WITH A DIY, BANANA LEAF TWO-PIECE
This part of the series, features my own design.
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.
What I'm wearing.
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.
If you've been following this page for a while, you might know that I'm actually a fashion designer. That's what I went to school to become and what I did for the first years after I graduated from Istituto Marangoni, in Milan. This fashion blog thing was something I never thought was for me, but after I was talked into trying it, I discovered that it was actually the best way to work with fashion for me right now. I definitely want to go back to working full time as a fashion designer at some point, but I know too much about the "horror show" that is "fast fashion" to want to support that.
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.
Buying less and taking care of what you already have is really the best option for someone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint. Even though shopping at ethical brands is a great thing (as you vote with your money to make ethical fashion more main stream), making sure your love the clothes you buy is the best way to ensure that you will want to wear it for years to come. So, instead of ending up buying the close to perfect thing, then dumping it some months later because it wasn't perfect on you. If you can't find what you want in a shop, why not buy some eco-friendly fabric and design it yourself? If you don't want to sew it yourself, you can save all the money you wont use on not buying new, and new, and new, and go to a tailor.
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.
After looking through tons on banana leaf fabric, I finally found one I liked in organic cotton.
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! ☑️
To do this at home, you need a sewing machine (one time investment, or borrow one from a friend/relative), fabric scissors (You can find a super cheap sewing kit at IKEA), thread in the right color, seam rippers if you make any mistakes, tape measurer, a pattern that matches your design (can be found online for free or bought in fabric shops), fabric (preferably ethically made. I buy mine in both fabric shops and online, and just make sure to check the tag/description for what material it is and how it's made. If it's an organic and eco-friendly fabric, it's usually marked as such.)
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.
(Source: The photos are mine. Information about the environment is from "The True Cost Movie" and you can see more at https://truecostmovie.com/learn-more/environmental-impact/.)
ETHICAL AND PERSONALIZED STYLE, FOR A "GOOD FOR YOU" WARDROBE.
Idealist style is a website and "slow blog" dedicated to ethical fashion and personalized style, including tips on how to find your very own "slow fashion" style by using color analysis, the body types system, and other slow fashion tips.»