Friday, December 7, 2012

Custom-made mid-century fashion - is it cheating?

I had a real moment of clarity this year - about vintage fashion and how I wished I could wear it more often. I have to admit that for everyday wear, vintage just isn't that comfortable compared to modern clothing, not when you sit in an office most of the day. Finding quality vintage professional-looking items in good enough condition that would fit well and stand up to being worn at least once a week just is not that easy.

Pre-loved clothing is, well, wearing out, and wearing it regularly isn't going to help its longevity either. I learned that the hard way in a lovely black eyelet wiggle dress that was just perfect for the office. After about 5 outings, the fabric just gave way. It had been so weakened by its age and previous wear.

So discovering the world of vintage sewing was a real moment for me. I could make things in my size, in my choice of fabric and make little tweaks for comfort too. And what's not authentic about that? That's what our grandmothers were doing - making their own, from the very same patterns I'm now collecting! As long as I make good fabric choices its as good as the real thing - heck it IS the real thing!

I hunt down good quality fabrics, even vintage ones when I can. I buy up vintage notions when I come across them (zippers, buttons, deam binding, piped cording) and I take my time to make a good quality handmade garment with proper vintage techniques. To me, that's just as authentic as a garment made in the actual 1950s. While it's true we don't always have the same fabric choices, there are some amazing retro prints around and some great online vintage fabric stores to explore.

I'll still buy actual vintage when I see something I can't live without (usually something I'd never have the patience to sew myself!). Sewing my own helps the skill to stay alive, while I create an authentic wardrobe of wearable items that suit my lifestyle.

How do you see vintage sewing? Is it 'cheating' to a vintage enthusiast? Do you consider it an authentic way to express a love for vintage style?

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