Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "What Survives the Whole Process"

This poem is spillover from the July 2, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Siliconshaman. It also fills the "Fibercrafts" square in my 6-1-19 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo Fest.  This poem belongs to the Fortressa thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $0.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: DW user Bairnsidhe, DW user Lone_cat, mdlbear, general fund, pool hosted by DW user Fuzzyred

291 lines, Buy It Now = $146
Amount donated = $33
Verses posted = 17 of 80 

Amount remaining to fund fully = $113
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $1

What Survives the Whole Process

[Wednesday, July 1, 2015]

After a month of twiddling and tweaking,
Penny finalized the design parameters for
her Heavy-Duty Self-Harness Cargo Pants.

They included a variety of adjustment points
with straps or strings to secure the pants
close to the body, preventing them from
flapping around when fully loaded.

The harness rig also removed
the need for a separate belt,
and thus exterior belt loops,
streamlining the shape
to minimize snagging.

Fortressa and the Pit Group,
who had helped with playtesting,
declared themselves satisfied.

"These pants are fucking awesome,"
Primer said, prancing around in hers.

"Sadly, stores don't like to carry clothes
with rude titles," Penny said, but she
was smirking. "I think people will just
wind up calling them Harness Pants."

"Works for me," Actuator said.
"I like the colors, too -- they
don't stick out too much."

For the first fall season,
Penny had settled on
a deep autumn palette
of black, brown, cream,
rust, olive, and navy.

"As an engineer, I'm
impressed by all of
the improvements you
made," Fortressa said.

"We put a lot of work into
the process of improvement,"
Joint said. "It's a team effort."

"The customer is the final filter,"
Penny said as she shook her head.
"What survives the whole process is
what people wear. I’m not interested
in making clothes to hang in a closet."

"Hear, hear," Toggle Key said,
raising a beer. "So, are we ready
to launch the video clips on V'you?"

Once Primer had issued the challenge
and Penny accepted it, they had also
posted on BlackSheep and passed
the word to other designers in case
anyone else wanted to play too.

"Pull the switch!" Penny said.

Yeah, she was hanging out
with supervillains now.

Toggle Key uploaded
the set of videos that they
had made of Penny and
the Pit Group playtesting
her new cargo pants.

To no one's surprise,
the first replies came
from designers who
worked for chain stores
and had lots of clothes.

Jane Goodwin, who made
clothes for Basic Babe, had
assembled a capsule wardrobe
of eight simple pieces including
a burgundy sweater and jeans as
accents, with snapshots of herself
wearing the clothes through the month.

"I really like that burgundy sweater,"
Toggle Key said, leaning forward.

"And the jeans," Fortressa said.

Monique de la Claire, who made
fashions for Cinq Francs, had
worked up a larger capsule with
olive and scarlet for accents.

It included an olive sweater
and jeans, a scarlet sweater,
and a colorblock sweater in
champagne, gray, tan, and
scarlet. There was also
a plaid scarf of cashmere
in scarlet, black, and white.

"I could go for the olive set,"
Joint said. "I wear a lot of that."

"Yes, and the colorblock sweater
looks interesting," Penny said.

Daric Tupper, who created
menswear for Shrewd Dude,
had gone with plaids and stripes
to add interest to his capsule.

"I want that flannel shirt in
the green-and-brown plaid,"
Joint said. "Is it for sale yet?"

"It might be a little early,"
Penny said. "People model
autumn fashions in early summer,
but they usually don't hit the stores
until late July or early August."

"I'm after the hoodie cardigan
in undyed wool," said Actuator.

"That might be a bit broad
on you," Primer warned.

"Nah, Shrewd Dude carries
slim sizes," Penny said. "It'll fit."

Fortressa nodded. "Socket and I
buy from there sometimes. They
even have a 'boyfriend' section
that accommodates curves."

Meanwhile, the comments
were pouring in as women -- and
even a few men with curvy hips --
posted feedback on the videos
showing Penny's cargo pants.

"Website traffic is spiking,"
Toggle Key announced. "We're
still getting only light traffic on
the shopping page for summer,
but the autumn preview page
is attracting lots of attention."

Then the videos from
other indie designers
began to show up.

"Hi, I'm Genna St. Croix,"
said the next designer.
"I make clothes for people
with different body shapes.
This month I'm presenting
asymmetric colorblock dresses."

The camera zoomed back to show
her wearing a dress with chevrons
of gray, gray-green, and jade green.
The skirt hung at an angle too.

"This is my current favorite, so
I made it in a bunch of colorways,"
Genna went on. "Since I started
making asymmetric clothes for
a private client, and I don't have
the spinal curvature she does,
I decided to hire a model."

The video showed a woman
with tinted skin and long dark hair,
the slight twist in her spine disguised
by the dress until she turned just so.

"Charis Weaver is showing off
the other colors -- melon, brown,
and a spectacular agate fabric
that I found," Genna said.

The last one had stripes of
navy, melon, and white in
concentric patterns that did
look a lot like an agate.

"I'd wear that," Primer said,
"and I'm not even a dress fan."

The video showed both Genna
and Charis twirling in different dresses.

"As you can see, this dress is soft,
swingy, and really shapes itself
to your body," Genna said. "It's
the most comfortable design that
I'm making at this time. You can buy
a dress or a pattern to make one -- or
subscribe and get lots of patterns!"

More than one of the Pit Group
saved the links that appeared.

"Finally, here's a peek at
some other dresses we'll be
testing soon," Genna said.

The screen flicked through
several dresses with all kinds
of color and shape combinations.

"Colorblocks draw attention toward and
away from different body parts," Genna said
as arrows appeared. "These dresses can
be made in many colors with the accent
placed wherever you wish to highlight
the favorite parts of your body."

"Does that really work?"
Primer asked Penny.

"Pretty well," Penny said.
"Think of it like racing stripes."

"Oh, okay," Primer said.

Racing stripes made a car
look lean and fast -- or they
showed that a battlesuit was
designed for speed and agility
rather than for brute force.

"I wonder if colorblocking
would work on a battlesuit,"
Fortressa mused then.

"It would break up
the silhouette, like
camouflage does,"
said Toggle Key.

Fortressa made a note.
That was worth exploring,
especially for urban ops.

"We're getting a lot of
new subscriptions to
your mailing list now,"
Toggle Key told Penny.
"Plus a few orders for
some of the summer stuff."

"Yay, progress!" Penny said.

The next video came from
Darnique Alerding in Onion City.

"How's it hangin' gals?" she said
with a smile. "I'm Darnique and this is
my sister Coniqua. I make clothes for
people with superpowers. So I tested
the wrap skirts myself, but Coniqua
will show you why she needs these."

Coniqua wore a black halter top
with yellow fringe and a midi skirt with
wavy yellow-and-gray stripes and
a ruffle running from hem to hip.

When Darnique gave the cue,
Coniqua shifted size, and the skirt
peeled smoothly away to reveal
her black dexflan underwear.

"That used to burn a lotta bucks,"
Coniqua said, shrinking down again.
She picked up the skirt, now a length
of cloth with a ruffle defining the bottom.
"Now I wear skirts that fasten with magnets.
"See? No damage at all. I just wrap this
back around me and stick it in place."

"Magnets on skirts?" Fortressa said,
turning to look at Penny for confirmation.

"Yeah, a lot of adaptive clothing uses
high-power magnets because they're
easier to fasten than buttons," said Penny.
"I can see how they would just slide apart
when someone shifts size like that."

"Or shape," Joint said. "I bet she
has a lot of shifter customers."

"Probably," Penny said. "Hmm,
I should do up some summer clothes
in vrip or magnet seams. That would
pick up the adaptive market as well
as people with superpowers."

Toggle Key typed in a search
on her tablet computer. "There
are plenty of events coming up for
Disability Pride Day in late July."

"Yeah, bookmark those and
send me links," Penny said.

The camera panned back to
Darnique, who wore a miniskirt
patterned in blue, green, and white.

"Ooo!" said Primer. "I want that skirt."

"All my skirts come in your choice of
fasteners -- magnets like Coniqua has,
or vrip like I have," Darnique said as
she peeled away a corner of the skirt.

Then the screen showed Coniqua
walking in a maxiskirt of red
with yellow sunflowers.

"For tall people, I can suit
the length to your height so
you can get a real maxiskirt,"
Darnique went on. "However,
wearing these skirts for a month
showed us one flaw with magnets."

In another clip, Coniqua snagged
the skirt on a doorknob, peeling
the fabric right off her body.

A large, cartoonish WHOOPS!
covered her personal parts.

"So I updated the design with
an option to add a vrip tab for
more security," Darnique said.
"If you need all magnets, then
wear dexflan shorties underneath!"

"Pay me," Primer said smugly,
holding out a hand. "My idea
got someone to change a design."

Penny laughed and handed her a twenty.
"Like I said, what survives the whole process
is what people wear. Better to find flaws
before you produce a line than after!"

On the screen, a scrolling sample of
Darnique's other designs showed
how she customized clothes for
people with horns, wings, tails, or
other body parts she didn't have.

Fortressa wasn't paying attention
to the clothes anymore, though.

She was already trying figure out
how to use fashion design principles
to improve her battlesuits.

* * *


Jane Goodwin -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and long wavy brown hair. She is tall with wide shoulders and curvy breasts above relatively narrow hips. Jane designs practical women's clothes for the store Basic Babe. She excels at making simple clothes look good, whether on her or on someone else. She doesn't do well with fancy clothes, and doesn't bother to try.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Visual-Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Graceful, Good (+2) Practical, Good (+2) Women's Wear Designer
Poor (+2) Fancy Dressing

Monique de la Claire -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight brown hair. She is tall and slim, with small breasts and hips. She speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Monique designs clothes for the store Cinq Francs. She excels at making clothes which are elegant and timeless, or trendy and fun. Many women draw on her inspiration in choosing their outfits. However, Monique does poorly at practical skills; she needs a maid for housekeeping and she dines at restaurants more often than not.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Fashion Designer, Good (+2) Elegant, Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Trendsetter
Poor (-2) Practical Skills

Daric Tupper -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and short curly brown hair with a mustache and beard. He has average height and build with strong shoulders.  He lives in the Adirondack region.  Daric designs practical menswear for the store Shrewd Dude. He does a great job of creating practical and handsome clothes that mix and match well. He loves spending time outdoors with his dogs. He hates having to go into the city to do fashion shows or other tasks that can't be done in his rural home and workshop.
Qualities: Good (+2) Menswear Designer, Good (+2) Dog Lover, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Teamwork, Good (+2) Wilderness Skills
Poor (-2) Not a City Boy

[Character by Dialecticdreamer]
Name: Genna St. Croix
Secret identity: (none)

Appearance: Genna
wears her hair long, usually in a single braid tossed over her shoulder
out of her way. She has a

Handedness: right
Eye color: light brown
Hair color: black, and wavy. (Think Pictish or Black Irish)
Notable feature:
scars from broken window, fall, fire, on left shoulder. Limited range of
motion. Height: 5' 5”, weight: 130 (sturdy rather than svelte).

BACKGROUND: Genna lost her family to a house fire (negligent parent with
overloaded outlet and space heater), but was saved when her older sister
Amelie literally pushed her out the upper bedroom window. Genna tumbled
down the porch roof and fell, chipping the ball joint of her left
shoulder. She moved in with her father's sister, who barely tolerated her.
When Genna was in college, she met Dominic and Saul when they worked on
remodeling the aunt's kitchen.

Dominic and Genna married when Genna was twenty-one,
unlocking the insurance trust from the fire. She used the money to pay for
her Masters degree and Montessori training from birth through Erdkinder,
and the rest allowed Dom to finish his degree in architecture while
working only part time. http://www.nemtecmontessoritraining.com/fees.html

They tried for a decade to get pregnant, nothing. After they STOPPED trying,
lol, she turned up pregnant a few months later. On bed rest due to the
high risk pregnancy, she ended up an at-home mom.

Birth date: April 6, 1975

Motivation: To protect her family.

1 master (+6) teacher
Good (+2) crafty
Good (+2) cook (especially improvising)
Good (+2) tolerant
(this is nearly a superpower)
Poor (-2) damaged arm, can't lift more than
10# on left side. Limited mobility, pain.

Origin: Probably a lucky stroke
of genetics. Genna is the middle child in a family of Scots-Welsh
immigrants. Her little brother Daniel had screaming nightmares, and was
petrified of fire by the time they tried lighting the single candle on his
first birthday cake. The family has always had a thread of unusual gifts,
but her father's inability to cope with his own 'oddities,' led nearly
directly to the death of both parents and Genna's older and younger

Meta power: Gut instinct at Good (+2)

Genna trusts her
reactions to people, and sometimes to events, which has reinforced her
generally optimistic view of the world. When she needs to make a decision,
her gut reaction forms within just a few minutes, and becomes firmly
reliable after fifteen minutes of interaction with the other person
involved... often LESS.

When her opinion solidifies, it is almost always
reliable for four to six months, which allowed her to make "course
corrections" in her career without attracting attention, and managed to
streamline her college education, her teaching credential, and her
Montessori credentials all jammed into a very few years.

Costume: none

Uniform: Always wears long sleeve shirts, usually a ballet top under a
sweater vest or shawl collar sweater.

Transportation: VW van from 1974,
Twinkie yellow, converted into a camper. See picture for the map
“wallpaper” for the interior.

Common phrases: That's easy to make!
Breakfast is the most important meal in our family. How do you want to try
to solve that problem? Hang on, one more row/stitch/loop, etc. Nourish the
mind, body and soul.

Pet peeve(s): people leaving grocery carts in
random parking spaces. She will park, get out of the car, and return the
nearest left behind cart as a train or a spaceship for Matthew, but when
she's done unloading her cart, she also takes back an extra. Having a cart
actually DAMAGE the van will upset her for quite a while because its
stacks a pet peeve on top of the reminder that Dominic is missing.

Genna was studying Judaism, with an eye to conversion, because Dominic's
best friend, Saul, is Jewish, but raising his nephew Shaun as a single
parent. Genna usually watched both boys while Dom and Saul were at work,
and being able to say Sabbath prayers was extremely important to

Genna has moved to Laplace, Louisiana which is about an hour from New Orleans and on the fringes of Easy City.

Charis Weaver -- She has tinted skin, black eyes and long straight hair of dark brown. She has scoliosis, which creates uneven curvature in her spine and asymmetric body shape. She does yoga to improve her posture and flexibility. Charis lives in Easy City, Louisiana. She works as a fashion model, often for companies that design clothes for people with disabilities. She flings herself into life with great enthusiasm, sometimes to the point of recklessness.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Determination, Good (+2) Fashion Model, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Yogini
Poor (-2) Reckless
Faceclaim: Joan Smalls

Darnique Alerding -- She has chocolate skin, brown eyes, and nappy brown hair to her shoulders. Her heritage is African-American. She lives in Onion City with her family. After her older sister Coniqua developed Size-Shifting, then Darnique set to work developing clothes that could survive the changes. Other soups heard about her work and asked her to make clothes for them too, accommodating all kinds of special needs.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Seamstress for Soups, Good (+2) Creative, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Networking
Poor (-2) Severe Lactose Intolerance

Coniqua Alerding -- She has chocolate skin, black eyes, and long nappy brown hair. Her heritage is African-American. She lives in Onion City with her family. Coniqua is the older sister of Darnique. Bold and strong, Coniqua speaks out on how women and black people are treated. She's not good at pleasing people, and doesn't care. She also doesn't give a fuck about cape politics.
Origin: A racially inspired beating triggered her superpowers, first making her grow smaller and then much larger. Due to the traumatic manifestation, her control remained erratic for a long time.
Uniform: Coniqua's family pooled resources to buy two sets of dexflan underwear that would shift along with her, but couldn't afford more than that. For the rest of her clothes, she relies on her younger sister Darnique to make things that will survive a surprise transformation.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Bold, Good (+2) African History, Good (+2) Feminist, Good (+2) Strength
Poor (-2) Pleasing People
Powers: Good (+2) Size Shifting
Motivation: To be seen for who she really is.

* * *
A yoke is the piece of fabric between the waist and seat on the back part of the pants. In jeans, it defines the shape of the seat. When fitted pants use a waist and yoke of sturdy cloth that doesn't stretch, they will "lock" into position around the flare of feminine hips, removing the need for a belt. This feature can also support a considerable amount of weight in pants with cargo pockets. The pockets at the top will stay snug against the body even when full. However, pockets lower down the legs tend to flop around as more weight goes into them.

Well-designed cargo garments often have some sort of weight-management system. This can be as simple as balancing the position of pockets, or as complex as using seams and straps to create a self-harness system to support the weight from shoulders or hips and prevent sagging or twisting.

For the first fall season, Penny's Heavy-Duty Self-Harness Cargo Pants come in black, brown, cream, rust, olive, or navy.

The Basic Babe capsule can make around 20 outfits.

The Cinq Francs capsule is very diverse.

The Shrewd Dude capsule has a practical, outdoorsy look.

Colorblock clothes make it possible to pick up accent colors from eyes or hair, an asset for crayon soups who wish to flatter their coloration.  They can also keep a beloved but awkward color away from skin it doesn't match.  Asymmetric styles disguise the natural variations of the body, an advantage for people with conditions that create larger-than-usual differences in shape.

This colorblock sheath dress uses three neutrals (white, gray, black) and one accent color (burgundy). The whole dress consists of large, angled panels which fit together. That means any part of the body can be emphasized with a contrasting color or de-emphasized with neutral ones. The burgundy block over one breast draws attention to the bust area. The white neckline against fair skin makes the dress look like it has a lower neckline where the darker fabric starts, which could also be done in warm colors with a "nude" shade. Making the top a solid color while coloring a block at the waist, hip, or hemline would accent different areas of the body.

This tricolor T-shirt dress uses contrasting colors (shades of green and orange) on opposite sides of a neutral (black) to draw attention to the top and bottom of the body, away from the waist and hips. The curving, angular lines disquise uneven features in the body.

This mididress uses black and gray blocks in a swirling pattern for grace and elegance. It could be done in brighter colors to accent a specific body part and distract from others. Change the sleeves to red to emphasize the arms. Accent the shoulder blocks to draw attention to the shoulders and face. A red swirl from left shoulder to hem would emphasize height. The middle bands would draw attention to waist and hips. A dash of red at the lower left hemline would point down toward the legs.

This multicolor mididress uses large, angular blocks of color to break up the silhouette. White and melon draw attention to the upper body, while black and blue make a quieter statement below. The melon accent could be placed on any block to emphasize a flattering area. The slit skirt allows freedom of motion while drawing attention to the right leg.

The swing dress uses large chevron colorblocks at shoulder, waist, and skirt. It comes in several colorways. In these examples, the brightest color is at the bottom, emphasizing the waist, hips, and legs. Moving that to the middle would put more attention on the waist and hips, while moving it to the top would accent the shoulders and face. The green dress has an ombré of light gray, gray-green, and jade green. The melon dress has white, beige, and melon. These two are bright and pretty without being too clashy. The brown dress has white, beige, and brown for an understated look. The agate dress has a gray bodice with the skirt in a vivid agate print of navy, melon, and white. It's the flashiest of the set.  These colorways show how you can get dramatic differences in effect from the same pattern just by choosing new fabrics and arranging them in creative ways.

Definition of colorway
: a color or arrangement of colors
fabric sold in a variety of colorways

A wrap skirt opens all the way, instead of having a solid waistband. Most wrap skirts fasten by tying or tucking, which makes the size range and fit very forgiving. However, these methods don't work as well for people with dexterity issues or sudden size shifts. It is easy to modify any wrap skirt or pattern to use magnets or vrip instead, and these fasteners appear on most wrap skirts made to accommodate superpowers. Of the power-responsive fabrics, capery has the best flow for wrap skirts, and looks similar to the kind made from scarf fabric.

Darnique's mini wrap skirt has blue and green patterns.  Her midi wrap skirt is yellow and gray with ruffles.  Her maxi wrap skirt has yellow sunflowers on red.

Tall women struggle to find clothes that fit, especially maxi-length skirts and dresses. A few places make clothes for tall women or customize a standard design. Otherwise the choices are to hire a seamstress, make your own, or put up with clothes that don't fit well.

Tags: activism, crafts, cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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