I design the fashion I wear so am I a fashion designer? Fashion designer sounds fancy and famous, I’m also imagining a mansion and a fat bank account. Let me check… No fat bank account and no mansion, but I do make clothes. In the sewing community I have seen a lot of different words people use to describe themselves: sewist (sewing + artist), sewer, seamstress, fabric artist, dress maker, couturiere, maker… Fashion designer is not really a popular one so let’s look at it and see if it fits: (I found some definitions online, here is one I going to work with in this post.)
I am a fashion designer. I make prêt-à-porter clothing. This is fancy talk for ready-to-wear. Other famous French expressions you hear in my sewing room are “Oh Là Là” (roughly translated to “The stripes match”) and “Et voilà” (while holding up a finished garment and beaming with pride). That’s a point for fashion designer.
I am not a fashion designer. I don’t design the garment from the beginning. I buy my patterns and trace according to my size or needs but someone else developed the pattern for me. Someone else had a vision and put it on paper so I’m picking up where that person left off and finish the garment. That’s a minus point for fashion designer.
I am a fashion designer. I design the fashion that I am wearing. I choose the fabric I like and pair it with patterns that I think look nice. I choose color combinations, make alterations to make the patterns right for me. I match stripes at the seams, pay attention to pattern placement and decide how long or short I want it to be. I choose the color of the thread and the type of stitch and at times, I add fringe or an appliqué so that’s another point for fashion designer.
I am not a fashion designer. I don’t mass produce. I do take orders, however 🙂 As of right now, I sew for myself and a small group of people. I don’t negotiate with suppliers or vendors, don’t manage other teams that are involved in my garment production. I get it, that’s multiple minus points…
I am a fashion designer. I am my own boss in the garment production and let me tell you, I’m a really nice boss. I let myself take chocolate breaks and I also pretend I don’t hear the cuss words while seam ripping. The pay could be better.
So in conclusion, what I do is part of what a fashion designer does. I make clothes but not necessarily start from scratch. Writing and thinking about that made me realize the following: I am a maker. So let me reintroduce myself: Malounami, maker.
I recently tried another pattern. This time the Women’s Avery Tank Top, Tunic & Dress by Made for Mermaids. It is a knit pattern and it’s casual in the front, party in the back. So far I made two versions. One dress length in double brushed poly and a tunic length in a sweater knit.
The back piece came together like magic. And it is such an eye-catcher. With these examples in place, let me get into the maker-process: First, I print and cut the patterns according to my measurements. Then I choose a fabric type. For the sweater knit version, I also had to decide on what color binding I want to do. Teal. Best color ever, fast decision. Thread could also be an accent but I used matching thread. Et voilà, the Avery is done and ready for your enjoyment.