20 July 2015


                                                                 ANNASTACIA LEWIS ( Black Crushed Velvet)

“I don’t buy clothes. I buy fabric and make clothes!” 

This was my response to a woman who was gushing over my Eid outfit on Facebook. She had enquired where I had gotten my clothes and that she wanted everything that I was wearing. Like most folks who don’t know much about sewing and what goes on in the world of sewing, the woman most likely assumed that my garment had been bought from some store. It's almost always, as if to say, a regular human being isn't capable of creating beautiful clothes. I think to be able to sew yourself a garment that can be worn comfortably is quite commendable, but to be able to do it for others is more far reaching in my eyes.

Scrolling through my usual list of things; colour trends, fabric trends etc. I was trying to determine what was relevant fashion-wise and what trends had already been chewed up and spat out in the world of fashion. It always pays off to stay up-to-date, I told myself. I came to the realization that capes were slaying (like when have they ever not?!) and so was lace.
I stumbled upon a beautiful, caped dress that had inspired the hell out of my eyes and my mind. I set out to recreate the dress but had so many of my own ideas floating around in my head that the dress quickly moved away from what I originally wanted to recreate. I convinced myself that certain elements would look better and kept this up until the dress I had in front of me was in no way, near existence to the one I wanted to recreate. Adding to that fact that a few mistakes here and there propelled the design of the dress further away from what it should have been. Finally, the concept of my Eid dress was to have one single garment with different elements. I figured this would make a more interesting garment. I knew from the beginning I wanted lace so I had bought lace fabric early o’ clock. The tricky part was finding a fabric that would have the same consistency as lace, and finding a shade to match the lace wasn’t a piece of cake either. FASHION, FABRICS & FIBERS. Thank God for this course in Fashion Design School, for it hath saved me. My fabric portfolio saved me. It was filled with all the various types of fabrics that are used in fashion and which ones are best for certain garments. With all fabrics laying on my sewing table it was off to sewing. I knew I wanted a peplum effect on the dress, both at the waist and foot, without having to sew an actual peplum top and a separate peplum skirt. I consider myself to be a pretty fast seamstress, especially since I hate putting down a garment once I've started sewing it,  however I spent  a lot of time putting the dress together and making changes after changes. In the end, I made my vision for this dress come through, and though I'm not 100% satisfied with the final garment, I cant say that I'm not happy with it.

My hijab is hands down something I call fabric manipulation. Getting creative with a piece of fabric as opposed to having a hijab with rhinestones from corner to corner of the hijab, or the much played out “head chain on hijab” is far more interesting to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some exquisite head chains over the last 2 years or so, since the head chain trend started, but how about something we haven’t or hardly seen?! I think when you can actually use the fabric itself to create something new and exciting that’s got to be a win!

I also made a matching lace clutch purse to go along with my outfit since 1. I had looked in several stores but failed to find any clutches that I really liked and 2. I think I convinced myself that there’s nothing more satisfying than creating your own stuff from scratch. I think everyone who has made something can relate when I say, you learn to appreciate your work more, because of the level of commitment (time and energy) that goes into creating them. I really wanted to post a DIY tutorial of my clutch on my blog but I had so much sewing to get done so I decided against it. But real quick, I can tell you guys what it involved. I started off with a gold satin fabric, scraps I had from last year, as I also wore gold last year. (gold never gets old). I covered the gold satin with royal blue lace, added some gold ribbons and hand sew some gold beads in random places.

Sewing my friends dress was a breeze. I had sewn the entire dress in a few hours. I believe it was because she has previously told me an idea that she wanted for her dress, so it was pretty straight forward. Initially we wanted smooth, black, velvet for the dress but when there was none to be found in the fabric stores in town, I quickly suggested and convinced her that black, crushed velvet would probably look better. Once she agreed, I snagged a couple yards of the fabric and headed home. The beading on the dress is not nearly as simple as it looks. I cut and reshaped the beading so that it was able to fit flawlessly around the neck and on the front of the dress. All of  the beading was done by hand. There is so much more to our dresses that I can share, but this is not a tell-all blog, just a short tale to two dresses sewn in time. (not time as in a timely manner, but time as in it's now a beautiful Ramadan/Eid memory).

On the day of Eid, after doing some mosque hopping, and as planned, we hooked up with a wonderful Kenyan photographer. Ignatius. We spent some time shooting at the Gardens in Port of Spain, despite a few scattered showers of rain. Our photo shoot progressed and it wasn't long before we were heading to our last Eid destination. In the end, this might have easily been one of the best Eid experiences in a long time. Dresses and all :)

Nabs xo


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