I am always tickled when I hear quips along the lines of “Oh! women make so much effort to attract men, ‘work-of-art’ make-up on their faces, super sleek weaves, fingernails long enough to pin Jesus to the cross all over again. Ah! if only they knew, that we men don’t even notice. We can’t tell the difference between yaki or brazilian weave. Red lipstick looks like a frightful bloody gash on their lips. And, how oh how! do they type or get anything else done with those talons?”
Ah! If only you knew, that half the time, other women are our intended audience. The thing is, only a woman would appreciate the tangle-free ease of quality hair weaves. Or how red lipstick sometimes adds swag to one’s stride and brightens one’s face regardless of their mood. Or how the clickity-clickity-clickity-click sound of long nails striking a keyboard is rather delightful to our own ears, it adds an unexplainable thrill to our “computer-computer” jobs. 😉
Like the lady who politely stopped me the other day and asked “Ruby Woo, right?” When I replied in the affirmative, she grinned and said “I knew it!” Well, she was my intended audience. She appreciated the lipstick’s quality and recognized the distinctive shade.
I suppose it’s the same with precise attention to detail in tailoring. With regards to a dressmaker’s intended audience, the truth is that only another dressmaker would appreciate the effort and dedication put into exquisite finishing. Most of the time, a paying customer of either an RTW (ready to wear) or a custom-made garment might not notice the extra love.
She’d definitely appreciate how nicely the garment fits her and accentuates curves, or how pretty she looks wearing it. She’d sometimes notice how neat the sewing is, in terms of the straightness of the stitches.
Most importantly, in the case of custom-made aso-ebi garments, she’d really be thankful to God and all the singing angels in heaven that the dressmaker did not disappoint and delivered on time the exact style that she requested for.
I sincerely believe that the finishing of a garment should be both careful and aesthetically pleasing. I saw a piece of advice in one of my sewing books “Always aim to make the inside of the garment look even better than the outside”.
Here are my favourite finishings, these go beyond simply using a serger or overlocker to seal the seam edges, they really boost the look of the finished garment:
1.Lace hem tape: I like to use this when I’m hand sewing a deep hem, the scallops are so pretty.
2.Hong Kong seam: This gives a professional look, the edges are sealed by sewing bias tape around them. Bias tape can be store bought or cut from the same fabric being sewn, if it’s not too bulky. Simply cut diagonal strips.
3.French seam: This is a great way of sealing the edges of delicate, drapy and likely to fray fabrics, it literally makes the edges disappear within the seams. The wrong sides should be first placed together and sewn using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then, the right sides are placed together and sewn, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, such that the new seam “swallows” the previously sewn seam.
4. Zig-Zag edge: I like to use this when sewing medium to weighty fabrics that will not fray post-washing. The jagged shape is achieved by cutting with Pinking shears (zig-zag scissors).
5. Satin ribbon: I like to use this when machine sewing deep hems, as it gives a sleek look.
Personally, I believe that the finer details is what sets tailors apart.
Now that I think of it, I suppose Finishing Schools are called that for a reason. People can easily see our outer packaging, but when they get up close and turn us inside out, they’ll see either frayed, tatty edges, or tidily finished seams. Quite remarkably, sometimes, one’s inside could radiate so brightly that it even overshadows the outside. That to me is unquestionable Poise.
I wonder; does beauty lie in the eyes of the beholder or the beheld? I find that people’s various expressed perceptions of the same thing is almost like a game of Chinese Whispers. 😀