Vogue Paris Original 1513
Version 1 made pre-2002 : Griege Wool Knit
Version 2 made in 2015 : Liberty of London Jersey in Stanley

When I first started started sewing there weren’t that many options for clothing patterns. I turned to vintage patterns pretty quickly and would spend hours scanning eBay for patterns that I liked and that were my size. Most vintage patterns come with just one size in the envelope, which makes shopping vintage patterns a little bit tricky and frustrating at times.

A few weeks ago I found a pile of those vintage patterns, pulled them out and got excited by the designs once more. I pulled out my original versions from my closet, tried them on and started wearing them again. I have many pieces in my wardrobe that extend all the way back to when I first started sewing. Many of them have really stood the test of time.

This Vogue pattern was my first attempt at working with knits. Even though I had a serger, I still made the whole thing on my sewing machine. Back then, I only used my serger for overlocking and didn’t trust it or myself to use it for construction. The pattern called for a zipper which I did put into my first version. But the dress just slips over my head very easily when made in knit. I keep meaning to remove the zipper. This griege wool dress was much longer when I first made it, but a few years later I decided it needed to be a bit shorter, so I just sliced off about 5 or 6″.  I really love that my handmade garments can also evolve and change throughout their lifespan.

The new version is made with Liberty of London Jersey that I picked up at Shaukat in London at the beginning of the year. I’d been saving this Stanley yardage for a dress and I knew when I spotted this pattern, that this would be perfect. I made it without a zipper and mostly on my sewing machine. Because of the intersecting seams, it just seems like a more precise way to sew it. The design of this dress is fascinating to me and I love the movement that it achieves through the shape of the sleeves and the drape of the knit. It’s also a super quick sew. While most patterns these days use bindings to finish things off, I enjoy a proper facing. I like how cleanly it finishes the edge and it’s perhaps even easier to sew than a binding.

Thoughts related to Slow Fashion October

I think this dress is just the perfect example of the longevity of a handmade wardrobe. The sewing pattern is from the sixties. My first version was made approximately 13 years ago and now I’ve made a fresh new version in Liberty, it doesn’t get more timeless than that. I’ve been wearing both versions and feeling equally great wearing them. Choosing to make my own clothes gives more personal meaning to what I’m wearing and in turn means that I’m creating a wardrobe that reflects my style in the truest sense. These garments are not only well made but stay relevant for so much longer.

There are incredible discussions going on regarding #slowfashionoctober. If you want to follow along, the Fringe Association blog by Karen Templer is the best place to start – Introduction, Week One and Week Two.

Have you been thinking about where your clothing comes from this month?