I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion and garments since I took a job as a seamstress and started classes at FIT. It’s been a really tough transition, right now I haven’t really found a way to be creative in it, at least in the way that I know I am capable. I like making something useful that looks nice and I like the challenge of making something fit. It still doesn’t leave me breathless or moved like music has been able to. However(!) I am starting to feel myself getting really fired up about sustainable fashion practices, and it is exciting to feel passionate about something for the first time in awhile. 🔥 🔥 🔥 💃🏼
It started to seem funny that one of the reasons I wanted to create my own clothes was to get out fast fashion and unethical manufacturing methods. Yet somehow I actually started to feel a bit like a bad factory myself. A little micro economy of everything that I disagree with in the fashion industry.
Though learning a ton, I was constantly charmed by the newest pattern and seduced by beautiful fabric flashed on instagram. I was definitely riding the wave of the learning curve in my craft and using that as an excuse to buy fabric cheap and often with no idea of its origin or environmental impact. This coupled with having little thought about fit or pattern choice. I became a disgruntled factory worker in my new hobby because I was prioritizing quantity over quality. This created a horrible need for instant gratification that seemed to perpetuate the problem. 🙇 Enough of that.
It’s hard not to feel defeated when you read that there is only one facility in the entire planet that can recycle our polyester clothes, and that every time we wash these man-made textile small bits of plastic fall off and go undetected into the water cycle until they end up in our water bottles and bellies of marine life. But, I think educating ourselves is key, and it just takes a little more thought. I’ve made a few small changes that were easy and incredibly effective. It’s not as hard as you think. If you are at all interested, even from a non sewist point of view I think this blog post by Megan Nielson is a good place to start.
One of the most important things that you can do is try to reuse material, or find material from clothing companies that is excess and headed to the trash. For my first ‘passion project’ I chose to make a kielo wrap dress from Named Clothing out of discarded j. crew silk chiffon.
The dress was really easy to sew even with the slippery material. I didn’t even switch to a walking foot on my machine. I made no alterations but cut a size bigger in an unscientific method to account for the fact that the fabric had no stretch and it calls for a 20% stretch. I bound the neck and arm openings with double fold bias tape. I thought it might be too heavy for the material but I really like how it turned out. The print on the pattern is a bit too small and you can see the repeat, it doesn’t really bother me that much. I opted not to use interfacing on the wraps and used a black cotton lawn instead because I just had thick white interfacing that wouldn’t really work. It seems fine.
Named is one of my favorite pattern companies. Their designs are clean, modern and interesting and I seem to want to make each pattern multiple times which is something I am really a fan of right now. I also think they are cut for a slightly taller figure which makes things a bit easier for me from the start.
I’m in a much more mindful place with my sewing and I couldn’t be happier. The few garments I have turned out have been hits and garments that I can actually see myself wearing for the next couple of years.
PS That is an ogden cami hack under there. I’ll write about it soon.
Designer: Named Clothing
Pattern: Kielo Wrap Dress
Fabric: Old J. Crew Silk Chiffon
Pattern Alternations: Sized up a size and used cotton lawn instead of interfacing