Fashion / News

Seamstress makes entire wardrobe in one year

By Sophie Ellis , Friday Jul 1, 2016

Seamstress Lydia Grace has set herself the challenge of designing and sewing herself a completely new wardrobe in one year, documenting her progress on her blog Made My Wardrobe

Now at the halfway point, she is hoping to rid her hangers entirely of shop bought clothes by the end of 2016.

The idea came about when Lydia realised that she “no longer wanted my clothing choices to be constructed for me or dictated by what is available to buy. As I get dressed in the morning I want to feel connected to the clothes I am wrapping my body up in. Wearing clothes I have made is the most honest way I have of being in the world; it is my little way of celebrating and expressing creativity each day.”

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At the wheel

“Most of my training came from a two year apprenticeship with a bespoke costumiers in London, making costume for theatre, film, circus, dance and so on,” says Lydia, who has been sewing since she was young and professionally for three years. “For me it all begins with a love of fabric. If I see a beautiful piece of cloth sitting there rolled up, it’s like my hands just take over and start wanting to give it shape, and form, so that it can come to life and mean something to somebody.”

She has now taken up a space in Bristol Textile Quarter, where the ambitious project has been taking shape.

The most difficult pieces that she’s made so far is the lingerie: “Sometimes the smallest things are the most complicated!”

Undies – fiddly to sew, it turns out

Clearly the project also has its beautiful moments: “The coat I made in the first week, is still one of my favourite pieces. I had never made a woollen winter coat before and I poured my heart into it. Hours and hours of embroidery climb all the way up the back, using beautiful metallic threads, and beads.”

Beyond a creative challenge, there’s an ethical message behind the project too: “The whole project has made me appreciate how much time and skill goes into making good quality garments and how terrifying it is that the current fast fashion system completely devalues this. Made My Wardrobe is my small way of protesting against the multibillion pound global fashion industry which generates poor quality cheap clothing made in sweat shops by garment workers without basic rights or fair pay.

“We need a paradigm shift in attitudes on two levels. Firstly, regarding how much wear expect to get out of our clothes. Secondly, on the conditions we expect those clothes to be made in.”

Does she think she’ll continue to make her own wardrobe after the end of December? “Yes! I’m hoping this will be the watershed year that allows me to shift into a life of making and wearing only my own designs.”

 

Read more: Hartcliffe seamstress breaks down barriers

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