Instead of buying new clothing on Black Friday, I decided it would be relaxing to spend the day mending and darning the clothing we already own.
I like the idea of being responsible to the earth, combatting the “fast fashion” concept of cheaply produced, low quality, planned obsolescence clothing you find in retailers like Forever 21 — where items are purposely manufactured so that they will hardly last past the first washing.
My goal with personal clothing is to try to own a modest amount of well-made, well-designed clothing, good quality pieces, and handmade if possible, treated with care and meant to last.
An exception to my rule of mending clothing is with antique items.
I take special care when trying to mend antique clothing that I have in my study collection — if I mend it at all. With Victorian or Edwardian clothing, I usually try not to alter anything about the piece unless it’s dire, to preserve the integrity of the item as much as possible. By mending or changing an old piece, you may be obscuring clues to its construction!
If I do occasionally make changes to particularly damaged garments, I try to mimic the style of stitching on the garment, thread type and color, size of the stitches, etc. When in doubt — it’s best to let it be.
Happy Black Friday — what are you spending the day doing today?
I recently had the opportunity to make a wedding dress for my dear friend, the photographer Seze Devres. We’ve been friends for eight years and it’s hard to put into words what she means to me.
Seze got married to another amazing and creative person, Bryan, on the beach in a remote part of Turkey. I am proud to be friends with both Bryan and Seze and they make an amazing match together!
The dress was designed mostly by Seze, though I had some input in terms of fabric choices, trim, and some pattern suggestions. The Greek/Turkish ancient goddess style was all her, though!
Like many things designed collaboratively and iteratively, it turned out looking different but even more amazing than the original plan. I think Seze looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor in these photos — part Greecian goddess, part 1960s high society New York debutante. Perfect for this NYC couple!
We ended up leaving the hem ballgown length, and I think the effect worked on the sand. Very romantic and unexpectedly formal.
The bride made her own veil and headpiece!
The back is a deep V, leading into the waist.
We originally started with a thin ribbon around the waist, but Seze suggested a thick ribbon that really worked with the design much better. I think it adds a feeling of luxury!
The back is folded obi style, for a formal and put-together look.
The fabrication is silk chiffon overlay, with a thick charmeuse under-slip that’s actually a separate piece entirely. The slip looks a bit 1930s on its own, and can be worn as a slinky sort of evening dress.
Here is a somewhat wrinkly photo of the chameuse under-slip as it was being made:
I draped the dress on the form with gauzy muslin, basically, and then took it of and made a pattern from that, slightly adjusted to make the straps less bulky with fabric, etc.
For a touch of understated glamor, we decided on art deco-inspired rhinestone accents at the straps of the dress. I think it came out beautifully and is somehow very reminiscent of New York City (where the bride and groom live):
What a picturesque couple, and a gorgeous, gorgeous bride! I love how happy they are in the rural Turkish landscape.
Best wishes for a wonderful life, Seze and Bryan!! <3 <3
How To Make a Hand-sewn Bow Tie -
Here’s my completed bow tie, created at the Parlocraft Circle this Saturday!
It was surprisingly easy to make, so I’m posting instructions here for anyone else who wants to have a go!
NYC Victorian Parlorcrafts Circle: Make Your Own Bow Ties! -
This is the always dapper Mr. Noam Berg — also known as the steam-folk musician Painless Parker — modeling some of his handmade bow ties, suspenders, and arm braces!
Come listen to self-described ‘amateur seamster’ Noam talk about how he learned to make these gorgeous…
c. 1845 dress from Fashion Institute of Technology collection.
I love how fitted and severe the mid-1840s style is. It’s really put together!
Cotton dress, circa 1840, American. From the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
1837 French cotton wedding dress. From the Metropolitan Museum, Costume Institute.