What on earth do you do with.....
A rayon kurta from off the £1 rail, a scrap of vintage sari fabric, the rest of which was used to make this off-the-shoulder top, a frayed and sun-damaged embroidered Indian skirt and a Banjara tribal skirt which hadn't been worn in ages?
Just in case you can't make it out - the red skirt was cut up and made into sleeves with cuffs edged with orange braid taken from the kurta, the scarp of sari fabric formed the bodice which has a sequinned neckline (also salvaged from the kurta) and the Banjara skirt was simply sewn to the bodice. Like the traditional Afghan dresses, it pulls on over the head and fastens up the side with press studs.
The back is trimmed with the remaining orange braid.
I didn't use a pattern, I laid everything out on the floor and played around with different combinations until I was happy. Everything I used from the cotton, the embroidery thread, the pinking shears, the needle, the press studs and the dressmaking pins came from charity shops.
In keeping with a traditional Afghan Nomad dress, I hand-sewed all the pieces together, a wonderfully therapeutic thing to do when it's lashing it down with rain outside. Take that, Storm Gareth!
Just as I was putting the finishing touches to my dress, I turned on the TV to tune into last night's Great British Sewing Bee on the BBC only to discover that the theme was Recycle, Reuse, Reduce. The contestants had to make a pussy bow blouse using up to five secondhand garments along with a placket from a man's shirt, an item of clothing from the scraps accumulated from the last five weeks of the series and a made-to-measure garment using every day household fabric (ie., curtains, blinds or upholstery material).
The best episode ever!
A lot of people say that sewing is an expensive hobby - but it doesn't have to be. You don't need sewing lessons, a state of the art machine, fancy fabric or posh trimmings - get down to your local charity shop and let your imagination run riot. Other than a disastrous school term when I was 11, I'm entirely self taught. I found my vintage sewing machine dumped by the side of the road. Even if what you make doesn't turn out to be a huge success, you won't have spent a fortune and you'll have learnt something along the way. There's nothing to beat the feeling you get when you finally make something wearable especially when people stop you and ask where you bought it and you can say, I made it myself!
|Self-sewn Afghan Nomad dress worn with original '70s purple suede platform boots (charity shop) and Indian earrings (50p from Walsall market)|