Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Little Obsessive

Yeah, I admit it. Maybe I’m just making up for a lack of interest over the last couple of years. Maybe I’m inspired by my pal, Debbie Double. Or perhaps it’s just the current decrepit state of my wardrobe. But I’m fixated. Follow along, bear with me or come back later when my compass has spun in another direction. Right now the subject is the sewing of garments and I make no apologies for my obsession du jour.

In fact I’m enjoying this more than I would have thought! I’ve been going through my pattern collection, including the Burda World of Fashion/Style magazines and the stash of Big 4 (aka McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue and Simplicity) envelopes. These go back a really long way because I rarely throw out anything that I even remotely think might come in useful one day. Hippy long dresses? Check. 1980’s big shoulders? Check. Issey Miyake, Folkwear and Sewing Workshop? Check, check and check. Various sizes, some well-used and some totally pristine. Sewing patterns – I gots ’em. Some of them even have actual wearable garment potential.

Then I started scanning some of the likely pattern envelopes, garment images and line-drawings and printing them out with lots of room to make notes. I’m trying to figure out what I want to make and what I need to make it: suitable fabric types, how much of it and what other notions like buttons or zips are necessary. When I get a better plan of action then I’m going to do some serious stash-diving. No point in going shopping if I have the perfect stuff lurking around already, hey? Although I do plan to shop eventually. Why deny myself the pleasure? There are so many lovely new fabrics waiting patiently for a new home. Yes, I do realise a fabric doesn’t have to be old enough to vote to be suitable.

There are certainly a lot of great clothing ideas out there when you go looking for them – too many actually. A member of my fibre arts guild mentioned one great inspirational German website: studio rundholz. (Click on “s/s 10” for the current collection or scroll down to click on the past collections.) Might not be your cup of tea but I love them a bunch! These clothes are kind of neutral or dark-toned, with a raw-edged asymmetry but quite wearable - at least most of them are. I’m betting the fabrics and details are wonderful and would give a pint of blood to see them up close! How does one sew both couture and wonky at the same time? I have a hard time leaving a raw seam even on the inside, far less go off on such wild tangents! Maybe that opposition is why I like the style so much. Besides, they’re wearing my kind of footwear. We can skip the hairstyles though.

StudioRundholz idea12 How about this one for starters? A simple shell – but sliced into many princess lines and stitched back together with lots of topstitching. And the skirt is wide but with a drawstring bottom, not pulled too tight. Very functional. I like the mid-calf length a lot – long enough so you don’t have to worry about bending over or errant breezes showing off your knickers and not so long that you trip over it. I tend to wear leggings or pants under anything that comes above the knees.

StudioRundholz idea11Here’s another one that I like a lot. This one is somewhat more funky but it illustrates what I like most about studio rundholz. Do you suppose they drape on a manikin and then create a pattern from that? I can’t imagine how you would do it from a flat pattern method and draping is more commonly used by professional designers. I love the stand-away collar and the tipped pockets. I so want to see what’s happening on the back!

Of course there’s a trick to carrying off this kind of look without it coming off like a costume. Some people have this ability innately. Me, not so much. Not that I care what anybody thinks! Unfortunately there’s a big difference between what I would really like to wear and what is practical for me. My sewing this summer will hopefully bridge this gap – at least a little. Hope you’ll stay tuned.

Meanwhile, this is what my desk currently looks like:


Yup. Obsessed.

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