Over the past few years of reading sewing blogs I’ve noticed an interesting trend in respect to which benchmark people use for their self-made garments, and what they’re trying to achieve. On the one hand, there are people who aspire to Ready to Wear (RTW) clothes: garments that look like they’ve been bought in a store. On the other, there’s sewists who aspire to being better than RTW, and most commonly to the level of couture.
When I started sewing and noticed people saying things like “well of course I wouldn’t accept the quality of RTW in my sewing” I was honestly flabbergasted: the idea of being able to sew something AS GOOD AS IN A SHOP was just astounding! It hadn’t actually occurred to me that it was really possible to do any better than that. And even now, I must confess that it’s the standard I most often hold myself to. If I could get my clothes looking as “perfect” as store-bought (especially high-end) that would be fantastic. The caveat is: I want them to fit better, and that’s what I constantly work on.
In the other camp, I know lots of sewists who aspire to more: to move beyond the types of finishes you get in RTW, and to make something that’s elevated up to a whole new level of sewing. You’re not going to see serged seams or topstitched hems in these types of garments. Some of my sewing friends would be quite offended if someone suggested that something they’d made looked like it was from a store! I associate this type of sewing with Susan Khalje, with lots of hand sewing, meticulous control and, above all, time. It’s something I notionally aspire to, though every time I think of signing up for one of her classes I chicken out, for fear that I’m not good enough (I know this is a silly way to think and I should just try! One day….).
So where do you fit in? Are you attempting to sew like RTW, maybe a particular brand or style? Are you a couture-aspiring sewist? Or do you have a totally different look or standard you aim for?