I call this shirt “my moody patch” and it is made out of garments I once already redesigned. But I haven’t worn them in years, so it was really time for me to transform them. Since I’m quite attached to the stories they carry, I didn’t want to part from them while at the same time felt guilty for keeping them in the closet.
Why moody? I guess because of my constant changing mind of what the pieces will be. I’ve had so many ideas about what I should change my preloved garments to, it was also what kept me from redesigning them; I just knew I needed to make something I will love to wear.
So I did what I do with all the garments I wish to repair one day – I put them on my shelf to see them every day, reminding me to fix them when I will take the time.
And finally the day came when I said to myself – just do it already! Simply like that and I did it. And I’m really happy with this finished new piece, that I definitely will wear a lot!
You want to know the history of the preloved pieces?
I made the brown dress with lace detail out of an old skirt when finishing 9th year of primary school. And I only remember wearing it once; same summer when playing a gig with my brother and sisters at an ethno festival (Ethno Histeria; now Floating Castle) where I fell in love with folk music and the free people. I remember the magical place in Istria as if it was yesterday; little forest, vineyards, artists and musicians from all over the world. Lovely lovely memories. One year later I went there again, this time as part of the orchestra and it was an amazing experience that I will always carry with me.
One day in the middle of high school I found the purplish-painted dress in a second hand store, and I fell in love with the fabric immediately. As much as I can remember it had longer sleeves and also a longer front part and I trimmed both for a reason unknown. But the new cut didn’t fit me well even after that, but the fabric is so soft and wavy. Perfect. I just couldn’t part with it, even though I wanted to give it away many times, I just couldn’t. And yet again - only wore this dress maybe twice. But probably just once (again at that previously mentioned ethno festival, but two years later).
The flowery skirt was also a redesigned longer skirt from a second hand store - love the pattern and material is super soft, similar to the purplish dress. I cut it back in high school, but later realized I don’t really wear short skirts a lot, or at all. And I kept moving it from one pile of clothes to another, maybe wearing it a few times per summer.
The blue top was actually an apron made by my auntie and I trimmed it to make it into a top, because I liked the pattern and colour. It also reminds me of my grandma - she would always wear aprons, rare were those occasions when she would be without it.
To make my new shirt, I first had to unstitch the pieces in flat material cuts and then iron them. After having the bigger pieces cut, I had to cut out 15 squares that would compose the main part of the shirt, laying them down to set the pattern. I sewed them together with a french seam and the next step was cutting fabric following the paper pattern, which I have already prepared before. I repeated the process for the sleeves and then I sewed together the front and the back part, adding sleeves into the sleeve holes, then collar (I used one from a second hand shirt, also the button holes), hemmed the bottom borders and at the end added elastic to the wrist. And voila, the shirt was sewn.
When I say it like this, it doesn’t sound like many steps, but you need a lot of patience when sewing. It is when you say to yourself ‘‘okay, half an hour and I’m finished’’ - add 1h or 2h more, then you’re finished. I don’t know if it is only me not being able to calculate my timing, or is this just a normal thing. But there is always something coming up in the process, and sometimes you learn and sometimes you learn again. And seam ripper is one thing at my hand at all times, always.
But then I question myself - would I be more thoughtful with the process when I know my seam ripper is lost somewhere? I’ve said it to myself way too many times to write reminders in big letters on the wall, so I shall always check not 3 times, but 4 times, just to be sure, whether I took the right pieces to sew them together, or did I turn the fabric the right way? Pattern? Because you can never be too sure, especially when dealing with rare materials and you can’t really get a restock.
So yeah, this was a post about garment stories and how to keep their memories.
Never forget them,