Yes, I’m fully aware that I have wayyy too many dresses in my closet. After getting my hands on more clothes hangers this weekend, I was surprisingly shocked about how many summer pieces I own. To be fair, most of them are sewing projects that I’ve made in the past—so I can’t be bare to part with something I’ve spent hours on. You can partially blame Pinterest, the internet central of aesthetically pleasing fashion. I chanced upon this gorgeous v-neck linen dress a couple of days ago and I was super tempted to make a version of my own. But instead of opting for traditional red, I decided to work with creams instead for a more neutral look.
To be quite honest with you, this isn’t my best work. I screwed up a lot—more specifically the lining part of the dress. On top of that, I had a few fit issues and haphazard seams. I tried to cover most of it with embroidery patches, but you can really see my mistakes up close. Regardless, it’s still a functional outfit. Just a little pointer for future me: don’t wear this dress while carrying a food baby.
Sewing is a spontaneous moment for me. Not to sound pretentious, but I only turn on my Brother H537ST when I feel myt creative juices flowing. My skills, patience, and attention seem to falter when I’m clearly unmotivated. It’s the reason why I only sew every other weekend, or on a random Thursday night. Yes, you can probably slag me off for being lazy, you can hold me to it.
For the reasons stated above, my sewing projects are a mix of completed garments and quick-fix thrifts. First up on the bat is the upholstery corset. I scored this gorgeous floral material from my local Value Village, which I think was originally used for furniture. Nevertheless, I decided to ditch dining room chairs and opt for a classic corset.
By now, I’ve constructed nearly 7 designs over the past year, but I couldn’t see past anything but a Bridgerton lace-up moment. I utilized a pattern made by Nava Rose and cut out two copies: one for the main fabric and one for the lining. I adjoined the two pieces together and turned the whole corset inside out to hide the raw seams. The result is a stunning corset that can be worn casually with jeans or a cute tennis skirt.
What I’m wearing
Next up on the chopping block is a white satin slip. Originally, I wanted to create a poet blouse with puffy sleeves, but I didn’t have enough fabric for it. Instead, I opted for a bustier, spaghetti strap moment with cups and a ruffled front. If I had enough material, I would’ve definitely made the top more voluminous and dramatic. If you zoomed into the picture, you can probably see that the hem is unfinished. Of course, I plan to complete a rolled hem, but I thought the raw edge gave a sort of ‘sensual’ feel to the outfit? I don’t know, but it gave me ‘Elizabeth Bennet and Mr.Darcy conversing in the rain’ kind of vibes. Composed, but oddly seductive.
What I’m Wearing:
Earrings: Sukoshi Mart
For my last project, I wanted to upcycle this stunning dress I thrifted at Talize. I’m not familiar with the brand, and I can’t seem to find the tag on the gown since I’ve cut it. But, it appears to be a Korean company that’s long been out of business for some time. Originally, the gown touched the ground—which gave the illusion of a wedding dress instead of a casual, romantic number. I decided to make a tiered effect by cutting the outer hem shorter than the lining. The sleeves naturally puffed out into a ‘winged’ effect, but I decided that it wasn’t really my style. So, I opted to gather the puff to help accentuate the shoulders. The result is still a bit outlandish for my liking, but I think I can dress it down with an oversized romper and some sneakers.
Yes, I know this outfit is devoid of actual strawberries, but I thought to keep it light. The pink gingham paired with the red buttons does enough to provide the illusion of rouge berries, plus—it carries the illusion of springtime bliss. With April just around the corner, I thought it best to get a head start on this season’s clothing. I scored this gorgeous fabric at my local thrift. I didn’t realize that it came from Pottery Barn, so I’m pretty sure that the $5 price tag was only 1% of the original cost. Anywho, I used a pattern made by Etsy seller Patternsbybrandijoan to create this adorable romper.
I used the button-up shirt pattern to construct the upper-half of the two-piece. For the shorts, I just sourced some tailored bottoms I had lying around. I decided I wanted a cinched-in waist, so I adjoined the two pieces to make a channel for the elastic to feed through. I’m pretty proud of the result, minus some raw seams here and there. Occasion-wise, this romper would make for a great casual outfit for the spring and summer.
I’ve been making clothes since 2016. Thanks to YouTubers and the help of my mom, I was able to find my way around a sewing machine at a pretty young age. To be fair, I learned how to thread string through needles when I was a little girl, as my first ever project was a patchwork handkerchief made out of scraps from my mom’s fabric snippings. I like to think I’ve improved since then, and I definitely picked up on some intel and knowledge that I wished little me knew since then. Obviously, I can’t time-travel to the past, but I’m sure novice sewers will get some use out of my experience. Without further ado, here are some tips and tricks that beginners should get a feel for.
Make a plan first
Nothing’s more pitiful than winding up with a completely different garment than what you originally imagined. If you want to stay clear of ill-fitting tops and bottoms, it’s best to sketch out a plan first. This can include illustrations and measurement notes. As you hone your skills, you may be able to construct a piece without a blueprint.
Make a pattern
I remember my first ever dress. Pink, shiny, and horribly stiff, my sewing dream quickly wound up as a hospital gown. The issue? I thought I didn’t need a pattern. If you’re a novice sewer, it’s always best to draft a pattern to ensure no mishaps in the future. Make sure you keep your blueprints, as you can always re-use them in the future.
Try on your garments at every possible step
Remember, you’re sewing for yourself—not your mannequin. When possible, you should always try on your blouse, dress, or pair of pants to ensure everything goes smoothly. If you need to take something in, it’s best to have some safety pins instead of actual pins to prevent jabbing.
Know the importance of seam allowance
One of my major sewing fails is forgetting to add seam allowance to clothing. Of course, this isn’t necessary when it comes to stretchy fabrics, but you should always er on the side of caution. You can always take things in, but you can’t add more once you’ve made the final cut.
You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s okay
Like any profession, mistakes are bound to happen. It’s all a part of the learning process. There are days when sewing goes smoothly, but there are also times when your skills aren’t up to par. It’s important to take a deep breath and re-evaluate the situation. If you keep on making mistakes, it’s best to leave the sewing project until tomorrow.
I think it’s fair to say that 95% of the internet agrees that Emily Cooper’s wardrobe is a complete mess. From rainbow colored-pencil skirts to frilly-tiered dresses, there’s lots to unpack with E.C’s closet. Honestly, I can’t bring myself to hate her aesthetic. Some outfits definitely work—but I can imagine some casual dressers gasping and oogling at a few controversial fits. Emily Cooper is into fashion, but you knew that already. From season one to two, her ensembles cater to the maximalist aesthetic. She’s big on bold colors, patterns, and silhouettes—as it’s pretty rare to catch her wearing something downtoned and subtle.
While others define Emily’s style as digital vomit, I think it’s a fairly smart wardrobe choice—given her personality and living situation. We often forget that the ‘American girl lost in Paris’ is a TV trope done to death. From Anna and the French Kiss to Sex in the City, audiences continuously wipe their memories of this tired cliche to clap and laugh again at quirky Americanism. To western viewers, the protagonist features a commercial woman with ‘Bambi’ eyes as she learns the intricacies of Parisian culture. To a local, it’s definitely something worth rolling your eyes over. Fortunately, today’s society realizes that there’s really no need to recycle this trope again. If anything, ‘alien-ness’ is more so attributed to the westerner than the location itself. Emily Cooper is the outsider looking in, and her naivety isn’t supposed to be cute. Instead, it can be accurately translated into cultural ignorance.
Fashion plays an important role in addressing Emily’s Cooper character. Her wild silhouettes and love of colors can signify her outsider status. She does her best to understand Parisian culture, and it shows through her ‘try-hard’ efforts through outfit coordination. By no means am I saying that maximalism is the ‘copycat’ at fashion, but instead—I’m referring to the show’s take on style as a character definer. As a viewer, I see Emily’s wardrobe less as a statement and more as a ‘cheek-and-tongue’ metaphor. Emily in Paris, to me, is painfully self-aware of its trope, and they’re trying to show us in a more visual manner.
In early September, my halftime consisted of lunch spotting, catching up with homework, and mindless meandering down the Eaton Centre. The latter part was a way to treat myself. If my eyes weren’t glued to the fluorescent screen on my laptop, I could treat them to sights of discounted clothing racks or accessory stalls. Since H&M was relatively close to the Dundas subway station, it was usually my first pitstop.
H&M, like so many other stores at the mall, helped me stay on current fashion trends. If I wasn’t going to buy anything, I could at least educate myself on the latest style crazes. In the midst of corset lace-up hoodies and cold-shoulder tops, I was astounded- but not surprised- to see a sweatshirt ripped from a University giftshop. Written in laughably bold letters: Hype college- as if it was a sans script way of doing the ol’ wink wink nudge nudge to its fellow students that shopped there. Naturally, I felt called out.
Relatability is far from a used marketing trick by big-name retailers. If anything, it’s been done by other industry leaders. I won’t say that it’s a shady tactic by any means, but that untasteful collegiate sweater did get me thinking: how does relatability play in fashion, and is it a significant role?
The first thing that comes to mind is the upsurge of Y2K fashion. I know, I covered this topic to death in a recent post but it’s still mind-boggling to think that such a dated trend has now become stylish and refreshing. I mean, haven’t we all collectively agreed that low-rise bottoms were a bad idea?
Nevertheless, it’s a classic example of relatability and fashion doing the ol’ tango. It’s familiar and it reminds us of a better time. Don’t get me wrong, Hollister t-shirts will continue to forever haunt me, but it does spark memories of somersaulting at recess and playing tag with old friends. If anything, it’s a memento rather than a statement piece.
Political fashion is also a great example of relatability and fashion. Nothing will speak to consumers more than a pressing issue, as some big-name designers are integrating subjects like environmentalism and social justice.
Take for instance, Daniel Fletcher, who created the anti-Brexit collection in 2016. It was a creative way to showcase his political stance by using his talents and expertise. I will say that it’s a subtle way of expressing his viewpoints, but it’s tasteful, grounded, and provides an alternative for activists to showcase their perspective casually.
If you aren’t versed in the political field, I’m sure you have other ways of ‘rebelling against the common curve.’ This is, of course, the uprise of ‘core’ fashion. Thanks to social media platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram, we’re now open to hundreds of aesthetics. This usually includes popular styles like cottage core, techwear, dark academia, grunge, and vintage.
Relatability is present in all of these different categories. It speaks to a generation of like-minded individuals who share the same interests and values. If you like the brooding, mysterious aesthetic of old London, academia can be your thing. For those who love open fields, book reading, and flowers, I’m sure cottage core will speak to your spirit.
Ultimately, relatability is the way we communicate with clothes. It grounds us to long-lost memories, deep-seated values, and perspectives we align with. Fashion, at the end of the day, is a method of self-expression, and if we can’t relate to it- chances are that we leave it on the racks for the next person to gloss over.