Greetings, fellow fashion Recouturiers.
To ReCouture is to take a garment from a lamentable state at the back of our wardrobe to an enviable state on our world stage. We aspire to have our experience inspire your creativity with clothes. Before you indulge in more Retail therapy, retreat to your own closet to find something you can makeover that expresses your style better than an off-the-rack item can do.
Here are our step-by-step recouture guidelines.
- Time investment: When you start, choose a Recouture route that does not take a lot of time. Make efficient but dramatic changes. Think of the cost per wear, in terms of both time and money. To spend all weekend on one piece you may wear once could be a good return on investment if that one wearing is a special occasion. To spend all weekend on a skirt Recouture that you wear once to the office is a poor return on your time. So don’t fuss too much, but do a very good job at the revisions you make.
- Toolkit: You need good but not exceptional sewing skills, an urge to push your limits, and an eye for colour, line and drape. Your sewing kit should include a wide selection of threads, buttons and trims. Your treasure trove needs a heap of fabric remnants and clothing items that can be deconstructed is a must.
- Inspiration. Keep a scrapbook of ideas you gather, and review it when you are ready to ReCouture your garment. Some visual prompts of shapes, textures, lines, colour combinations, and other ideas that have caught your attention will help stir your creativity when you are ready to reconstruct but don’t know where to start.
- Rescue that favourite item from the back of your closet or drawer
- Reflect. Articulate why you no longer wear it. Is it: too big – small – busy – plain – fancy; outdated; the wrong colour? Or maybe it has sentimental value: it was given to you but you never liked it; it was a special occasion garment; it was your mother’s; it is too expensive to discard? Whatever the reason you have it taking up space but not making a statement, rethink how it might see the light of day again.
- Relove: Define why you love it so much that you haven’t tossed it out. Is it the colour, the drape, the cut, the fabric? Or does it carry a memory: you bought it with your first pay cheque; you got it in some far-flung place; you wore it to your when you were proposed to?
- Re-imagine: Once you have specified why you love it and why it no longer works for you, then eliminate the latter and highlight the flatter. Just start – don’t get stuck on defining the outcome. Begin with an idea, then let your imagination lead the creation.
- Refit: Having a dressmaker’s form (I call mine “Dolly” and put a neglige on her for fit and fun) makes it easy to visualize what will look good on you, and how it will hang. Working on a Dolly gives an objective perspective that can’t be approximated in 2 dimensions.
- Before: take a photo of the garment before you work on it
- During: take a few pictures of your process, for those curious friends who wonder “how you did it”
- After: snap a shot, front and back, when you are done. You’ll gain confidence and skill by recognizing that what you have done is extraordinary.
- The piece de resistance is when you capture your recouture in action – a picture of you feeling fabulous in your once forgotten now newly loved piece.