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Conversational Threads

Little Brown Dress Project – From 2006

jatman | Posted in General Discussion on

Has anyone else seen this?  I just ran across it recently – this lady made and wore the same dress for 1 year as a protest against consumerism.  I applaud and respect her commitment but I’m not sure I could do it – could you?


I’d be happy to make 100% of the new clothes that I wore for 1 year – but I’m not sure I could to that either.




  1. damascusannie | | #1

    It'd be easy to make 100% of the clothes you wore for a year if it was just ONE dress! 8^)

    It was an interesting project, although not one that I'd go for. I guess I don't really fit the mold of the typical female clothing consumer anyway. I wear my faves until they fall to pieces and only buy new when I have to. I found a great dress and two new skirts this spring at thrift stores, bought some capris,and a few new tanks and summer tops on sale at Walmart (so you know I didn't spend much there!) and that's it for new clothes this year. I should be set for winter, except for replacing some worn-out jeans and maybe a new dress for our nephew's wedding, which I will either make or buy on clearance.

    I hit a huge snag in the past year as I lost 30 pounds and dropped from a 12/14 to a 6/8 in size so I had to replace my ENTIRE wardrobe! OUCH! But now it's all new, so I'm good for a couple of years. I like classic styles with just one or two fun, trendy things, so I don't usually spend much on clothes in any given year.

    1. jatman | | #2

      Good for you on the weight loss!  Any tricks you'd care to share?  Just kidding.  I only wish it took a trick and not hard work.

      I really wish I could do what the 'brown dress' lady did but that would take more commitment than I can muster.  And probably  more skill as I'm not willing to wear the same thing for a year.  I also wish I could become a vegetarian as I am an animal lover but that only lasts until the first time I really crave a burger.  I have to admit that as I am prone to order that burger as opposed to a salad I am also prone to finding a really cute top/jean/etc and buying it as well.

      Just want everyone to know that I'm not making a commentary on consumer spending or anything else - just really in awe of the commitment it would take to wear the same thing for 365 days a year.  I would love to commit to wearing only what I make for a year but, again, I think I need more skills than I currently have now.  And point taken on how easy it would be to only wear what you made if it was the same thing for the entire year!  I just couldn't do it!




    2. katina | | #67

      Annie, I hope you lost that weight because you wanted to, and not from illness or stress.


      1. damascusannie | | #69

        I had to lose the weight because of my blood pressure. It was intentional and done slowly and carefully and I've kept it off for a year now!!! It was a good thing as I have not treated my body carefully over the years and the battles with cattle, horses and other critters has taken its toll on my back, knees and hips. The first thing I noticed--even before the change in my figure, was that my feet and knees started feeling better and when I started walking, my problems with shortness of breath got much better. That had really started to worry me, but I realize now that I was just terribly out of condition. Now I'm a comfortable 130 lbs, not a stick-figure, but healthy and relatively fit. It's a good feeling!

        1. katina | | #70

          Congratulations - glad you're so well


          1. damascusannie | | #71

            Me, too! I forgot to mention that the blood pressure is down to normal ranges now, which was the whole point after all.Annie in Wisconsin, USA
            ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
            ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
            See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

            Edited 7/29/2008 9:56 am by damascusannie

          2. rodezzy | | #74

            Good to hear you are doing well.

        2. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #72

          Way to go Girl! I have been battling my weight for a few years now, but my meds make it difficult. One pound at a time, slowly, and keep it off. The hardest part has been the maintainance schedule, where you just hold the weight stable for a while. You are right about battling cattle. Hard on the old body. Running over rough terrain is hard on the ankles and knees. Keep up the good work, it is worth it. Cathy

          1. damascusannie | | #73

            Cathy--I hear ya about the meds! I have panic anxiety disorder and the meds I was taking for that didn't help at all. I've been off for about two years now, making do with nutritional supplements that support endrocrine function, which helps a lot and making sure I keep up with my exercise, which also helps a lot, but I'll probably never be entirely free of it. Between working beef cattle as a kid, dairy cattle as an adult and then later working with horses, my poor old bod is in permanently damaged condition. 8^) Oh, well, I enjoyed those days and have no regrets. I would love to have horses again, but our life-style just isn't suited to it any more; too much travel nowadays.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #75

            Unfortunately, I am probably not going to be able to come off of my meds, so far, each attempt has been rather disastrous. The weight loss each attempt has been around 50lbs, so I figure every little lb lost is a big loss, tee hee. I have to be so careful of what I eat, that a weight loss program is useless, then I wouldn't eat anything at all! Funny that a dairy farmer is lactose intolerant eh? Actually, we went into semi-retirement and gave up the dairy end a year ago, but still have a few animals. I am still talking to DH about having a few beef around, as I can't see us without at least a few animals around. I miss them too much otherwise. I keep threatening him with angora goats. Cathy

          3. damascusannie | | #76

            I'm lactose intolerant, too. Ironic, since we were dairy farmers for a while, and my husband has two brothers and two sisters that are dairy farmers, too. I can manage cheese and yogurt but milk is the kiss of death! It seems that the fermentation that the yogurt and cheese go through breaks down the lactose just enough that I can handle it in these forms.

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #77

            Yes, the bacteria in cheese and yoghurt predigests the lactose proteins so we can tolerate them. The Lactaid pills and milk have the enzymes added to them to do that for us. I love icecream and to drink milk, but they sure don't like me! I also am on a salt reduced, fat reduced diet. Talk about taking the fun out of life. And then add, or rather, take away all the foods that trigger migraines, and there isn't too much left. But I am going to thoroughly enjoy what I can eat! Cathy

          5. Tangent | | #78

            Cathy and Annie, and others with lactose-intolerance, have you tried goat's milk?  It might be your answer.  Goat's milk is naturally homogenized, with much smaller fat globules than cow's milk.  Some goats have very strong-flavored milk, so 'shop around' for those with a very mild flavor.

            Angora goats are raised for fleece, and have a different sort of personality than dairy goats, a bit more 'flighty'.  Alpine, Saanen, Toggenburg, and LaMancha are a few popular breeds that are raised for milk.  And then there are Nubians, the "Jersey" of the dairy breeds, with higher milk-fat content. Nubians are more 'vocal', and have long ears that hang down, and a Roman nose, giving their voice a distinct sound, and they come in all sorts of coat colors/patterns. 

            Goats are so much easier to handle than cattle and horses, as long as you have nice high fences, and they can be as smart as dogs. Some have said smarter!  LOL   Female goats don't have much odor.  It is the adult male, the buck, who has musk glands on top of his head that produce the infamous rank perfume, which he rubs everywhere, and he gets very odiferous in breeding season (fall). You don't need to keep your own buck; the females can be bred by AI, or be taken to visit the chosen sire at his residence.

            I once had to construct a bra for a goat.....  she wouldn't wean her last-year's kids, and this helped break their habit.

            Has anyone else noticed how many types of allergies are around these days, that were unheard-of fifty years ago?   We'd have been in BIG trouble if we couldn't eat our peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, since that was what most kids had in their lunch! 

            Edited 7/29/2008 10:55 pm by Tangent

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #79

            Yes, I have had goat milk, my neighbour had a goat for her little people to drink until they were able to drink cows milk. She fed it as a bridge between nursing and cows milk.
            I also have a neighbour who has a milking herd of goats, nubians primarily, and I think they a wonderful. I am wondering where your knowledge of these animals came from? are you an owner? DH and I have been discussing my wanting hair goats for years. Maybe now that the cows are gone.... I do not know how my family would have ever survived with out PB and J growing up when I was a kid. My girls couldn't take that or egg sandwiches to school due to allergies in their classrooms. It was a real hardship some months. Cathy

          7. Tangent | | #80

            The knowledge of goats comes from experience, years ago.  Sometimes I miss those days, but I'd need to shed 30 years off my age to do it again! LOL

            Some friends are raising Alpacas for fiber, they are something to consider if you're looking for fleece, but it's hard to beat mohair! Alpacas are smaller than Llamas.


          8. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #81

            As the smaller dairy operations shut down around here, it is a matter of get really big or get out, a lot are looking into alternative options in livestock. Dairy goats is one of them. We have about 6 fair size llama/alpaca/hair goat operations in the area as well. Sheep seem to be coming back as well. It would be nice if these people could actually make a real living at it. Most do it for a hobby. I better not get on that soap box. Cathy

          9. damascusannie | | #82

            I have a friend that has goats and it doesn't seem to be much better than cow's milk for me. Plus, I don't care what she says, it has a definitely 'goaty' flavor that I just don't care for, in spite of selective breeding for mild flavor. I've been off fluid milk for about ten years now and about the only thing that really stands out as different for me is that I don't put milk on my cereal and I drink calcium fortified orange juice instead of milk. I can handle the occasional pudding or custard made with milk, I just can't have it with every meal like I used to.

          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #83

            I miss milk on my cereal. I eat it with yoghurt. And the calcium enriched foods like OJ are a help. I do like milk in my coffee, and I can have some milk products in small amounts with a meal. But you are right about the flavour of goats milk. I really was not fussy about it. Same as soy milk. Ok for cooking with, esp pancakes and cakes, and good for making whipped toppings with, actually my family prefers it and it lasts longer on cakes. I do take the calcium supplements because of cholesterol problem with fats, and have to be careful of cheese. You would think I would be a lot skinnier. Cathy

  2. kaitydid | | #3

    well not gonna lie, i think the whole thing is a bit over-the-top. i definitely would NEVER do it. maybe i would design all my clothes, but i would make sure they didn't look as homemade as hers. 

    1. User avater
      ghis | | #22

      Your comments on the brown dress story got me interested in the young lady`s commitment and after reading most of this incredible story I have
      a great admiration for that young women,she seems to be a wonderful person,a good dancer and a devoted mother.All this to say that your comments on the dress and the capability of sewing it bothered me,I am not trying to start anything bad here but like you said I not gonna lie

      1. Ralphetta | | #24

        You make a good point.

      2. kaitydid | | #26

        i was not trying to offend anybody, i was simply stating my opinion. but seeing as i am the youngest person here, it is more likely that i would have a different opinion than others. i was raised in a very different generation.

        1. Cherrypops | | #27

          Ok, I too will jump into this Discussion.

          1: I did read the website. I read all of the members comments.

          2: I personally would not do this, though I admire her.

          3: I went to private schools so had to wear the same uniform each day.

          4: Many Workplaces require staff to wear uniforms.

          5: I very rarely sew my own clothes, I can, I just sew for everyone else.

          6: I don't shop for new clothes each week anymore either, priorites changed when I had a child. I love my jeans and t-shirt.

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter what age we are. Everyone sees things differently due to their way of life, the era they were brought up in.

          I'm somewhere in the middle age group here, at 37, married with one 6yr old.

          And I have learnt a lot of sewing techniques and have fun learning about the people that go with them.

          Please keep bringing these little beauties to our attention.


          Edited 7/10/2008 8:41 pm by Cherrypops

          1. kaitydid | | #34

            i once again want to apologize for the way my message came across. i wasn't saying she was a bad person, and certainly it takes a great amount of commitment and courage to do something like that. i just know that it is something i wouldn't do. but after all, it takes different people to make the world go round.

          2. MaryinColorado | | #50

            I'm in my fifties, but love variety and color in my life so I wouldn't do it.  I'm stubborn enough, and agree with her view that consumerism and waste has run amuck.  I too, am aware and concerned regarding "GREEN" issues and do what I can to help Mother Earth. 

            I rarely have reason to "dress up" so I have a black pantsuit that I've had for years and I vary the tops and accessories. 

            I'm quite thrifty, but at least once a year I love to splurge on something special if I can.  This year I got a new puppy, last year it was a new car (improved gas milage and warranty, but I admit, I didn't "need" a convertible).  We all do what we need to do to survive or if possible enjoy the time we have on this earth.  I too, appreciate the lady's ability to commit to her beliefs and follow through with it.  I was an activist in my youth, but have mellowed with age regarding most issues.  I'm glad to have read about her, so "Thank You" to the person who shared the info.

            One of the greatest things about freedom is having the free will to do what seems right for us as long as it doesn't hurt others.  Humanity is what matters.  I know it's a cliche, but for me, "variety is the spice of life".  Our differences are what makes each of us unique.  Mary

            Edited 7/22/2008 11:31 am by MaryinColorado

        2. User avater
          ghis | | #35

          Oh I understand now,dear Kaitydid being the youngest as you say and of a very different generation,respect and recognition of someone`s work and commitment is of all generations and maybe you should reflect on that.Because you did offend me but this is beside the point,the person you touch the most is the young lady with the little brown dress.
          Believe me I am not trying to give you a sermon here or making you look like a unappreciating young girl I am just stating my own opinion and it always feels good to be nice to others,you should try it sometimes

          1. kaitydid | | #40

            Well, i have to say now i am offended but i shall put that aside as it would seem rude to say so. I do try to be nice sometimes and apparently you never saw that.

          2. User avater
            ghis | | #44

            Kaitydid,the first time I ever reed you is the time you posted about the little brown dress so I could not tell where you are trying to be nice.Yet it did give a bad impression of yourself and also a lot of people tough the same thing because some even wrote to me on my personal site to say they were ok with what I said, so you did give a bad impression and I am sorry that you are offended ,just keep in mind that sometimes things are better left unsaid so not to offend others and to respect every ones`s work.

  3. sewchris703 | | #4

    Interesting.  I don't have a lot of clothes and only one pair of shoes.  I wear the same 3 pairs of pants (2 black, one brown) to work.  They are over a year old now and still look good.  I'm just now starting to make/buy new blouses to wear to work as the weather gets hotter and the old ones wear out.  But those have lasted almost as long as the pants.  And I wear them on my days off as well as for work.  I have 3 pairs of pants for non-work days--2 pairs of kahkis and one pair of jeans.  I sew my underwear as the old ones wear out and buy new bras about every 6 months.


  4. BernaWeaves | | #5

    Back in school I wore the same uniform for 6 years.  Same one, every day.

    I kinda liked it.  I never had to think about what I was going to wear.


    1. MarieCurie | | #51

      Funny, I thought the same thing about wearing my Air Force uniform for nine years.  My daily choices were simple:  Do I wear the blue blouse with the blue skirt or with the blue pants?  When we went to BDU's every day, the choice was even more simple;  which set is clean?

      1. MaryinColorado | | #52

        Thank You for serving your country!  Way to go, girl!  Mary

    2. katina | | #68

      Me too, Berna. You know, could be why I sewed virtually all my clothes through High School - to be different?


  5. Ralphetta | | #6

    My daughter is an activist and I'm almost afraid to mention that site to her because it's the kind of thing she would do!

    1. User avater
      JunkQueen | | #7

      I wear one style and brand of blue jeans day in and day out. I didn't realize how set in my dress code I was until my grandson asked me why I always wore jeans. I've been doing this for several years. Don't really recall when I started. They are comfortable. Inexpensive. Can be dressed up with a attention to the tops and (especially) the jackets I choose. I do have some dress up clothes -- weddings, funerals, performances at the community playhouse or the university fine arts presentations. Now that I think about it, I could for the most part, wear my "uniform" to some of those functions. I revamped a tee shirt this past week. A plain black cotton/lycra knit. I saw a black with red rose print rayon blouse hanging in the closet and got an "oh yeah!" idea. Cut the tee down the front, cut a strip from the blouse, shirred it, serged the rayon piece to the tee. Had a mishap, and caught the tee in the knife blades. So I cut 4 or 5 roses from the rayon, appliquéd them in a scattered fashion to the remaining black knit in the front, thus hiding the one cut spot. Cut the binding off the neckline, and bound it in bias cut from the blouse. Then I got worried about the shirring thread breaking, so I cut a narrow strip of the knit I had cut out of the tee so it would curl up on itself. I couched that down the shirring and viola. New tee shirt. I like it so well that I'm taking it with me when I leave tomorrow on a trip to visit some old friends (and I mean that literally.. teeheehee...) from high school who are throwing a big Independence Day party down on the bay.

      1. sewslow67 | | #8

        Hey JQ:  You are a real inspiration.  I've got a new old t's that I still like but, for one reason or another (spilled spaghetti sauce that didn't come out, etc) that I think I'll revamp.  Thanks for your detailed description of your creative endeavors.  If you ever get a chance to share a photo, please do.  And thanks again for a terrific idea.

        1. User avater
          JunkQueen | | #10

          When I get back from my trip next week, I'll be happy take some pictures and share. I have a hard time taking pictures in my house. I have to get outdoors in a subdued light. Just not talented in photography. I had a great time working on this project. Some of it won't bear really close scrutiny. My mother used to say, "It'll never be noticed on a galloping horse" when she was tired of redoing. The older I get, the more I use that. I know Mother is looking down at me and smiling and nodding.

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #11

            I think I will post your little saying in my sewing room. I tend to be too picky most times and get bogged down by it. I find it hard to say something is good enough, so perhaps it will help me relax a little and learn to say Its Perfect...Enough. Cathy

          2. sewslow67 | | #12

            That would be great; I'll look forward to a picture. 

            Now then, I love your mother's saying.  There are cultures that, if they do something that turns out perfect, they will make a tiny flaw in it purposefully.  Their reasoning is that there is one but perfect soul in the world, which is God ...thus, we humans should not compete or offend by doing something perfect as well.  I must say though, I really like your mother's saying.  That's terrific!  Thanks for sharing it.

          3. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #13

            Okay, here is the shirt. Please ignore the "artwork" my youngest granddaughter left for me on the utility room door!

          4. sewslow67 | | #16

            Oh my, that's terrific.  Thank you so much for taking time to get a picture to share with all of us.  Like you, I also worked in corporate America and dressed so similar to what you described.  And now ...yes ...I wear mostly jeans and t-shirts, albeit ones I have made that are more feminine than those bought in a store.  And I like the fit of my own better, too ...and the fabric ...and the trims, etc.  Thanks again, JQ.

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #17

            What a great remake! Love the flowers. Cathy

          6. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #18

            Thank you for the kudos. The flowers were to cover the hole that was cut in the fabric when I let it get into the serger knives. One looked funny, so I added the others for a bit of balance. The old making lemonade when you are handed lemons adage.

          7. Gloriasews | | #19

            Your recycled T-shirt turned out great!  Good for you!  Do you have small black buttons down the front or am I just seeing things?  Love the appliques, too.  Aren't you glad now that you didn't throw this T out when you thought you'd ruined it?


          8. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #20

            Gloria, no buttons down the front although that would be a nice touch. That is a long strip of the knit I trimmed from the center front that I cut very narrow so it would curl up on itself to make a tube. I then couched it with short (don't recall the setting now) zig zag stitching that was nearly satin stitching. That feature wasn't planned either, I was just looking at the shirring and was convinced they would undoubtedly break at some point in time, and then I'd have a mess. One of my friends wants one similar, and if I decide to make it, I may use elastic thread -- and the buttons now that you've given me the idea. I know this may shock other sewers, but I've plenty of fabric and/or recyclable clothes to choose from in my stash. ;-)

          9. Gloriasews | | #21

            With this success, your mind is in full creative mode - you may end up remaking much of what's in your closet.  Good for you!  I did notice that centre stitch you had - it looked like piping, but now I remember you mentioning the couching.  Very pretty!

            When/if you make a top with buttons down the front (knit fabric), you should stabilize/face the front edges, as knits sometimes gape when they are buttoned (or put the buttons close together).  Just a thought.  Do post a picture of it when it's done.  Good luck!


          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #28

            I wonder if button loops would work with the front of your lovely top? It is so elegant, I would probably use that type of closure rather than button holes. Just a thought for the future. It must look lovely on you, and so practical too. Cathy

          11. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #29

            You must know how much I dislike making button holes! Closely spaced shanked buttons, either covered or not, with loop closures would certainly add a wow factor. I found some Swarovski crystal buttons on (really deep) clearance not long ago that I've been looking for a place to use them. This type shirt in a bit more glamorous fabric might just fit the bill. Thanks for the idea. I'm making a list of all the good ideas that I'm hearing here. I'm not proud. I will appropriate ideas from anyone.

          12. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #30

            Glad I could help! Must be on some sort of psychic wavelength or something because I was thinking jet buttons for your shirt! Besides, it isn't appropriation, it is brain storming. ;) Cathy

          13. MaryinColorado | | #49

            Sharing ideas and inspiring others is one of the great things about Gatherings!  Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas and suggestions through the years!  Now, I've got to go get started on those T shirts!  I'm going to try making curled edges on some of the hems with my serger with Wooly Nylon or Success Serger Yarn which is really soft and I usually use it for baby items.  Mary

          14. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #53

            I love that Gatherings gives me something nice to think about. Or a problem to mull over for someone else. It takes me around the world, beyond my own 4 walls. I like to talk with the other people, or just listen in, and find out what everyone else is working on. It keeps me plugging away at my own projects, keeping me encouraged when I get bogged down. The creativity and inspiration and friendliness keeps me checking in daily for my "fix". Cathy

          15. MaryinColorado | | #55

            Well said!  We are so lucky to have this forum so we can learn, share, and be inspired!  Mary

          16. sewchris703 | | #32

            I also hate buttonholes but worse, I hate making those tiny fabric tubes. Since I now work in a bridal shop, I can use all those spaghetti straps that the brides and bridesmaids don't want. They make the best button loops and I don't have to make them. Just find the right color match/blend. I also check out thrift stores and buy clothes that have the right notions/buttons/lace/fabric on them that I'm looking for. It's way cheaper than buying new and you can get a great vintage look that way.Chris

          17. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #33

            Lucky You! Isn't it great to have a resource like that. I don't always use fabric tubes for button loops. Heavy cord, elastic, ribbon, and hand sewn loops are my favorites. They are often easier for my thick fingers to do up. Cathy

          18. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #39

            What a great resource you have. I was thinking of using elastic pony tail holders for the loops. Also, I was in Hobby Lobby today (a chain store here in the US which caters to ..... well, hobbiests -- of all ilks). Anyhow, as I scratched through their notions clearance bins, I came across some round nylon/satin ribbon that could be used for button loops. It may not be quite heavy enough, but I think it will work. If not, then I know it would if I braided it. ...... No wait, it would be heavy enough. I bought one spool of it (24 feet for 60¢ -- whoopie!), and I just now opened it. It will work beautifully. The brand appears to be "ribbonFX" and this one is Item #143099. 100% nylon. That's just in the event anyone cares to pursue it.

          19. sewelegant | | #23

            Beautiful!  I think your t-shirt would become my new "uniform" if I owned it!  Since my hair has turned white I like wearing black but it is such a drab color over all so I am always looking for something bright to lighten it up.  What a great way to use some favorite fabric whether it be from another garment or from your stash, especially if there is not enough to go very far.

            As for the brown dress... I would have to wash it every night and then who would be learning a lesson?  It's too bad that in order to make a statement or to get people's attention we have to go to extremes so I applaud those willing to do that to fight for what they think is right.  Like so many of you have mentioned I too have only a few (2 or 3) garments at one time that become my favorites and they get worn almost exclusively because they are so comfortable.  But, I have a big stash so I guess I add to the comsumerism problem as much as anyone else.

          20. rodezzy | | #45

            Cute shirt.  I love roses.

          21. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #46

            Thank you, rodezzy.

          22. MaryinColorado | | #48

            Your shirt looks great, thanks for posting the photos!  Your grand daughter is an "artist in training"!  Mary

          23. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #54

            Thank you, Mary. I've been working on another one that likely isn't going to 'make the cut', but it's been a learning experience. Here's one of the fun things I tried on it. I began with a solid color tee and had some striped light weight knit in my stash. I cut the stripe on the bias and right in the front made a chevron pattern. After looking at that for a while, I decided it needed something. Anything. So I took the serged seam I had trimmed off at the side seams and couched that down the center front with monofilament. So far, that is the one redeeming feature of this venture. I think it is destined for the trash, but I've put it aside for a while to see if I can conjure up any way to salvage it.

          24. MaryinColorado | | #56

            It sounds cute, what don't you like about it?

          25. JanF | | #57

            How boring!
            and what about washing - effects on environment etc??
            I haven't read all the comments - but did anyone question how often she cleaned it? God if it was me - first day on I'd have dropped something on it and had to wash and dry before school the next day - panic mode!
            I applaud the sentiment - but not the practicalities of it.
            And i'm sorry - I think I'd have wanted something a little more inspired if people were going to be watching my clothes.
            Do all "activists" wear such dowdy stuff?
            I have to say - when I was her age and "protesting" - I did it with what I hope was a little more designer flair.

          26. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #58

            My thoughts are that whatever one wears, it has to be washed or cleaned in some fashion, so I'm not sure wearing ONE thing would cause any more washing, over time, than wearing something different every day for 365 days. They are all going to have to washed, no? You might want to read the entire text for her care practices.For practicality and versatility, I think she was spot on with her choice of a basic dress, based on her particular life style. A plain basic style can be changed and accessorized and adorned much easier than something that is NOT basic. I think she is most admirable and talented.

          27. JanF | | #59

            As I said - I admire the sentiment entirely!
            also I did say I had not read all the articles etc.so probably missed a vital bit! However I still think the design needed a little work, I wonder what she thought after the year - I will go on her website and find out full details.

          28. sewelegant | | #61

            My problem with only having one thing to wear and the washing part is:  I always get something on whatever I am wearing and it was even worse when the kids were little ones!  So in order to have something clean to wear the next day... I would be washing that dress out every night and that would get very old.  I think I would have appreciated her project a little more if she had at least given herself two dresses.

          29. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #62

            Jatman, and All, I have been following these posts about the little brown dress and ruminating. This lady made a lifestyle choice and called it Art because she documented it. She was trying to make a statement about the frivolities of our throwaway society and the garment industry. In the end, I really do not think she succeeded, in that someone stole the garment. If she really cared about making a statement, she would have taken better care of it, don't you think? Cathy

          30. Tangent | | #63

            "Someone stole the garment"....  that does not imply she wasn't taking good care of it.  She may have had it put away in what she considered a proper place, or she might have left it laying around for all to access.  She didn't say, only that it had been stolen.  I don't think she was pleased about the theft, and in the final posting she didn't indicate any knowledge of who or why, only that it had been 3 weeks since she last saw it.

            Maybe the thief wanted to destroy the darn thing.  Or maybe wanted to wear it herself?  (Himself???)  Guess we'll never know.

          31. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #64

            In her post, the lady indicated that she was in a bit of a hurry to change from her garment in order to celebrate. She was somewhat annoyed that the garment had gone missing. If this had been my Art, the dress would have gone on display amongst the party goers, to be included in the party. I was not implying that she had not taken proper care as much as saying that I didn't think she finished her Art project with a proper display presentation. Cathy

          32. Tangent | | #65

            ok, now I get it.  Sometimes I need to have things explained to me, slowly, with small words!   LOL

          33. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #66

            Its ok, I am like that most days. lol But I guess If I had worn the dress for a year, and I was going to a party, I would be in a hurry to change into my party outfit also. Just to my way of thinking, even if it was performance art, the dress was just as much the performer as the artist, and should have been just as much center stage for the final curtain call, thats all. Cathy

          34. jatman | | #85

            I guess I didn't think of it as 'art'.  I just thought of it as an experiment that she documented.  I think she was a bit upset over the dress's disappearance but I suspect that whoever took it was someone she knew who was undoubtedly trying to let her know that they were tired of seeing it.  I wonder if she ever got it back.


          35. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #86

            She was promoting the whole thing as performance art. That was why she documented it. Her last update indicated that the dress was still missing and no sign of it. Cathy.

          36. jatman | | #87

            Thank you - I was too lazy to reread it to see if she ever got it back!


      2. Ralphetta | | #9

        It sounds cute.

      3. MaryinColorado | | #47

        It sounds as if your Muse was really active the day you recreated your Tshirt.  Thanks for the inspiration and techniques!  I just bought several men's Tshirts since the womens' all seem to be too tight in the chest for me.  I've washed and dryed them twice and am ready to "feminize" them with embroidery and applique and shorten the hems and sleeves. 

        Great save on the serger boo boo!  It's great to hear I'm not the only one that does that once in awhile.  Mary

  6. User avater
    JunkQueen | | #14

    I am sorry I hijacked your thread with the remake of my tee-shirt. I just got carried away with the idea of The Little Brown Dress and hence sparse closets and the recycling and/or repurposing of clothing. My clothing habits have changed significantly since getting out of Corporate America. I always dressed in classic type clothing and mixed and matched extensively thereby extending my wardrobe. Each year I would add one or more updated pieces, and I always had a number of blouses and would add trendy colors that way. I now wear jeans almost exclusively, however, I did break down and buy some black pants to wear with that shirt while on my trip.

    1. jatman | | #15

      No problem JunkQueen!  I love your t-shirt.  I would love to participate in a challenge to either make everything I wear or to re-purpose everything for a year but I have to admit - I'm a clothing junkie!  I just don't think I could do it.

      Nice work on your shirt.  Thank you for posting the picture!


  7. cycler1729 | | #25

    That's a great article!

    I hadn't realized it but that is pretty much the way I dress in the summer (except in black).  Last year I sewed 2 slightly different "little black dresses" in lightweight cotton that were like smocks - one for Monday, Wednesday and Friday and one for Tuesday and Thursday and I wore them last year all summer and so far this year too. 

    When its still cool I wear them over a leotard (my all-time favorite piece of clothing - I used to buy them direct from Danskin and sew in snaps on tape in the crotch) and capri length tights and later on over bike shorts (which aren't seen) since I am on a bike all of the time.

    I also sewed another one in lycra to wear on my way to the pool over my bathing suit .

    Since I am in NYC and the dresses are black no one notices that they are pretty much the same and that I wear them every day but they are perfect for going anywhere. 

    And the best thing is that I never need to think about what I'm going to wear for about 3 months out of the year!

    1. jatman | | #31

      Hi Cycler!  I was thinking that if I did this it would have to be in black and not brown.   I see women in skirts on bikes all the time where I live and have always wondered how they rode their bikes without showing...everything (!), but now that you've shared the secret of wearing bike shorts underneath I understand!


  8. dressed2atee | | #36

    Amazing, I could never do that! 

  9. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #37

    Not something I could do, but I know that I have a few favorite clothes that I recycle from year to year for quite a number of years. I also have my favorite patterns that I remake again and again.

    Not to put this fine lady down, but uniforms, and suits, esp. those worn by our men are often worn day in and day out, sometimes for many years. All through my High School years, my math teacher wore the same faded brown suit jacket, chalk stained, with the same tan pants. Each year they got tattier and tattier. We watched as one patch pocket actually fell off and got pinned back on! Cathy

    1. jatman | | #38

      That is too funny!  I had a CPA review course teacher who wore the same dress for about 12 weeks.  Granted, it was a class that met only once a week but I suspected that she wore the dress more than just every Wednesday.  There are some situations that you just can't do it because it undermines your professionalism, but the lady that did the experiment didn't have a job like that so it wasn't an ordeal.  I just can't imagine teaching or going to a client's office continually in the same clothing!


  10. rodezzy | | #41

    Very interesting project.  Fun to read about and see the layering throughout the months.

    1. User avater
      JunkQueen | | #42

      I agree, Rodezzy. I admire her imagination, fortitude and talent. It's like reading a Threads magazine or watching a decorating show on TV, one doesn't have to go out and DO exactly what she did. Ideally her story would give one a gentle shove to think about ways to be conservative or to recycle and repurpose current clothing. In my humble opinion, she is definitely to be admired as a THINKER.

      1. rodezzy | | #43

        Yea, I looked at the pile of fabric on my "fabric rack" and felt shame.  I need to sew this stuff.  Well, I guess I'll start my "Fall Collection" giggle. 

        I received my new Threads magazine and the jacket in the "Power Piecing" article got my juices flowing.  I was hooked.  I want to make that jacket.  I found a New Look pattern that I purchased a couple years ago with the one piece back and seamed across the sleeves to the cuff.  It is such an intriguing style and it's soooooo......well......me!  My quilting projects are pretty set now and I have a dress denim dress cut out, so I am thinking on new things so much I could hardly sleep last night.  giggle.......pitiful!

  11. nisee | | #60

    I worked with a women years ago that was saving money to leave the country. She wore the same skirt and 5 silk blouses every day for at least a year.  I was her replacement - so I only saw the last 2 weeks.  I wonder if she got her dream life?

    1. jatman | | #84

      I certainly hope she did.  If she was inspired to save money by wearing the same 5/6 things for an entire year she must have wanted it pretty badly!


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