Where Do You Find Sewing Inspiration?

Well as is one of my usual habits, I was zipping around BurdaStyle checking out the new stuff, when I found THIS question. Well, here is my answer:

EVERYWHERE! My mom was a seamstress, sew I was already sewing at age 6. I was 16 when I graduated from a fashion design college. In the 20+ years since, I have created tons of patterns and sew all my own fashions.

I not only create my own patterns, but I also design my own fabrics as well. I paint up watercolors and than get short runs of the fabric printed up. I get ideas for a lot of my designs from nature: birds, cats, the sky, waterfalls, trees – everything inspires me to paint. Than the fabric made from the paintings inspire the flow of the dress pattern as well.

Erte is one of my biggest inspirations. Much of my designs are reinterpretations of his designs. I just love his art deco and flapper styles.

Also, Japanese Kimono, esp those from the Momoyama period (1500’s). I love sewing kimono, because the lines are simple and allow for display of big bold fabric prints, which thus allows me to create huge print fabric designs as well.

Hawaiian Muu-Muus and caftans, and all sorts of ethnic and tribal clothing from Africa, China, Japan, and India inspire much of my designs as well.

Than there are TV shows and movies. Doctor Who, esp Tom Baker’s rendition of him, has inspired many of my outfits. Johnny Depp’s movies always send me off designing some re-translation of one of his characters. And of course there’s Vincent Price’s movies, and let’s not forget Harry Potter or InuYasha!

My biggest inspiration of all, though? hmmm. Let’s see. Looks around at all the glittery, sparkly, sequined, beaded, velvet. Yep. It’s not hard to look at me and not know I’m a Liberace fan. Nope. It’s not. If Liberace would wear it, I would too and probably already have. But since it’s not like you can head out to WalMart and buy Liberace-brand clothes, my only option is to sew them myself.

Of course all of that is just considering my clothes, but I also design and sew stuffed animals and dolls as well, and I get ideas for them from everything in nature as well.

What magazines, websites, books do you look at for project ideas?

Dover Books are my #1 source of inspiration. You see, I’m a life actor, which I means I CosPlay 24/7/365 and have for years. My daily wear consists of recreations of garb from the 1500’s – 1800’s as well as the 1920’s. Dover reprints tons of French, fashion illustrations, vintage paper dolls, Goody Lady, etc. Of course they are the ones who reprint Etre’s fashion prints as well.

National Geographic and Smithsonian Museum books are huge sources of inspiration as well. I get lots of ideas from cultural photos and antique paintings. I enjoy creating ethnic and historic bases patterns.

The 1960’s and 1970’s. I saved lots of the old sewing magazines from back than, and today I’m glad I did because I get lots of ideas from those.

Of course than there are books by Bryan Froud and Alan Lee, both amazing illustrators who’s faerie and fantasy art has been a huge inspiration for me.

And than of course there’s my #1 source of inspiration: comic books. Yep, you heard me: comic books! I’m a huge fan of comic books, manga, graphic novels, super heroes, etc, and well, like I said, I’m really big into CosPlay, so of course a lot of what I design was inspired by comic books.

What’s your take on this? I’d love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!

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