This pattern was unassembled for month and it was with some resistance I glued all the pages together a couple of weeks ago. It was not the work involved that stopped me, more that I didn’t know what to do with it. This pattern is 220 A4 pages long, took a handful of glue sticks and some patience to assembly. So, then I made a toile of the crucial part, the swirly cut torso. Im happily surprised to see that it was possible to put together and that it fitted.
The last Alexander McQueen pattern I made was a bit small for me. But still, I have no idea what to do with the dress if I finish this project. I got some expert advice on how to possibly work with it for my own needs but Im still not sure. It don’t feel right to just sew, wear it once and then have it burned. I have to think about this one a bit longer before there is an actual dress.
Im sharing the pictures of my journey with this pattern so far, hoping it to be helpful for someone else. Take care!
I printed pictures of all the Showstudio Design Downloads and let my husband choose the designs he liked best. One of them was the infamously difficult Alexander McQueen Jacket. So that one became the next make. I already had this pattern in my computer and dreaded a bit printing it out.
Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer known for theatrical, provocative fashion shows and his masterful tailoring. He started the journey at Savile Row as a tailors apprentice, studied fashion design at Central Saint Martin and later worked as head designer for Givenchy. The Alexander Mqueen brand was started in 1992 and the designer himself was awarded for his work several times. He died by suicide in 2010.
This jacket is from the 2003 fall ”Scanners” collection and is a complex tailored jacket with elements from both Victorian womenswear and Japanese kimonos. There is a fantastic, in-depth introduction to this pattern at Pattern Vault, a source of information on designer patterns I highly recommend.
Pattern Info: Drawn. Has a 1 cm seam allowence and a lot of markings. Size 40.
Fabric: About 2,5 m polyester suiting and a bit less acetate lining.
Notions: Chiffong bias binding, scraps of satin + thread and more thread.
Theres one difficulty with this pattern, the back pleats and darts. When you managed that problem the rest is pretty easy. The first dart made me think of late 19th century cutting, then I quickly got lost. After failing the first time with getting the folds in the right position I started over. The second attempt I traced everything exactly and then thread marked every line and marking making it visible from both sides. it magically worked and I was able to press all folds flat. I secured them on the backside at a few points and then moved on. One try at getting all folds in place took a weekend and just following the instruction won’t cut it, you have to think too. It probably was more difficult since I decided to line the jacket but as it turned out so nice, it was worth it.
Then the fitting. My shoulders are straight so I adjusted for that and added a stretch satin panel in the side since the jacket was really tight.
The setting of the sleeves comes with a simple instruction and I chose to cover the seam and opening with bias binding as one big loop. The rest of the sewing is pretty basic.
Conclusion: Im glad I lined it but should have chosen a fabric that pressed more easily. This polyester creases like crazy when one steams it, total nightmare getting loads of pleats in place. Next time, I’ll chose a high quality suiting or brocade and quality lining. Stripes looks fantastic with this. Yes, there will be next time. I want one that’s perfect.
There are two time consuming parts in this, the pleating and the finishing. I would suggest to finish by hand and cover all inside seams with chiffong bias binding or similar to get a nice clean look.
Pros: This jacket has great movability built into it and looks amazing! It’s the ultimate couture comfort garment. This will sound odd but it also has sort of its own presence… has to be experienced.
Cons: If you don’t like a challenge or is a beginner, this isn’t suitable. It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic you are, can’t compete an ordinary jacket, don’t try.
The British designer Gareth Pughs designs are as much artwork as clothes. He is mostly known for his use of inflatable parts to create volume and use of odd materials like electrical charged plastic, latex, pvc, foam footballs, balloons, synthetic and human hair. This design was first featured in his 2003 Central Saint Martin graduate collection.
Pattern info: Photocopy, has marked seam allowance and comes with instruction + fabric recommendation.
Fabric: Scrap pieces of polyester satins.
Notions: Zipper, thread and a large 50 cm balloon.
This is a really simple and fun pattern to make and can be varied endlessly. As a garment it is hard to wear but make a few and try it out, it could work. As an accessory I can come up with loads of possibilities such as children’s parties and for masquerade costumes. As decoration it can be great for weddings or summer parties, just make loads of them.
I live in Northern Sweden so, ”We only sell those during Halloween,” the girl in the shop said when I asked for a large balloon. She asked what I was going to use it for, (probably where looking suspicious) so I had to explain that it was going to serve as filling for a fabric balloon. It must have sounded confusing. Thankfully, there were a few left and I could go on with the project.
Pros: Easy, super fun, decorative project. Never thought I would like this so much.
Cons: No, unless you only make very practical and usable stuff. In that case I would see this project as educational.
I haven’t done The Sewcialists sewing top 5 before, it is such great topic. The most notable sewing and others from 2019. In no particular order, and not five of anything.
The most worn, loved selfmade garment this year is one being almost impossible to take a pic of. The Fine Motor Skills Elise t-shirt in black bamboo jersey from Tygverket. I altered the shit out of this pattern as seen, but it’s now my favorite t-shirt pattern ever. It was nothing wrong with it from the beginning, I just started to fit it to my shoulders better and couldn’t stop. As soon as I buy more interesting jerseys, there will be more Elises.
As I recently got back to sewing there has been a lot of sewing failures. Pattern testing is not for the faint hearted. One of my longest ongoing failed projects started with a pair of ill fitting jeans that I carefully took apart to save the selvedge denim. The fabric was used for a vintage pattern that was shoehorned onto the pieces. It got sewn and looked absolutely hideous! After some thinking time it was turned into a vest, that’s a lot of sewing in one small piece of fabric.
The latest mistake is this front piece of Merchant & Mills The All State Shirt, its on my sewing table now. This is a common cutting failure that makes you feel very stupid. Luckily I had fabric left to make another one in the right direction. The fabulous Tintin print is from Tygverket.
I took a Vedic Art course in Öland during the summer. I was there to paint and run together with my husband. The artwork turned out all crap and running was exhausting in the heat, but we had a great time. It was a wonderful week! When the summer was over I run my first half marathon and then the season was over. Now it’s back to weight training again.
We run a lot this year, this is in Vilhelmina by the way, with a lot of mosquitos along the way.
I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to talk about this, but I’ll give it a try. Ive been sewing most of my life, 2013 I started doing it for a living parallel with illustration. It evolved to a sort of Gyro Gearloose shop where I got the chance to do all kinds of interesting stuff. It has been a great experience but also tough and all over the place. Some years ago I left it for teaching but now Im back.
It feels like I have a fantastic opportunity to share my work with more people. Not only my own designs but also some of the material I’ve collected and projects that I’m working on. But the problem is that talking about my work is hard and way out of my comfort zone. I do best irl, while working… silently. Nevertheless it would be great to overcome that fear of visibility and find new ways of expressing my creativity. Since I have to be a bit more mindful how I treat my body there is suddenly the time for it too. Not that Im sure how that should be done yet, Im moving slowly forward.
At least Ive set som sewing goals for 2020.
The 4 Goals
Im a fan of designer patterns. Some times I don’t know what really draws me to it, I probably want the experience of making them, getting inside the designers head. One of my favorite sources is Showstudio. They have a lot of patterns and all for free, just search Designer Download there. Ive decided to make all of the designer downloads Showstudio has published. It will probably take more than a year. Ive already started with the Martin Margiela pattern, tested here! Next up is the Gareth Pugh balloon.
Another thing I like is menswear, and especially denim and workwear style clothes. Im so happy that the popularity of that style has made it into the sewing community and that there is a constant flow of new patterns. How many workwear jacket pattern has there been this year? Don’t know, but my favorite looks something like this vintage one. I would like to make more things in that style this year.
Then we have my own designs and pattern notes. There is so much fun things to be shared. It starts on Sunday this week with my first pattern note, I’ll explain it on Sunday. Just wait and see.
I also would love to do more printmaking, a skill learnt in art school a long time ago. I already started wit tie dyeing. Here is a failed but interesting test using layers of color and bleach.
The Belgian designer Martin Margiela has over the years kept a very low personal profile. He started his own brand in 1988 and is one of the most known and influential avantgarde designers. He is known for deconstruction and redesigning of already existing objects into garments and working with proportions. This pattern is an example of his playing with size and removing everything from a construction like hemming and lining.
Pattern info: Photocopy with markings and no instruction. Forgot to take measurements, sorry!
Fabric used: Scrap pieces of wall mending paper. A thick, felt like wall paper used to cover structured or damaged walls to avoid the plastering. It’s a great material for test sewing things like bags and toys.
It’s an easy pattern to assembly and sew. The wall mending paper was stiff to work with an I repeatedly knocked down flowerpots from the window behind my machine.
From the beginning I had a suspicion that it would be one of the designers oversized designs. As the name suggests, I probably could wear it over anything/everything in my wardrobe. If actually worn it has to have a closing at the neck, it’s tight to get a head through as it is. It probably looks great in thin materials that you can fold or pull together in various ways or as a plus sized dress. In the last case it has to be measured first and probably altered.
Pros: It’s simple to make and can be varied in material and styling. Fits most.
I had to wait several weeks before having a chance to see the Margiela the Hermes years exhibition at Artipelag. First I had the cold, then there was more cold, then no car to get there… still, it was definitely worth the wait.
For those of us interested in fashion, this exhibition was a treat. I had an overwhelming temptation to touch the materials, lift and check details. Seeing Margiela’s own design parallel with the design for Hermes was also fascinating. Im more drawn to Margiela’s own more experimental work, but the craftsmanship of the work for Hermes is absolutely fantastic.
The exhibition runs until 10/3 2019, so go there.
There is a Margiela dress pattern to download at Showstudio, link here. Its quite old and from his overzized collections but Im still interested to see what to make of it. Silk maybe, with a harnesk on top… ?