Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Sewing Resolution #1: Apply Trim

Over the past few months, I've had a feeling that an element has been missing in my sewing.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  It started with this dress that I made at the end of the summer - I wore it once to a Pattern Review meet-up, but never blogged about or wore it again because it didn't seem... finished. 



To me, it just looks like 2 pieces of fabric seamed together, not a garment.  It's missing something.

Recently I was browsing wool matelasse garments for inspiration (having picked up a crazy awesome wool matelasse at Eliott Berman!) and came upon this Elie Tahari jacket:


Satin facings!  Rosettes!  Pleats!  These are what are missing from my homespun garments - trim!  Even simple items, like the JCrew basic woven blouses I'm currently in love with, have some sort of embellishment.  Note the frayed trim at the neckline:


As a beginner, I'm so concerned with construction that I've rarely thought about embellishments and detailing.  Now that I'm picking up more skills, it's time to delve into the world of trim.  This year I'm resolving to consider trim in every garment I make.  Trim may not always be appropriate or necessary (for example, I'd like to sew a simple, wear-all-the-time navy cotton sateen sheath), but I will at least analyze each garment for possible trimming.

A number of bloggers have posted about storing inspiration images on sites like flickr or pinterest; I may set up an account to track trim ideas.

As for that ikat, elastic waist sheath: I'm thinking of adding beading at the neckline in a contrasting color.  (Note to self: must learn how to bead.)

These are from Pacific Trim in the Garment District, NYC.

What are your favorite detailing options?  Are there any resources I should consult?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips on using trim.

20 comments:

Sophia said...

You read my mind!... I've been thinking the exact same thing about a few recent finished garments. It's a little scary though, because there's such a fine line before getting into "crafty" territory. That's why I've been hesitant to try. Good luck, and I hope you get some good information!

Jill/laughbutnotloudly said...

I completely agree! I'm a beginner too and I've noticed that most of my stuff is a bit plain. I've been kind of unsure about how to go about adding my own embellishments. Thanks for the inspiration to just go ahead and try something new!

Jan said...

Oh, I really like the idea of the bright yellow beading. A black patent leather belt at the waist would make it uber cool as well :)

Something in the Way She Sews said...

What a fantastic idea, I hadn't thought about how trims could really improve my dressmaking. I think the yellow beads will look great.

Trisha said...

This past weekend, I almost bought that exact fabric, but I wasn't sure what to make with it! I like your simple dress, but I also love special details like trims. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Sheila said...

I like garments with embellishments, and did decorative stitching on a suit jacket and a dress I completed this weekend by adding satin blanket binding. However, I tread cautiously, since I am not always sure which embellishments work best with a garment.

JoanneM said...

I am going to beg to differ here a bit.

I think it is the accessories that you add to the outfit that accentuate it. I often find a trim or beading can make a lovely classic garment look "home made". I try to stay away from embellishments, because rarely do I see an embellishment that looks like it "fits". It really is trickier than sewing the garment.

I have a history of purchasing fabric that "does the talking" and prefer to use that, along with accessories to add the sparkle.

I think your green ikat dress is lovely. Paired with some chunky orange,yellow or tortoise shell jewelry, it might be what you are looking for.

I know dinosaurdesigns in nyc specializes in chunky but $$$$$ accessories.

Sorry for the novel!!

Rachel said...

I have been thinking the exact same thing. I want to use piping this year. That fabric on that first dress is GORGEOUS!!! Where did you get that?

Lindsay T said...

Oh, I am all about embellishment and always have been. Sometimes I have to stop myself from embellishing. I love to shop at places like Century 21, Off Saks and Neiman Marcus outlets where I can scrutinize the pricey designer clothes without a salesperson hovering over me. M&J Trimming and Pacific Trims in NYC are great places to get embellishing ideas. Simple petersham ribbon works well too; you see a lot of designers using it.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I'm in the embellishment category myself. I think it finishes off a garment especially a plain and simple garment. It gives it a little ummph.

I am a huge fan of piping...especially piping in the same color as the garment. But trim and embellishment is a journey, one that you have to be willing to experiment with...I don't think embellishing comes easily. It takes a lot of trial and error and the willingness to make a mistake or two.

May I suggest two books that really helped me explore embellishments:

1. Fine Embellishment Techniques by Jane Conlon

2. Embellishments A to Z by Stephanie Valley

I think both will be able guides as you work through learning how to embellish your garments.

Anonymous said...

Start simple. The same idea having struck me about my sewing, I recently made a very simple long and narrow linen bias band in a toning color and sewed it all the way round about four inches above the hem on a long bias skirt I had made. It really improved the skirt and made it look "professional." But I think it is best to go for the minimum embellishment. Too much or too "frou-frou" and you can't coordinate the garment with anything else!

H

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I don't do much trim for fear of "crafty-crazy," but when I do actually bust it out I'm generally really happy with the end result. That said, I'd try out the ikat dress with a big belt and a long necklace before beading. Belts make such a difference. Of course, take what I say with a grain of salt--I spent several hours hand-sewing swathes of ruffles to a t-shirt over the weekend.

AllisonC said...

I agree with you and may try and do the same this year - we just have to be careful about going completely overboard! I think nothing beats snooping around in stores or online to get ideas.

Karin said...

I am always nervous about trims, I get overwhelmed with the options and don't know where to start. I'll enjoy seeing what you decide to do and getting my thrills vicariously! :)

Rose said...

I like the color combination, but I would make a necklace and bracelet from the beads. I fear that I would go crazy with the beading. Also--did you check the beads to see if they are colorfast?

Rose in SV

amber said...

Oh, that's a fun resolution. I'm excited to see what you create in the new year with this in mind. :)

Carolyn said...

I think those beads would look amazing around teh neckliine of that dress! YES! Go for it!

I have to clarify ... the photo was of my husband and me, not my brother and me!! But thankyou for your kind comment.

Kristina said...

You're right on the money with this...Trim and detailing is definitely what takes your work to the next level. It's all in the finishing. I'm a freelance clothing designer (and new follower of your blog) and the longer you go, the harder it gets to edit yourself and know when enough trim is enough. Practice makes perfect! Love what you're doing over here. =)
Kristina J.

Valerie said...

The right trim or accessory can add real pizzaz to an outfit. I think the yellow beads will make it but it will need a belt as well, even just a self tie from the same fabric. Listen to what the garment is saying then just do it!

SEWN said...

I am also in the fearful camp of embellishment. But I wholeheartedly would like to lose my fear. I love your ikat dress. The mustard beads look very complementary. Go for it!