Garments are fascinating things, but even more fascinating is the fact that every garment you own and wear is essentially the same. Each piece of clothing is made up of the same set of elements – the only thing that changes is the fabric, closures, and other embellishments added for style, season, or personal taste. Creating your own garments means you have complete control over the style details and it ensures you’ll never enter a room wearing what soemone else is wearing. Let’s take a look.
This is the line drawing for the Rue dress pattern just released from Colette. Each dress is a combination of a bodice + skirt + sleeve. A bodice becomes a blouse or top. The skirt portion becomes a skirt, pants, or shorts. If there’s no visible waistline, then we remove the seam at the waistline in favor of one large pattern piece spanning the length of the body. Every garment has a neckline, where your head appears, a closure so you can get in and out of the garment, and a hemline, or where the length of the lower portion of the garment falls on your legs.
Each individual element is also a variation of iteself. You can see above that the bodice has an underbust yoke detail utilizing gathers instead of darts. Simple pattern manipulation makes this a unique style from the basic bodice pattern. Similar, volume was added to the skirt, reduced using pleats to add interest to the skirt portion. Every piece of clothing you see is a variation of a few common elements.
Without a doubt, the most fun thing about creating your own clothing is choosing your fabric. Above are four variations on the Laurel dress pattern, also by Colette Patterns. Clockwise from top left we have lightweight denim, cotton lawn, wool tweed, and finally wool gabardine. The sleeve is longer in the wool tweed version, and the hemline is taken up with flare added. Those adjustments took 5 minutes but drastically change the look, and tone, of the garment.
Here’s a good example of two very different styles made up in the same fabric. On the left you have a bodice + skirt with added neckline detail and straps. The skirt is full and gathered, with width added that is then taken in to meet the waist of the bodice. The sleeves are removed in order to add the strap detail. On the right the bodice + skirt portions have been combined to create a shift dress. A sleeve has been added that falls near the hip.
Anything you can imagine, you can sew and create yourself. Instead of waiting for your favorite store to restock your favorite item, you can make your own. The beauty of sewing is that you can find patterns that suit your figure and make multiples in various fabrics, lengths, styles, and moods.