Compostable Wardrobe: My Ocean Dress
I did not realized how convenient zippers and elastic are until after I set up the “rules” for my Compostable Wardrobe series. Because neither will biodegrade, I can not include them in my articles of handmade clothing. At first this seemed limiting but slowly I am finding ways to create without their presents.
For example, I chose to use 100% organic jersey cotton for the summer dresses because the fiber stretches. The dress can be put on with ease and avoids looking like I am wearing a big formless sheet. The cotton also keeps my body cool during the humid summers.
Leaving it the off white of the organic cotton, was not an option due to my skin tone and to feeling uncomfortable wearing white-ish colors. My friend Sam and I, first tried dying the dress in red cabbage because cabbage was in season when I completed the dress. Apparently cotton and cabbage do not care for each other. In fact, I have found that cotton does not care much for any natural dyes.
I did not want to use walnut ink again, so we purchased indigo dye. Indigo is a plant native to Japan and used for natural dying. I originally wanted to use only natural, local dyes, harvested myself, for this series but I made an exception with this piece.
Because I have to keep the patterns very simple, I have started looking for pieces of antique lace to spice the outfits up. They are 100% cotton and dye similarly to the organic, jersey cotton of the dress. Both pieces will biodegrade together when the dress has completely worn out.
Until then, I’ll wear my simple, little indigo dress because it reminds me of the ocean.
The ocean is powerful.
The ocean relaxes me.
The ocean can not be controlled.
The ocean is predictable, yet complex.
The ocean always makes me feel at home in the world.
Photos by Debra Eby.