Alexander Wang, AW15, New York.
There are lots of attachments for domestic sewing machines that can help you create clever effects, but often these attachments are dismissed because of the less than inspiring examples used to show what they are capable of. In the Alexander Wang Autumn-Winter 2015 collection, many of the garments were outlined with a beaded trim, which is an easy effect to achieve on a domestic machine with a beading or couching foot.
Different sewing machine manufacturers may call these feet different things, but often you are looking for a foot that has a very large open space or groove on the underside, allowing room for a thick cord, or string of beads to flow through as you sew. Essentially once you have this foot on your machine you will need to select a version of a zigzag stitch, and as you sew over your chosen trim, the zigzag stitch will crisscross over the top of the trim, catching the trim in position.
In this video below by Heirloom Creations» you can see how the technique is used to apply a string of pearls to the edge of fabric and how the technique can be used to apply the beads on top of the fabric as well. You’ll have to test out different threads to suit your garment, for example in the video clear thread has been used so that it disappears. You may also need to purchase some different size presser feet attachments depending on the type of trim that you are applying.
You may also need to experiment with different stitch types and thread tension to get the best result. In this video below the zigzag does an extra couple of stitches each time it catches the fabric to ensure the trim is really secure.
In the Alexander Wang show, the beaded trim was used to accentuate the shape of many details and often gave definition to looks that were otherwise completely created in black. For some of the garments the beaded effect was also combined with a wavy quilting pattern and this wavy pattern also carried through to the use of beading on some of the knitwear pieces. The way that the beading looks on the knit pieces implies that a different method was used to attach the beading for these garments since the beads often look embedded in the knit structure, rather than simply being applied on top of the fabric.
Another interesting point to notice is how the loophole effect in the knitwear of this collection builds upon a technique that was developed for use in the Alexander Wang Pre Fall collection as you can see in the earlier post Textile and Pattern Details at Alexander Wang» but this time the knitwear is more tonal and subtle with the focus placed on the strings of beads.
Images from Vogue.co.uk»