If I am truthful I have always had a bit of penchant for plain, classical looks.
A nice, fitted navy jacket, some unbranded denim jeans, a plain white shirt, a classic dark brown leather belt with an unobtrusive buckle. These models look amazing because they have great figures, luscious hair, and sunglasses. But if you are ordinary-looking sometimes, if everything you wear is quiet and understated, you can feel a bit underdressed; even a little boring. Most days I add a scarf, brooch and colourful belt to my outfit. I like to wear more than two colours. So you could say I was open to the idea of trimmings.
But I was absolutely not the type of person who stalks the outdoor markets, picking up a bit of froo-froo binding, some tinselly trim or yards of rickrack. Shops like this seem a bit, you know, naff, bordering on crazy-cat-lady. I suppose with accessories you can always take them off, while trimmings are, effectively, for life, not just for Christmas.
In my case, it started in a small way. Using patterns from the past I would read a requirement, under “notions”, for “purchased trim”, “novelty edging”, and “contrast binding”. I like to follow the instructions, so found myself, last December, with a YSL pattern that needed some bling. I found a market stall in the North of England that could help me procure some “silver trim”.
Darleen from Greens had so much choice! At least 20 or more versions of silver trim, before we start on the other colours. The overhead cost of such stupendous choice must be low at Bury market, with the sad green button-eyed clown. Or possibly the people of Lancashire use more trim, buttons and zips than I had realised.
I examined the shiny edgings that Darleen pulled off shelves and out of drawers – thin, thick, shiny, dull, hard, soft, sparkly and OTT or simple bias binding. The thing that struck me was that many of these trimmings had a vintage feel. Maybe because trimmings are not open to ravages of fashion in the same way as other items. Perhaps once designed that is it – the manufacturer (now in China or India, probably) continues to produce a specific design as long as someone keeps buying it. I felt, as I handled the silver trims, that several of them were just perfect for a 1960s dress.
In fact the same thought occurred to me about with my vintage turquoise beaded trim. Probably the dress it had been sewn on to long ago looked very date. So while the dress was discarded the trim survived, (and was handed on to a charity shop which is where I acquired it). I imagine someone decoupled the trim from an evening or bridesmaid’s dress; perhaps someone who felt the beaded trim had not dated and could be recycled.
My other source of trimming, egged on by naughty Demented Fairy, was to investigate the output of the sub-continent. For my Pucci pant suit I used a piece of “vintage Sari border trim” that was sent to me (post free) from Delhi. What a delight that turned out to be. I love this “product” so much – with its vibrant colours, hand stitched edges, embroidery and bead work. Hours of delicate work are invested in each £3.50 yard. These trims also have mitred corners which I incorporated into the neck of my tunic. You could order a few, which together would make a unique evening handbag. But I really want to apply them to something plain, like a white T shirt, or the pockets of a simple navy skirt, for example. I also investigated other trims – specially shaped neckline inserts in lace for example, and even “silk” flowers.
Recently I have aquired some really sensational silk trims that are so gorgeous that they need a garment – even a hat or bag – to support them. The first two pictures are of a skirt panel I got from the School of Embroidery. It is a old Chinese handmade, pleated skirt panel, with quite a lot of damage. I will have to be careful how I use this.
The second one is vintage sari border trim and is of amazing quality and colour. The little flowers stand proud. Like my previous piece I am pleased to report that the trimming washed just fine in the washing machine (cool, silk wash). This border is even more exciting than the one I used on the Pucci pant suit – I tried it against some lemon silk and it looks amazing. The second picture shows just how much work goes into these items.
How about you? Are you the classic, unadorned type, or do you like a bit of bling? Do you use trimmings with your stitchery? If so, do you have any tips or suggestions? Specifically Mags of Mags Creative Meanderings asks if we have any suggestions for suppliers of trim for a Chanel jacket, or the Chanel type chain?