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  • geriberman

My Firstborn Garment Clone

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

It's my firstborn's birthday today, so I thought it'll be an appropriate time to feature my firstborn garment clone:

This halter-neck maxi dress was birthed about two years ago when my sewing frenzy began.

At that time, I viewed thousands of instruction videos on YouTube to improve my rudimentary skills in the endeavour. I chanced upon a YouTuber, WithWendy who makes many DIYs. Many of her makes are clones of clothes she already owns. She has many videos showing how she does it, for example you can check out one here. April of Coolirpa also has a good video here explaining similar techniques of cloning. Following the guidelines in these videos, anyone can reproduce his/her favourite garments.

I picked a beloved Patagonia halter-neck midi for my first attempt at cloning.

This dress was bought 15 years ago, and it's a great dress to travel with. Made of a knit material, it stays wrinkle-free in your backpack, and is versatile enough for a picnic in the park, or cocktails at a soiree.

It's a relatively easy dress to clone because it has only four pattern pieces: the front bodice, the back strap, front and back skirt pieces. The front bodice with neck straps is fully lined, and the back straps are folded into a double layer for reinforcement.

Here are the pattern pieces after I've traced out the dress on paper:

During this time of early experimentation, I was fully charged with enthusiasm, but shoddily equipped. With no drafting paper on hand, I used large paper shopping bags for tracing the pattern on. Note that the paper pattern has no seam allowances included. Also I adjusted the halter to one that has straps at the back of the neck as well. The paper pattern has the skirt drafted for a midi length, which was the hemline for the Patagonia original. While cutting the clone, I simply extended the length to maxi.

Transferring the pattern from dress to paper wasn't difficult at all. Then seeing the clone slowly emerge into shape in the actual fabric was pretty satisfying, I must say. The replica is true to form!

The challenging task for me back then was working with the 4-way stretch material. I struggled finding the right type of stitch and length on my machine to deal with it. But it all turned out well with the help of a stretch needle, twin needle and some patient practice. This swimwear fabric was gifted to me by a good friend, (Hi Sharon! @weinsharon on instagram), and I love it because of the print, and because it is perfect material for the clone. I wish I had some left over to make a bikini, but c'est la vie! So if I ever find myself falling into pool at a party, this dress is the one for it.

I will end off with a shout-out to my firstborn, my heart, my joy - my Buddha-boy that will never have a clone to take his place. Happy fabulous birthday! He's also a great photographer, who's helping me with all these pictures on the blog.

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