To Be(spoke) Or Not To Be(spoke)
On a recent trip to London, an article by Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief at the Sunday Times Style magazine, caught my eye.
(Sunday Times Style Magazine | London, UK | 22 July 2018)
The article discussed the glory of beautiful bespoke clothes, and touched on the philosophy of people who buy luxury couture.
As Lorraine points out, this market is alive and strong, and there are still plenty of women who are happy to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on an exquisitely crafted dress.
While bespoke designer couture may not be within everyone's reach, the possibility does exist, that with a little patience and practice, you can have the personalized wardrobe of your dreams.
It all starts with the perfect fit.
And even if you haven’t had the opportunity to study at a prestigious fashion design institution, there are many superb resources online that can help you get there.
Here are some of my favourites. Please note that these are my personal findings and opinions, and I am not being paid to promote any person or product.
- SureFit Designs: Glenda Sparling in the USA has a sort of “join-the-dots” pattern-making system which helps even non-designers to get a perfectly fitting pattern for their own particular body. She also has distributors in various countries outside of the US who run in-person courses which help you to make your own basic pattern. There is a ton of amazing information on her websites too, and a lot of it is free.
- InHouse Pattern Studio: Alexandra Morgan is one of the gems of the sewing and pattern-fitting world. She is based on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, where she also runs in-person bodice-fitting and other courses. There is also a lot of valuable, free information on her website, in addition to her courses and patterns which are available to buy. Alexandra's recent tutorials on contour darts are incredibly informative, and she is truly an accomplished teacher.
- University of Fashion: This is a site which offers instruction in virtually everything related to the fashion industry, from fashion art, to draping, to sewing, to fashion product development, and so much more. I have benefited from a number of their classes (on seemingly random topics like Tambour Embroidery, Knit Sloper Development & Reductions, Draping a Sleeve, etc), as I have found detailed information on this site, that, to my knowledge, does not exist elsewhere online.
- Craftsy: One of my favourite teachers is Suzi Furrer of Apparel Arts. She has a school in California, USA, and her online Craftsy classes are among the best I’ve seen. If you’re in doubt, check them out when Craftsy has a “watch-all-you-can-for-free weekend”, and decide from there which, if any, you’d like to purchase.
Although I have made hundreds of garments over the years, there is always something new and exciting to learn! I thank the experts out there who so generously make their knowledge and experience available to others, and hope that I too am able to teach and encourage newer sewers whenever possible.
Once you have your basic pattern down pat, you can become your own fashion designer, and wear absolutely anything you want. Again, there are wonderful resources out there for turning your basic pattern into absolutely any design you can imagine. But, that’s a blog for another day... You can, of course, subscribe to this blog if you'd like to be kept up to date by email when there are new posts.
If you’ve tried to make your own basic pattern and find it daunting, check out one of the in-person or online classes from the resources listed above.
Or, if you happen to live where I (mainly) do, i.e. in Santiago, Chile, and would like to make an appointment to have me help you with your basic pattern, please go ahead and complete the “Contact” form, and we can discuss the details.
Wishing you every success as you go about creating your own stylish, personalized wardrobe!
Until next time,