Friday, 1 May 2015

The dangers of disposible fashion, not seriously


I sew. It would seem fairly obvious that disposable fashion is not my cup of tea, and I could provide all sorts of morally superior reasons for this opinion in order to impress the sewing community with my ethical standards and awareness of global issues, but a large part of my abhorrence of these garments is much more trivial. They are aesthetically displeasing and wasteful of one's clothing budget.

However, I am not in charge of all the clothes that enter my house.

My teenage daughter went to the beach for a week with her friends. They had a terrific time, and she came back with a $5 dress she had bought.
She usually has very good taste in clothing, I am sure that when she bought this little knit sundress, it was quite pretty. By the time I saw it though, it had been worn over a swimming costume for several trips to the beach, and had been washed. The print was faded, the fabric was pilled, the hem was grossly uneven, making it scandalously short in inappropriate places, the bodice draped in an underwear/swimming costume displaying manner, and the entire garment was about 2 sizes too big. (1 week of use)

The dress was, according to my standards, unwearable. I expressed this opinion, originally with some attempt at tactfulness, but as she continued to wear it - even out of the house! the expression of my opinion became increasingly forthright. To my undisguised horror, she even threatened to take the dress to Brisbane with her and wear it to University, where at least I would not have to look at it. This may have been a cunning, deeply laid plan on my daughter's part. What can a mother do about her daughter's clothing choices? I know I rarely took any notice of my mother's opinion of my clothing when I was 17 (or at least I pretended not to take any notice)
Eventually, we came to a compromise. She would agree to dispose of the dress (the rag bag was looking good), if I would make her a replacement dress. Hence my suspicions about my daughter's possible mother manipulation tactics.
It was ridiculously easy.


I traced off the stretched out, horrible gappy bodice, trimmed about 3 cm from each side of my pattern piece, added 3 cm to the length of the bodice in order to diminish underwear exposure, and traced off one section of the skirt, correcting the grain and hem, and adding more length than I was later permitted to use. This may have been a cunning daughter manipulation technique to ensure later sufficient length to the skirt. Despite the long sentence, this took about 10 minutes.
The construction and cutting out of the dress took at least 30 minutes. This was only because the first version of the dress had a seam down the front, and this was rejected in my version, the solid fabric (cotton lycra from Stretchtex) not disguising this sufficiently. I had to chop the skirt off, cut off the side seams and replace the front with a single piece.
The top of the bodice is bound with the same knit, and the straps are lingerie straps which I serendipitously had lying around in the same colour as the knit. I reinforced the waist seam with lingerie elastic to improve stability and to support the weight of the skirt.
I then insisted that the dress hang (by the waistline) for a week before I hemmed the dress, except that I didn't hem the dress, I just cut the hemline to an even length.
The dress was received with qualified approval (another 2 inches off the hemline, and some discussion about the next one having deeper armscyes)(did you hear that next one remark), and I was allowed to chop up the beach dress. It was very satisfying.
I didn't do my own sewing,and I am seriously low in the boring-blouse-for-work department. That was the locally dangerous bit about the disposable fashion
I paid a token to my environmental consciousness by cleaning the bathroom with my new rags and a biodegradable septic safe cleaning potion. It doesn't have any real effect, but I'm sure it made me feel better.
Stashbusting statistics, about 1.5 m cotton lycra knit, in a nice bright colour for the Stashbusting challenge


katherine h said...

You are a good mother!

At least now you could whip her up a quick birthday present, that you know would be well received, if you had to...thus enabling more time for sewing your own clothes! Actually, I would get my "money's" worth and make this pattern up at least several times more, in exchange for jobs around the house!

Summer Flies said...

I like Katherine's idea of swapping jobs for clothes! Genius... except my son would not care less to get new clothes so no jobs would get done!

Yes, I think your suspicions re manipulations is correct... I'm sure your daughters know you could never accept that standard, liked the style so and it was a minimal investment to achieve the desired effect! At least it didn't take long!

Carolyn said...

So pretty! and it's a lovely silhouette.
This scenario is all too too familiar to me :)

Mrs. Smith said...

Haha! So fun to read! :) and she looks beautiful in her new dress!!

liza jane said...

Yes, I think she has it all figured out! :). Love that red.

Vicki said...

Lol! My 24 year old wears the most atrocious things and never even irons them (or washes them very often). The poly hems are a disgrace and because she is so small everything is too big for her. And her colour choice is drab. But she loves them so I shut my mouth! Lucky my younger daughter has better taste.

SewRuthie said...

Great dress and much better than the original!
BTW when the May Burda Style arrives there are some pretty dresses with smocking which I thought were very much your style.

SewRuthie said...

Great dress and much better than the original!
BTW when the May Burda Style arrives there are some pretty dresses with smocking which I thought were very much your style.

Sew, Jean Margaret said...

You are very clever to copy the inferior dress and create exactly what your daughter wanted...except it is so much better. She is very lucky to have a mother like you.

Audrey said...

Ah, this post brought back memories of the battles my mother and I had over "inappropriate or raggedy" clothes. Your solution is brilliant. Your daughter looks great in this style of dress.

fabric epiphanies said...

Be careful what you wish for! My nearly 19 year old student daughter has seen the light recently so to speak! She bought some cheap boots which she wore once and hated with a passion. She then bought a very expensive pair of leather boots which she loves....lesson learn't! Don't waste money on cheap tat! The problem is she now thinks her entire wardrobe needs to be made of quality items but lacks the resources to do so yet. This is where I come in, unfortunately!

Your version of the dress is really pretty.

Sharon said...

She definitely has it figured out and I much prefer your red version.

Gail said...

Love the little red dress and clearly your dd does too. Beach trips with friends are notorious for bad clothing buys. Mine came back from Bryon with a ragged little mini skirt!