weekend links

June 2, 2017   /   byLiesl Gibson  / Categories :  Feeds

Hello friends!

Sorry I missed you last week. I took a few days to fly to Antwerp to see the Martin Margiela exhibit at MoMu, and it was well worth the trip. Martin Margiela has been a huge influence on my own work, especially his designs for Hermes which were very understated but revolutionary in ways that are only starting to be understood. When I was in design school I obsessed over his work, so I just had to go see it in person and am so glad that I did.

Margiela is a master of tailoring, and in his work for his own brand he pushed the boundaries of traditional tailoring. He re-cycled, turned clothes inside out, made use of unexpected materials, and used traditional materials in new and unexpected ways. His work was incredibly creative, introducing everything from split-toe shoes to duvet-inspired coats.

When he was hired by the luxury brand Hermes, many people didn’t know what to expect from him. He certainly wasn’t a typical choice for the brand, and he didn’t embrace the vibrant, rich colors that Hermes was already well known for. Instead, he played with neutral shades and understated tones that look especially rich and luxurious, even today. Like Katherina Hepburn, Chanel, and Yves St. Laurent, he also reconsidered traditionally men’s staples like trousers, the trench coat, and the classic button-down shirt and he developed androgynous styles that are virtually timeless, ageless, and even occasion-less. His designs from twenty years ago look just as wearable today as they did when he created them.

But what really makes Margiela’s work relevant and important is the practicality of his designs. Many of his clothes were quite versatile and could be worn in multiple ways. He also designed for women of all ages (so revolutionary!), and his clothing focused on putting women in the spotlight so the clothes highlighted the woman rather than being flashy or drawing attention to themselves. He played with the idea of a uniform that would allow women to express a quiet confidence and elegance through well-cut, tailored clothes that were both practical and luxurious, with the underlying desire that a women who wore his clothes could express a subtle self-absurdness through her clothing. I also love that as a designer, he stayed in the background rather than becoming a design celebrity. In fact, he was almost never photographed and never gave interviews because he wanted the garments to speak for themselves. In many ways, he was doing slow fashion decades before slow fashion became a “thing.” His designs evolved slowly rather than changing silhouettes dramatically from season to season.

Here are a few photographs from the show, and here is an interview with Margiela if you’d like to learn more about his work. I’m still thinking about everything I saw at this show and looking at my sketches from the exhibit. (Photography isn’t allowed. These are photos from MoMu.)

Instagram Links

It’s been so busy here I completely forgot that we usually do #madeforkidsmonth in June. Anyone want to play? Here’s a post with the details, but it’s really whatever you want it to be. S is still in school in June, so we’ll play along when she’s not in her uniform.

Did you follow our SoHo Shorts sew-along this week? Our many thanks to Rita, who took all the photos for it. Her shorts turned out really cute, too! I also spotted this darling Butterfly Blouse and Lunchbox Tee sewn by Laine using cute fabrics. It’s always so much fun to browse Instagram to see what you’re sewing.

Pinterest Picks

Do you collect anything? I don’t really (except–by default–fabric and books), but I love the look of a good collection, like in these photos. Antique stores often do such a beautiful job of merchandising displays of multiples. I’ll never forget a display of garden faucet handles in my aunt’s favorite shop a few years ago. Who knew faucet handles could be so appealing?

pinterest link and pinterest link

These photos reminded me of a Jump Rope Dress and a Playtime Dress, respectively.

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Here’s a great way to wear a Gallery Tunic. And this sleeveless dress by The Row reminds me of the Lisette for Butterick B6411 dress without sleeves. Which would be so easy to do….

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Here are a couple of cute sleeve ideas for you. The first one could easily be achieved with our Butterfly Blouse. The second interests me because it’s playing on a French cuff with added flare and repeating flounces that move up the arm. Fun! I may need to play with this idea, especially since my friend Robin and I have been talking about French cuffs and the Classic Shirt pattern.

pinterest link and pinterest link

Speaking of the Classic Shirt, I’ve just finished sewing one lengthened enough to be worn as a shirt dress (I’m wearing it right now!) for an upcoming blog post or two. I like the way this shirt dress (below, left) is layered undera skirt like our City Stroll Wrap Skirt. I think I might need to try wearing it this way! Also, how intriguing is this shirt placket? I don’t think it would be very difficult to do, but I might be fooling myself.

pinterest link and pinterest link

Weekend Reading

  • The Balenciaga show looks like it would be well worth a visit to the V & A. (But then again, when isn’t it worthwhile to visit the V&A?)
  • Speaking of Balenciaga, wouldn’t it be amazing to examine and then reproduce an original Balenciaga, becoming an expert about it in the process? I’m a teeny big jealous of these students! (Thanks for the link, Jennifer.)
  • It’s prom season. Here’s a history of the prom dress and everything it signifies.
  • Eco fabrics are (hopefully) not too far off in the future!
  • I read this piece about the beloved Mister Rogers while eating alone at a cafe in Antwerp and found myself both weeping and laughing in the process. And I didn’t care if anyone was watching. What an amazing man.
  • Speaking of Mister Rogers, listen to him talk about those cardigans his mother made him. Love in every stitch. (This is one reason I sew, and I think many of you sew for loved ones for this reason as well.)
  • Whoa, if you think sheer dresses and body-con dresses today are scandalous, it’s fascinating to read that Belle Epoque dresses were equally shocking in their time!

We’ll be back next week with our usual fun ideas to share. Maybe I’ll even have time to photograph some of my recent sewing to show you! (I’ve been sewing up a storm.) In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend.

This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Oliver + S

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Sewing Space Tours… Jade’s Kitsch Haven!

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Hello! Lexy here, to bring you another lovely Sewing Space, where a crafter show us around their creative area. Today we have a sweet space in South Wales, belonging to a dressmakers who has an enviable 60s style handmade wardrobe – we love seeing her makes on Instagram. Let’s hear more from the lady herself…

Hello! I’m Jade, welcome to my little sewing sanctuary in sunny South Wales. I am relatively new to the realms of dressmaking and have only really been getting to know my way around a sewing machine for the past three years. By day I work in an office-based role in Bristol but by night can be found in my little sewing haven, musing over my next big make.

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I have always been a creative individual and have enjoyed crafting from a young age. At university I studied Graphic Design, which instilled my admiration of beautiful craftsmanship and contemporary design. There was a time when I believed my love for fashion and textiles would be limited to high street trending ready-to-wear garments. Learning of the wonderful indie sewing makers movement really changed all of this for me and after pouring over many inspirational sewing blogs (including Tilly and the Buttons!), I wanted in! In the beginning I attended a brilliant beginners dressmaking class and learnt basic skills and techniques but soon realised that if I was going to take the next step I’d need to make some room at home to build upon these skills!

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I started off sewing at home at my kitchen table but soon yearned for a larger space to store all of my dressmaking paraphernalia, which was growing at an alarming rate! Two thirds of my spare bedroom has thus been transformed to home a retro writing desk, some shelving, a storage trolley and a few trinkets to decorate. Overall I’d probably say that my space has a bit of a kitsch vibe about it while still being quite minimalistic. I try not to sprout out too much as the other the other third of the room is occupied by my rather understanding boyfriend who uses his space for his photography hobby, and our pet lizard (‘Lizzy’).

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Quirky storage boxes and prettily patterned tins are a bit of a weak spot – I love a good storage solution! Not only do I find it quite therapeutic categorising all of my notions, tools, threads, patterns and fabric but I also find it much easier to pick up a project if I know where everything is. Working in the week means that sewing time is precious in the evenings and this is why having a dedicated sewing space is so great, as it saves time having to set things up and pack things away all of the time. I try and sew a few times a week but generally have more time to get stuck into a project over the weekend, usually with a nice cup of tea and some biccies.

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I am a bit of a planner and like to make a mood board to help me decide how the final garment I am making might look – the idea stage is just as fun as the construction! In addition to our resident gecko I have two gorgeous little helpers who keep me company while making, Henry and Coco the Chihuahuas. Coco is a puppy and can often be seen running around the house having fun with rogue scraps or on occasions a snail (pin-free) pincushion!

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I’m not much of a fabric hoarder and only really have two main stashes of fabric. Interestingly my stashes mainly comprise of patterned fabrics that I’ve had for a couple of years now before I discovered my fondness for plainer fabrics. I love interesting prints but soon realised that although the pieces I’d bought were really striking, often they wouldn’t be something that I would necessarily wear. Nowadays I tend to gravitate towards plain, bold coloured fabrics and sew them up straight away, so they don’t hang about for long!

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As you can probably see I don’t have a great deal of space in my sewing area and unfortunately can’t quite squeeze in another desk for my overlocker. For this reason I hacked an Ikea footstool into an overlocking station by attaching a couple of tin trays, a few hooks and a lick of paint which now means that I can sew and overlock with ease – yay!

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Although I am a fairly new sewist, dressmaking has been in my family for generations. My most treasured possession is my dressmaking scissors given to me by my lovely mum who was a fanatical dressmaker herself! My mum sadly passed a couple of years ago and every time I use these scissors to make a garment it gives me a warming sense of pride and connection.

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My favourite guilty pleasure of all (even more so than fabric shopping!) is acquiring vintage sewing patterns. My pattern collection comprises of a few commercial patterns, lots of lovely indie patterns (notably Tilly and the Buttons of course) and my beloved, ever growing collection of vintage sewing patterns. Over the past couple of years I have been lucky enough to collect patterns from various decades including the 40s, 50s and 70s but my favourite decade of all has to be the swinging 60s! I love the futuristic undertones in the styling of many of the garments from this period paired with the flamboyant expressions of colour.

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I think a wonderful thing about vintage sewing patterns is that they all have a story to tell and it is quite remarkable to think that they are still being enjoyed decades after they were first printed. I try to keep the most delicate patterns in cellophane sleeves, away from the sunlight to prevent them from aging any further and when it’s time to use a pattern, I tend to trace off all of the pieces onto tissue paper to try and preserve the original pattern pieces. Etsy and eBay are a vintage-pattern treasure trove but I have also found a couple of gems at vintage fairs…it can be a bit addictive though! The sky’s the limit… well, my spare room for now!

Thank you so much for letting me share my little sewing space with you!



Thank you for sharing your lovely space with us, Jade. We’d love to spend an afternoon sewing with you, especially if Henry and Coco are around to assist! 


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