You've probably heard the saying "dress for the job you want". The implication is that you will be perceived as more successful, artistic, or however within the professional setting in which you work. But what if you work from home, and the only eyes assessing your dress are squirrels? In my case, it really doesn't matter what I wear. Other than my daughter's busdriver, my face to face human interaction on a normal day is pretty low. It may not matter in a public sense what I wear, but I have noticed that I feel different if I spend a day in sweats versus a more put-together outfit, dress, or even earings. It is strange how our mind works. Maybe it's the 12 years of private school uniforms that got me here, but here I am wanting to be intentional and thoughtful about how I dress because I can. I have the freedom and the privilege to make choices about my clothing that make me feel good about myself and more importantly the earth.
So, for years, I have been dreaming about making my own dresses and tunics. I have the Pinterest board to prove it, but it always seemed too difficult to figure out. I have never been someone who could follow a pattern. I much prefer just making it up as I go, but I knew that inventing a dress is WAY beyond my expertise. I know there are people that can take apart a shirt and make a new pattern based on it and then sew it all back together again. This is not me.
Anyway, I finally decided to give it a try after commenting on an Instagram Sewist's post about the Hinterland Dress from Sew Liberated (pictured above). She quelled my fears by saying, "It's only fabric and thread." Since fabric and thread are my good friends, I downloaded the Hinterland Dress and the Washi Dress by Made By Rae. I sewed them both in a linen blend. Linen is better for the environment than cotton. Hemp and organic varieties would be even better, and the best would be to use a vintage textile or a repurposed textile that is already in existance.
Along with following Marie Kondo's advice and only keeping the items that spark joy in my wardrobe, I would like to have an even more paired down wardrobe made up of handmade clothes and mended old ones that make me feel put-together and comfortable. I want my wardrobe to be colorful and layerable for all season wear. I want to be able to be able to paint in it, hike, and meet with other humans in a professional setting. It's a lot to ask of one wardrobe, but it feels really, really good. Why not be really mindful and specific about the clothes we wear? It's another way to reclaim our power, our creative power, and our purchase power.
Below is a quick breeze through the process of sewing from downloadable patterns. This is for any first time sewists wanting a taste of the process. This is not a tutorial by any means. In any case, I encourage you to give it a go. If you are interested in the patterns that I used, here they are:
Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated (shown in blue with buttons)
The Washi Dress by Made By Rae (shown in yellow with cap sleaves)
Both dresses offer plenty of variations on length and sleeves. The Washi Dress was easier for me to sew. Both the pattern and instructions were clearer and more simple. I also think the fit is better on the Washi. I recommend it for beginners, and I definitely plan on making a couple more!
Other than making more Washi dresses, I would like to try a pair of summer pants for under the dresses (because mosquitoes) and a quilted jacket for winter (because winter).
Let me know what you think about dressing for the life you want and what you think about a homemade wardrobe!
After downloading a pattern, you can print it out at home on standard paper, or send it to the printers for large format printing. I chose the former which requires carefully cutting out squares, laying them out in a tessellation, and then taping them together.
Once your squares are taped together, I highlighted the lines that corresponded to my size and all other markings that would be needed for the patterning.
Then I layed tracing paper on top of the highlighted pattern, and I traced the highlighted lines in permanent marker.
I made sure to label each piece with the dress name and piece name.
After cutting out all of the pattern pieces, I pinned them to the fabric and cut them out of the fabric.
Note: I am truly basic. I decided to just use pinking shears since I don't have a serger and was too lazy for the zigzag stitch. BUT I don't think you are supposed to cut out with pinking shears like I did. Rather, you should finish your edges either as you sew or just before. What can I say, I am learning.
I learned about pleating.
Sewing elastic shirring.
Note: I used chalkboard chalk for my marks, because . . . basic. I am going to invest in a proper marking tool for next time.
Still can't believe that this worked! It's like magic!
The Hinterland required buttons!!!
So, I made some clumsy buttonholes with a zigzag stitch and standard presser foot.
I reused my Grandma's buttons!!!! Yay!!
And. . . Ta Da!!!!! Here is my photoshoot!
Photo credit: Patrick!
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Spring: January 30th, 2019
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Even More From Spring Bird
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.