The fashion industry’s industrial cut and sew techniques produce a polished garment, so polished in fact that it seems complete as is, closed to improvisation from the ‘outside’. But the design and construction of some garments are different, more like a work in progress, open to adaptation and repair and to building understanding about how things are made.
Fits all owners perfectly
"This dress was bought from an Op Shop for my sister by her best friend bought for her for her birthday, years and years ago. And her mom altered it by hand to fit my sister perfectly. And she wore it for a number of years but, because it is so old it is slowly disintegrating, tearing at the seams and that sort of thing. My sister has no really skill in altering or fixing clothes at all, so she just cast it off to me and said, ‘I can’t wear this, it’s falling apart to shreds,’ even though it fitted her immaculately. On me it was just a bit tight and uncomfortable and so I pulled apart all the hand-sewing that had been done and now it fits me perfectly.
…You know it seems to have fitted everyone perfectly that’s owned it. A lot of it has been done by hand and there’s no overlocking. It’s all French seamed. You’d think it was made at home but it has a tag on it though no care label or anything. So I think it has just been altered and altered and altered.
But I ironed it last night for the first time since I’ve owned it. And just everytime that I looked at something, there is some little alteration that has been done, so it just feels like a constant work in progress to be the perfect fit for whoever owns it."
Wellington, New Zealand - March 2013
Photograph by Aliscia Young