“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
I just love natural fabrics. If you’ve read my bio, you know that I studied textiles and worked in a really amazing family owned (not my family) fabric and tailor supply shop called Lipson’s in downtown Pittsburgh after graduating. I loved working there and did for so many years while cultivating a client base of my own for whom I did custom dressmaking and tailoring on the side. I saw the writing on the wall. 2 ladies owned the shop and then there was me and that was it. No ownership opportunities were coming my way, so I quit and worked solely from home doing custom work in my little apartment for years and really loved it. I learned more about fabrics from working at that shop than I ever imagined. Tailors would come in and teach me. I was amazed that people wore wool all year round and learned that from them. 100% wool, summer weight custom made suits were the thing, made from fabric that came from Italy. The hand of these fabrics was extraordinary. They were breathable, resisted wrinkles and perfect for summer. Wait, you’re thinking wool in the summer? Does that even make sense? Yes!
What does this have to do with anything? Alpaca has the same qualities. Did I mention that it doesn’t retain odors so that means less laundering? The difference? The wool people have been at this a lot longer. They’re getting it together. When I saw this dress and Wool &’s 100 Day Dress Challenge, I ordered one to test it out. We’re programmed to only think inside the box with this kind of fabric and fiber. I’ve been wearing dresses and skirts more for daily wear because they are so comfortable so why not this one?
Day 1: I only wore it to church and changed after a few hours. That’s the photo above.
Day 2: Yesterday, I put it through the paces and here is how. I forgot to change after Jay and I had breakfast with Jack and Madison’s cousin Chandler. It’s THAT comfortable. When we came home, I grabbed the shop vac and vacuumed both of our cars and most of the garage. It all started because I’d spilled a plant in my car and it was a mess and wanted to get it then before I moved on to something else. Then I hosed off the matts and watered my plants. The grand dog was coming for the day so I wanted to rake out the area behind the dog house. Jay had cut lots of brush and it needed to be removed, as well as leaf debris, so while wearing the dress, I did and it was hot, but the dress was again, super comfy. I was raking and throwing the debris into the woods over the fence. I pretty much had it everywhere, in my hair, but it did not stick to the dress. Did you notice that it’s navy? After about 2 hours of raking, Connor and I needed a break. Not the dress! Here’s a quick look at the leaf debris we were raking up. There were also large branches that I threw over the fence too. Lots of them. I think this dog house has to go. It’s a mess. After a quick break and rehydration, it was time to get back to rinsing and spinning out my fiber. To the buckets we went. I spilled water, fiber, soap, on myself and the dress. Was I covered with white fiber? Would I need a lint roller? Nope. I wasn’t careful but nothing stuck. It’s the spin of the yarn and the knit of the fabric. I was picking the fiber out of the spin dryers and laying it on these screens to dry. I was holding some against my body. If I had cotton on, I would have been a mess. The day wasn’t over yet and I still needed to feed the livestock their grain and sweep. I did both in the dress.
After this, I really needed a shower, and the dress, though still going strong, deserved a break. We had a meeting last night and I gave it the night off and wore something else. Just a simple airing out and I’ll put it back on today for Day 3. I need to finish the raking task, pack my fiber and a few more things. I’m confident that it will look as good as new. It’s supposed to be another hot one today and neither Jay nor I slept well last night. He put the portable AC in our bedroom. I did have a few glasses of water after “Wheel of Fortune” and had to get up too many times for bathroom visits. You know the story my grandmother told me that the secret to a good night’s sleep was not drinking liquids after Wheel of Fortune which back then was at around 7:30-8 PM. She’s right! Drink your liquids early in the day. You’ll thank her for it.
Today, I have a few more buckets to rinse, fiber to sort and pack and leaves to rake.
Want to try this challenge too? It’s the #SierraTankDress and here is the link to order. Please mention that you read about it from my blog. I applied to be an affiliate because I believe in this product! Get your dress here! I think I need to call Lou, my hay guy too. It’s a good time to stock up on hay. And then tonight is hooping. Yes, the dress and I will hoop! In the meantime, remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, get outside for some fresh air and keep the length of an alpaca cria (which is a baby alpaca and about 3 feet long) between you and the next person.