ARTISAN TECHNIQUES + THE BEAUTY OF SLOW FASHION
It seems in this day and age we live in a world that has an affinity for all things fast; fast cars, fast food, and fast fashion. It’s a world that demands running just to keep up! At Chasing Unicorns, we're in love with the magic that resides in the slow, handmade and the artisan. Gone are the years of women gathering to stitch, crochet and connect, somehow a sewing machine has replaced the human element in garment production and there are shortcuts aplenty to take in order to produce clothing quicker than you can a cup of tea. This element of fashion didn’t sit well with Sarah Humphrey, founder, and designer of Chasing Unicorns, and this led to a desire to bring the slow and the artisan back into fashion one exquisite garment at a time. Taking inspiration from the techniques, styles, and treasures of the yesteryears have led her on a most beautiful path to discovering that when you slow things down, create with your hands and delve into a world of long-forgotten traditional artisan techniques and craftsman skills the results are always breathtaking. Want to know more? We'll take you through some of the techniques that the Chasing Unicorns artisans use to make our pieces just that little bit more extraordinary.
Knowing how to sew by hand is not only a valuable way of keeping alive an age-old tradition but is also important for various stitches that are technically more detailed and exacting than machine stitching, including artisan dressmaking techniques and finishes that you just don’t find in this day and age. There are numerous hand stitches available to the hand sewer and each one has its own special use and is best for specific outcomes. Many Chasing Unicorns pieces are finished in hand stitching, whether it’s an intricate set of buttons or a perfect seam, we believe that finish stitching by hand is the best option every time for quality and uniqueness but most of all for providing longevity to artisanal skills. The age-old adage is that the soul is fed by a needle and a thread and this is something we firmly believe in!
Hand beading has been employed by artisans through the ages to ensure the highest quality of embroidery. Imagine groups of artisans sitting, pulling sequins and beads one by one through the fine silks of a garment, giggling and chatting as they do so with such honed craftsmanship that is nothing but second nature to these amazing craftsmen and woman. These artisans do not use any tracing and embroider each sequin or bead directly onto the fabric. Utilising the creative brief outlined by the designer, each stitch of thread and each bead or sequin is manually fastened onto the fabric to create an end result that is sure to take your breath away.
In sewing, a tuck is a fold or pleat that is sewn in place. Small tucks, especially multiple parallel tucks, may be used to decorate a garment. When the tucks are very narrow, they are called pintucks. Pintucks are used predominantly as a fabric manipulation technique that creates surface pattern & texture. The use of pintucks can be traced all the way back to the Edwardian era where voluminous petticoats were often pin tucked to help them hold their shape under the opulent and extravagant over garments that popularised Edwardian fashion. In the modern day this is a technique that can be done via a sewing machine, however, the results are just not the same, gone is the uniqueness of each tuck given to it by the hand that crafted it slowly and lovingly and this is why we have included this technique in the Chasing Unicorns repertoire. It is a technique that tells the unique story of the hand that stitched each pleat, their skill, steadiness and perhaps even the times they laughed whilst stitching the tuck with their fellow seamstresses!
Crochet is a process of creating fabric trim by interlocking loops of yarn, thread or strands of other materials using a crochet hook. The name is derived from the French term crochet, meaning small hook. The technique of crochet originated in 17th-century France where lace making artisans used crochetage, designating a stitch used to join separate pieces of lace. Crochet became uber popular again in the bohemian movements of the 60’s and 70’s where it was applied liberally to fashion, homewares and just about anything they could get their crochet hooks on! Crochet in the modern age, unfortunately, is a lost art in terms of garment manufacturing with many crochet like trims stealing popularity away from the actual artisan technique. Here at Chasing Unicorns, we have more than a close affinity with the bohemian decades and coincidently quite the love affair with crochet. Our group of craftsmen and woman hand crochet each trim or garment ensuring that this magic artform is not lost on the clothing of the 21st century and is instead celebrated as it should be in the spotlight on our magnificent creations, handmade with love just for you.
The result of using these techniques speaks for itself. When you wear these clothes you'll feel embraced by the love, age-old skill and tradition that has gone into making your garment, and that's when you realise the beauty of slow fashion.