Whew! Time does not wait for anyone!!! It's just flying on by. Turns out I did not finish my reading list. In fact I only read ONE book in completion. Summer reading fail aside, there's been a lot going on. When you’re out here on your own making your ambitions come true, no one sees the back breaking work, the endless efforts, or understands how much of your time goes into it. Some do. Very few!! People maybe see the final product in a photo or video form online, possibly in person. Hopefully in person!! It’s wild.
Everything here is hand made. Every component is thoroughly sourced, looking for what I think are the highest quality materials. If I can make it, I will. If I don't know how to, odds are if it's part of my process, I'm going to learn how eventually. At this point in my journey as an artist and small business I’m very proud of what I produce. While I’m not making as much money or custom work as I want right now and I’m not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life… but I am here and VERY grateful. Thanks for any support, kind words, and feed back. Everything helps when you’re in a solution based mindset which is just ONE of the many things this journey has taught me. THAT BEING SAID! Here is an attempt to explain the amount of time & detail that goes into one of my custom works.
The most recent work of wearable art I've had to opportunity to create is a wrap dress for one very special person. I decided to hand sew it using a back stitch with embroidery floss. Using a thick needle and thread is ideal in my opinion. It feels stronger to me. We'll see how the dress fits and wears over time though. It's being shipped out this week and my nerves are eating at me!! The fabric was carefully selected from my favorite local fabric shop Discount Fabric in Clawson. Then screen printed with yellow ink. The screens I had made with my original art work at Ocelot Print Shop in Cass Corridor of Detroit. This screen was originally intended/used to print on recycled paper cards but I later knew they'd make fantastic fabrics or interesting tiled shirts! I decided to use the color yellow on the dress because while designing a couple custom necklaces for the same client, she told me her husband is color blind and can only see yellow. The gray color fabric goes perfect with the yellow floral collage screen print and fits her neutral wardrobe.
After screen printing the fabric I scavenged the internet for interesting wrap dress patterns. There are SO MANY cute designs but ultimately this dress was based on a pattern called ZOE from Dressmaking Amore. I did not buy the pattern but created my own pattern, fit to my clients measurements, from the tutorial video on this website. I really like how minimal the idea is and how simple it would be to add sleeves to the pattern. After deciding on the design I bought patterning paper from JOANN Fabrics, sketched and measured the pieces out and just... went for it. The whole process took about a month. Now that I have one made, I know the time to make it could be cut down significantly. Thinking of making one for myself honestly! Who knows what I'll make next! Would love to make another so please reach out for more details if you're interested.
The most challenging aspect of the process was the edge lining. Some of the folded pieces of fabric I wrapped around the edge of the dress moved. I spent a ton of time ironing them to get a crease but those buggers still moved out of place!!!! A few times this happened and I did not notice while sewing. I then had to go back and comb through every seem to make sure the edges would not come unfolded when wearing, over time, or after washing. I'd be more thorough on my next one as far as pinning these little details to the dresses edge. After a hand wash and drying, the dress is folded into a box and ready to ship!
While in the process of creating this dress it dawned on me that this is how EVERY piece of clothing was made before sewing machines were invented and popularized. This kind of realization makes me feel a deep connection with humanity and history. This is one reason why making things by hand is part of my lifestyle. We have been completely removed from the making process in many ways or people don't have any idea what really goes into the process of making things. People talk about slow fashion, hand sewing your own garments is a whole concept! Not a new one but it does seem kind of novel...
Leave a Reply.
About the Author & Artist
Megan LaCroix also known as Citrine is the daughter of a Navy Veteran. She’s lived all over the US but has roots in Michigan where her family is from. Spending summers in Northern Michigan exploring nature inspired her to create art work starting with jewelry and photography. She’d spend hours looking for rocks and creating assorted beaded jewelry with her sisters. In 2014 She graduated from University of Michigan School of Art & Design with a BFA then moved to Detroit where she is currently living and working. She is a multi-media artist with ever expanding skills but is best known for her jewelry, screen printing, photography, and paintings. Detroit Graffiti has a significant influence on her painting and drawing style. She’s participated in ArtPrize 2015 & 2021 and currently has a studio in the Village Arts Factory of Canton, MI.