We’ve all been there; trying to come up with a new race day outfit… and failing miserably.

You rack your brain for that one brilliant idea hoping it comes to you, a miraculous vision. And then the waiting, and waiting… time ticks, the event gets closer. Still nothing. Panic starts to set in.

This happens to me all too often. In fact, I can’t remember a single time when coming up with an outfit was a breeze. Even if you do have an idea of what you want in your mind it can often be challenging to bring that idea into reality.

You might picture a stunning, structured bright yellow dress with an origami hem and draped, kimono sleeves… you scour online for hours and hours looking for something similar, only to come up empty handed.

You then resort to having one made, only to find you can’t find a suitable fabric in just the right shade of yellow anywhere. Or you can’t find a dress maker who can make the right pattern, and then there’s the money and time constraints…

kimono sleeves sketch creative block

Simply put, coming up with an outfit is hard. You may feel like giving up and I’m sure lots of us do. But I’m here to tell you that perseverance is the key.

You may not end up with that stunning yellow outfit you wanted, but you might just end up with something you love more, or just something so you aren’t naked at the race day, which in itself is a win.

When you are actively trying out new things, thinking creatively about solutions and being open to new options is when outfits really come together. You have to set the wheels in motion by being proactive (rather than giving up) and being prepared to change the direction the journey takes you, or even give up on elements of an idea completely.

A Story About my Recent Creative Block

I’ll share with you a little example of this happening to me recently.

The Dilemma – Stained Dress

My favourite dress, which I plan on wearing this year to the Melbourne Cup had a drink spilt down the front of it.

blue dress creative block

It can’t be dry cleaned, so I was stuck with the problem of what to do. I had no spare fabric to make a new bodice out of either.

I started thinking about it for a little while, racking my brain for options. Could I get a new fabric to make a new bodice? Could I add tulle over the bodice? The most obvious option to me was to add some embellishments to the dress to cover over the stain.

Embellishments to Cover the Stain

I made numerous trips to fabric stores looking for the perfect blue lace or fabric to use.

I couldn’t find any so I attempted to paint some embroidered silk. It took me a little while to mix a few paints to get the right shade of blue and then I painted over the fabric and left it to dry.

blue lace

Once dry, I cut out around the silk embroidery pattern, but found the paint had made it quite stiff and cheap looking. Nevertheless, I beaded them with some blue stones and beads.

silk embroidery pattern blue DIY handmade

It’s hard for me to visualise how something will look so I spent a whole day beading these pieces so I could have enough to pin onto the dress to see how it worked. It didn’t, in fact it looked really bad. 10 hours wasted.

silk embroidery pattern beads embellishment

Fabric Lace Attempt #2

I kept searching the internet for fabric. I emailed some online stores. I visited more fabric shops and came up empty handed.

I went to Brisbane and saw some blue lace that was a similar enough match to my fabric. It was $300 a meter. I could only afford to buy 20cm and even that was a huge expense.

blue lace diy race dress custom design

I took the fabric home and started cutting around the lace and beading once again. Another 10 hours later I pinned the fabric onto my dress. I wasn’t sure about it; it still wasn’t right. Slight panic. But pushed through.