing like an evening dress or perhaps a velvet coat or cape maybe? I don't know, but I feel like I have gotten myself into my own personal rut by sewing so much with stretch velvet. Perhaps I need to make a big Victorian outfit just to do something different for a change. I am going to try and challenge myself a bit more and I don't need a Fashion Show as an excuse to do it.

My final thoughts on this subject are don't get yourself into the mindset of where am I going to wear that? It's completely impractical to make a Victorian ensemble! Maybe it is for some people. I look for events to go to so I can dress up! I don't wait around for the occasion, I do the opposite by making the outfit and then finding an occasion to wear it to. I have a big event this weekend and I don't have to stress or worry because I have several pieces already in my wardrobe that will work. Its just a matter of pulling an outfit together. Some food for thought for my fellow sewists that are struggling with this idea!

I will end this post with some amazing alternative Sewists I have found through Instagram and whom I find inspiration in everyday!

Madame Absinthe https://www.instagram.com/madame_absinthe/
Scary Kerri https://www.instagram.com/blackorchiddesignsscarykerri/
Anemia Adams https://www.instagram.com/anemia_addams/
Mari Mortem https://www.instagram.com/mari_mortem/
Sew Goth https://www.instagram.com/sewgoth/
Insomniacs Attic https://www.instagram.com/insomniacs_attic/
Hexenstern https://www.instagram.com/hexenstern/
Sarah https://www.instagram.com/talesfromageordiegoth/
Laura https://www.instagram.com/crowfaerylaura/










Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Trouble With Fast Fashion


With Black Friday fast approaching, I've started thinking about the effects of Fast Fashion on not only the economy but also the Fashion Industry in general. Not to mention the effects that Fast Fashion has on the environment but that's another topic. Fast Fashion is responsible for vast amounts of waste and major pollution.“Fast Fashion” refers to fashion that is produced very quickly in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible. What used to be four distinct seasons in retail has now turned into a new collection or look every week instead. It also exploits the workers in the industry. Fast Fashion is just like its counterpart Fast Food; fast, cheap, and really bad for us. Every year it seems like Black Friday sales start earlier and earlier with companies advertising their sales the week before even. I realize that companies are trying to compete for sales in a crowded online world and in the malls so they do whatever they can to start earlier than their competitors but its getting ridiculous. This year the Halloween aisle seemed to disappear before October even started and then was taken over by the major money making holiday, Christmas, instead. To be honest, I just don't like the whole season of Christmas. Too many years of crappy retail jobs killed whatever joy I once had for the season. Too many angry customers complaining about having to shop for things they don't want or need. I always felt that Christmas was just too commercial and stressful. I dreaded it every year. Bah Humbug! Now that I have my own business, its still difficult for me to get in the spirit. I know I should be excited and doing lots of shows this time of year but I didn't sign up for a single one! Halloween came and went so fast this year that I felt the post holiday blues really strongly. I wish I had gotten out to more events. But enough about that! Lets talk about Fast Fashion now. Recently I took my Hubby to the mall to pick out a few new suits. While we were there, I checked out a few stores to see if there was anything I might like to buy for myself. I remembered that in the past, Fall and Holiday seasons were the best shopping for gothic dresses. Holiday season is usually full of lace and velvet dresses.You could shop nice gothic looks at the mainstream stores easily. However, I was really disappointed in what I found this year! The quality of clothing has gotten so poor that I didn't find anything worth buying, which is really rare for me! I love to shop! The velvet dresses were cheap and too short or the lace was just crappy fabric and plain. I left the mall empty handed. My Hubby did very well though. I then found myself at a few local vintage and thrift shops. I found multiple items that were perfect for me. Good quality pieces and good prices as well. Now thats the type of clothing I was looking for! And by the way these stores don't accept fast fashion for resale because the quality is too poor. What does that say about the products at stores like H&M or Forever 21? Basically Fast Fashion stores had taken over my local mall. There aren't even any middle of the road type of stores. It seems to be either cheap mass produced crap or expensive over priced brand names and nothing in between. The Department Stores are almost gone too. Sears used to have a brand called Jessica that was decent quality and cute velvet dresses around Christmas. It went bankrupt this year. I saw that some bloggers were talking about Zara and Asos online, so I checked them out too. Boring! So my question is where does this leave the fashion industry? Is true fashion dead? Now lets talk about Gothic Fashion. Once upon a time you had to either make your own goth clothes or thrift them and alter them. There were a few mainstream stores that had decent stuff to alter or add accessories to and dress up. You could buy nice velvet dresses and lacey pretty tops every year. Or if you were lucky a nice velvet dress from an upscale department store. Then along came the equivalent to Fast Fashion in the gothic world, Killstar. It isn't even that cheap but it seems to have taken over gothic fashion world as the brand to buy. That makes me just want to run the other way to be honest. I have ordered a few items from them and the quality is decent but not great. Sure they are cute but every other goth girl thinks so too. So what I'm seeing now is that instagram is full of Killstar clones. A sad state of affairs! And even sadder still is that the handmade clothing brands that were once so popular are starting to disappear one by one. They just can't compete with the fast fashion brands. All of this makes me think that the future of retail is going to be very different. Vintage and thrift stores are very popular already. There were always lots of thrift shops in the past but now there are tons of boutique style resale shops everywhere. Proving that customers want affordable but good quality clothing. I love to shop at these stores too. You don't have to dig in a thrift store anymore because they are very selective in what they bring in and this saves time. However, I can't help but feel sorry for all those future Fashionistas that will only have Fast Fashion brands in thrift stores in 20 years. Those clothes will never hold up the way the 90s and older clothing did. True vintage fashion will become really expensive soon. Even the 90s stuff. Don't believe me? Try looking up the price of a vintage Laura Ashley dress now. So collect it while you can! I think from now on if I don't make my own clothes, I am going to commit to buying only handmade, vintage, or thrift clothes from now on. Or at the very least, small brands that aren't trying to take over Instagram one blogger at a time. What are your thoughts? Where are we heading on this runaway train?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

90s Goth Nostalgia

I have been in a 90s nostalgia mood again for the past few weeks. Whilst browsing through Etsy and EBay I came across some vintage 90s Poet blouses. they are one of those items you rarely find in the thrift stores, perhaps because they were usually made in silk or rayon and just haven't held up over the years. I was shocked by the prices I found though. They ranged anywhere from $100 up to $250! I thought Screw That! And went and dug through my stash of vintage patterns. I finally decided on Simplicity 2163.



It is an Arkivestry pattern by Simplicity. A brand name that I like and trust to sew with. My first blouse I made from a creamy coloured stretch rayon in a jacquard print. I edged it in a heavy lace. I'm really impressed with how it turned out, as its the perfect length and size for me. I did modify the sleeves a bit by adding elastic instead of a cuff, but otherwise i did the pattern as is.





In fact I was so impressed with this top that I made a second version in a burnout black velvet. I think I will get more wear out of the black version in the long run. This blouse is so comfortable to wear in this soft material and yet it still looks very dressy.





Which colour do you prefer? Cream, black or maybe a red next? Now I think I will make some more of these for the shop so others can enjoy some vintage poet blouses as well!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Witch Fashion

So this topic of Witch Fashion or the witchy aesthetic seems to be making the rounds yet again within the blogging and YT community. This time around it seems to be within the Pagan community more so than the Gothic community. Since I live in both worlds and they co-mingle for me, I find this topic interesting to say the least. I've been wearing what people are calling "witch fashion" basically my whole life. I even wrote another blog post about the style back in 2016 when it was called "Strega Fashion" Since then, the name has changed to "witch fashion". But, It's nothing new folks! It's Stevie Nicks style with a gothic slant to it. Granted the style has evolved over the years and become more of a genre of Goth recently, but it still retains the same basic style of a bohemian witchy vibe mixed with romantic gothic clothing.

Images from Pinterest













The only new twist I can see within the last few years is the rise in popularity of the fashion trend called "Nu Goth" due to TV shows like AHS Coven. Big name brands like Killstar, Rogue and Wolf, and Black Craft Cult keep churning out sweaters and Tees with occult symbols and sayings on them because they sell. This newer look is more what I would call "Nu Goth" than "Witch Fashion" but maybe I'm over thinking it? Other brands like Punk Rave are jumping on the witchy aesthetic bandwagon with their own lines. And it even seems to be spreading into Home Decor as Fashion and Home Decor play off each other in trends. Here are a few examples of the newer look making the rounds on Instagram...

























I have watched a few videos touching on the subject of Witch Fashion being not authentically Pagan or being too materialistic or costumey. There seem to be differing opinions but most people agree that you should be true to your own style and wear what is comfortable for you whether that be flowy dresses and shawls or just plain jeans and tees. The point is to be true to yourself and your own style. Here is some food for thought on this touchy topic... isn't every type of clothing a costume when you come right down to it? even if you dress in plain clothing every day that still says something about you. Its an image you present to the world. We like to pretend in Spiritual communities that material items like clothing aren't important but that's not really true is it? Not in this day and age. If it weren't important, than this whole discussion would be pointless. We ALL choose to clothe ourselves in costumes that portray a persona to the world. So you have to ask yourself what image do you wish to portray? A business person? a hipster? a goth? a stay at home mom? a metalhead? a hippie? a dark forest witch? Isn't that sounding a lot like labels again? Maybe you are a combination of several of those? The truth is YOU choose the persona you wish to present to the world by the clothing you wear.

Another point of contention among vloggers seems to be the use of the occult symbols on casual clothing. I address this topic in my previous article briefly but I don't think I mentioned that Gothic fashion has a long history using occult symbols. From Ankhs to Pentacles to triple moons, occult symbols have been used for shock value within the Goth or Heavy Metal communities since the 80s! Again, this is nothing new folks! In the 80s it was Ankhs (From the movie The Hunger with Peter Murphy and David Bowie), In the 90s it was inverted pentagrams (Marilyn Manson) and Rosaries with inverted crosses (The Craft and Madonna), and now we are wearing sweatshirts with all of the above! Ha! Even some good friends of mine wear custom leather jackets they made that say Satan's Seamstresses in big bold letters and a huge inverted pentagram on the back.

What I don't think everyone understands in all of this is that sometimes this is meant to be shocking and tongue in cheek at the same time. On purpose! How does that old saying go? "If you don't get the joke then you are the joke" That's Punk Rock! That's Fashion!  Do you think Vivienne Westwood or Alexander McQueen cared about offending people with fashion? I suggest watching some McQueen runway videos for inspiration. Modern fashion needs a good shock in my opinion. I'm really loving this new collection from an up and coming designer named Dilara Findikoglu for spring and summer. And I even did a few pagan fashion pieces myself recently as well as authentic ritual robes.




So I think you understand my viewpoint slightly better about the topic of Occult or Pagan symbols in modern fashion. Do whatever you want to do! Wear whatever you want to wear!








Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hello Stitchwitches! A Brand New Blog!

Hello everyone! I know its been a while since you've heard from me on here! I have decided to start a new blog on my website just so its easier to keep everything neat and tidy and in one place! You can find me now at https://www.autumnmoonenchantment.com/blog

I will try to keep up to date on the new blog and you can find me on Instagram and youtube!
I have recently started doing some sewing and fashion videos! Its time for this Eldergoth to step outside of her comfort zone and post more OOTD vlogs. So if youre interested check me out over there too!



https://youtu.be/JW6duUaNUaE

See you all over on the new space! Cheers!


Edit- I will continue to post on both blogs for now i think! Unless I can figure out a way to incorporate blogger onto the new website. Because frankly, It's just too difficult to post on WIX.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Occulticon 2017

Oh what a glorious weekend we had! What better way to spend a weekend in the summer than at a magickal campsite!



This was the first year for a new Pagan Occult festival called Occulticon held at Mythwood Campgrounds in Ontario. It was a 3 day festival with classes on everything from Mediumship to Spiritual Alchemy. I was able to attend a few lectures but I was pretty busy the whole weekend! There was also Dragon Drummers and a bonfire Saturday night!




There were several amazing speakers that really know their craft including Ian Corrigan, Tiffany Laszic, and Tamarra James. Various types of pagan faiths were represented such as Wicca, Druidry, Thelema, Celtic, and Heathenry. A little something for everyone!



I was lucky enough to be one of the vendors this year. I took a large assortment of sweaters, capes, and other clothing items with me. It was a fun weekend of camping and exploring the Mythwood campgrounds!



















I was so blessed to be a part of this special event! I can't wait until next year!