I committed myself to a group sewing challenge for 2018 and am participating in the 2018 RTW Fast hosted by Sarah Gunn from goodbyevalentino.com. In this challenge, you are not allowed to purchase any ready to wear clothes for the entire year, and you must commit to making whatever it is you wish or need to wear. (You can buy underwear and socks, shoes and boots, but that’s about it.) Now this is a great challenge for me because I had already set some goals to accomplish re my couture studies, and am including with this challenge a closet “clean-up”. I had already committed myself to developing a custom wardrobe and to evict most (and even better, all) of the clothes that I have purchased over the years, and to replace them with my own custom-fitted designs. I imagine my future clothing stock to be spare, as I wish it to become.
As I touched on in the post First muslin, I am new to using couture techniques in the making of a garment. What appeals to me of couture techniques is all the required by-hand skills needed to form a garment. Perhaps it’s the artist/craftsman side of me who relishes that technical challenge…nonetheless, it’s a process I’ve been gobbling up since working on my sheath dress made with a Black Watch Tartan fabric. Working on this sheath dress has been a snail-paced process for me, as I’ve been very strict with doing each couture task to the letter…so, lots of checking up on method, study of fabric and linings/underlinings, the muslin process, fittings, hand stitching, pressing, etc, etc…. But I’m nearly done with this sheath dress (post forthcoming!) and am confident that with my next couture garment project things will move at a more steady pace because of the time I took to really understand each process required to make a couture style garment. I have some goals for my development in couture studies, and am keen & determined to work with the muslin process in order to perfect a garment fit to my body.
I should also say that even though I’m working to learn and perfect my skills at couture sewing, some of the garments I make this year may not be sewn completely with haute couture methods, but I do however intend to impose a couture quality to whatever I make: for example, the inside of the garment must look as great as the outside sort-of-thing, and the couture methods I have learned thus far have been invaluable in understanding garment construction so that I have plenty of methods to draw from where finishing techniques go. I plan to make a few skirts, a few different types of shift and sheath dresses, and two different styles of pants (I’ll share these patterns in another blog post!).
I have a wonderful fabric assortment from which to draw from during my sewing expeditions!
assorted weights of fine cottons for underlining and lining
gorgeous drapey suiting fabrics
As to how I’m going to achieve my technical goals and challenges, there are a number of fabulous couture instructors on craftsy.com such as Susan Khalje and Alison Smith from which I have been taking instruction from, as well as my personal library of sewing manuals which includes several dvds and books by Claire Schaeffer, and the big book of Vogue Sewing. Also invaluable are sewing magazine publications such as Threads and Vogue Patterns, as well as my tried and true inspiriational fashion mag faves Vogue (in any language!) and Porter, to just name a few of so many to browse through. I also have several couture fashion books to inspire me by designers that I admire and adore, such as Vivienne Westwood, Dior, Tom Ford, Alexander McQueeen, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, to, again, name just a few.
Period films also inspire me — imagine the work that goes into all of the architectural detail in the clothing from the court of Henry VIII, and the Elizabethan eras (The Other Boleyn Girl, Anonymous); or working with the very fine cottons required to make the dresses during Jane Austen’s era (Sense & Sensibilty, Persuasion, Pride &Prejudice…); then there is the Art Deco era (Agatha Christie’s Poirot!); 50’s vintage (Rear Window, Vertigo); and the 60’s (Jackie, An Education).
Finally, while participating in this RTW fast, I look forward to discovering and getting inspired by other bloggers who are interested in sewing their own wardrobes and sharing their experiences creating their garments. There is already a fabulous buzz of sharing on the Facebook Group forum that Susan set up for all of the pariticipants of the 2018 RTW Fast to be in touch with each other. There are over 1000 of us, so there will be much sewing discussion to be had, learned from, and to be inspired by.