The Concept of the Bio-Dress
Picture wearing a soft beautiful organic gown with imbedded wild flower seeds in the hemlines. After the big date you bury the dress in a garden. The dress slowly biodegrades becoming part of the earth while the seeds take hold and soon flowers bloom. With every years bloom good memories of your special day would return.
I started by researching paper fabric, the paper dress boom in the 1960s, organic materials and designs that were simple yet elegant. I watched movies like The True Cost and researched organic wholesalers and organic cotton farms in America. I found so much information it was hard to know what info was really correct and what was not. Some books would say one thing and then others would contradict. I also learned what IFOAM, GOTS and OTA mean. Even if I went no further on this project I was happy with everything I learned.
I found an Etsy shop, Conscious Elegance ,that specifically sells to sewist that make wedding apparel. She answered all of my questions promptly and with honest information. I also have a special place in my heart for Etsy because it is where I got my start.
Other Companies I found that sell organic fabrics are Organic Cotton Plus, Honey Be Good, Birch, Clothworks (was GOTS certified), Cloud9, Daisy Janie, Harmony Art, Monaluna, Timeless Treasures, Windom, Aurora Silk, and Picknatural. To my surprise even Robert Kaufman had organic cloth.
Gaia Concepts a conscious clothing company with organic, US made clothing has a great article on cloth.
Okay the good stuff! The making of my bio wildflower wedding dress. I ordered 2 yards of wide width organic cotton sateen from Conscious Elegance. I had to figure out a pattern next. I love to get all of my patterns out and go through them.
I have always wanted to sew something from a 1930s pattern.
What about the thread, buttons and zipper? How do I make this dress and keep it biodegradable? I chose cotton thread and natural sea shell buttons. I thought about the zipper for a while longer.
Instead, for the closure I made eyelet button holes and a strap to tie up the side. After making the dress I realized it really could be a pull over as well. I love learning new things on these adventures.
Piecing the Dress
The piecing also was quite the learning experience. Being a 1930 pattern this was before everyone had sergers, marking tools and other mass made modern tools that we have today.
Pinning/sewing the bodice was pretty intense. These symmetrical pieces are supposed to be folded over and topstitched down. Here is how I made it easier, I did straight top stitching at my seam allowance with my tension turned up to 6. This made folding in my lines and corners so much easier. With the tension turned up those seams practically turn in on their own. A good iron press and some clipping in the corners and curves of the stitching really makes all the difference.
Lots of Topstitching
I did 3 rows of top stitching with cotton thread. I did not think it would biodegrade well with serger stitches.
Here are my finished photos.
I now have a great handle on how to make a biodegradable dress. My next step will be to figure out how I get the seeds worked into the garment. Stay tuned for the next chapter in my project.
Professional photos by Sharon Elaine Photography and modeling is Ruby Randall.
If you have an interest in an earth friendly or any custom dress please contact me to get on my project list.
Thank you for reading!
Dream it! Sew it!
Tracy! This is an awesome blogpost and an awesome idea. I can’t wait to see what happens! I love love love the Game of Thrones closure adaptation. That’s fabulous ingenuity. I’ve been wanting to create a Cersei-type gown for years and you’ve inspired me to give it more serious thought. \n\nAnd thank you for linking to my shop! It’s so wonderful to be working with other designers who are trying to make a difference in the world. \n\nYou rock. <3