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The maker´s dress as perfect work wear

Once upon a time

maker´s dress: original overalls

My 20 year old overalls were part of the costumes I wore 2003 in this play. Though a classical and cheap piece of workwear, the overalls are highly emotionally loaded for me. In the play they symbolize my tekno-travelling era. The era, in which I was creating decorations for tekno parties, physical ones still at these times. Mainly I was painting on huge pieces of cloth. I loved it.

Bridges from past to present

I asked myself: Can clothes be bridges between different eras of one´s life? Yes, they definitely can. They can be transformed and adapted to new life situations and still carry the memories of the past.

Fortunately I managed to keep the overalls until now. Though I did not use them, because they were too “precious“ I was not able to discard them, because they represented an important period in my life.

Then I stumbled upon the book “Tailored For Freedom – The Artistic Dress in 1900 in Fashion, Art and Society”. The word “Künstlerkleid” sparked my imagination and I decided to transform these overalls into my artist’s dress: A work gear for messy and possibly artistic work.


After applying for a stand on the Maker Faire Vienna I knew: This dress is not an artist´s dress, it is my maker´s dress of course.

I like this flowing associative way of developing something, There is never a finished product in my mind´s eye. I have a basic idea to get started. Then the piece develops step by step while working on it. Most times I only know the next step. But while working on this step, the next one appears kind of magically. And the next one, …

maker´s dress front and back


maker´s dress: cut up trousers

The first step was to unravel the inner leg seams, the side seams and the crotch seam of the trousers: I find the rrrrrrrtsch of the unseaming so very satisfying.

Also I always like to see how a garment is constructed.

After that I cut the four grey parts into panels for the to-be-skirt.

Time to choose the materials and the colors for the five inlays:

  • Orange cotton pants: I once bought them, because I loved the color. But in the end I never wore them.
  • Ripped linen pants: I already used the smoke blue linen for my patchwork yogabolster.
  • The black linen is a piece of cloth is a fleamarket find for a few bucks in the recyclingkosmos in Vienna. A great place for upcyclers by the way.

Refashioning: Limitations as chances

The limitations, that arise from working with preset features, often are a source for new ideas.

For example: These overalls were made for construction workers, so they had a doubled knee-area. When I removed the gusset there remained two lines of mini holes, where the seams have been before. So I needed a solution for this area.

My eye fell on a piece of stained cloth with printed motivational words – et voilà: Some of them like Play and Love will hide the tiny holes of the former seams.

First I made this sample to see if my idea is working the way I want it. I like it, so…
… I choose the words & sentences for the skirt.

Running stitches

Then it´s stitching time: I attach the letter stripes with running stitches in the background on the place, where the knees have been before. All words except PLAY are longer than the grey strip, so they spread out in the close-by strip.

I really like the versatility and simplicity of this stitch.

detail maker´s dress: Play & make new friends

detail maker´s dress: Love something in the making

Talking clothes

Clothes always do speak, some less, some more. The maker´s dress seems to be a petite chatterbox.

front maker´s dress: Play & make new friends & love stitchings
detail maker´s dress: Play & make new friends

Play and Love are huge parts of the work of a maker, aren´t they?

The back side

back side maker´s dress
detail maker´s dress: black stitching on orange back side
Running stitches again
detail maker´s dress: evolution with running stitches back side
I made this print 1999 in Bologna

And finally the labels

“Sweaty life“ is not really my philosophy of life, so I removed it and attached a cute spiderman label in the front pocket instead.

Carelabel Sweat Life of original overalls
Spiderman label in front pocket


I adore this dress, it is so comfortable to wear. And I feel strong, creative and beautiful, if I wear it.

I am so proud: A typical off-the-shelf article became a highly unique and loved item through refashioning. Isn´t it amazing?

Psst, you can see this dress in real life on June 3rd and 4th, 2023 on Maker Faire Vienna 23.


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