What an honor for Fashion Over Fifty to speak to the Haute Couture sewing club at their Holiday lunch. The Haute Couture sewing club in Chicago, however, is not just any club. This club has members mostly Over Fifty, who are still creating and designing and sewing their own fashions. I was supposed to be there to tell these lovely women about how I started my blog, and why I wanted to inspire other women Over Fifty to be their best. As I met each woman, and listened to their stories, however, I realized that I was the one being inspired. These women have had this life-long passion that has kept them vibrant, creative and involved.. So many people do NOT have this, and for me to talk to these women about my encouraging others seemed misguided. I felt like they should be talking to me instead!! It sure would have been nice to know these ladies 5 years ago when I was feeling lost.
Originally, this sewing club was started by a woman who actually sewed Haute Couture. If you don't know what Haute Couture is, you should Youtube it and learn. The amount of knowledge and detail required in making a garment is so precise and so labor intensive, there is a very good reason it is called Haute Couture, which in French means, High Sewing, or the Highest quality of craftsmanship. Since the club was founded, the rules have lessened a bit, but each woman still painstakingly makes each one of their garments as you will see below.
A great inspiration is this woman Sandra. Sandra and I met at a function with Angela Missoni. When I saw her and the dress she was wearing, I darted (no pun intended) over to her and asked where she got it. It is a perfect style. Sophisticated and Ageless. We started talking and then Sandra introduced me to President of her Sewing Club.
This is the President of the Club, Rhonda Buss. I was beyond honored that Rhonda thought I had something valuable to share with her members. Rhonda has been sewing most of her life. She has a sewing blog which you can find at http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com or http://www.sewbussted.com/ . She can be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sewbussted/ I encourage you to go to her blog and look around. You will see how much information there is about sewing, and how much there is to know. You will have a new respect for this craft. Also, like Rhonda's Instagram. All of us bloggers like a boost!!
This is one woman, I got to know, Frances, who is beautiful and so friendly. Next to her is her mom, who is not only stylish but she is 91 years old. I pray that all of us live this long, and will be as healthy as Frances' mom (and stylish).
A great part of the day was when the members of the club got up to describe what they were wearing and how they went about making it. This lovely woman found the "real" Dolce and Gabbana fabric from this season and made this gorgeous shirt. I probably like it better than the original and it would certainly fit better!! The cost of that shirt by D&G would be at least $1,000 or more. Now that is a great incentive to learn to sew if I ever knew one.
This lovely member made her shirt which goes beautifully with her hair color and skin tone. If you look closely, you will see that she lined the collar and the button panel. You know that had to take time and effort, so no more taking for granted those details you see in your clothing. She also made the shawl that matched the lining and together it made a stunning set.
You can't see how lovely the suit is that this member is holding, but the fit of the jacket and skirt were lovely. She made this blouse to match and by the way she described it, it was not so easy. The 3 pieces look fabulous together. Again, the colors complemented her hair color and skin tone beautifully. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to make your own suit and use the fabrics you want?
Luckily, this woman held up the McCall's pattern so that I could see what something is supposed to look like and how it turns out. it's amazing she made it look even better than the pictures. It took her extra effort to make this striped shirt because she made sure that all of the stripes lined up evenly. I never even thought about that before, so, again, no more taking these things for granted.
This lovely woman designed these slacks around the fact that she can no longer wear high heels due to pain in her feet. These slacks are a very up to date length and look great with her comfortable shoes.y It is so nice to be able to make something that fits your needs rather than spending hours shopping. Side note. Look how the gorgeous the blue gem tone looks with her silver/gray hair. Smashing.
I love this dress. Making the panels along the sides took some doing; lining everything up in the front and the back was quite a challenge, but well worth it. It reminds me of the dresses Stella McCartney designed a few years back with the darker panels running down the full length of side silhouette, making the body look more slender. The way these panels are placed slenderizes the waist and the hip area and it is a striking look..
How much fun is this? One of the younger members made this red dress and belted it with this youthful belt. Well guess what? The member in purple next to her, made the same exact dress. If you noticed that before I told you, then you have a good eye. With the different styling it almost looks like 2 different dresses. This should be something every designer makes note. If something is a classic cut, the style can be ageless. A young woman and a woman Over Fifty can wear the same exact thing but style it differently. (I am sorry you cant see the back of the collar because it laid beautifully.)
All I can say about this one is Wow, just wow!! I don't remember what this member said, I am sorry. I kept thinking what a beautiful ensemble. The jewelry and everything.
The color and the fit of this coat was very sophisticated, This one, I would buy because the style is classic. Here this lovely member is talking about the lining and what she went through to sew it. The lining is beautiful too.
Well, I saved the best for last. This beautiful young lady is 96 years old. I think she has been a member since 1966. She made this outfit a while ago, but it is still just as stylish and looks beautiful. You may not be able to see in this photo, but the bottom half is gaucho pants, or whatever you call them, I am not sure!! However, the most beautiful thing about this member is her smile!! It fills your heart with such joy to see a woman of this age so vital, and stylish. Having a passion like sewing is probably one of the things that has kept her so vital. I would love to hear the stories she has to tell. What a great honor it was for me to spend time with these amazing women. I want to say thank you to each person who welcomed me. Every member was an inspiration to me because you don't see people taking such pride in their work and working so hard to achieve it. Which brings me to the point I need to make about Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion may be fun, but it is not good for our planet for many reasons. More resources are used and wasted on fabrics than you can imagine. I used to call it jokingly, disposable fashion, but it is no joke. And the people who make the clothes for the Fast Fashion stores are underpaid and not treated well. How else could it be sold for next to nothing. So, I am not saying never to buy fast fashion, but please think before you buy something from these stores. I know that I myself have given things away from these stores that I never wore, or only wore once. Please THINK before you buy!!
In case, you missed it, I so enjoyed meeting the lovely inspirational women of the Haute Couture Sewing Club. What a wonderful way to start off the Holiday Season. I'm not sure anything will beat this for me.
One of my New Year's resolutions: I am going to learn to sew!!
We ‘sew’ enjoyed having you Wendy!!! Thanks so much for your inspiration and sharing your journey. We look forward to seeing your new creations!
How fabulous to see a group of women still creating their own style by the art of sewing. It brings back memories of my grandmother drafting drafting patterns (from paper grocery bags or newspaper) for her clients that brought looks they saw in magazines for her to recreate. This inspires me to continue perfecting my sewing skill There is always a new technique, design or idea at hand.
HI Patricia, I agree with you 100%. The styles on these women are real fashion. Fashion that real people can wear and feel good about. I am inspired to learn to sew now too! Good luck, send me photos if you make something. Best, Wendy
This is my dream. I have my plans, I just need a seamstress! Traverse City, Michigan area.
I am going to start taking sewing lessons!! How about you?