Things I still can’t make

One thing I really like about sewing my own clothes is that it has almost completely replaced clothes shopping. I like looking, but I’m so glad I’ve not had to see the inside of a fitting room for a couple of years now. It also gives me a new appreciation for what’s involved in making some of the things I do see in shops (both real and online). But while there’s a lot of things that provoke the ‘I can make that’ response there are still some things that I wouldn’t know where to start on.

Take this amazing Pucci dress for example (not that I could ever have actually bought anything from Pucci, but it’s fun to browse). The embroidery is what makes it and it’s clearly been done around the design of the dress. I used to do a bit of embroidery but I’m not kidding myself I could produce anything like this.

Source: via Catherine on Pinterest

Then there’s this Alexander McQueen dress which is all about the fabric. (This is another designer whose work I can only admire from afar). This dress is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and is usually out on display somewhere around the building. I usually go and have a quick drool over it when I’m at the V&A! The design of the dress is fascinating, but the fabric is the real star. If you look carefully you can see there is more than one type of fabric in the dress. There’s a glossy silk which makes up the body of the dress and a more chiffony one forming the side drapes. The prints are the same on both. If you can’t have your own fabric printed it’s hard enough to find one perfect fabric, never mind two.

Image copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Then there’s a whole category of knitted things that you’d probably need an industrial knitting machine to produce. This dress is another Alexander McQueen, from this season’s collection. The design is knitted into the fabric. Amazing stuff. You might be able to do something like it with a home knitting machine, perhaps, but I don’t know how fine a knit they can produce.

I have heard that fashion designers are increasingly concentrating on difficult-to-reproduce techniques because the high street copies designs so quickly these days. Whatever the reason, it produces plenty of eye-candy. And plenty of sewing techniques to aspire to. I think if I could pick one it would be the ability to produce patterned knitted fabric.

6 thoughts on “Things I still can’t make

  1. I would pick to be able to have fabric like the printed McQueen dress, all the fabrics from that collection are amazing and colorful. And the designs are great too!

  2. Great post. Since sewing, my benchmark of buying shop bought has become: ‘Could I make this? If not, I’m happy to buy.’ There are some things we simply can’t aspire to – and I’m happy not to have a nervous breakdown trying! I have really enjoyed NOT being sucked into the January sales. Urgh! You’ve shared some beautiful makes, and the care taken does bring renewed respect to designers.

  3. I’m in agreement completely. This is the one thing that constantly eludes me as a home sewer: the ability to make or design something as spectacular as a lot of the garments that inspire me. I would love to be able to copy the ideas I love reasonably well, but I lack the training and intuition to do so. Karl Lagerfeld once said the difference between home sewers and couture seamstresses is skill. It bugged me the first time I read it, but he’s right. Unless I trained for years in an atelier I won’t be able to execute a reasonable copy of something extraordinary, including the perfect fit.

  4. I agree entirely! Really using printed fabrics to their best advantage is still a challenge for me, and producing something like any of those dresses is WAY out of my league (drooooollll).

  5. I completely love that Alexander McQueen dress, and I’ve seen a (genuine McQ, not a copy) but much simplified RTW version of this in the shops here. It was still mega bucks!
    And I agree that the custom-designed print is the key to creating these sort of un-reproducable designs, making them unavailable to most self-dressmakers sadly! For example, in each of the dresses pictured here, the main feature of the dress is an ornate centred AND mirrored print/embroidery. How often does one come across fabric printed in such a way? In my experience; NEVER! Prints, and embroideries too, are made with a repeat design, repeated down the length of the bolt, and virtually never mirrored in this way.

  6. I totally share your love of all those dresses. I’ve never seen that Pucci dress before but boy am I going to be dreaming about it forever!!!

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