It was therefore very refreshing to see this when I visited the newly re-opened Costume Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum:
|Inside detail of the bodice section of the Zemire ensemble by Christian Dior, 1954-55|
I love it! Notched seams, massive seam allowances, tiny hand stitching which a modern chain store customer would turn their nose up at, and no overlocking. You can see the 'hand' of the person, or people, involved in making this piece.
Here's what it should look like when worn:
|The bodice was part of this ensemble, consisting of jacket, skirt, petticoat, and bodice (source)|
The ensemble has an interesting back story, which you can read about in detail here. The piece on display in the V&A was originally made for Lady Agota Sekers, who was wife to Miki Sekers, a British fabric manufacturer. This ensemble was comissioned from Dior and made out of cellulose acetate satin made at the Sekers mills who supplied not only Dior, but Balenciaga, Givenchy and others. Apparently it was common for Lady Sekers to comission designs by top couturiers to promote her husband's product. She sounds like a hoot - she often abandoned fitting sessions in order to go sight seeing around Paris! The Sekers company is still going - it celebrated it's 70th birthday in 2008. Read about it here and here.
Anyway, back to my main point - seeing the inside of this piece made me smile. I've never really got on with overlocking/serging, and I don't really mind if there are slight imperfections in any of my finished pieces. I see it all as a learning process, and any so-called mistakes just give each piece a bit of added character. And I'm so glad the V&A has thought to show the insides of not just this, but several pieces in their collection. I find it frustrating that so many non-sewers have no idea of the work that goes into the clothes on their backs; hopefully this tiny gesture will make an impression on a few visitors. That beautiful clothes can have personality inside and out, and that perfection isn't necessary for an item to have aa lasting impression.