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Finishing touches

January 5, 2012

I took an intensive haute couture sewing  and patternmaking class last fall, taught by a tiny old seamstress we called Signora. We sat at workstations in serried rows for hours at a time while she paced about the room, examining our work and holding forth on the subject du jour. It was fantastic. Very rigorous, but just what I wanted.

As the Resident Foreigners, my friend Astrid and I were given many lectures on why traditional Italian tailoring enjoys the reputation it has (and let me tell you, there is WORK that goes in to properly tailoring something!) A constant refrain from Signora was “Rifiniture!” The finishing touches. She showed us the extra steps that made a hand-made garment into a work of fine craftsmanship. It’s all about the little thoughts that make a garment truly special.

That’s why I’m particularly drawn to vintage tailoring, such as with the suit above. The perfect seam on the waist and the buttons at the back are beautiful touches, showing that the garment was thoughtfully constructed. I’m working on building a skeleton wardrobe right now, of perfect base pieces, and it is these careful details that I’m looking out for, such as a well-made hem or something to make the piece more beautiful and unique. I think I might be done with fast fashion, except for pops of trendiness. Quality and thoughtfulness are becoming more and more important to me. How do you feel about this?

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