So sew about Fabiani and the art of tailoring

A dress to dream of... a coveted design to make by Fabiani

I had fabulous shopping karma at Canberra’s Lifeline Bookfair this weekend; this translates as I spent a small fortune and will not be spending much on myself in the coming months! But the blow out was definitely worthwhile with some major expansion to my knitting pattern collection.

Sewing projects have been a wonderful way of distracting myself from the imminent journey of labour!

I arrived early on the first day of the fair, the early morning queue being full of eager booklovers, collectors and book buyers from several different states, many of whom were plotting their “plan of attack” with maps of the different subject areas. I went straight to craft of course with a specific goal in mind- to find a decent book on sewing pattern analysis and alteration. I started a new project late in the week, a pair of culottes for Summer that I thought would be cool and figure-forgiving, albeit somewhat eighties.  I discovered, as I faithfully followed the pattern, that I was not satisfied with the overall design.

Lesson no 1: not all patterns are equal.

Lesson no 2: be prepared to innovate.

Mission accomplished. I lucked out with two books by Natalie Bray which I snapped up as they looked exactly like what I was looking for. A little research later on revealed she is a Parisian trained expert and her books are dressmaking classics. I love them, lots of information about methods appropriate to different styles, problem solving and techniques. All of this research is necessary as I eventually work up to some serious dresses- some vintage patterns I have by Simonetta, Fabiani and Belville. And honestly I am enjoying the process of learning. The theory makes sense- though I have yet to apply what I have read in practical terms. I have found myself looking at patterns a little bit differently, considering garment construction and not just the overall “impression”.

This has all lead me to a new conclusion- that tailoring garments for myself is going to be difficult without a dressmaker’s mannequin.  In fact, it may well be impossible to do properly without one? (sigh). Something else to keep on the look out for. Assuming I have time for myself again one day, after le bubba is here!

Ah, Fabiani…! What a wonderful dress to aspire to.

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