The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

About Fashion and Art/Artist

I’ve said many times that your work as a sewist and design is that of an artist….hence the sew+artist=sewist that I use so many times to refer to what I do as well as what I teach.  So what’s going on with sewing?  Is it changing?  And how is it changing?  From boring rote drill to artistic expression….read on!  

And although this is immensely logical for me, having read a lot on the process and composition of an artist and the artistic-ness that takes place in the creation of a work.  It has always seemed highly logical.  I classify myself as an artist and designer.

Did anyone hear of the Met Fashion Institute?

But is my work art?  According to this article, it isn’t, but designers (and sewists) are.  That’s confusing to me, but the article is worth a read – if for no other reason than to be exposed to the author’s reasoning.  And of course, if fashion isn’t art why are there so many museum exhibits on fashion – like at the Met.  So is it not art when it’s at a museum?!  Huh?  What is it then?  The logic simply doesn’t follow.

Theoretically, if an art venture is in a money-making industry, then it is not art – according to the article.  Granted fashion and clothing design does have a bottom line and if it isn’t going well, then the artist-in-charge is fired and arrangements are made to make the company make money.  But honestly I see no difference between this and painting a portrait on demand which would be to make money – don’t they all seek to make money?

I frankly get a little confused with folks trying a classify one form of art as such because of some arbitrary qualification.  Then admit the process by which the product is created is artistic – and that the creator himself/herself is an artist, but what they produce through an artistic process by the artist is not art!

Like Art, the Change in Sewing Is Hard to Classify!

In the end, she admits that the boundary is very fine between fashion being artistic and money-making.  It’s probably more like none.  But what it definitely shows is how hard it is to classify fashion and in particular if you design and sew your own clothes.

And herein lies the rub.  Are we sewists who use patterns that we choose, fabrics that we choose, notions that we choose, and all the other materials that we choose to assemble a garment in a fashion that we choose, not artists?  Of course, we are.  We are the very distinct and clear definition of artists!

I think sewing is undergoing a huge transformation.  Many more of my students come to me to have the freedom to express and create their own looks and to establish their own style by creating what they have in their mind.  For years, it may have appeared that the shopping population of this country was just in lock step with designers, store buyers, and store clerks when that hasn’t been the case.  My students are budding artists just waiting for someone to show them the how’s and why’s and they are off and running with all their ideas.

Uh – where’s the About part?

And yes, this isn’t the typical page you would see if you click the “About” on the menu bar above.  This is my take on the sewing world today, but if you want to see more about me, you can click here to get my creds!

  1. Hi Claire,
    I read all your newsletters and really enjoy them and appreciate the time you put into them.

    I know how to move darts and split darts, but I have found a vintage pattern that appears to have a set of 4 darts that ‘surround’ the apex rather than point towards it. It’s a vintage Vogue #V8443. 2 darts are in the wide V neck and two come fro the waist. I have played around with quarter size bodice pieces and cannot figure it out for the life of me. Whenever I take the designer dart out and close up the dart, in order to make the bodice look correct, I have to slice up all the way to the apex to place the new dart. None of the darts point directly at the apex on this pattern. I think it’s genius and I love it! I have scoured the Internet and don’t see any talk about darts that function in this way. Any insight from your varied experience?

    • Chris – Surrounding the apex point is OK – I think what I meant to say there is that each dart should point to the apex, so if that looks like the spokes of a wheel, that’s OK too. Well, it’s ok for the fit, the design might look a little weird with all the spokes pointing to the bust point – that might look like some neon sign saying “Hey look at these!!!!”

      And yes, you will have to slice all the way up to the bust point or shoulder apex or hip apex. I did do a great primer on Dart Design in the Reousource Center. It’s one part of the Dart Package, so if you want all of it, you can get it as one whole package, or simply get the dart design alone. The dart design is here: https://tinyurl.com/y2vystrj And the whole dart package is here: https://tinyurl.com/y59e65nb

  2. Claire-
    I just purchased the sleeve block bot the link in the pdf for the instructions is not working? Sorry, I don’t know how else to contact you for technical glitches. Thanks

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