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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, January 23, 2015

What designers do you like?

The comments are the best part of writing a blog.

It is a conversation with folks who get exactly what you mean, and they share with you exactly what you want to know.

A case in point is a wonderful comment Anne in Melbourne (a city I lived in for five years and love) left for us.

In describing her own bridal sewing she directed me to Australian designer Carla Zampetti

I was so glad she did.

Zampetti's clothes reminded me of what successful sewing can look like. Simple shapes, great fabric, and flattering, liveable fit.

Go to the site yourself but here are a few things that caught my eye over my coffee in the chair with Daisy this morning:

It occurred to me that these clothes articulated what for me were the things I didn't like about the latest Vogues - they were trying too hard to be clever, and in doing so the fabric, and the woman inside the clothes, seemed lost. Little sewing, seaming fancy turns in some cases for their own sake, like those pointy sleeve bottoms. And I don't want you to think for a moment that the complete irony of the fact these thoughts are coming from the same woman who made herself clown pants is lost on me.

The clothes I looked at this morning from Australia made me remember that one of the things that matter most to me is clothing doesn't looked forced and that the fabric itself is a primary pleasure. Yes, I know, I know. This being a work in progress takes effort, and humour 

Zampetti's designs also reinforced for me the significance of TNT patterns in a sewer's life. If you look carefully at everyday looks in the collection they really are just that - different fabrications of the same patterns.

Which brings me to another comment that has really stuck with me. Sewingkm suggested I do just that for my wedding sewing, find great fabric and make it up in a pattern with a good history with me.

Of course.

Now I would like to hear more from you all, for all of us to share. 

What designers do you like?

I sometimes go on Style.com to look at the collections for ideas and frankly I am overwhelmed. I just don't have enough time in the bathtub with my iPad to go through them all, and would like to skip all the ones with ostrich feather hot pants and find the ones with clothes I can sew and wear.

I think this matters. Working out your style, or returning to home base by remembering what you really like in favourite clothes (for instance simple shapes and great fabric as above) seems to me to be a good investment of pre-sewing time.

So I will put that out there.

What designers do you like?


suitsmejournal said...

I always look forward to Ralph Lauren's Collection and his spring 2015 collection is very wearable. It's based on "safari" wear combined with brights. As usual there is lots of silk. My favorites are a series of jackets and shirts of organza that I must make. One shirt in particular is combined with a sweet little vest in dupione.
He also seems to use a lot of leather in unconventional colors.

Janome Gnome said...

So with you on this. TNT all the way.

I often mistakenly think that pushing myself means getting 'harder' patterns that rely on a new technique I didn't know, but I then find that one technique over shadows the sewing. It often also completely dominates the anticipation of the sew to the point I sometimes don't bother. And I am a tryer. I'll have a go at anything and don't really care about wrecked projects that much. I just want to enjoy the anticipation stage as well as the project itself. And if there's a nice garment at the end, even better.

I've been addicted (as all who try it are) to the boatneck Coco top by Tilly and the Buttons. It's super super beginner level, but it's so enjoyable and has the single most reliable experience of anticipation (through shopping and playing with design), through sewing to wearing. TNT, the lady said.

But what's great is that because I"m in my comfort zone, I wander out of it all the time. I've done a few tops as the pattern directs with the fabric it recommends, then a sleeveless version with much less stable knit, then redrafted it as a kind of double-breasted cardigan that I can also wear as a drapey waterfally thing (bit of a fail for drape, but the fabric was cheap and the process was fun, so no harm no foul and I might have another go later on).

Then, best of all, I went rogue (my preferred term to pattern hacking) and used a slinky, soft jersey to make a boatneck, long-sleeved dress with a skirt section narrowed down from the A-line to a pencil shape and I *love* it.

Not only has it not fallen apart and off my body spontaneously in public (beginners sewing joy #1), but I honestly think it's better than something I'd be able to find in the shop. (Intermediate sewing joy #1).

Next, I'm considering adapting it for wovens... which will allow me to experiment with zips and different fabric, more like shimmying one foot out of my comfort zone, rather than a daunting trip there with a whole project. Plus, I won't have to stick pdf sheets together again for a while.

I laughed and laughed at the dress design fails post yesterday. Just wonderful.

Thank you.

imaginalpractices said...

Great question! I get a lot of good ideas for sewing from Burberry, both the women's and men's collections. Some of the Prorsum designs for women are a bit out there, but many of these designs (and I suspect much of this company's success) are based on the concept of interpreting similar shapes in gorgeous fabrics through exquisite sewing and tailoring. But I may like the idea of dressing in a more consistent "uniform" style than many women.

Lynn Mally said...

I share your feeling about many of the Vogue patterns--too many bells and whistles for my plain and simple taste--although I like elements of some. My favorite designers are those with simple lines, like Jil Sanders.

Mary Deeter said...

My go to designer is Maggy London...I just love her designs and they usually look good on my body. I agree with the thought of going with a TNT...I have so many patterns now I could pretty much adapt any design I love by combining elements of something I have already worked out the kinks in the fit.

Anonymous said...

Your comments yesterday on the newly issued Vogue patterns were very funny. And yet, the patterns you hate are the ones I love. I guess it's about body type, personality and lifestyle.
I saw the pie plate jacket last year and added it to my collection of things I'd like to have in my wardrobe and was thrilled to see it as a pattern I could use...and will. I also love the Koos coat because of the back neckline – very Japanese kimono showing off the beauty of the nape of the neck.
I love Koos' designs but have not had much success with them. I made his swirly jacket three times and just can't get it right! And perhaps you are right in that it would be weird and uncomfortable to wear but still I'd like to make that coat.
Ultimately in my everyday-wear I choose very simple styles. If my pockets were deeper I'd buy some Eskandar clothing. But at $850 a pop for a very, very simple linen top, his collection is out of my reach.
I just bought some gorgeous linen and can make a similar top for about $25.
I sure am glad I can sew.
All the best with the MOB clothing. The dresses you showed today are beautiful.
Vancouver Barbara

Anonymous said...

I love beautiful fabric and simple designs that are comfortable and don't overwhelm my petite size. DKNY and Anne Klein come to mind. And as I get older, I'm more insistent about the comfort part so that means no itchy or stiff fabric, no annoying seams going all over the place, no fiddly details. I love the dresses you showed. Inspiring!

Fashionista said...

Yay for the Aussie designers! I know we can be revoltingly patriotic, but I get a little buzz when I see Australian designers being appreciated out in the world.

There are two other Australian labels that are worth a look too (don't you just love the internet?!). www.perricutten.com.au and www.antheacrawford.com.au. Anthea Crawford has been dressing mothers of the bride/groom forever ;)

Thank you for your blog, I do enjoy it very much.