How the DIY jersey dress experiment ended, how the dress turned out and why it lead to vamping up a pair of shoes and upcycling a diary into a clutch.
If you’ve missed Part One, check it out here.
The End of the Experiment!
So, here’s how the Dress Experiment went on: eventually the two heavy panels of GOTS jersey (coloured a lovely chambray/ denim blue) got sewn together; a process that involved a sewing machine, and lots of swearing!
Lesson 1. Sewing something as ‘simple’ as a four-seams-dress
is a matter of precision, time, accuracy and also overall fitness:
working a sewing machine for hours is not exactly a nice asana.
The dress itself turned out rather o.k. though I think I will trim the fabric next – untrimmed, a jersey of this thickness tends to look just unfinished, and I don’t really like this unflattering kind of grungy. Thankfully, you can only spot this if you examine the trims. Ain’t nobody got time for that? I certainly hope so.
2. In the context of what conventional fabrics cost, GOTS fabric
is bloody expensive! Can you think of what might be the real cost
of cheap fabric? – Exactly…
This blue jersey knit (linen, a pretty amazing raw material in fact) is truly beautiful: heavy, really luxurious. The GOTS certificate means that it’s been produced ecologically and ethically – no harm done. Of course, when worn, the heavy fabric tends to weigh down everything, so it’s a good idea to wear lingerie and to add some kind of underdress: it will add to a smoother, more elegant overall appearance and also provide a non-slip, plumper texture for draping the dress nicely. The two side slits also come in handy for styling modifications.
3. Being definitely the lest work-intensive garment I possess,
to make this dress has cost about ten times more than it costs
to produce even more elaborate dresses from a high street brand.
Now, shall we have a look? Sure. Just one more thing! 🙂
To take the photos, I’ve enlisted the help of Iryna, a wonderful friend of mine, an entrepreneur, a former travel blogger and model who, unlike Yours Truly, is accustomed to wearing extravagant dresses – here the extravagance comes, of course, from the impressive length. Iryna has also directed the whole fun and suggested quirky poses, so we ended up with a complete series of eight very different, quite enjoyable and actually wearable looks – one of which I am sharing here:
A Criminally Cool DIY Dress
Rad or bad? 😉
4. While I may not be the best seamstress of the world, it’s great
that somebody is, and I want to keep contributing to a world
where these professionals are able to make a decent living.
So the DIY projects I have started are more about customising, closer to my well, let’s say talents, than about actually making something from scratch. I will always remember how my mother has tried to awaken my interest in cross-stitching, and how I ended up finishing the complete image only to find out I had cross-stitched it to my skirt… No comments! 😀 However, when it comes to perfecting things (so they suit my taste of course, perfection is relative) and to customising things, that’s where I really have a lot of fun.
5. It’s fun and healthy to appreciate your own strengths and
gifts and to support your unique creative fingerprint!
So here’s how my own creative fingerprint works – ignited by the desire to make things look “like me” and to avoid waste:A pair of very boring looking shoes with a shiny finish that wore off after one rainy day looks fun with a second colour and barbells added.This 5-year agenda was so fun to use – and trust me, as you use it, you can’t belive that a period of five! long! years! will ever come to an end. Spoiler: it will! 😀
Today, with its paper insides carefully removed and a steel case of matching proportions glued onto the board, it gains a second life as a fancy clutch.
As a bottom line, sewing a garment has helped me not just understand and respect people who Make Things (this, I do) but also experience what it means to make a useful everyday product myself.
Of course I will not start sewing all my clothes myself from now on – there are lovely eco-ethical brands (my post series Understanding Textile Labels explain what to look for) – but I like to think that if I didn’t find a design I like, eventually, I could not only adjust it to my liking but also make it myself.