I have officially embarked on designing my first project. Yayyy me!
My fashion journey began last year when I became interested in designing my own clothes. As a young fashion oriented muslim, I had a difficult time finding apparel that was modest. If I would find a beautiful dress, I would need to adjust it to fit my needs resulting in extra cost for alterations 😔. So, then the thought of designing my own clothes slowly creeped into my small head ☺️.
Mind you, I don’t have a background in fashion. I studied Accounting & Arabic and I never once thought of fashion as a career, until now. I started with taking sewing lessons last year and was introduced to an amazingly talented costume designer through a friend. I stuck through my lessons and this month would mark my one year anniversary 💃🏽🎉🎊.
Fast forward to 2017 and I recieve a call from my cousin informing me of her brothers wedding. I was ecstatic for my cousin but then became anxious: what am I going to where? After hours of contemplating, I turned to the internet. I was looking for a dress to wear that was modest & fashionable. I couldn’t find any that fit my style so I convinced myself that it’s time to design my first dress.
I envisioned the dress before purchasing the fabric. It was going to be a long sleeve flowy A-line dress with cuffs and a wrap style on the front with a band. The fabric I would choose would be chiffon since I wanted my dress to have a certain look so picking the right fabric was vital. Since chiffon tends to be sheer, I had to pick a certain lining. The lining could not be rigid but had to be soft so it could contrast with the chiffon. I opted for a jersey lining because of the softness and the extra elasticity (China silk is a good option as well). The lining is extremely flexible which means you can use it as a crop top or even a pencil skirt.
Finding the right color was the most difficult, I had to work with what the fabric stores had. Since the wedding was in October, I wanted to match the season: pick a fall color. I was leaning towards a burgundy color or even a rich red but did not like the shades that were provided. So I picked a sand color with blush and gold undertones and matched it with an ivory lining.
Chiffon Sand Fabric:
Ivory Jersey Lining:
The next part was finding someone who could sew the dress for me. I had a time limit and there was no way I could sew a dress. Luckily, my friend knew a seamstress and she recommended her. Little did I know that I would regret it. Long story short – she messed up my dress. I looked at the final product and I had a brain fart – wth? The sleeves were not lined and there is a reason why I bought lining 😒. Secondy, the band was not correctly aligned in the back of the dress – it just looked messy. Third – the lining was too short resulting in a tacky style 😩. To be fair, it wasn’t all her fault. I did not give her enough fabric (I only gave her 3.5 yards when she needed 6 yards) and I made a huge mistake of assuming that she could work with chiffon material even though she didn’t have experience with delicate fabrics. Personally, the one thing that made me not go back to her is that she was not attentive to my requests and ended up doing what she thought was “fashionable.” Unfortunately, I can’t work with someone like that especially if I’m paying them – no shade✌🏾.
Picture with band misalignment:
With only two weeks to the wedding, I was on a quest to find a seamstress. Luckily, I found another seamstress who was respectful, attentive and understood the importance of attention to detail. There is a reason why my first project was named All About the Details. In essence, the little details is the beauty of the dress. I told her exactly how I wanted the dress made and she would consistently ask for feedback. I felt secure and could not wait to witness my vision becoming a reality.
The good news is that she did a great job. She did miss a few details but given the fact that I gave her only a week, I can’t complain too much. Chiffon is a very delicate fabric and it requires patience and care. I definitely will work with her again.
1. Make sure you see someone’s work before establishing a relationship – Don’t just look at one, look at multiple examples
2. Being a good seamstress does not earn you the title of being good at drapery or working with delicate fabrics
3. Learn to observe body language – if someone is too aggressive, that’s a good sign that maybe you should not work with them – I overlooked that red signal when working with the first seamstress – never again.
4. You will make mistakes but its part of the process of learning. I took a risk by designing my first dress but it was well worth it. I learned so much and it made me realize the passion I have for fashion.
5. Your first project is not going to be perfect – its a starting point. Learn to value your journey because it will lead you to your final destination and that is different for all of us.
6. Internalize your worth and most importantly, value your beautiful self.
I hope you enjoyed my post. See you next time,