Remember back in the day when you could order a designer pattern in an envelope from Burda Moden, some from really well-known designers (e.g. Karl Lagerfeld)? Actually, now that I think about it, the offer may have only been available in Germany. I was living in Germany when I decided to sew for real, and I became completely obsessed with this Orwell coat pattern, which was available for mail order from the September 2006 issue. I managed to get ahold of it even though the issue was by that time several months old. (The Selfish Seamstress can be very charming when she wants something.) And this coat became my second *real* sewing project, after a simple dress from the February 2007 issue. I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking, being pretty much a rank beginner, working on what was barely more than a toy sewing machine. (I purchased it for 50 Euros at a grocery store and it had about as much power as a wind-up toy.) There were about 35 pattern pieces to the thing, and loads of topstitching by hand. Perhaps it was a good thing that I was a beginner, because I didn’t fully realize just how much work it was.
Since then, Burda has stopped offering designer patterns, as has Patrones. But a little web trolling turns up some more resources for making your own designer knockoffs. Many of you are no doubt familiar with (and have already made) projects from SHOWstudio‘s designer downloads, like the very innovative Alexander McQueen kimono jacket among others.
But I’ve also dug up a few others where you might not have thought to look. The German magazine Für Sie regularly puts out designer knockoff knitting patterns, but occasionally does a sewing feature. The instructions are in German, but an experienced sewer can probably do without. One installment included (scaled) free patterns and instructions for lovely dresses from (top to bottom) Stella McCartney, Jil Sander, and Yves St. Laurent, among others:
And another more recent one included free patterns and instructions for glamorous cocktail and eveningwear, such as these from Douglas Hannant, Reem Acra, Nicole Farhi, and Bottega Veneta:
And finally, the place that no one over the age of 20 probably ever thought to look for designer inspiration except the Selfish Seamstress because she refuses to leave any sewing-related stone on the web unturned: Teen Vogue. Oh yes, Teen Vogue does regular D.I.Y. features with designers like Philip Lim, Tory Burch, Vena Cava, Zac Posen, Band of Outsiders, Rachel Roy, and others. They’re not all sewing projects, but many of them are better than a lot of the “D.I.Y. fashion” projects you’ll find on the web in that you can’t actually tell that they used to be an XXL men’s t-shirt! Here are a couple of my favorite Teen Vogue projects. First, a ruffled tank from Doo.Ri:
Next, a painted party dress (no pattern, just painting instructions) from Jason Wu (yes, Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown designer Jason Wu!):
And finally, instructions for sewing this very hip, very simple Mulberry satchel:
How about you? What are your favorite D.I.Y. designer resources?