Thursday, 23 February 2012

Homemade dressmaking v handmade couture

Homemade dressmaking v handmade couture is a very ambiguous statement. When we sew with love and passion to create something that is a perfect fit and only one of a kind, that uses, for us, the best we can afford and which suits our body shape, age, skintones and lifestyle, then we are creating handmade couture. Yet those in the know would be sure to make us believe that it is just homemade dressmaking and nothing more.
Couture is something only the finest fashion house produce but is in essence just a very limited run of a made to measure gown. Isn't that all we are doing when we create our own clothes? This idea first came to my attention whilst watching one of those reality shows about weddings. First prize is the all expenses paid honeymoon. You know the kind....but wait, they're just started slinging off at the mums for making the gowns for not one but two of the four hopefuls.
The whole idea that someone could ever hope to create something as good as shop bought is astonishing to the other two contestants.
Yet, this is exactly what you are taught, that you are able to produce a good quality item of clothing.
I remember from high school being taught everything from pattern drafting, understanding the language of patterns, french seams (we had to make a cotton lawn half slip and a nightdress), working with luxury fabric (an evening gown), exquisite embroidery (a babies christening gown) to professional tailoring (a wool tailored blazer with sweetheart neckline and correctly matching check fabric - i had to finish it in a hurry so it could be marked as part of my exam and then we went on a family vacation - so i could wear it - i thought i was soooo cool for a 13 year old - yes 13).
I still have my exercise book full of little four inch squares of plain white fabric showing my mini creations of handmade bias binding, scalloped edging, perfect insertion lace (with cut away fabric), equal gathers, bodice darts, pintucks, curved rolled edges, pulled thread work, the list goes on.
The whole notion that someone could learn how to make a boned bodice, line luxurious fabric, make a dummy dress to assure perfect fit, hand bead thousands of beads and be able to understand the ins and outs of a dress pattern is so difficult for many to understand.
Really, though, its not that difficult to be able to produce quality work from the home.
Understanding the science of patterns, being prepared to start small and work your way up rather than jump in feet first, assures us that we can really do anything we put our mind to.....including our beloved daughters wedding dress.

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