From vintage chic to clean modern shapes, how do these seamstresses create and communicate their own unique style in their projects? What and who inspires them, from film and music to everyday life. And what’s their dream outfit?
Thanks to everyone who came forth with amazing suggestions for new questions to ask willing seamsters in this series! Loads of great suggestions and ones I will definitely take on board for new interviews. But in the meantime let me introduce you to Catherine of Cyberdaze. Catherine’s blog is fairly new to me in that I only discovered it a few months back – but what a treat! Here’s more on her darkly playful, avant garde style…
Catherine, you’ve been described by Dolly Clackett as the Tilda Swinton of sewing blogs! But how would you describe your particular handmade style?
That’s a lovely description – thanks Roisin! I really admire Tilda Swinton’s style, she’s very individual and daring.
What I am aiming for is an urban, dark, slightly futuristic look that isn’t too costumey to wear every day. My blog name – Cyberdaze – is obviously a spin on cyberpunk. But I also have a great affection for the 70s.
Where do you find your style inspiration and how do you channel that into your me-made wardrobe?
I like a lot of science-fiction costume design. June Hudson‘s late 70s/early 80s designs for Blake’s Seven and Doctor Who still resonate with me. I keep a scrapbook of images I like from magazines – mostly Vogue, there’s no way I’d tear up my Burdas! – and I find there are definite themes in the collection which I try to bring out in my sewing. For example I have lots of pictures of silver or metallic trousers, so that was a direct inspiration for my silver jeans.
Who are your style icons and why?
Tilda Swinton, of course. Vivienne Westwood is an inspiration as she not only makes amazingly distinctive clothes, she wears them day in day out. Daphne Guinness, especially her accessories. I’m not a jewellery wearer myself but I love her taste.
Are there any particular designers that you use for inspiration?
If you had to select one self-stitched garment that really encapsulates your style – what would it be and why?
This is tricky because my favourite garment is usually the one I sewed most recently. But I think my black neoprene and knit version of Vogue 8319 incorporates most of the elements I’m drawn to. I love technical fabrics, contrasting textures, and black. I made the dress quite a while ago and it’s still getting regular wear which is always a good sign.
Do you ever take risks and experiment with your look? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
I am often tempted by very ladylike, elegant things which don’t actually work for me. Case in point: I made a red wool version of Vogue 8667 which I was really happy with as a project but never wear. I’m still proud of the invisible zip and finishing on that one though.
But I’ve tried some experiments that worked. I made my first maxidress as a bit of a joke. I originally bought the pattern for the glorious envelope illustration: it is from 1972 and the girls in the picture had big Charlie’s Angels hair and chunky platforms, wonderfully glamorous. I made it up for a vintage pattern contest on Pattern Review, not expecting I’d wear it much. I was wrong. It came out most weekends that summer and I’ve made the same pattern up again since then.
There are certain looks some of us just can’t pull off… do you have a style bugbear?
I can’t wear anything too girlie or cute. Frills are right out! That sort of thing looks ridiculous on my frame. I no longer find that as frustrating as I used to; sewing gives me so many other choices. Another look I can’t do at all is the midi skirt. Above the knee or floor-length for me every time.
What would be your dream outfit, existing or otherwise?
If we’re talking real fantasy stuff I’d love to wear Balenciaga’s gold C3PO leggings.Over the top, shiny, and geeky. I think I’d need a new lifestyle to go with them though.
What other sewing bloggers would you recommend for great individual style?
This is really difficult; there are so many to choose from. Kazz, Ooobop!, Alice and The Perfect Nose are particularly inspirational for me in very different ways. Kazz’s blog is a visual feast. Ooobop! has a glamorous, vintagey vibe. Alice is effortlessly cool. The Perfect Nose makes the most amazing use of colour.
Ok so now I really want those leggings too… and I’ve never even seen a Star Wars film the whole way through… thanks Catherine!