February 26, 2014

Eye candy?

Did last night's episode of The Great British Sewing Bee spook you?
For those of you who haven't seen it yet: I hope it's not to much of a spoiler if I tell you the 'theme' was print matching.
As any sewer knows, matching prints can be quite a challenge and, predictably, some contestants really struggled. For those and for anyone who feels intimidated by matching prints, I'd like to present this picture as a bit of encouragement:

I saw this dress in a museum today. It was in the exhibit about the iconic Swedish brand Marimekko (mostly known for their prints) which is held at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam (a museum which is basically an empty box which is filled with five different exhibitions. Subjects range from contemporary art and design to ancient history and anything in between).

(Oops, what a silly mistake. Of course Marimekko is Finnish, not Swedish. I knew that and it was pretty clearly stated in the information at the exhibition. I guess this should teach me not to write blog posts when I'm tired…)

The Marimekko exhibit was fairly small and consisted of printed fabric and garments. Some of those, especially those made from thickish woven cotton, looked quite well made and were great examples fashion from their era (mostly the 1960's and 70's). 

This dress was one of the few made from jersey. The print is so far off along the front closure that I stopped to check whether or not it was intentional, a design element. However, I convinced that it isn't. This garment is just plain badly made. Not just has there not been any attempt at print matching, least one of the front halves isn't even cut on grain… 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this to be negative about Marimekko or about the display at the museum. I just think it's a nice reminder that even internationally renowned brands don't always get it right.

In fact, most of the garments on show used the prints in rather fabulous ways.

Like this dress: he top part is pintucked which works very well with the stripes.

And if you like fashion, you'll probably also like one of the bigger exhibitions which is held at the Kunsthal right now: S.H.O.E.S. 

It's all about ladies' footwear from about 1900 until today… 


  1. Just wanted to let you know that Marimekko is a Finnish brand.

    1. Just wanted to say that too! Love Marimekko! If the mismatch was intentional it looks poorly done ;)

    2. You are both absolutely right. Marimekko is a well-known Finnish brand. It was just a stupid mistake of mine for which I can only blame the fact that I was writing this blog post late at night.
      Thank you for pointing it out. I've added a correction to the post

  2. The first dress looks intentional, sort of crazy fabulous.. What an interesting exhibit. Lucky you!

  3. Us sewists are so much more critical of our own work than anyone else is of RTW clothes - I can understand that we should take pride and care in our work but I think your photos show that technical perfection doesn't mean that a garment is that much less fabulous really!

  4. Oh, I would love to see both of those exhibitions! Thanks for sharing some of the delights. I agree that the miss-match, if intentional, is just as badly done as if accidental. An intentional miss-match should have the narrower white stripes centred on the wider orange all the way down. Which would look fab. You mention that the two sides are not even placed the same way in relation to the grain of the cloth, too, which I imagine would be felt in wear as it would stretch in different ways. Maybe the imperfections explain why it looks so pristine; it might never have been worn. But it is fun to look at, for sure.

  5. This is a timely reminder for those of us that are too hard on ourselves. Thank you. x

  6. Yes, true we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. The exhibition looks really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Gosh.... that mismatch is a shocker! Even the GBSB contestants did a better job in their limited time frame than the makers of that one. Everyone's comments are on the money though - I've picked myself apart a few times on a sewn item that came out less than I'd hoped, only to compare it to a similar RTW item I love.... to then realise the RTW item is worse. And I never noticed.

  8. I had a pattern matching/placement fail recently, too.

    I've been sewing for 35 years. There is no excuse. Yet, here is the proof that we all fail occasionally.