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Fall designer fashions

kjp | Posted in General Discussion on

I wanted to start a discussion about the fall designer fashions.  I don’t shop much (except fabric & yarn shops!), but yesterday I went to the Short Hills Mall (very upscale mall in NJ)  not to buy, but to look.  What fun!  What interested me most was the seam and hem finishes I saw in so many of the designs.  Tahari & nicole miller both used a simple zigzag finish on seams and hems.  I saw a lot of raw edges in seams – in 5000 dollar jackets!  Also a lot of unlined jackets with the inside seams finished with grosgrain ribbon; lined in the sleeves and shoulders.  What fun to wander through Chanel, etc. in Nieman Marcus!  My husband couldn’t believe what prices these designs go for.  I can’t wait to start copying some of the ideas – so easy for a sewer!  I saw a beautiful Chanel long jacket I really want to copy! 

I’d love to read others comments on what they’ve seen & what they’re going to make this year!


  1. Elisabeth | | #1

    I love browsing in the upscale stores! The fabrics and colors and styles, wow, lots of ideas for inspiration. My favorite designer for this fall is Prada which I raved about earlier on this forum. Ralph Lauren had a pretty jacket with a mandarin type collar that called to me. Then I looked at the price tag and laughed. It looked like an error in decimal placement. All those price tags have too many numbers on them, your husband is right not to believe it!

    Those seam finishes are interesting aren't they? Finishing a chiffon in a zigzag is the ultimate in practical for producing, but doesn't appeal to my eye really. It makes me wonder how many of these techniques are being pushed by the industry trying to cut labor costs while being promoted as a new cutting edge look. (Pun intended, couldn't resist.)

    I always get ideas for construction though, how a bias dress is pieced to hang right, how a no waist pair of pants is smoothly closed, little things that sometimes give me that "aha".

    What am I making myself this year? Something like that Lauren jacket is on my wish list. I must go back and snoop shop for more ideas as the fall season progresses. This past week I have been fixing up my work wardrobe which is gym wear for a non-fancy college gym and classes start today. I'm going to need a Saks fix soon!

  2. Theodora | | #2

    You saw raw edges in the seams of a five thousand dollar jacket? This jacket was also unlined, then? I can imagine there might possibly be some reason not to treat the raw edges, for instance, the jacket was made of oilcloth (joking) or ultrasuede (not joking)?

    Otherwise, I am trying to control my incredulity that someone would pay five thousand dollars for this.

    Seams finished with grosgrain? I hope a light and pliable grosgrain.

    1. kjp | | #3

      I wish I could remember the designer of the jacket - it was lined.  The seams were lapped and topstitched with two parallel lines of stitching.  The fabric was a beautiful wool, but not felted, so there would be some fraying, but not enough to call it fringe! 

      As for the tahari seam finishes, I looked quickly - it was probably petersham as I think about it more carefully!  Those were kind of neat looking.  (Under $500, too! Still too pricey for me!)  As for who would pay $5000?  I can't imagine!  The Chanel & Armani were so much more stunning! 

      1. SewNancy | | #5

        There is a Chanel dress with the seams sewn to the right side and left fringed.  It looks rather cool.  I am making a skirt for my daughter, yoke with pleats and I fringed the bottom and sewed 1/4 " from edge of pleat and then cut and raveled it .  It looks really good and my daughter loves it.

        I am currently contemplating what to make with some gray stretch wool boucle that I have had for a while.  I want to jazz up the look a bit and I am researching trim options.  I really like the Chanel suits being shown with geometric patterned fabric used as front facing, cuffs and shaped pocket flaps.  Did you see any of these in your trip to Neiman Marcus?  I need to take a trip into NYC to find material if I do this as my internet search hasn't netted me anything interesting.  I want to make a flared botom skirt that I have in a Burda pattern magazine.   I would also love to locate some stretch silk for the lining in hot pink or red  If anyone sees any please let me know.


        Edited 8/25/2004 11:59 am ET by Nancy

      2. SewNancy | | #17

        The new Burda mag has a great 10 gore skirt with frayed edge trim for all the sseams.   They did it as piping as I did for my Chanel jacket, but couldn't I just sew the seams to the outside and fringe them instead of adding a layer?  The fabric is a strech boucle  and adding another layer to my hips does no;t appeal to me!


        1. kjp | | #19

          I think that would work well!  I agree about the extra layer, but I did like the slimming effect of the black fringe in that skirt!  I have thoroughly devoured this latest issue of Burda.  I wish I wasn't a stay at home mom, so I could wear more of those clothes.  As for fashion, I tore a photo out of the Aug InStyle mag last week.  The jacket was sewn entirely with seams on the outside - called it distressed.  I think if you fringed your seam allowances it would look lovely.  Last year there was a good fringing article (cover story) in threads.  The only thing I wonder is how the fabric would fringe along the curved edges?  Experimentation would answer that easily enough. 

          I agree with you about the fashions in Burda.  They are also wearable (at least most of them!) 


          1. SewNancy | | #20

            I am not a stay at home mom, my youngest just went away to college.  But, I work from my home and I certainly can't use fancy clothing installing landscapes!  I use any occasion to dress in beautiful clothes.  I am always looking for unusual casual clothes to make.  I have two weddings coming up and I am looking forward to wearing my Chanel jacket and skirt.  But the jacket looks great with jeans which I fully intend to do as soon as it cools off a bit.  The other wedding is in India and I need  at least 3 outfits for all the ceremonies!  What fun.  I have an outfit that I made with silks that I bought the last time we went, so I will wear that.  I have some fabulous micropleated fabric  that I am planning a simple top and long skirt, easy to sew.


    2. louise | | #6

      Dear Theo

      My younger brother is fond of saying, "there's a lot of stupid people out there"

      Judging from what I have seen in the local newspaper' s fashion section and the fashion TV channel, I believe there is a $5000.  unlined, frayed-edged jacket.  It's supposed to be edgy and cutting edge.  I constantly see poor finishing and substandard work on RTW.  It makes me shake my head!


  3. carobanano | | #4

    Sadly, I can't go looking at the upscale stuff. I live in central PA; the nearest mall has only one floor and the biggest store is Kaufmans. *eyeroll*

    I absolutely adore the look for fall, though- as Vogue said, "granny style"! No particular designer has caught my eye, and I don't have any of my recent Vogues on hand to flip through. I just bought a pink fabric (they call it boucle, but I would definitely call it tweed) from Joanns. This is how popular it is: when I got to the store, they still had the bolt. About an hour later, once I had gotten the stuff that I needed, I went back to see it again....and it was gone! Had to special-order it, which is a major pain in the bum. So anyway, I'm planning on making a Chanel-esque jacket from it. I'm just trying to think of how to put my own spin on it, because the style I'm going for is what's uber-trendy now. I prefer original any day. :D

    1. SewNancy | | #18

      There is a great web site, style.com I think, and all the designers can be seen on it.  You can search by jackets or by desingner or trends, pretty quick too.  I print out the most interesting pieces to study.  I also buy all the fall fashion mags to study.   You can't obviously see the inside, but style lines are easy to see.  Lucky and In Style are the least arty in the photos so you can see the clothes better.  A cheap addiction!  I also subscribe to Burda Pattern mag and it is definitely much more current than Vogue is these days.


  4. Jnj | | #7

    Hi, I was so interested to see your email on "eyeing" the fall fashions.  I am recovering for lengthy knee surgery and cant get out at this time.  I have not sewn for myself in a long time, but sew for granddaughters, and am at that "interesting" age.  Our bodies shift from gravity over time, and I am having difficulty getting agood fit.  I have a dressmaker's form, and would love to make a classic Chanel suit for myself.  Do you or anyone else out there have experience with this problem? A tummy is something I never had to deal with except in pregnancy.  As I age I find I love the classic styles, have good sewing skills, but do not like the clothes I see on people on tv and in the news.  Maybe I am looking at the wrong pictures!  What shape of skirt would work with the new styles, with my tummy, and should I use a long jacket or a shorter version.  Also do you know if you can still get the chain weight that Chanel put in all her jacket hems.  I love the boucle fabric, but haven't seen any in a long time.  Since I really cant go out and shop right now, would on line shoppng be the answer? Thank you for your time.

    1. sarahkayla | | #8

      Dear Bungie..

      this is why you can sew.. to make clothing that flatters you..

      you can buy fabric online.. you can also call places like b+j in new york and get then to send you swatches.. yes they will do that.. boucle is hot now.. make a jacket that flatters you.. a little blazer with a nipped in waist might do that ( a very hot shape for this year) or a boxier jacket if you prefer.. jackets are looking little and a bit shrunken..  ( think about late 50's and early 60's suits.. lots of dressmaker details) but worry more about what looks good on you.. pastels make me look ill.. so no matter how good it looks in vogue... you aren't going to see it on me..

      I have ordered from several of the online fabric places.. why don't you visit the sites.. and check back here to see if others have found them to be reliable...many of them will swatch.. you can also look up some of the fancier new york fabric stores.. you can see them as the suppliers in the pattern magazines and call them. many of those stores are run by nice people who are happy for the busniness.

      sarah in nyc

      1. Jnj | | #9

        You are so kind to share this information.  I dont know why I am being timid about this, maybe that I am not really comfortable with the internet as amethod of shopping.  Also I love to feel the fabric.  I was thinking about your comments about the jacket styles, and I probably have patterns in my stash that haven't seen the light of day since the 50's & 69's.  A friend gave me the Wild Ginger pattern maker, but I'm having trouble getting it to work for me, I guess it just needs tweeking.  Do you ever use this?  Thanks so much

        1. sarahkayla | | #10

          I have not used wild ginger.. but i know two things about them...

          1 - the people i know who use the software adore it

          2 - the people who own the company are really good people ( I have corresponded with them on another list)  they are known to be honest and to deliver a good product - you can also call them for support

          a couple of weeks ago I did a girl weekend with my friend and her daughtet...while all the guys in our families went camping.. we went to century 21.. an amazing new york designer discount department store.. we did serious looking in the high end designer department.. moschino, blumarine and the like.. my friend used to work at the columbia university library during the early 80's.. she used to go to thrift stores and buy early 60's suits to wear ( and pointy glasses) so whe would look like the librarians of her youth.. the jackets shown this year looked just like that..  think of tasteful office/churchwear from the late 50's and early 60's.

          you can probably check out swatches online and then call the vendor and have them feel the fabric and answer your questions.. thai silks has nice stuff and they are a very homelike comapny...at B+J most of the people really KNOW fabric and color...they have some of the best developed eyes i have ever seen.. I'm really good with color..not a brag...just a fact.. i can put together twelve prints and make them really sing...and I can do it not having them all infront of me... when I have a tricky choice to make.. i go there.. they charge moe for fabric.. but i'm willing to pay for their eyes.. you have smaller designers going in there to make clothing.. and evening clothing in particular..and the color and fabric choices they make can make you swoon.. it is like discovering Indian food after a lifetime of eating only mac and cheese.. who knew that you could even do that???

          but you can always ask for swatches.. you probably can't do that on sale or discounted fabric...but establish a relationship with a retailer...just think.. if you make your own jacket.. you can line it in something outrageous.. actually coco chanel used to do that....

          I never give my credit card number over the net and will call to make the sale.. think about it this way.. yu hare helping to keep the fabric stores alive.. this is how our great grandmothers used to shop .. but they would do it by mail and by stagecoach.. you won't have to wait as long for the fbric to show up.. i have actually purchased a fair amount of fabric.. and lots of notions on ebay...

          sarah in nyc

          1. SewNancy | | #12

            Sarah, I know that B & J has moved. Where is it now?


          2. carolfresia | | #13

            Nancy, B & J is now at 525 Seventh Ave. I love the building it's in! As Sarah says, they are very knowledgeable in there, and have such a great selection...yum. We buy a lot of fabric that's used for samples in the magazine at B & J, both by going to the store and by calling and requesting swatches.

            But Bungie, I've come to do a lot of my fabric shopping online these days. You can subscribe to swatching services that will send you a collection of swatches at various intervals (monthly, seasonally, etc.) to choose from; often, they'll sort them by color stories so you can easily select coordinates, and they'll suggest linings and interfacings to match. Fashion Fabrics Club is one such service; Vogue Fabrics in Chicago has one, too, and Christine Jonson does.  These services are great if you're looking for something special.

            In other cases, I've found that the prices of the fabric online are so reasonable I've been willing to take a chance--if I don't love what I get, I can always use it for a muslin or knock-around garment. I've been very pleasantly surprised on a number of occasions, and disappointed only a couple of times. This approach works well if you're a semi-indiscriminate collector of fabric, and trust that you'll find a use for material that might not be the exact color or weight you expected. Personally, I love having a nice, healthy stash of decent fabric that cost next to nothing, so I can mess around to my heart's content before I cut into the expensive fabric.

            OK, you can see that I'm very, very out of control about buying fabric, and I really shouldn't enable others. Unless they want me too...


          3. SewNancy | | #14

            Finally, i have found out how to disable the pop up blocker which is what was preventing me from posting an attachment!  It also prevented me from viewing photos on Manhattanfabrics.com.  I did as Mark suggested and googled the question and after about the 3 time found the answer.  So simple when I knew where to look! 

            I am trying to restrain my fabric buying as I anticipate buying in India this November.  MY eyes are bigger than my speed at sewing!


          4. JeanEsther | | #31

            So Manhattan does have photos?? Where is Marc's answer, or what did you do to see the photos? I turned off the Google pop-up blocker, but still couldn't see pictures.

          5. SewNancy | | #32

            I use Microsoft Explorer and Norton anti virus and the I finally found that if I clicked on the Web assistant in the upper right of my tool bar I found disable pop up blocker and it worked.  His advice was to google turning off pop up blocker and I finally, after the third try found a web site from some community college  with pictures that matched my set up!  They were telling the students how to access their teacher e mail.  It took some patience but I finally found out what to do.  I can also now access the attachment button on this forum so when I have photos to share I will!


          6. JeanEsther | | #33

            That did it! I had both Google and Norton Antivirus blocking ads and popups. Thanks--it looks like a terrific site.

          7. SewNancy | | #34

            Glad to be of help.  I can't tell you how frustrated I was!  When your 24 year old and your 18 year old can't help then it isn't just my computer illiteracy!  I never think to use Google to find answers because I never know how to phrase the question! 


          8. Jnj | | #15

            To all of you who have replied to me,  THANK YOU! I now have Manhattanfabrics.com on my favorites and plan to spend some serious time looking up others mentioned in all your wonderful letters later this week.  I can hardly wait.  Thank you again.  I would love to have a swirlly skirt  with a neat jacket.  That is a wonderful suggestion. I can see I will have to discipline myself to not staying at the compter or sewing machine all the time.  Much love,  Bungie

          9. SewNancy | | #16

            I know what you mean!  I work at home and the computer can really be an aid to procrastination and my machine is next to my studio too!  I envy Carol who gets to do this for a living.


          10. Jnj | | #21

            Well, I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and bought the new Spiegle catalog for an idea book, also ordered the trial subscription of Burda magazine, went on line and looked at boocoo patterns, and looked at everything Manhattan fabrics had on their site.  I had fun!  One thing I noticed, even the boxier jackets were nipped in a little in the waist.  With my tummy, I can do this, and also have one of these gorgeous belts just peaking out.  Most of my dressier clothes are used for concert and church going.  I am a retired musician, so dont need all the concert clothes that I once did, and am heartily sick of wearing black.  We are a family of musicians and all orchestras and most choirs require black.  You get to thinking if you have to put it on one more time you will barf!  I am pleased not to have to live such a formal life, and want to get really interesting dress casual clothes, and really comfortable home clothes that look good. I saw an outfit in Spiegle that was pants and a tunic length, folded draped necklline out of a soft almost sweatshirt material.  I feel that might just be what I can start out with in a fabric that is in tune with living in the desert southwest where we do not have a really noticeable winter.  Aren't the sleeves interesting this year?  Thank you for encouraging me to get back into the water.  My daughter and I are going to measure for the Wild Ginger program this Saturday.  I loved the idea one of our chat friends gave of using old sheets for muslin.  All the unusable twin orphan sheets will be put to use for trials.  Talk to you later.

          11. SewNancy | | #22

            So glad to be inspirational!   This forum has been a terrific help to me with any sewing problem or question I have had.  I don't know any one who sews as much or as well as I do, so I had no one to turn to  when I had a question or a problem.  Good luck with the sewing. 


          12. Jnj | | #25

            Hi, All of your comments have been so helpful.  This weekend my daughter and I took the time to get our measurements into the Wild Ginger Pattern Maker and print out a blouse for her and for me.  I was so glad to get the option to overlay the pattern with the sloper!  Now I will make them out of the orphan sheets I have on hand and see how close we come.  I am really "jazzed" as my granddaughter says.  I also got the new Threads magazine in the mail today, and was amazed that what seemed to be a smaller issue had so much info in it!  I think I have come back to the sewing world at just the right time.  Thanks again for your help and encouragement.  Bungie

          13. Elisabeth | | #23

            You know, some of us in the audience are a little (a lot?) sick of the black orchestra look too! My daugther took me to a "casual day" afternoon performance when one of her friends was playing and I really enjoyed the variety of dress displayed by the orchestra members. Khaki shorts on some guys, women in flowered dresses, and everything else one might wear, it was great and the musicians were so relaxed! Much better than the depressing penguin and widow look. Have fun with your non black fashion adventures in sewing!

          14. Jnj | | #24

            Thank you, thank you for your observations.  Even at the well known music camps only at the daytime performances is casual clothing  encouraged.  Singer soloist have more scope.  However, now I am free, and the black is put aside for further consideration or donation to younger (less affluent) musicians.  Bungie

        2. SewNancy | | #11

          I am 54 and I do not have a perfect body either.  But, I look so much better in clothes that fit!  I made a semi fitted Chanel jacket in a boucle tweed small plaid and wore it with a silk 8 gore skirt that I used bias strips to cover the seams.  I have hips and a some tummny.  The swirly skirt is very in this year and it is very flattering to the less than perfect figure.  I bought the fabrics from Mood who do send samples.  Also I have dealt with Paron fabrics for years and they are tops.  The samples are so large I have been able to test iron on interfacing with them!  You can go on line to Manhattanfabrics.com  same people, or just call.  I have dealt with Lucy for years and she is great.  They are very quick to send out orders and samples.  Check out the new issue of Burda pattern magazine which has some really great patterns this month.  You can check out my Chanel jacket in post  pictures section.


  5. lize | | #26

    Actually while watching the Republican convention and seeing the bush twins i found it interesting to hear coments on their clothes.  While Barbra was kind of bohemihan I thought the top that the other girl had on was quite nice.  Some critics thought it looked like a jogging suit but I didn't.  I thought the enhancing of the seams made it look quite flattering with the flair sleeve and thought it would pair up nicely with a fau suede or mole skin skirt or pants for the office.

    1. kjp | | #27

      I should have paid more attention to the clothing!  I usually knit when I watch tv, so I miss a lot of that stuff.  I think after perusing the racks, I like the enhanced seams (not for 1000s of dollars though!), but I will draw the line at the inside-out seams.  Especially since most friends know I sew!  karin

      1. SewNancy | | #28

        I don't know, the inside out seams are interesting and the inside doesn't have to be finished!  I like the contrasting sheer fabrics that have unfinished edges, but I wonder about the longevity of such details.  I can't even get my drycleaner to not put a crease in pants I wonder how he'd handle unfinished edges!


        1. kjp | | #29

          The drycleaning would certainly present a problem!  I suppose if you can pay 1000s for a jacket, you only wear it once or twice & don't need to have it cleaned <g>

          I do like the unfinished sheers, too, & many of them would probably fray nicely.

          1. SewTruTerry | | #30

            Kip I think that if I paid 1000's of $ for something I am going to get more than casual use out of it.  Of course there are those people that 1000's of $ is like slumming it but alas no one that I know or I would be wearing their castoffs.  Speaking of castoffs around here there is a very affluent resale shop that ladies from the very affluent town several towns over will go sell there "outdated" clothing.  I have begun going there to get some basics like blouses in fabrics that I would not other wise be able to get my hands on and then I  transform them.  Most of the time I am only spending $3-$4.

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