The Sewing Place

Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London

Marniesews

Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« on: October 22, 2018, 20:52:14 PM »
I know I've made you wait a couple of days but I've been working up the courage to post the photos of me in two dresses.  :|

We were the first to arrive and be greeted by the charming Gerald Schwanzer who joined DSI in 2001 as Sales Director although he mentioned a partnership on the day. A great start with the offer of champagne or orange juice but being a lightweight with alcohol I compromised with Buck's Fizz to wash down nibbles. I'll try not to include too many spoilers of info that I picked up for those waiting to go themselves but I will mention the things that I particularly noticed or things that hopefully will only make you more excited to go yourself.

There were only 6 of us, I believe the future tours will have 10 places but ours was smaller - I'm told some were reserved for a visiting magazine but perhaps the time was changed or they decided it wasn't the best format for them. Whatever the reason, it was wonderful to have such a small group.

Before we set off we were each given a dress to examine closely from the rack in front of us - all dresses from the current Strictly series! The ones we were given were all from the intro sequence (I think) which are probably the most detailed as they have longest to work on them. I was given Kate's red dress while others had Susannah's orange one, Vick's teeny tiny silver fringed two-piece, Stacey's turquoise dress, Katie's pink dress but I'll need to rewatch the intro to remind myself of the other. It was fascinating to see the dresses close up and be talked through them. There was a theme to the collection for the intro event but I'll leave that for the next lot to guess . The things I particularly noticed was the use of metallic chains, some as swags across the bodices but also mixed in with the bead fringing. I've just found a UK source but the thing I definitely want to apply to my own dresses is very narrow ribbon (stoned) used within the beading & fringing as in wear from a distance it has a look of longer droppers of bicorne beads. Their use of hologram sequins to reduce the weight of the garments (and cost of rhinestones) while maintaining the impression of encrusted bling is something I might try too. I'll be really interested to know what catches the attention of those of you who do the tour too.

Because it was Saturday there were only a few staff working. Fortunately Gerald was very happy for us to ask advice etc of the few staff who were working that day.  There were Strictly shrines and heroes to see and meet such as Vicky Gill's desk (lots of paper but neatly stacked) and Ash was there busy stoning a costume as we arrived. He's a lovely smiley shy man and he featured in one of Gerald's frequent little anecdotes.  :) I was interested to see that they use latex glues (like GemTac) and the speed and accuracy of their application was impressive. Much of the setup was what what I expected but the facts and figures and information on the processes was very interesting.

There was practicewear, menswear, big professional ballroom gowns (I didn't spot many juvenile costumes), team costumes for dancers on cruises, pantomime dame dresses (some drag I'm assuming too) but also a good number of recognisable Strictly dresses for the eagle-eyed to spot.  I asked several questions including some about hemming chiffon floats (predictable, eh?) and also about multigodets. Their stock rooms, both clothing and fabrics, were fabulous to see. It really brings home the depth of their range and there was lots of interesting talk about colours, lace (sigh), sourcing suppliers and especially about the minimum order quantities demanded by their suppliers as well as technical aspects and the China dynamic. One of our number worked in distribution so we stopped off for a logistics discussion and quick look at their packaging & posting room. After we'd walked around the entire building including Gerald's office and the photographic setup for promotion shots next door to it, we made our way back to the showroom where the drinks were still waiting and all the dresses on the rack on offer for us to try on.  0_0 It included Stacie's fabulous mod frock but none of us were small enough for that one.  :'(

Well, I'm a size 14 so I really wasn't sure what (if anything) I could possibly squeeze into...I thought I'd give Susannah's a go and while I got it on ok, the back zip was purely decorative certainly not functioning with me it in. Fortunately you can't see the gaping back in the photo. I had more luck with Kate's Samba dress although she must be at least a head taller than me and the skirt was obviously much tighter on me than her...it was fun though.  ;)  There was the usual small exhibition in the showroom and one of Oti's lace covered dresses than inspired my last ballroom dress although I went for a more similar colour to Alexandra's version.

      

No photography permitted in the workrooms I'm afraid (in case 'secret' dresses were captured in the background). What a strictly wonderful treat it was...ready to go again!  0_0

     

First time they've done the samba to I'm a little teapot... as I recall. ><
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Sandra

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2018, 21:49:11 PM »
Ooooh...lucky you. It sounds so interesting...I'd love to have a mooch around in all the lovely dresses.

I recognise the dresses you tried on. You look fabulous.

Sandra.
xxx

Pinkstar

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2018, 22:02:46 PM »
Sounds like you had an awesome time and you got to try the dresses on!  :o

Greybird

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2018, 22:34:19 PM »
Don't you look lovely! I would never fit into anything used as a model.

Catllar

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2018, 23:01:01 PM »
Oh my Days - what a fabulous day!!  Just out of interest - what tips did you gain re chiffon and the hemming thereof??
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 23:03:18 PM by Catllar »
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !

Marniesews

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2018, 01:39:42 AM »
You're very kind - trying on was fun but this is the only place I'll be posting the photos of me!

Oh @Catllar  :'( the advice was to try a rolled hem foot on a sewing machine but that's going to be too bulky for a float so they said otherwise it just takes lots and lots of practice on the overlocker. Oddly enough I did find a video I've not seen before on hemming chiffon by Angela Kane who recommends an entirely different sewing machine technique which she feels is superior to an overlocked rolled hem! Perhaps it was meant for me...she even says the best machine for this is an old Bernina with a 5mm stitch width. Must try it out.

Also, I read a week or so ago by far the best thread for roll hemming chiffon is one called Invisafil by the Wondafil brand. Barnyarns told me at Ally Pally that they don't carry their threads but Superior Threads have just brought out their own version called Microquilter which they say is every bit as good (of course). They're both 100wt threads and available in quite a few colours too. They hadn't taken it to the show but I'll be getting some to try out.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

eclectic

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2018, 11:19:09 AM »
Thanks for sharing that @Marniesews and lovely photos (for those of us who can't make a tour) and I really love the ones with you in the dresses ;) you look beautiful!
In the slaveshop: Bernina (Aurora 430), Babylock Enlighten, Babylock BLCS2 .. back-ups: pfaff SM. Bernina SM/CL

Catllar

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2018, 15:16:47 PM »
Had a look at the video - never thought of the double zigzag! Might give to a go. Mind you- I wonder how it'd stand up to the wear and tear of dance?? delicately worn as a scarf is one thing but when you see how the dresses get treated?!?!?!?! :(
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !

Marniesews

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2018, 01:06:40 AM »
Mind you- I wonder how it'd stand up to the wear and tear of dance??

Only one way to find out…
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Elnnina

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2018, 10:45:07 AM »
Wow Marniesews, what a wonderful experience, bet your head  is  buzzing with ideas for costumes  for your grand-daughter - she is one lucky girl.  Lucky you in being able to try on some of the current costumes.

Thank you also for posting the link about hemming on silk, chiffon etc, just what I needed, as I have been collecting some lovely silk scarves and sarongs from my local charity shop, and wish to make the sarongs into scarves, I also picked up a small remnant that would make a fabulous scarf either a square or a long scarf and I haven't yet got around to doing anything with this, so now I have an answer as to how to deal with the edges, and that will be a start.

Sewingforfun

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2018, 16:15:59 PM »
@Marniesews that sounds just fantastic, so glad you had a good time, and you look great in the dresses. The blue one is much better on you than it was on Susannah!

I'm booked onto the one on the 12th of November - can't wait. I was going to go on the  10th, but suddenly thought it might be more interesting if there were more people working, although it sounds like there were at least some on the Saturday. Anyone want to come with me??

And @Catllar (and Marniesews) - I've used that double zigzag technique, which I invented myself rather by accident (nothing new under the sun, eh?) before I had an overlocker. It works really well, although you have to be fairly accurate in your cutting as there is no knife to do it for you. It lasts very well. I have a practice skirt that I made 6 years ago with Fabricland chiffon that has been through the washer any number of times, and it is still fine. A little hairy, maybe, but nothing major, and the hem hasn't come off anywhere. I think that was two passes with the zigzag. If you do three, it can get a little stiff, a bit like a soft fishing line.
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Trying to remember sewing is for fun! Used to be  CarolC.

Sewingforfun

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2018, 16:23:45 PM »
Oh and for thin threads, William Gee carries the Gutterman Skala in 200, 240 and 360, which are really thin and come in lots of colours.
https://www.williamgee.co.uk/product-category/sewing-threads/overlocking/

Going back to a much earlier discussion on TSF, I think, I've been using ordinary Gutterman Mara 120, but a teeny tiny 8 needle (right only) and that has seemed to work well on chiffon.
Trying to remember sewing is for fun! Used to be  CarolC.

Catllar

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2018, 18:28:28 PM »
SFF that's good to hear someone has used that technique in real life!
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !

Gernella

Re: Behind the Seams - tour of DSI-London
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2018, 10:18:32 AM »
What a fabulous time you've had.  I'm afraid I don't watch Strictly, although I think the tour you had would be much more interesting for me.  They must work like Trojans to keep up with dresses to be made for each show.