Lauriana of Petit Main Sauvage on Sewing and Style

Today in my series of interviews with sewing bloggers on their connection between sewing & style, I’m delighted to feature Lauriana of Petit Main Sauvage. I love Lauriana’s vintage influenced style, the daring fashion choices she makes, and all the gorgeous pattern drafting that she does. Some serious swooning, seriously. I’m delighted to share her thoughts on the connection between her ability to sew and her personal style.

Hi, my name (in the blogging world) is Lauriana. I blog about my ventures in sewing and style over at Petit Main Sauvage. I’m a seamstress and pattern maker with a love for vintage fashion.

I would describe my style as contemporary meets vintage meets pattern making experiment. But when I, occasionally, have a look in the shops I tend to find out that I’ve been drifting further away from ‘mainstream fashion’ since the last time I was there. Not that I mind that though.

I try and make all my own clothes. That includes outerwear and I dabble in making lingerie and swimwear as well. I make an exception for sports wear because I can’t get the special fabrics for that (I know they are available online but I want to touch my fabric before I buy it).

I have tried knitting in the past but that wasn’t really for me. However, I am really starting to like my vintage knitting machine.

I love vintage styles and collect vintage ladies magazines, fashion publications and sewing magazines. There are a lot of creations from the late 1940’s and the 1950’s which I just utterly love but I generally enjoy looking at, and taking little bits of inspiration from throughout the 20th century fashion history. Up to the 1980’s, that is. Basically, I’ll look at anything that was made before I was born ;)

Sewing and style
My style developed as it is now because I sew and make my own patterns. The reason why everything I make and wear, vintage-inspired or not, fits together is because it was all created by the same hands and the same mind.

Sewing allows us to embrace our own style even if it is not currently ‘on trend’ and/or to make the items, we would like to wear, work for our own bodies. Pattern making takes that up a notch. I learned it several years ago and never looked back.

Over the past years, I’ve developed an understanding of how cloth works on my body. I will draft my patterns either to show it off in the most flattering way or to try some odd new shape and make that work with it.

I occasionally get comments from people who seem to  hink I’ve got ideal proportions. I don’t. I’m very well aware I could have been a lot less lucky with my figure but I’m by no means perfect. I’ve just learned how to play to my strengths.

Influence on others
I’ve been sewing (and designing and drafting) shirts and coats and summer trousers (he’s worn the same style of jeans as normal wear for years, so I’m not going there) for my boyfriend for years. It has completely ruined him for RTW.

Over time
Of course my style has changed over time! When I started sewing (sewing regularly, that is), I was a bit of a goth girl of the romantic kind. So, I made long skirts in black velvet, satin and lace. As my skills grew, I tried more different kinds of garments, sort-of in line with ‘normal’ fashion.

I wasn’t really happy with the fit I got from commercial patterns so when I found an ad for pattern making classes taught near where I live, I decided to go for it. From then on, I focussed on getting the hang of the pattern making thing.

As I grew more confident, started to experiment with different shapes. Making my first really succesful loose-fitting item, a ‘barrel coat’, was quite a victory in that regard.

At the same time, I was getting more and more interested in vintage (mostly 1950’s) fashion and I got to know the Pattern Magic books. Both of which have had their influence on how my style developed in these past few years.

As a history geek, I think I was always going to love vintage fashion. And from a pattern making point of view, the 1950’s are a good place to start: waistlength bodices with full skirts are definitely among the easier things to draft.

And an interest in vintage fashion is good for one’s body image. It teaches you that just about any shape was considered the height of beauty at some time. In my case, I went (gradually, over those years of pattern making) from hiding my hips to showing them off.

I’m still really enjoying my vintage influences now. Because I’ve been collecting publications from past, I’m now less focussed on the ‘generic’ look of an era and more interested in the many wonderful details and small trends.

The beginning
My mother used to sew for us when I was little, so it always made sense I would learn sewing as well (my sister and brother can also sew a little). For years, I would occasionally make something, sometimes borrowing my mother’s machine over the holidays. When I bought my own sewing machine, in my early 20’s it was mostly so I wouldn’t be dependent on that anymore. And I didn’t really feel that I could find the clothes I wanted in stores.

Does my style require sewing?
Ehm… Yes, obviously. I don’t think I could buy clothes which show me, body and spirit, the way I want. No matter what the budget.

lauriana main petit sauvage sewing and style

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