one-piece travel wardrobe

Self-drafted Romper

Pattern: Self drafted romper
Fabric: Silk chiffon from Fabric Depot Outdoor Sale
Location: Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco

I can’t believe it’s already been one year since John and I visited Morocco. In the spirit of throwbacks and Spring holidays, I’ve got a double-whammy to share today: photos that were taken in the beautiful Majorelle Garden in May of 2017 of this self-drafted silk chiffon romper that I haphazardly slapped together in the summer of 2014.

Many years ago, Fabric Depot carried beautiful bolts of designer silk overstock from Mood during their summer outdoor sale for only $6/yard. If I remember correctly, this one was Anna Sui, and while I tried to snatch up as many yards of these designer cuts as I could, each roll had a limited quantity and I basically took home all that I could. Unfortunately, this bolt only had a yard and some change.

In the summer of 2014, I was living in Manzanita, a tiny coastal town in Oregon of 600 year-round residents. I had rented a fully furnished, two bedroom cabin a couple blocks from the beach for $200 less than I was paying for a one bedroom apartment in Portland. I had plans to stay for six months, so I brought along only the essentials: some play clothes, some work clothes, pantry items, a cast iron, good knives, a few plants, my cat, and my sewing machine.

There are few things I remember about constructing this garment.
I remember only stashing a roughly cut 1 yard of this fabric, treasuring it and dreading the day I’d have to touch it with scissors, but I quickly realized that there would be no better reason than an upcoming trip to France to make it into a garment. I remember laying out this silk chiffon on an ugly rental carpet that absorbed sand so well that no vacuum cleaner could get it back out. I remember placing a pair of my favorite RTW pajama pants on top to copy the crotch curve, and boldly cutting into it as if there were no such thing as Sewing Fails. And I remember being so proud of my pattern matching that happened despite having barely enough yardage to make anything.

I think I loosely designed this piece to kind of resemble Jasmine’s pants from Aladdin (because, you know, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood). I liked this idea of baggy pants with a kind of gathered leg opening, almost like sweatpants but made with silk chiffon. And as I’m describing this with words, I’m realizing this sounds like one of the weirdest garments I own: Jasmine-inspired silk chiffon sweatpants.

Looking at it now, I know I french seamed the interior to keep the chiffon from unraveling, and I used store-bought bias tape to finish the armholes, neckline, and leg openings. But I did such a poor job in all the finishings that I’d be embarrassed if it came out of my sewing room today. I mean, can you just imagine the heavy, stiff store-bought bias tape against something as lusciously drapey as designer silk chiffon? In fact, I sometimes fantasize about gently ripping out the bias tape and replacing it with a home made silk bias tape or even reconstructing the entire thing. But, of course, that’s a project for another day when I have more patience.

Despite the poor construction, I still proudly keep this piece as part of my Me Made wardrobe. Surprisingly, I only wear it when I travel. It folds up to nothing, it breathes, the wrinkles drop quickly and they’re not as visible to begin with because of the print. In fact, I’ve now worn this piece while traveling in France, Morocco, and Sicily.

I usually pair it with a loose black slip underneath, though clearly in these photos I’m wearing it with a t-shirt and boy shorts. Morocco is an Islamic country, and while it’s common for non-native tourist women to show shoulders and knees, especially in larger cities like Marrakech, as a guest in their country, I wanted to make sure I was being respectful of their culture and beliefs. We also happened to be visiting during Ramadan, which made it even more important for me to be as respectful as possible.

By the way, these photos were taken in the Majorelle Gardens outside the Medina of Marrakech, the place and color that the famously vibrant Majorelle Blue (shown above) is named after. Originally, the garden was a passion project, created by French Orientalist Painter Jacques Majorelle over the course of 40 years, but he eventually had to open it to the public to pay for maintenance. After Jacques Majorelle passed away suddenly in 1962, the garden became unmaintained and there was talk of selling the land to hotel and real estate developers. Fortunately, that never happened, and it’s famous today because of it’s current owner: Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurent and Bergé purchased the garden in 1980, restoring it to a state surpassing it’s original glory, and today it has some 300 species of exotic plants from five continents, with the former painter’s studio transformed into a museum showcasing Saint Laurent’s personal Berber art and costume collection. After Saint Laurent passed away in 2008, his partner, Pierre Bergé, donated the garden to the Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, as a way for the artists to live on through the garden. In fact, Saint Laurent made such an impact on the garden that in 2010, the street on which the estate resides was renamed to Rue Yves Saint Laurent.

And finally, in this throwback and in processing photos that were taken over a year ago, I find it really interesting to see how much better my “blog posing” and John’s “blog photography” have gotten. I had even already processed these photos after returning home last year, and last week I found myself re-processing them to a more neutral tone, starting from scratch. None of these photos are bad, of course, and neither is my current “blog posing” perfect, but I’m surprised by how much more neutral (and less forced!) my posing has become in the course of twelve months. I guess it can’t be said enough; getting comfortable in front of a camera lens is a skill that’s developed, and it rarely comes naturally to anyone.

If you’re reading this the week it’s published, I’m likely elbow-deep in Arancini and Aperol Spritz, enjoying the Sicilian sunshine. And while I’m sure that can come off a bit braggy, what I’d really like to focus on is that I’m very proud of myself for two reasons:

  1. I actually wrote, edited, photographed, processed, and scheduled two blog posts ahead of time so I won’t be missing a single post while I’m on vacation. You can still come back next Monday, and I’ll have another post going up, despite me likely being in a post-vacation Arancini-induced haze.
  2. This is my first holiday that I’m taking an almost entirely Me Made wardrobe- with the exception of one easy warm layer and a swimsuit. I was really intentional in the garments I’ve been making in the past couple of months to round out a full holiday wardrobe. I even attempted a swimsuit, which turned out to be a bit unwearable. I hope to have a recap post of my Me Made holiday in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

As always, I appreciate your readership and for dropping by my little slow fashion space here on the internet. I hope you have a week filled with joy.

2 Comment

  1. I love your jumpsuit and it’s such a lesson to us all in being braver and creative with our much loved silks. I did something similar with a tank in silk I made myself last year (used store-bought bias tape) which was a stiff as a board (still is!) around the armhole and every time I put it on I regret that decision but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it… a lot. In fact the other day when I put it on, I thought I need to make more of these 🙂

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