Posted in Writing

The Reluctant Fashionista Springs Forward

This may not be a problem a lot of you have run into, so I have to share that it’s kind of challenging to find clerical shirts for women that a woman would want to wear. Particularly if one’s clerical activities fall outside the realm of traditional church-choir stuff (more on this in “Confessions of a Street Minister”), and if one is not generally a button-down, demure-demeanor kinda gal…

There are plenty of online clergy-shops out there, though some of them you can discount right off the bat as a woman (um, the Catholics, for example) and a lot of them have pages of men’s clergy-wear with a token women’s blouse (usually black) thrown in.  A few lovely sites actually cater exclusively to clergywomen, including maternity clergy-wear (the Catholics would faint!)–but if you’re looking for something specific and it’s not there, you’re pretty well S.O.L.

I am in search of something specific at the moment, but I’ll be damned if I can find it.  (And since we’re speaking specifically about the business of not being damned, please believe my emphasis that this item does not exist to be found.)

Our daughter Anelahikialani and her wife Sarah are legally joined by means of a Civil Union in California, but now that full-on MARRIAGE is available to them in that state, they are gleefully planning a wedding.  They’ve honored us by asking me to preside (and Daddy to cook!), and I am now looking for a clergy blouse in hot pink (the wedding color), with a tab collar, and sleeveless (the girls aren’t interested in covering the family-stories of my Ink)…

Having given up on finding such an item ready-made (or in my price-range if I were ever to find one), I Tweeted the other day to ask if anyone has a pattern for converting a collared shirt into a clerically-collared shirt.  (My mother met a minister’s wife in Hawai’i who refashioned Aloha shirts to clergy shirts for her husband–she called the pattern her “spiritual conversion kit”…  I could use something like that.)

In any case, no one in my immediate circles had such a thing, but someone suggested “Pinterest” as a place where I might find it.  So I stopped by last night, put in the request for an invitation (evidently a person has to wait for a spot there) and while waiting for my invite to show (it still hasn’t–evidently they weren’t joking about the waiting list!) I went browsing to see what it was all about.

Tomy “Fashion Plates,” vintage 1978–same set as mine…

And immediately got sucked into this little outfit-building fashion gizmo that somebody else had used to assemble an ensemble and post it on the board.

Minutes later–and to absolutely no purpose whatsoever–I found myself hunting down the pieces of an outfit from the thousands of separates on–and did, in fact, put together an outfit I would don in a heartbeat if it weren’t stuck to my screen.  Laughing sheepishly at myself the whole time, and experiencing nostalgic flashbacks to the mix-and-match “Fashion Plates” toy with which I spent hours of childhood time.

Of course, I still haven’t made headway on the clothing question which brought me here in the first place, and I had one way or another, in my search for blouses and patterns, and my subsequent imaginary fashion-plate play, managed to stall for several hours in which I was meant to be writing several articles.  Which left me yawning and trying to write at three in the morning to meet my deadline.  (Though of course it wouldn’t have been THREE in the morning if I had not also had to change the clock forward.)

The irony in all this?  The five articles from which I had been procrastinating all that time, I had accepted only with a fair bit of whining and protest because of their topic–which I adamantly and insistently characterized as an issue of which I have no knowledge and in which I have no interest in and which I didn’t even want to research.  The big, bad topic which I’d stalled for hours to avoid touching?  FASHION DESIGN.

Ha! Okay, okay, I give! I spent my spring-forward hour proving myself wrong about my own interests. Time to spring toward forward-thinking with a more open mind, yes?

While I’m still stalling, I’d like to add an introduction to a challenge across which I stumbled yesterday: the 2012 Water Dragon Sunday Post hosted by Jakesprinter.  His is a graphic-design blog, and the Sunday challenge involves a weekly assigned theme, for which topic each challenge-participant is meant to post a photo representing their own interpretation.  Today’s Sunday topic (which, in a fascinating sample of synchronicity, I didn’t look up until after my little fashion foray) is DESIGN.

So here it is, my Sunday photographic composition,compiled when I was fiddling with the online fashion gizmo:

assembled at–the high-tech version of those “Fashion Plates” I played with as a kid…

 And if anyone knows anyone who might have a pattern for collar-conversion, I’d love to be put in touch!


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

17 thoughts on “The Reluctant Fashionista Springs Forward

  1. Its still a massive fuss here over whether to ‘redefine’ marriage so I’m thrilled there are other places that are just getting it right. Very many congratulations to your daughter and her wife. :)


  2. Cool, I know Jakesprinter, but didn’t know about the challenge. Will check it out. Congrats to your daughter and her wife. My partner Sara and I would marry if it were legal in Kentucky.


    1. That one looks intriguing! And I’ve got the “white thingie” ready-to-add… ;)
      Exactly my thinking about changing out the collar on a standard pattern–I’m just looking (still) for specific guidance on the substitute–I don’t trust my sewing-instincts enough to “wing it”… (Wing-and-a-prayer-it, maybe? Maybe I should rethink my thinking. Again. ;)


  3. Hi Kana! Not sure the pattern Beth mentioned above is available or if is just providing information. I found pattern numbers there before and you can search for that specifically. But I suspect you’d need some major alterations there. That looks pretty fitted to me.

    Meanwhile, I think Folkwear might have something that will work. The Chinese coat pattern ( could be made sleeveless very easily. If you don’t know anyone handy with a sewing machine, you might check for sewing services.

    As for Pinterest, I got my invite about four hours after requesting it. If you don’t get one from the admins, let me know and I’ll send you one. ;-)


    1. Thank you! The sewing machine I’ve got–it’s the pattern I’ve been missing, so I’ll check these out. :) And thanks also for the invite-offer; I finally heard back last night, so I’m dipping my toes in Pinterest waters…


    1. Hey, thanks for the Dragon! ;) My son and his invisible-dragon-friend are quite tickled by its majestic flapping presence on the blog sidebar…


  4. What an honor to be asked to preside at their wedding!
    I see you managed to find clothing and accessories containing your favorite color.


  5. VERY neat outfit for springing forward in, Kana! I wish you were here in NW Alabama; and I could set up without four different very talented fabric artists and seamtresses who could whip you out a pink clerican shirt in no time! Congrats on the coming nuptials, by the way! With Da Kook as chef, it is guaranteed to be a wonderful reception!


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