The Underwear Detective…

I spent a rather amusing afternoon last week going into the changing rooms of some pretty expensive lingerie shops and surreptitiously taking photos of racy underwear. I imagine this is how a dirty old man is supposed to feel! Although in reality I wasn’t taking photos of other people nor of myself in said underwear! You see I enrolled on a lingerie making course a few months back and it is my new current obsession.

This is a beautiful Stella McCartney camisole in silk:

I took along a friend for moral support! But she promptly deserted me and went into another shop! I went into three shops and by the third I was sort of shaking thinking I was going to get caught in the act and ejected unceremoniously onto the street! Apparently people aren’t that keen on you taking photos/sketches of the lingerie on show even if you are a student…

Part of the coursework for this course includes a shop report on the various trends and styles in the shops at the moment. I also have to write about the construction of the garment, noting the techniques and fabric in particular. It’s pretty weird for me to write a report like this as I was a science graduate and am used to writing completely different styles of reports! (And I am still getting over the part that I actually have to write a report, it’s been a while!)

However, what is fascinating is that I am having to analyse the construction details of top end lingerie garments. I’m sure as keen sewers, since we picked up the habit, we look a bit more closely at construction of clothes that we buy more than some of our friends who don’t sew. In my opinion some of the things I looked at were rather plain and the stitching not perfect for something like a camisole that will set you back £150! (I don’t know about you but for £150, i’d be wanting something pretty darn perfect, wouldn’t you?)

It makes you think though doesn’t it, I know I have certainly been one to complain about the cost of constructing garments for the amateur dressmaker (when you add up price of notions, patterns, fabric etc…) which makes you think whether or not it is all worth it sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that dressmaking and Sewing in the UK is an expensive hobby, however, when you consider that you get a personalised fit, decide your own fabric, control how messy or tidy the insides of your seams are and your overall finish – it’s a cost that is more acceptable. And if you get all that right, the cost is cheaper than designer ready to wear/couture clothes.

I think the last point is probably the most important; Fabric can be cheap or expensive. Really cheap fabric in my opinion is very hard to make look expensive (I am sure there are exceptions though) but generally cheap fabric makes an outfit look more expensive because of good fit and finish, but nothing renders expensive fabric worthless quicker than bad fit and finish…

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