One of the biggest perks of being able to sew your own clothes is the freedom it gives you to recreate pretty much anything that inspires you. Whenever I see someone wearing something I simply MUST HAVE I get a rush of appreciation that I can draft patterns and sew. Simply being able to sew is so liberating due to the huge number of fantastic vintage and contemporary sewing patterns available to us today, any of which can be modified to better emulate the object of one’s desire!
One thing that I am never in short supply of is inspiration. With this in mind I thought I would start a new series of posts on the blog that focus on the inspiration behind one of my creations and how I developed this into a garment. Where better to start than with the beautiful, individual and truly inspiring Rachel Khoo.
Any of you who read my blog regularly will be aware by now of my small obsession with Paris. It should therefore come as no surprise to you that I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel’s TV series ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ in which she cooked up delicious French meals in her beautiful little Parisian apartment wearing a stunning collection of vintage and vintage inspired dresses. For those of you not lucky enough to have caught it let me tell you this girl has serious style.
Something that really appeals to me about Miss Khoo’s dress sense is how effortless it appears. It is a rare skill in my opinion to look fantastic AND like you just grabbed the first couple of things that you happened to see hanging in your wardrobe that morning. Her appreciation of the romantic is also obvious as is her love of polka dots both of which I share wholeheartedly!
In one of the episodes she wears a beautiful ivory cotton lace top. She is also photographed in this same top in the book that accompanies the series. It caught my eye every time I followed a recipe from the book and, having no idea where it was from, eventually I decided I needed to try and recreate it.
The top is a t-shirt shape and so I drafted it from my dartless bodice block which I created following the instructions in one of my favourite go- to pattern cutting books: Ann Haggar’s ‘Pattern cutting for lingerie, beachwear and leisurewear’. This book is a pattern cutting bible- I have drafted so many patterns from it and have been really pleased with them all, Haggar’s instructions are wonderfully clear and it covers a huge range of different garments.
I miraculously happened to have some lace in my stash that was a near perfect match to Rachel’s top- it’s actually the same lace I used for my Colette Peony dress. The top has a bound neckline so I cut bias strips of the lace and backed them with some bias strips of matching silk georgette. Backing the binding in this way stopped any raw edges poking through the holes in the lace. The lace has a relatively stable pattern (as in not too many big holes) so I was able to use French Seams for the side seams. It was an insanely easy garment to construct, it’s only two pieces and the binding!
This is the kind of top I live in so I decided to make it up in some black lace as well. I also made a dress version which was just the same pattern but extended to dress length and with some very slight waist shaping in the side seams. Three different garments all from the same inspiration! Not too shabby!
More information about Rachel’s TV series along with some clips is available on her website for anyone who wants to check it out and her amazing cook book by the same name is definitely one worth getting your hands on (it is available on Amazon) for her Madeleine recipe alone!
Has your sewing been inspired by someone else’s wardrobe recently?
Thanks for reading!