LEMON DRESS ALTERATION
Please enjoy the DIY part, of the "Eco-Express Yourself" series.
In short, same girl, ill fitted clothes, new style.
If you haven't read any of the previous post's explaining the purpose of the "Eco-Express yourself, Recycle fashion" series, click right here, or scroll down for a quick repeat after the photos.
In this part of the series, I will go into the value of salvaging clothes and breathe new life into them.
What I'm wearing.
DIY altered lemon printed dress, found online. Unknown brand, and no tag in the dress. See below for before photo and information about the process.
The brown faux leather belt is about 5 years old.
The gold bracelet is about 3 years old.
The white cat eye sunglasses are one and a half years old, and a newer addition to my collection. I like having retro style sunglasses in a few different colors, so that I have one for each base color.
I have gotten really picky about what I buy these past few years, and won't buy anything unless it checks all the boxes. Style ☑️ , Shape ☑️ , Length ☑️ , Color ☑️ , Material ☑️ . I've found that if these criteria haven't been met, I'm not going to use the piece of clothing enough for it to be worth buying. This can make it difficult to find anything that works, especially if my body type don't correlate with the trends at the time, or if I want something in an unique style.
That said, having a system in place doesn't keep you from making the occasional mistake, and this was one of those times.
I've wanted a retro style, lemon print dress for so long, so when I found one with the right length and shape online, I took a chance and figured I could make it work (even though buying without trying, is very risky). When it arrived it truly was close to perfect, except for the puffy doll sleeves. The sleeves were made using an elastic band wrinkle effect, that just made the whole dress look incredibly cheap. It didn't pay off to return it, so the only option I had left was to alter it and try salvage the dress. Having made a decision to live a more sustainable life, I couldn't just not use it and buy another one, or throw it away. Even donating clothes is not the most environmental solution, so buying less and taking care of what you already have is really the best option. Luckily for me, this problem was an easily fixed one. The dress only needed minor changes, and removing and finishing the sleeves was done in a few hours. No sewing machine required, as it could all be done with a pair of seam rippers, needle, and thread.
It was well worth the extra work, and it has now become one of my favourite dresses. When I wore it to my grandmothers 90th birthday, she told me she had one just like it when she was young. That just made this dress even better. There is also something special about finally having the dress you've wanted for so many years, and knowing that it's a dress you want to keep using for a really long time. Thinking quality over quantity has really been a blessing in disguise.
I used seam rippers to take off the sleeves, then I cut small incisions at the front and back of the arm hole to better shape the arm opening. Once the arm hole was fitted to my liking, I used invisible stitching on the inside of the dress, to make sure nothing would be visible on the front to get that smooth seamless look. I did this so I didn't have to pick a part the entire top part of the dress to do a perfect lining. It's not going to look as good on the inside as a perfect lining, but it saves a lot of time.
"Getting my hands dirty" and repair, alter, and create my own designes, has done wonders for both my wardrobe and my conscience. Did I mention that sewing is really therapeutic? And not as difficult as you'd think. It's actually the perfect solution to most shopping problems.
THE GOLDEN WARDROBE RULES
The trick is to think of your closet as a collection, and only shop for what's missing. Never just buy something because it's pretty or cool. Take notice of what you really need when roaming through your clothes getting ready, and make a list. This is a good way of preventing that impulse shopping, based on your feelings for that random shiny dress you just got a fleeting crush on (that you'll never get to wear). The key is to build a wardrobe where you can find an outfit for any occasion, without having to go shopping. Even if it's for work, a birthday party, camping, or a wedding. Too many of us have the "I have a hundred party tops, and yet I have nothing to wear" kind of closets. Or, the "I only have work clothes, and nothing fancy". It's all about finding that right balance.
Instead, spare the environment the pollution, and save money on buying long lasting quality items. This way, you can rather spend your money on replacing basics (Also, more left for the occasional splurge on fashion fabs).
TO READ THE INTRODUCTION TO THE "ECO-EXPRESS YOURSELF" SERIES,
OR WANT MORE TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR WARDROBE IN ORDER,
(Source: The photos are mine, except the before photo of the dress. That came from the seller. 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.»