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.
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.
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.