Sunday, 17 January 2016

How my clothes age: Part II

Happy New Year everyone! 

Last spring, I reflected on how my clothes age and the important lessons I’ve learnt from looking at my older hand-made garments. From my personal observations, as well as from the comments on the previous post, it was clear that a long-lasting garment tends to be a combination of good quality fabric, materials and some good sewing techniques

Although winter has already arrived in Ireland, my mind is still in summer, dreaming about not having to wear coat, gloves and heavy shows. Luckily, the Southern Hemisphere has now entered the warmest season of the year, so us, blog readers, can still enjoy the playful summer garments, which are appearing on the blogs of our fellow seamstresses from the other side of the world. With summer on my mind, I’d like to show you a few summer favourites of mine and tell their ageing story.

My favourite garment to date is this funky Louis Vuitton dress, which I made two years ago and have literally worn to pieces! When I bought the fabric in one of the shops in the New York Garment district, the salesperson told me this fabric was genuine Louis Vuitton. I was not quite convinced at the time, and my gut feeling was right, because during one of the fabric shop raids in Paris, I stumbled across the actual LV fabric from the very collection I loved so much. Well, the nature of fabric was not the issue, but its texture: this fabric was synthetic and frayed like crazy which did not stop me from from wearing the dress. As you can see from the picture of the unravelled fibres, I tried to sew it by hand to hide the untangled threads, I could to stop the process. In addition to the fraying, I washed this dress in the washing machine did not help. Having said that, there are many synthetic fibres out there, which can resist washing machines and do not fray. In my case, it was just an unfortunate coincidence, for which I blame only myself: I wanted to buy this fabric so badly! I should have been less greedy and wait for the right fabric to come along. With all of the online/offline shops out there, I would have found similar piece of fabric!  

This Jessica dress #1 gets a lot of wear and washing too! Despite also being made from synthetic fibres and being washed multiple times, it has resisted all the hardship. The thread choice was the only problem I had with this dress. Originally, I used polyester thread, but when I cycling a while in it, the hem and side seams tore apart, because the thread does not have elasticity of knit fabric. To remedy this, I restitched most of the seams with resilon thread. It’s 100% nylon and it works like magic with knit fabric. When I had just started sewing with knits and turned to the online community for advice, I discovered, that many bloggers use polyester thread, so did I for a while and continue to do so, occasionally. There is nothing wrong with sewing knits with polyester, but broken thread is a recurrent issue. Personally, I’ve found, that having several bobbins of nylon thread with the most popular colours, will bring absolutely no harm not to a seamstress’ budget, nor to the storage space. If you have sewing knits, which type of thread do you use, girls and boys?

Lastly, I wanted to show you my Lily dress, the most resistant to time and wear. I cycle in it and wash it, but it still looks as good as new! Without applying any fancy sewing techniques, the success of the Lily dress lies in a fortunate choice of fabric. Do you like Nani Iro? Me too! That’s why I used their wonderful Pocho fabric for this sun dress and have never regretted it since. Even if most of the Nani Iro textiles measure 106 cm in width, the exceptional quality and originality of prints win! You can check my hand-made collection of clothes made from NaniIro fabric: all of them are loved and frequently worn.

As you can all imagine, my philosophy in relation to making clothes remains unchanged: nothing can beat quality, and even little things, like thread, can bring a garment’s quality to whole new level Do you know this expression, saying that the person greedy pays twice? I think, I’m going to make another Louis Vuitton dress, but probably from a non-Louis Vuitton fabric this time ;)

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