Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Another baggy dress!

Are you familiar with the Wardrobe Architect, a series of blog posts on Colette Patterns, aimed at exploring personal style? Last year I took the challenge and identified that while visually I am attracted to fitted and feminine garments,  in real life I tend to stick to shapeless and boyish shapes. Most of these preferences come from my lifestyle: I am quite active and constantly on the move. So, there is definitely not much room in pencil skirts and fitted woven dresses.

Another reason why I wear shapeless garments is due to a negative image of my body that has followed me ever since I was a child. When we were kids, my cousin, who was only five years older than me, used to mock my bony body, match-like legs and boyish style, calling me “a monkey”. While I was still running around with boys of my age in my early teens, stealing flowers and fruit from neighbours’ gardens, she was slowly transforming into a young lady, experiencing the ups and downs associated with the hormonal changes in her body. Since I did not have any other closer role models of the same age, I looked up to her, in the hope that I would be accepted or approved of, but she teased and mocked me instead.

When I started thinking about the Wardrobe Architect challenge, I was not entirely sure why exactly the boyish/shapeless style resonates with me. Lifestyle was definitely one of the answers to that, but the more I thought about it, the more the second reason started taking shape.

Now, because many people around me know that I make my clothes, they often strike conversations with me about fashion and style (as if I were a real expert, ha!). Recently, I wore a fitted jersey dress to work and I received many compliments from my colleagues. They  pointed out that it looked good on me, but also made a remark that I should wear more fitted garments instead of oversized clothes or jeans. So I asked myself: why don’t I wear clothes which are more feminine? I took all the latest Burda Style magazines, intending to sew a fitted statement garment and. . . I ended up with this.

Yes, it’s another shapeless dress from the April BurdaStyle issue. Partly, I liked it because it reminded me of the Drape Drape pattern books series, partly, because the dress is quite comfortable but I could shape it by wearing a belt :) 

There is one unusual thing to this dress: it is one of the few garments in my hand-made wardrobe which is not lined. I deliberately decided not to add lining and when it took me only one evening to finish the dress, I was quite shocked and surprised. Do I dislike this dress? Absolutely not! Will I make more fitted garments this summer? Probably yes, but it will take some emotional efforts and cheering.

At this time of my life, I cannot say that  I am not aware of my own dress identity, but I also know that it will take a while to dress in a more feminine way. Well, who does not like a challenge?

Have you also the experiences similar stories distorting and negatively influencing your self-image? What made you realize it and what do you do about it?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

How my clothes age!

I like reading sewing blogs! There is so much inspiration, new ideas and information in each of them, but more than anything else, I love peeking at the photos of crisp and shiny new clothes. You probably know this feeling of excitement when both you and the garment are ready for the photoshoot. It’s impossible not to admire the new attire and show it off to the community. For some time, I wanted to document the stories of  my aged garments thinking that we can learn something new from the way they have been made and treated.

Since the very moment I put it on, I liked my Andy coat: it’s fashionable, it’s comfortable for cycling, it covers my bum and it’s pink! I wore it all last winter and so far this winter, I’ve worn it almost every day. One reason, which incited me to write this blog post is, whenever I see myself in a mirror I notice puckers on the front: the results of using bland fusible interfacing. That is the reason why I can’t not help, but showing you some of my most frequently worn garments for you to see how they are ageing.

First and foremost, fabric of a higher quality, which is usually slightly more expensive than the average, lasts longer, keeps garments’ shape and looks much better. Look at the Andy coat, my favourite coat ever! Made from the Tessuti wool cashmere, it has survived two winters, and it still looks like new. However, for the front coat panels I used a piece of cheap fusible interfacing, I applied horsehair interfacing to the back facing. What made me use the fusible was lack of patience and time. I also refused to believe that the standard of the fusible interfacing could create such an impact on the garment. I was wrong!

This lovely striped dress is one of my most worn garments: I wear it on average once every two weeks and wash it after 2-3 wears. The fabric I used was purchased on sale in this fabric shop in Sapporo. I am not quite sure about the quality of the fabric. After a few months of wearing the dress I noticed little holes in certain places. In all fairness, I can’t really say what causes the holes: frequent washing, snags or questionable fabric quality, but,, personally, I blame the latter.

Last but not least, the Miss Chalmers skirt, yet another favourite of mine, was made from the best fabric in my stash: NaniIto cotton gauze and linen mix. The inside of the skirt is a combination of silk organza, silk crepe-de-Chine and batiste. In the warmer seasons this skirt is worn weekly, but during the winter, I tend to only wear it every now and then. It has not been affected by shrinkage or wear and the only problems I get with it are little seam rips due to cycling.

So that’s me! Would you like to hear more about my aged hand-made wardrobe pieces? What about you? Have you noticed the correlation between fabric quality and the look of your garment? If you want to share how your garments age, please add a link to your comment :- )