Saturday, 1 October 2011


I have been involved in the fashion industry for over 7 years, so have picked up a few tricks along the way. What most fashion designers don't tell you is that it's really bloody hard to make clothes. 
Fashion from design to production, is very labour intensive and there are a lot of things one must know to end up with a decent garment. So generally designers specialise in what they enjoy and hire talented people to do the rest.

I'm advanced in things like textiles and print design as well as complex screen printing. I'm confident on a cutting table at production time and know my way around basic pattern making. However I've always been dubious (shit scared) around a sewing machine. 

My first introduction to sewing was in an industrial production house with french trained vietnamese makers who could whip up a tailored shirt in under 4 minutes. Very intimidating to a beginner, considering the industrial machines are so powerful not even a finger getting in the way will stop them sewing right on. 

I overcame this fear when I turned 30 earlier this year and requested from the family a brand new machine for my birthday, Hooray! I also have the safety net of a very talented bestie who sews like she was born with a bobbin in her hand. 

So this is less of a 'how to' and more of a 'wholly shit if I can do it so can you'. Be warned traditionalist  or perfectionist, this beau-tie creation step by step might make you scoff and throw something. But if you're o.k with mis-matched cottons, cutting on the floor and the occasional spot of spilt vodka soda, then here's how to make the cutest bow-ties for your beau: 

Start with a perfectly good bow-tie: 

Take your favourite new friendly un-picker: 
Kill it! Kill it DEAD! Seriously though, dissecting stuff and remaking it is a good way to practice. 
Don't be a nerd and create a pattern, that's a waste of cardboard and vodka time. Lazily pin the pieces to some neato spotlight sale fabric:
Be extra lazy and fold your fabric layers over when you cut the big bow bit to make double bows so you can have a double bow layer thing with potential for colour clashing, for added preppy chic.
One thing that is annoying but important, your grain lines must go in the right direction, this is a good habit so always check your 'selvedge' or the 'edge of your fabric' runs in the same direction as the grain line on your pattern piece. 
Now sew some shit! Make little pillows with the opening in the middle on one side. I put 'facing' on the bow bits to reinforce them as the gingham is kinda thin.
Turn your little pillows inside out and iron them too (I know ironing is the devil's work). 
Create little tubes like mum showed you, with the pin and feeding it through and it's kinda frustrating if you're a fumble fingers so here's where the Vodka comes in.
Remember your 'pattern' showed you how to make the pillows look like bows, aww!
Add your little middle bit, as well as the long strappy bit, note the contrasting cotton; sign of a lazy sewer
Add some elastic on the edges and bow-tie hook and eye
Look at the cuteness! Kanye would totes wear this!
I call this one Ralph Wiggam: 
And this one is Milhouse: 
 And this one is Martin Prince: 


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