This is Slow Fashion October, a time that we pause and reflect on where our clothes come from, how they got here and how we might be more involved in their making, wearing and enduring over time. Just recently, I read Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes (2017) by Amy Twigger Holroyd which explored the idea and practice of remaking.
Remaking is using the unworn clothes you already have to make a more wearable article of clothing. It is more than just altering or modifying for a better fit, more than repairing or mending but may involve all of these processes. It may also involve embellishing, deconstructing or upcycling.
Upon reflection, I realised that an example of remaking was the unravelling of parts of my Endurance sweater when it no longer fit me, and reknitting it to fit my son.
Similarly, turning my old yoke sweater Talisman into a cardigan is another example of remaking. I cut it up the middle and knitted on button bands.
This has given Talisman a new life and the sweater has gone from something I could no longer wear comfortably to a daily standby. I had just finished remaking Talisman when I read Folk Fashion and it got me very focused on the usefulness of addressing old garments that aren’t quite working.
For me, the key to remaking is to break it into steps.
- Identify a garment that is unworn but still precious in some way.
- Identify the problem with the garment.
- Remake the garment addressing the problem.
For Talisman, I realised I still loved the sweater but just couldn’t wear it comfortably, a bigger bust meant that the yoke was too tight and the hem rode up to compensate. The remaking meant that the top buttons can be undone to create chest width. Everything else fits just fine.
Remaking is valuable as it focuses on what we already have, particularly the handmade things, addressing issues that are preventing them from being useful and putting them back into service as clothing again. Just like mending, remaking promotes an ongoing relationship with our clothes where they can change as our needs/preferences change. Essentially, it conserves resources.
So I decided that for Slow Fashion October, I would focus on remaking. I started assessing all the clothes I wasn’t wearing and thinking about how they might be remade.
I started with a denim skirt I made last year when body changes from my CFS meant I couldn’t fit into any of my skirts.
The adjustable nature of this wrap skirt meant that if things changed again, the skirt could still be worn. But it wasn’t being worn very often. The ties created a big lump that could not be worn under tops and jackets. Remaking changed the tie closure to a button closure and now enables me to layer garments over the skirt without an unsightly lump at my hip. This change extends the usefulness of the skirt from summer only to all through the year.
Fueled by this success, throughout October I am going to tackle some other long standing garments in my wardrobe that are not being worn.
Do you have any Slow Fashion October projects?