Peaches and Picnics

What a beautiful summery Sunday we’ve had.

Mr B and I are a little bit sunburned after a massive picnic and rounders game in the park with about 40 friends from church… a perfect outing for the dress restyle I finished off yesterday.  Here’s the original:

I bought this peachy dress just last Saturday in Oxfam – honestly, I went in purely to drop some stuff off, but I had to go all the way to the back of the shop to find a lady to take it off my hands, and on the way back out ended up handing over a fiver for this.

On first glance I liked the print, and on closer inspection, I couldn’t resist the shoulder pleats:

And best of all it was size 22 – lots of lovely fabric to work with.  I removed the sleeves and shoulder pads, took in all the seams, altered the hem, and found the perfect piece of red ribbon in my stash:

I got quite a few lovely compliments, including one from a very cool teenager, and someone who told me I ‘always look so glamourous’!  (which is an adjective I’d never have applied myself).

It got me thinking back to this post by Tilly.  I wouldn’t say that taking up sewing again has completely changed my life, but it has radically altered my approach to fashion and shopping:

Prints and more prints: my pre-sewing wardrobe was very very plain.  I could rarely find RTW garments where I liked both the print and the cut or style – not a problem when you can match them up yourself.  Plus, I definitely gravitate towards to interesting print designs because they’re much more fun to sew with!

A concious shopping mindset: Ok, so I still shop – but usually for zips, thread, and exciting fabric.  I’m far less likely to be sucked in by a clothing shop’s sale or advertising campaigns.  If I do shop for RTW clothing, it’s either for something very specific that I’ve admired and mulled over for a long time, or it’s something I can’t make myself.  Either way, it’s a calmer, rational process that doesn’t net endless spur-of-the-moment garments which never get worn.

Individuality: a year ago, I’d never have worn a dress like this to an afternoon picnic, and probably not even a skirt.  I like to fit in, and hate feeling wrongly-dressed for something, so I’d tend to play it safe (and that nearly always meant jeans, apart from formal wedding-type events).  Somehow though, I’m free to be much more adventurous with me-made items – I can’t completely put my finger on why.  I think that naturally we feel more comfortable in clothes that fit well, and have pleasing colours and/or patterns and texture – but maybe it’s also the creative process of designing and making?   Me-made-clothes include something of my personality and skills as well as personal taste, as if what goes on in my head authentically matches up with my outer appearance – not trying to be someone else, or hide behind a new look.  Even if no-one else knows my outfit’s handmade,  it boosts my confidence.  Anyone relate?

I’m aware this is straying into daytime TV talkshow host territory…that it’s all about being yourself and what’s on the inside that counts… but much as we mock it, it’s true.  Fashion only works when it’s a) fun, and b) matches up with who we are and what we do.

So this dress ticked all the boxes – cos I could still run fast enough to score an awesome rounder while wearing it.

9 thoughts on “Peaches and Picnics

  1. Wonderful refashion – I would never have picked that dress but it looks so cool on you! I agree that sewing has meant that I am a lot better dressed than I used to be- lovely to be described as glamorous!

  2. Wow, what a refashion – I would never have seen that cute sundress in that mumu! But as to your thoughts about how sewing has changed you, I agree with all three points – in fact, that’s exactly how I feel, but you’ve explained it way better than I coud have. I used to be an avid clothes shopper, but now I can’t even remember when I last wanted to wander around in a clothing store, I’m just uninterested (fabric stores, now that’s a different story). And your last point rings true for me too, I feel like I’m finally discovering my style almost without thinking about it, making and wearing things I never would have even tried on in a store, and it just feels more right, somehow. Great post!

  3. Ah what lovely comments! Snap! Yes, it certainly wasn’t what I expected to happen when I took up sewing, but I suppose creativity is a bit of a snowball – once you start, it just gets bigger and crazier! Isn’t it great that we all get to be our own little fashion designers?

  4. I just stumbled onto your blog and had to comment – I love the refashion you’ve done with this dress! It’s so chic and modern while being totally 50’s. Awesome! 🙂

    • Thanks Ashlee! Retro but modern was exactly the look I was hoping for… it helped that the original came with the cute pleats already stitched in 🙂

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