As we kick off 2017 I am going into year 3 of a made in America wardrobe. And if you happened to have read past posts you've possibly learned that I sew primarily because it's the best way to purchase what I believe to be ethically produced clothing. *Please note my shoes are pretty much not US made because I can't find enough sources and I can't yet cobble...* And as I enter year 3 I'm going to do my best to share my methods though they are not perfect by a long shot. And apparently I'll try to do a whole lot better with my photo quality... eek. And keeping it super real even though I'm entering year 3 the pang to make a quick purchase still hits me as I walk into a store any store whether it's Target or Nordstrom and I spot a cute skirt, top --- fill in the blank. But I resist temptation and simply admire and find inspiration. My decision to create my own wardrobe has made me embrace slow fashion. What is slow fashion? It's a trend towards purchasing less pieces but quality pieces. I'm sure if you goggled "slow fashion" you'd pull up several articles and theories on it. By embarking on slow fashion we are able to invest (money or time) in items that are meant to be worn longer and through a few seasons and even a few years. No longer am I shopping for "disposable" clothing.
This trend is certainly not what mainstream is all about. Think about the last time you watched House Hunters on HGTV. Never has the home buyer said, "oh no this closet is too big!". Well, maybe they have on a Tiny House show but that's another story for another day. Now think of all the historic homes you've seen on HGTV or during your own house search. Closets were smaller. Some of our closets today could stand in for bedrooms just a few decades ago. So how am I making do with sewn by me wardrobe? I go for versatility and practicality. I often sew dresses because I can make one piece instead of needing to sew a top and bottom. I will often make dresses knee length and 3/4 sleeves because I find that this way the dress can be worn almost all four seasons in Virginia.
During the summer they are perfect during cooler nights or when going out to dinner (restaurants are almost always too chilly for me), and spring and fall with an added vest and in the winter with leggings or tights and a jacket. I pay attention to silhouettes. A classic silhouette is ideal. My idea of classic is a shift or a-line (see above).
I often sew the same basic dress because once I've determined the fit adjustments I can often make it much quicker each time. I make each unique with added details such as a ruffled sleeve or neckline, fabric blocking or pockets. I know that some of the details will make the dress go out of date sooner but the fact that I've put it on a classic dress silhouette makes it a touch more versatile and becomes a piece that I can wear for a couple of years. Fabric weight and type - I pay attention to the weight of the fabric I use. If I go for long I will probably use a high quality light weight jersey knit like this green from Mood. That way the dress is not too heavy for those 90 degree summer days.
This particular green dress was worn on its own during a summer wedding I assisted with in the beautiful hill country of Virginia (isn't it just stunning!).
In the fall I simply added a cardigan or top. I've even played with the orientation of the hemline with the scoop to the back if I am wearing the dress alone or to the front if I have a cardigan or jacket on top.
The green dress has an amazing flow and twirl factor when the scoop is at the front and can easily be dressed up or down with leather sandals or sparkly flats.
For clarification I wear the scoop to the back because that's the way I accidentally oriented the top. Mistake yup.
That's what happens when you sew late at night and you don't mark your front and back. But that's the beauty of sewing for yourself your mistakes can become a design element. All of these additions give the dresses a unique look. If you add one or two a season you will freshen up your wardrobe with little effort. Patterns and fabric used include. -
T-shirt dress - a drafted t-shirt dress with Robert Kaufman fabric purchased at www.fabric.com I made this dress in 2013 and it's still in my regular rotation. This dress is "photographed" above with apple galoshes from the ever trendy Plow & Hearth.
Green dress - top was a modified Caroline Mae (made for woven fabric) by Scientific Seamstress and a self drafted circle skirt with a high low hemline. Fabric Mood.
Pink with ruffled neckline - t-shirt dress with a wide neckline, short sleeve and added ruffle neckline detail. Fabric is ponte knit from CaliFabrics
Are you into slow fashion? How do you achieve your slow fashion goals? Please share. And this year I'm hoping to have some guest bloggers sharing their own tips and tricks.
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