Fashion Research Abroad

June 25th | From Erin & Tallissa

June 25, 2014

Today the fashion design students received an exceptional opportunity to learn a couture sewing technique from Madame Picco, who was a premier stitcher for the House of Madam Grès. The sewing technique was an intricate form of hand pleating, a technique that takes many hours, patience, and practice. The class spent a total of approximately 12 hours working on the same project, a small leaf design that worked on, pleat by pleat.

While the work was tedious and occasionally physically painful (thimbles necessary!,) the end result was well worth every single minute of our time. We held in our hands little pleated leaves, so elegant in their simplicity yet beautiful in construction. The design inspirations in relationship to learning this technique are endless. Students discussed adding this pleating to something unconventional... maybe even trying it in a thin leather fabric instead of the silk jersey knit.

silk jersey knit

Learning this technique was truly life changing. It gave us a strong understanding of couture, how long it takes to sew everything by hand, why it is so costly, and why it is so breathtaking. It also helped to add to our repertoire of techniques as designers, an edge to aid us in standing out from the crowd of other talented students.

In addition to teaching us the curved pleating technique, Madame Picco took the time to demonstrate another pleating technique, which is used for skirts. In comparison to the leaf project which took 12 hours, this new approach seemed positively simple! Keeping that in mind that looks can be deceiving, the new technique will be easier for all of us to understand because we learned the more complicated skill first.

 Madame Picco took the time to demonstrate another pleating technique

We are all so lucky to be able to have this experience. Learning from Madame Picco was so special, and I know this is something we will all keep with us forever. Our gratitude was expressed through our diligence and dedication throughout this project, and I’m sure it will be no time at all before at least one student incorporates this technique in her designs when we arrive back to Lasell! Thank you Madam Picco and Martine!!