Lowe Olsen Makes Her Own Sustainable Dresses at Home

Published 17/04/2020
By: xxx Published: d/m/Y

I started following Lowe Olsen on Instagram way back and ever since she has amazed me with her sense of style. When she quit her job as a designer last spring she found a new approach to design. After working for a fast fashion brands for several years she realized that not only did the product chain not reflect her values, it didn’t do her designs real justice either.

One day she wandered into one of her local thrift shops and found a new arrived pile of old curtains and table cloths. They were the most beautiful patterns and colors and Lowe thought to herself, wow these would make great dresses, oh wait, why aren’t they already?

About her designs.

“I actually didn’t start designing for myself until I quit my full time job as a designer, haha. I found it to be the biggest relief to finally just design and sew stuff I wanted to wear, and not make clothes for other brands or other kind of customers.”

“I actually just make whatever I feel like wearing at the moment. Right now they’re voluminous, with puffy sleeves using shit loads of fabric. But that can change in a heartbeat. “

And where she finds the fabric.

“I usually make my dresses out of fabrics I find thrifting. Most of the fabrics I use are old table cloths or curtains. You can find the coolest fabrics if you just go through the home-section in vintage and second hand stores. Sometimes I buy new fabrics. Most of the times, the idea of the design comes to me when I see the fabric.”

About the first dress she ever made from upcycled fabrics.

“The first dress I made was the yellow/green/red striped one. This one is made out of old curtains i found at Myrorna, and what’s so special about it is that we actually had these curtains in my childhood home. I am the most nostalgic person I have ever met (can you say that without sounding like a total self-obsessed freak?) I hope so.. any way, since I’m VERY nostalgic this meant the world to me. I was very pleased when I have enough fabric over to make a tiny little top as well.”

And why she almost only do dresses.

“At first it was just a lazy thing. I made oversized dresses that didn’t need perfect construction or the perfect fit to look good.”

“I really felt like I needed to create something, but I needed to do it quick (zero patience) in order to feel like I achieved something. “

“As I mentioned, this was when I had quit my full time job and had no plans on getting a new one. I had all the time in the world, yet everything I sewed I sewed in a rush. Therefor – easy, oversized designs. Ps. I feel better now, and have worked on my patience. I’m even making other type of garments these days. “

On the dress process.

“Sometimes I sew from patterns, and if I do, I make the patterns myself. Since I usually use fabric that I find second hand, I can’t just buy more when I find something I like. That means I need to adjust the design of the garment to the size of the fabric. Sometimes there’s just not enough fabric for two sleeves. And sometimes, if I hit the jackpot, I have enough for a full on maxi dress with two sleeves and a lot of frills.”

Lowe’s best tips for home quarantine sewing studio

“You are in quarantine god damn it. Google and youtube is your best friend. Go through a few tutorials to see someone else do it first.”

“Go through your closet and pick out something you don’t use anymore. Cut it apart (at the seams) to get the pattern pieces. Place them on top of an old curtain (or why not bed linen) and cut the pattern pieces out. Sew them back together as the original garment. This helped me to just get started. Even if it’s just a basic t-shirt or a simple blouse.”

“Oversized designs is your best friend, until you’re a full-blown tailor.”

But if you want to buy one of her creations she might say yes…

“I actually got a lot of questions on IG about this, but for some reason I haven’t gotten to it yet. I think I just need to get over whatever it is that holds me back. So the answer is gonna be YES! Hit me up on instagram and I will make it happen!”

Published 17/04/2020

Fanny Ekstrand is a writer, creative consultant and founder of Hobnob. She says she is the master of vintage shopping and knows all the pasta dishes in the world.

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