The Denim dresses are finally here. I was inspired in so many different ways when creating these pieces. I wanted to share the back story with you all, so you can really see where my ideas came from and why they mean so much to me. Threads or strands of ideas coming together over time, to finally be woven into the Prairie Gypsy Denim Collection.
The first whisper of an idea, or the first of these threads was formed when looking at some very old photos. In particular, this photo of me when I was about 10, wearing a denim pinafore. I immediately felt nostalgic for the times I'd play Little House on the Prairie in that dress and needed to re-create the look. There was also a wonderful book that captured my imagination at the same time named Seven Little Australians that told the story of seven spirited and mischievous kids living in the Australian bush with their stern army captain father and their flighty fun stepmother. They would be always out on adventures and getting in trouble for destroying their clothes and having to sit by the fire and darn and patch them.
Secondly, I have also been inspired by our lovely friend Helen, whom I secretly call Farm Girl. She lives in rural Victoria with her 2 children and a posse of pets and animals and I'm sure so many of you who are in the Sea Gypsy Sisters group also love seeing her pics of her in Sea Gypsy clothing and her scruffy farm boots, collecting eggs or tending her sheep or creating something special with her children. She radiates all that is wholesome and genuine and shows how the dresses are part of her everyday life.
The idea was cemented when I came across a fabulous market stall in Thailand. It was filled with vintage denim dresses, and I bought the only three out of hundreds that fit me. I knew they had to make a comeback. I also needed a substitute for a great pair of well-worn jeans as I have reached the stage that comfort wins over cuteness every time and shopping for jeans is a nightmare I no longer care to face. I love denim, and I love to look cute. There had to be a way to make it work!
So, everything fell into place and the result is the Prairie Gypsy Denim Collection of dresses, but it also includes a super cute Moon Top and Denim Prairie Jacket. I needed something comfy, versatile and warm to wear over the winter months that could also be layered. Under my dresses I wear warm body hugging bright coloured woollen jumpers and pantaloons and its great the way denim goes with anything. I'm also loving mixing in other Sea Gypsy pieces; the Flannie Bloomers look so cute poking out the bottom of the Walkabout Dress.
What I love the most about the denim is that it is hard wearing and hides stains and can be worn for well over a week like jeans before washing. The pieces will look even better once they have that love-worn look.
Getting back to the tapestry of ideas that helped form this collection, and the story of the Seven Little Australians mending their clothes and sewing patches by the fire. It really resonates with me on so many levels. The way I despise ‘fast fashion’ and the modern throw away attitude so many have to clothes. I love to upcycle and mend my clothing, giving it a new lease of life in the process. Over the years I have kept so many scraps and pieces of fabric. When a favourite dress, nighty is too worn to wear I can't bear to part with it so have hung onto them and added them to my fabric stash which is also full of pieces of fabric I’ve collected on my travels. I am loving adding little patches to the denim piece....it could be a piece of my son's old weathered flannel shirt, maybe an Indian cushion that's so tattered that I can't let go, or a frill from the bottom of an old pair of PJ's sewn onto a jacket for fun. It's a great way to up-cycle them and take a little piece of the past with you.
I have put together some little starter kits of patches that I would love to share with you.... Pieces of old nighties and hand embroidered tribal pieces and bits of hand dyed doilies and lace. You really don't have to be a great sewer as the more roughly and simply hand sewn they are the cuter they will be. The patches can also be cut off and changed or added to over time, and of course can be saved to use to mend any holes of threadbare areas that your denim may develop over time… and I really do hope that these pieces are loved and worn by you, day in and day out and develop those soft tattered spots over the years. The range is meant to be lived in. I am also hoping you can use some of your collected favourite bits of material; some memories to weave together in your own denim story. I can’t wait to see what you come up with and hope we all get to share our ideas and inspirations and a few great stories from the past too. I think fabric, like music, can so easily bring up memories so why throw them out....better to upcycle them into something new to be enjoyed for a years to come.
How will you tell your denim story?
Hugs, Daniela xx