When it comes to creating a beautiful place for our planet there are many ‘RE’ words bandied about. It’s the prefix RE we love, because it really means we are not starting from scratch. We are not using raw materials but using what we have. Reuse, recycle, reduce. The essence of my business is to help women see that they have enough to create their style, their way.
One of the ways we can refresh our wardrobe is by re-fashioning the clothes we have. Back in 2004 I had the pleasure to do just that to raise funds for charities: St Vincent de Paul here in Australia and one in Japan. Common Threads Charity (no longer) was the driver behind both these events. In 2003 they used white business shirts and in 2004 they used old kimonos.
I created 2 designs, using 2 kimonos selected for me by friends, Junko and Greg in Japan. The kimonos were silk and had been hand-stitiched together. They were beautiful and made it quite a challenge to cut into them. I decided to approach them both differently.
For the Japanese garment, I unpicked the whole kimono (pictured left) to create a completely new garment. Some of the fabric was damaged so I had to design around it.
I designed a halterneck dress with a yoked skirt that had gathered inserts at the front and back. The yoke mirroring the neck panel. I created the pattern and fussy-cut the design to ensure the rose sat at the neck. The neck tie hangs low at the back using the cream lining that looks like it has been dip-dyed in pink.
The end result looked beautiful on the runway model and was one of the pieces with the highest number of bids.
For the Australian garment I placed the kimono on the mannequin. By cutting and hand stitching I created a wrap dress with heavy pleats around the waist to produce the new design. This was using the deconstructing method and I deliberately hand-stitched the garment in reverence to the previous seamstresses who had created the original kimono.
Sadly, I don’t have photos of the finished product to show you. The garment was auctioned off at the Brisbane Powerhouse and my friend was the highest bidder. What a beautiful friend. However when she went to collect and pay for it, someone had taken it. It was very disheartening as all my hard work did not raise the money for the charity I wanted to support. So if you do see a beautiful wrap dress using an old kimono hand-stitched, I would love to know where it ended up, and that someone has enjoyed wearing it.
My pleasure at re-fashioning garments continues and I went on to reuse some of the left over fabric to create a new halterneck top for my Japanese friend Junko.
So get with the RE program and enjoy seeing what can be made from something you already have.
Enjoy the week.