Wednesday 2 June 2010

Erdem on the Street

With luxurious embellishment, textures and detailing on the fabulous menu for next season, where better to start than a nice snuggly jumper!


Would have been...

... reasonably easy, but it proved to be...

... a difficult one in this particular instance.

The reason?  Interfacing - or lack of it.  That's right readers - despite my many years of sewing experience, believe it or not, I still have my off days and am subject to the odd bad idea and/or naive mistake.  What I should have done was to use interfacing.  Interfacing is the name given to a thin white textile you attach to the wrong side of your fabric - or, in this case, garment - that is, the unseen side of the garment, the side you choose not to exhibit to the world and parade to all and sundry.  You can attach it by stitching it on or, as I prefer, ironing it on.  This, in turn, makes the fabric of your customisable jumper easier to sew and embroider your design on, by preventing it from stretching out of shape. Everybody's free to use interfacing.   The benefits of interfacing have been proved by scientists, one presumes, or at the very least by seamstresses, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering.  If you're reading this wondering what the random allusion to scientists vis-a-vis interfacing was in aid of, wonder no more. It's a reference to Baz Luhrmann's spoken word - ahem - classic hit single, Everybody's free to wear sunscreen.  Eleven years ago to this day, this shameless plagiarism of Chicago Tribune columnist, Mary Schmich's wise prose read out over a background of innocuous elevator music , courtesy of Mr Luhrmann, reached number one in the UK charts shifting a respectable 206,000 copies (thank you, Wikipedia!).  I can only feel old in the light of those eleven precious years flying past, because I remember said event like it was yesterday...and I feel even older because this time around, I actually find myself identifying with the lyrics.  And so, to mark this momentous commemoration, examples of note from the speech include:

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth..., in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now ... how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine"  If, like me, you look back at said photos and don't feel any less ugly in them than you did the first time around, and, furthermore, dread where the future will take you in the looks department, one word remains for me to say:  Photoshop!

"Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday."  I wonder if the the possibility ever once idly occurred to anyone that air travel might someday grind to a halt on account of a volcano almost 2000km away... or that the up-and-coming generation of graduates would have their future sabotaged, as from 2008, by the worst recession since records began, for reasons way beyond their control and with nothing whatsoever to do with them - oh no, hang on, that one did, to Vince Cable.

"Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone."  I'd imagine so, especially if the loss of said knees entails an unfortunate run-in in a dark alley in Peckham, Moss Side or Norris Green - ouch!

"Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…" Nuff said - insert your own gag, if you wish!

"Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young."  How times have changed.  Simple response to that one:  Facebook!  Quick - before they all un-subscribe!

"But trust me on the sunscreen"... Amen.

Enough of this hypothetical hullabaloo, for now - we've got fabulous new looks to recreate... just trust me on the interfacing!


Round about 20, give or take.

Number of expletives shouted at sewing machine

Ball-park figure?  About 50.  Again, during a complex part of the method, owing to the lack of interfacing.

Total Cost

Mine set me back £18 but you'll need interfacing, so methinks you're looking within the region of £20.

Save It!

...Making it exactly £900 cheaper than the original.

You will need

  • Jumper in dark red, deep wine or maroon. Charity shops would be your first port of call for bargains under a fiver.  Mine set me back £4.50.

  • Shiny rayon Gutermann thread in:

£1.99 ea. at Hobbycraft

  • Gutermann Light blue top-stitch thread, similar in colour to the light turquoise reel £1.35.

  • Scalpel

  • Half a metre of marbled brown, orange and blue fabric -satin or chiffon will do, synthetic is fine and tends to be cheaper.  Mine cost £3.

  • Sewing machine

  • Needle and thread

  • Unpicker, known sometimes as a seam ripper, but we won't be ripping any seams for this, not today.

  • Tailor's chalk Available at all good haberdashers, especially if you ask Taylor nicely.

  • Iron, it might help if you've also got an ironing board.

  • And, lest we forget, half a metre of iron-on interfacing


Turn your jumper inside out, cut your interfacing so that it covers most of the front and iron it on.

With your interfacing on the "wrong" side of the garment, turn your jumper right-side-out again.

Cut a flame-like design roughly as wide as the jumper and about ten small petal and butterfly-shaped pieces about 2-4cm in length.

Tack stitch (i.e. roughly hand-stitch) your flame design near the bottom of the front of the garment, with the butterflies rising from the top, like those on the original.

 Image: Firstview

Load your sewing machine with the brown thread.  Set your sewing machine onto a zig-zag stitch, the wider the better, and if you could get your stitches to be as close together as possible, that would also be an advantage.

Go around the flame design and your petal-shaped pieces.

Repeat this process with the zig-zag stitch going around the butterfly shapes in your light turquoise. You can also do some butterfly shapes within your flame design.  Take your tack-stitching out.

Now for the butterflies' "bodies." I find it helps to mark out a shape with tailor's chalk on each butterfly. Load your sewing machine with your orange thread, set it back onto a straight stitch and run your machine, stitching back and forth along the space until the area is covered. Repeat this on the rest of your butterflies.

You might like to add some blue onto the wings of your butterflies with your top-stitch thread.  Stitch, again, with a straight stitch covering part of each "wing" until your thread runs out.

Finally, for the yellow flecks.  Draft out some small ovals about 2cm in length with your tailor's chalk, on the edge of your petals and in your flame.  Fill them in using the yellow thread, covering the area by machine-stitching, as before.

Follow these instructions and you should be left with something looking like this: