WITH A DIY, BANANA LEAF TWO-PIECE
Getting the clothes made yourself can be a good alternative to supporting the second largest polluting factor on this planet, called "fast fashion".If you're like me and very particular about what you like, finding sustainable and ethical clothes can be a very challenging thing, as it's not that easily accessible to all body types, every style, and every country yet. Being 6 foot tall/182cm and having wide hips and large thighs, only narrow down those choices even further.
Taking up sewing again has been such a style saver after I decided to go "quality over quantity" and support ethical fashion. So, here's a little peek into one of my DIY projects.
My own design, a home made banana leaf print dress, in organic cotton. See below for information about how i made this two-piece dress.
The light brown sandals are about 6 years old.
The stainless steal, gold colored bracelet is new this year, and a replacement for the old cheap one that started looking really bad.
My vintage cat eye sunglasses were bought about 10 years ago, in Milan at Fiera di Senigallia. They're probably originally from the 70's.
The Hawaiian rose decoration, is 6 years old and bought in Hawaii.
Since ethical fashion has become so important to me, using "sweat shop" factories or working for a non ethical brand feels like a deal breaker. So, I decided to put clothing production on hold until I could find good fair-trade and eco-friendly factories to work with.
In the meanwhile, I've started making my designs for myself, using eco-friendly materials, in an attempt to live a more sustainable life on both a professional and personal level.
For someone as picky and in love with fashion as me, having to compromise on style was my biggest obstacle when transitioning over to ethical fashion. Now that I've taken it into my own hands and make what I can't buy, only my imagination (and fabric prices) can hold me back. Having clothes that fit my body and my style so perfectly, has really changed my view on shopping. Less is truly more when you love what you have. Less clutter, less time getting ready, less expensive.
The best way to describe the feeling of owning the perfect piece of clothing, is to compare it to the feeling of being full after you eat a solid meal of healthy food. You're full, satisfied, and have no cravings. So, the best way to buy less, is to only invest in things you love. If you can't find anything you love, make it.
Then I used my favourite skirt as a pattern to figure out the shape and size for the skirt. I added some length to fit with this design, and cut the fabric.
Then I did the same thing using a bustier as a pattern for the top to the left, and measured the size and shape for the tie-top (to the right) from a blouse with a similar shape.
I recommend buying a finished pattern for beginners, as you need experience to be able to cut corners. If not it might not fit right. Always use a pattern when doing more complicated designs.
I then added a double fabric front for the tie-top and double material for the entire bustier, for a seamless look. The double material on the front and on narrow pieces, make sure the neckline and shoulder straps looks nice, clean, and sturdy.
After I cut out all the pieces I pinned it together to make sure it fits, and to do minor alterations.
Then I sewed it all together, and added some incisions for a perfect fit.
I was so happy with the result, even though I've never attempted a tie-top before. It's the perfect style for my body type, the perfect length for my height, it's exactly the print and material I wanted it in. On top of that, it's made of quality organic cotton. All the boxes checked! ☑️
Above left: A close-up of the bustier on top of the fabric before I cut, to measure width, height, tie-function and strap length.
Below left: The skirt I used as a pattern, before I cut.
Above right: Bustier and skirt cut and folded into pieces, ready to be sewn together.
Always use a pattern or a piece of clothing to make sure you get the size and fit right before you cut the material. Using a pattern is always recommended, even though I often don't.
Above: 1940's inspired tie-top and medium long a-line skirt, finished result.
Below: 1940's inspired bustier and medium long a-line skirt, finished result.
Above: Tie-top finished cut, sewn together, with the inside out showing the double material position and the look of tie-function.
Below: Bustier finished and turned inside out, showing the double material position, and folded to show the look and the shape of the tie-function.
Below: The back of the tie-top, finished cut, sewn together, with the inside out, showing the incisions made to fit the back to my body shape.
Below: The finished bustier top, folded to show both the front and the inside, and the all around double material.
For an easy DIY, go with simple shapes that are easy to work with. Skirts, dresses and simple tops are easy to do yourself. Pants, jeans, coats, and shirts are more complicated. Sewing is not as difficult as you'd think, and is a great solution to most shopping problems. If you need a tailor, google prices and reviews to compare and find one that can do what you want in your city.