Me-Made-May is a very serious and significant milestone in the home-sewer’s repertoire, but for week 4 I’d like to set it aside and look at quality. We leave the fashionably significant for a moment and briefly return to a little seriousness with the What Do You Think series complete with the recompense of total freedom to voice your opinions without backlash or consequence. Three cheers for democracy, suffragettes and true freedom of speech!!!! I’m heralding ReadyThreadSew’s sentiments – honesty, integrity and critcial feedback only – not just “being nice”. In the comments section, comment as you see fit. Discussion is the motive here, not compliments or concurrence. And I take no responsibility for the subsequent comment content – apart from removing bad words! – you have been warned. So, today’s subject actually irks me beyond words, so if you see a big blank page, then that’s me being really, really angry about his…
The most recent purchase option from Craftsy etc.that arrived in the in box today.
If, like me, you’re subscribed to (can’t remember how many sites) you probably receive at least 3 or 4 of these adverts from different retailers. I like Craftsy, I like their classes and advice and lots of other things but wait, that is not the gripe … this is:…..the steps into the realm of – home-made is shite (Gaelic for crap) and that is emphatically not what I like. In the words of the marketing blurb – ‘ Use an expedited construction order to build the jacket and develop professional pressing and finishing skills. Accomplish beautiful cuffs and collars without hand stitching, achieve accurate and even topstitching and learn when and where to use proper interfacing. Skip the basting and use little to no pins.’ Why should home-made try to emulate factory production, mass market, RTW garments? What’s wrong with taking time in sewing something? A bit of tacking and basting here and there, listening to the radio and daydreaming; sitting in the sunshine with needle and thread in hand, then drifting off; getting round to finishing it off later…. dreaming of fabrics and patterns and designs and lifestyle suitability. Time – take your time… what’s the rush? Rush is RTW and commercialisation. Why should a garment have mm perfect topstitching? – Know what? That says to me computer/machine – laser guided did it, not a human. A hundred women (hopefully not children and that the women are treated well) sitting in production-mode factory rows sewing only specialist jobs. Is it any wonder that your invisible zip is inserted perfectly – No, because the woman that inserted that zip sews nothing else – she’d be crap at putting your waistband on. Home sewers are jacks of all trades and masters of none: but with practice and determination and outright tenacity, we can become the experts, the tailors, the seamstresses, designers and couturiers of our own (and others’) wardrobes. There’s something out there that says if your sewing doesn’t look like this, then it’s crap! THAT IS CRAP. Oh the starter sewers and beginners and the novices and the nubes – you will be tempted by perfection. This is not a bad thing, but do not even try to make your skirt look like Primark made it. They didn’t make your skirt – YOU did. Take pride in that alone. The slightly wonky hem and the waistband that’s too tight/loose, the zip that works but not quite all the way to the top, the mis-matched-pattern across the seams – it’s yours! Only yours and you couldn’t buy it in the shops for a million pounds, so that makes it unique: priceless: yours! We all know, ’cause I’ve told you before, the price of haute couture, but just to remind you and develop whatever envy/avarice emotions within you again, here’s some examples: Oh Good Grief, it hurts, doesn’t it?
Now let’s look, shall we, at the inside of some real haute couture – years and years of apprenticeship and learning and training; world-reonwned designers thought of this; and it costs thousands and thousands of whatever currency your work in to create it…. Lovely, unique, individual stitches Uneven sewing but done by a master of their craft and by hand. No-one in the whole wide world has one like this -priceless! My blood and flesh friends who don’t sew admire my clothes (they’re really nice people) but I know they look at my home-made clothes with RTW eyes – uneven topstitching, bubbly zips, wonky hand-worked buttonholes and welt pockets that don’t quite meet where they should. They say “Lovely”, “Gorgeous” , “Super” and in their minds are thinking – uneven, wobbly, wonky, doesn’t match. So here I am; after years and years of part-time sewing, getting things wrong a million times and learning from it, stull can’t put an invisible zip in first time and sleeves take at least two goes: but yet, My fabric patterns match across seams
My shoulders sit at my shoulders and not at some ‘universal’ woman’s shoulders My skirts are as long as I want, not what length Hong Kong factories make them: My dresses have sleeves if I want and at the length I want. My waistlines rest at MY waist There’s no wrinkling of fabric at MY swayback [well actually there is, but that’s because I forgot to do the the adjustment!] The same item can be made in countless colours and fabrics, not just what the ‘designer’ ordered. Why do we continue to have the idea that home-made has to look like factory -made for it to be good? Yes, it’s nice to have even topstitching – but done twice with one needle at home displays pride, skill and expertise, not a computer driven twin-needle machine. I could go on – stop me now, stop me now….. Home-made is haute couture: do not be deceived by this label. Haute couture means literally “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion” – fashionably elegant clothes made to a high standard – that’s what YOU do in your sewing rooms: and if you’re not doing it yet – it’s what you aspire to. Your sewing space may not be an atelier in gay Paris, but often a corner in the living room or a fold out table in the bedroom – but that doesn’t prevent you from sewing to a very high standard – the haute couture! What Do You Think? Do you think your topstitching has be mm perfect? Does your hand stitching have to be invisible? Do your zips glide invisibly?