Once, when I was 24 and I had absolutely had it, had it, had it with the Man and Capitalism and the Mall, I decided I needed to make my own clothes. Fueled by nothing other than an art school girl’s sheer cojones, I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make a dress. Who needed designer labels anyway? Who would want to be branded by the machine of hegemony, homogeneity, and normalcy? Huh? Who? So, with ego in hand, I set out to make a dress with no skills other than being an abstract painter and the fact that I had taken home-ec in 7th grade. Needless to say, it didn’t go very well.
I, of course, couldn’t find any decent fabric and so had to dye my own cloth. And it was brown. A nice dookie brown. So, with yards of stiff fabric in hand and a 30 year old Singer, I sewed myself a dress. Actually, I sewed for myself the idea of a dress. No knowledge of draping, no pattern–just zip, zip, a few curves here…some sleeves. And, voila! A robe befitting a Trappist monk. My sweet husband tried to be supportive. After all, we were both trying in our own art school ways to get away from the trappings of the Mall. I was going for German deconstructionism, like Ann Demeulemeester, but this dress looked like a doodoo mermaid. It was so very brown. And solid. And oddly stiff. And long. And Trappist monk-ish. All I needed was that rope belt and a goat to follow me around. Can’t buy that at the mall!
So, I have never attempted to sew myself clothes since then, other than one A-line skirt. But I changed it all today! I am finally free from the tyranny of the Store. I made a caftan.
I was browsing facebook this morning and saw that lovely Liesl Gibson, of Oliver + S, posted a link with a coupon to her video tutorial for sewing (and fabric printing) this caftan in three lengths over at Creativebug. I had never been to Creativebug before, but with excitement, I signed up for a monthly membership. Using the only soft, drapey fabric I had on hand, I spent the next four hours sewing side by side with Liesl from the comfort of my own studio and I never once looked at the clock. Liesl is so calm, clear, unhurried, and helpful in her teaching and sewing. I felt like we were in a peaceful classroom sewing together. And by the time the kids came home from school, mama had a new shirt.
Maybe I will defeat the Man, the Machine, corporate greed, and the tyranny of the Label, after all. Maybe I can now wage my hostile takeover of capitalism through handmade caftans….oh, wait, I am way too busy growing my business and building my Brand in our free-market economy to wage any hostile takeovers. 🙂
|Here is lovely Liesl in her longer caftan. She made a Pinterest page of caftan inspiration here.|
It looks great! I love that fabric… and welcome to the addictive world of whipping up your own clothes! It’s FUN!
Garment making was a new year resolution for me in 2011 that never quite happened. Your caftan is beautiful! I could see this in so many print variations, well done! Also, you have such a way with words…your descriptions made me laugh this morning, thanks!
I LOVE what you made! You did a GREAT job! I, too, could “see” your earlier attempt from the words you wrote. I’m very proud that you made the leap again into garment sewing. I know how inspiring Liesl is when it comes to garment sewing. I’ve purchased there, too. All the best with your garment sewing endeavors and I look forward to one of Liesl’s classes one day. Thanks for sharing!
I wish I had fabric like that on hand! It’s beautiful. Nicely done. I’m dying to make one for myself and even try a smaller version for my 2 daughters. Thanks for sharing!
you’re hysterical and i love you! and i want that shirt!! i’ve been eyeing this class, but i’m all in now for sure 🙂 thanks for the push.
Love that you’re embracing caftans. There’s nothing like a fancy muumuu to cheer everyone up.
I love that story so much. I can just picture you in your monk dress being followed by a goat. Your shirt turned out awesome! I came by to congratulate you on your upcoming fabric line with Windham. You are the bomb!