Sewing the latest designer fashions

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

How would you like to own a copy of a $1,450 suit for just $165? Or a $130 dress for only $40? If you sew, you can dress as thougi you're wearing designer originals and do it at a fraction of the cost. Thanks to designers who are working with pattern companies, it's possible to buy a selection of their latest designs.

Such well-knowns as Adolfo, Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Geoffrey Beene, and others have turned their talents to the home-sewing field. Many outfits don't even depend on expert sewing skills.

Some of the designers say they enjoy seeing women wearing their designs sewn in fabrics they would never have thought of using.

Recommended: 7 classic fashion mistakes and why we make them

Yet unless you know fabrics, it's a good idea to stay with those recommended on the back of the pattern. Otherwise, you're apt to buy a fabric that may be too heavy or perhaps too stiff to create the desired effect.

This season one of the most popular patterns is the braided-cardigan suit. Called the ''status suit,'' it looks good on most figures and is done exclusively for Simplicity by Adolfo (No. 6151). The suit retails for $1,450, but you can make it for $165.

It's the same suit made famous by Nancy Reagan in 1981. (It was then called the Nancy suit.) The First Lady is said to own four dozen of them. She began collecting them about 15 years ago when she became a client of Adolfo. She still wears about a dozen of the suits, bought in the past 10 years.

It has also been called the Chanel suit. Coco Chanel designed it back in the '20s. Trimmed with braid and accented with brass buttons, it is generally worn with a bow-neck blouse.

Designer Calvin Klein has also permitted his new black-and-white glenplaid suit to be translated into a pattern. The jacket, which is tailored and trimmed with black, retails for $430. The skirt sells for $170. The suit can be made at home for $105 using Vogue pattern No. 1238.

As alternatives to suits, many feminine dress styles are also available in today's patterns. For example, Conover's button-front dress sells for $130 but can be sewn for just $40 (Simplicity No. 6030).

To give these outfits the proper finishing touches, consider some of the accessories that Seventh Avenue is showing this season. Keep in mind that a few basic items can serve you well.

* Shoes. A pair of black pumps will team with many outfits. A T-strap shoe or a sling-back makes good sense for a second pair. (Both high heels and mid-heels are being shown.)

* Hose. Look for new textures and vivid colors. Don't be afraid, for example, to wear a pair of red textured hose with a black pantsuit.

* Handbags. Choose the best leather you can afford. Remember, the bag doesn't have to match your shoes. As for silhouette, the shoulder-bag seems most functional.

* Belts. Widths run the gamut from narrow belts that circle the waist twice to the wider versions.

* Jewelry. Strands of pearls mixed with gold chains are strong. Big, bold bracelets, necklaces, and earrings look right with the simplicity of this season's fashions. These fabulous fakes are fun.

* Hats. Consider a beret. It's one style that many women can wear. There's also the fedora, another fine classic.

* Gloves. They're being used for more than just keeping hands warm. Designed in vivid shades, they add accents of color.

* Furs. Small boas and flings are back.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...