Sewing Inspiration on YouTube | Bonus Podcast 4
With most of the country currently sheltering in place, we need to find inspiration to keep our creative juices flowing. In this bonus episode of the Sewing with Threads podcast, Threads editors Carol Fresia, Sarah McFarland, and Erica Redfern share some of their favorite YouTube content.
Threads also invites listeners to visit our own YouTube channel for tips, how-to content, and project videos.
Carol’s picks: International savoir-faire
Carol has been enjoying the Global Fashion Workshop channel, an extensive series of videos featuring Irina Paukshte, a designer who demonstrates patternmaking, fitting, and construction techniques. She’s knowledgeable and has lots to say—all of which is dubbed into English.
For a close look at how faux flowers and featherwork are made for couture collections, watch À la rencontre de…Bruno Legeron, Fleuriste & Plumassier aux Ets Legeron à Paris. Practice your French language comprehension and/or read the subtitles.
If you want to further exercise your French, take a look at Une histoire de savoir-faire : cinq icônes de la mode restaurées, a video on the restoration of five examples of historic costumes in the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Even if you don’t understand the audio, you’ll get up-close views of items from the 16th century through the 1920s. Plus you’ll be able to grasp how damaged or aging materials are conserved by experts. (This video isn’t actually on YouTube, but it’s worth checking out anyway.)
Follow the creation of an incredible coat for Christian Dior’s Spring/Summer 2011 haute couture collection. You’ll see everything from cutting to tambour beading, embroidery, and garment construction at an unparalleled level of craftsmanship.
A bespoke suit from Savile Row is one of the most aspirational outfits there is, even if you don’t wear three-piece suits. Watch the process of building a suit, in “How to Make a Savile Row Suit, part 1 and part 2, featuring tailors from Anderson & Sheppard, London.
Having sat in her chair at home for weeks, Carol is hooked on videos from Back Intelligence. These short exercise tutorials, hosted by a physical therapist who is also a professional dancer, are aimed at resolving standard back and neck discomfort. This may be caused by hours of leaning over a computer cutting table, sewing machine, or ironing board. The instructors also identify common postural issues that many sewers will recognize from their personal fitting challenges. It’s helpful to put all this information together, and possibly alleviate acute or chronic back and neck pain.
Sarah’s picks: High style
Sarah has been enjoying fun high-fashion and haute couture content from author and documentarian Loic Prigent. The French filmmaker was behind the 2005 five-part mini-series “Signé Chanel,” a lively look at the personalities and processes behind Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2004-2005 couture collection.
Prigent’s work retains touches of humor and personality even in the serious world of luxury fashion. On his YouTube channel, Filming Fashion, Loic shares footage filmed before, during, and after runway shows, masterfully edited for wit and impact. He talks with models, seamstresses, designers, and celebrity attendees. An April release, “CHANEL: THE SUBLIME HAUTE COUTURE FROM VIRGINIE VIARD! With G Dragon!” was filmed at the Grand Palais, Paris, made over to look like Aubazine, the convent where Gabrielle Chanel was educated. Loic examines pleats, fabrics, trims, buttons and more with Chanel staff, and the video ends with a 15-minute slow-motion recap of the fashion show. It’s mesmerizing to watch the couture garments move in such detail.
Another favorite YouTube channel for Sarah is Bedo’s Leatherworks. LLC, which chronicles the repair projects of owner Steve Doudaklian. The shop is based in Falls Church, Virginia, and Steve accepts daunting shoe and handbag restoration work from all over the country. He chronicles almost every step of his projects, with explanations but not a lot of chatter. It’s soothing and informative content to have on while you may be working on your own projects.
Steve is a miracle-worker. It is amazing to see the before-and-after comparisons. Watching his videos will also give you a better understanding of the materials and engineering that go into luxury accessories. A favorite video is “Louis Vuitton epic repair fail” in which Steve redoes another repair shop’s botched fix on a Louis Vuitton bag.
A final recommendation from Sarah is the channel Justine LeConte officiel. A French fashion and jewelry designer living in Berlin, Justine shares her insight into productive work habits, current fashion trends, figure categorizing methods, and other style-related topics. It is like having a fashion designer friend, open to sharing her professional wisdom with you as well as dishing on current trends. Justine’s videos are pared-down and focused. A quick, useful view is “20 ways to wear a scarf + how-to tips.”
Erica’s picks: Period costume expertise
Erica suggests Bernadette Banner’s channel for anyone interested in historical sewing. Her aesthetic focused mainly on Victorian and Edwardian designs, but she does take a foray or two into medieval and modern sewing.
Rather than instructional, her focus is on discovering new techniques during her process and noting moments where she makes mistakes as a learning opportunity. One of Bernadette’s recent videos, (Re)Making a Victorian Coat, or: Tailoring is Hard, inspired Erica to attempt some classical tailoring methods herself on a planned coat.
Bernadette undertook a large overhaul of her sewing space in a recent video, Turning My Apartment into a Cosy Sewing Space & Organizing Things. Watch her transform her snug New York apartment into a beautiful, inviting space to create in. It may give you some ideas for your own space.
Another recommendation from Erica is Morgan Donner, another historical YouTuber, with a concentration in medieval and Renaissance clothing. Her journey to create a gorgeous 16th-century gown is documented in her playlist, Making: 16th Century Laurel Dress, and includes videos on creating the bodice, farthingale, and gown.
Also mentioned was Erica’s Halloween costume, which was a Renaissance peasant outfit created using an Alter Years pattern. Read more about her process on her Pattern Review entry for the 2019 Costume Contest.