5 Unusual Design Ideas For Sewing

I thought I’d share some inspiration with you this week. We’re in a strange in-between time with seasons where the weather doesn’t know what to do and while some countries are slowly coming out of lockdown (as we are) others are having restrictions tightened; so today I have 5 unusual design ideas for sewing that might possibly get your creative juices flowing or at least you could bookmark this post for possible use sometime in the future.

I love to browse designer looks on Pinterest and I’ve spent many a happy hour (or 2…or 3… 😉 ) collecting images. So shall we dive in? Yes, let’s!

5 Unusual Design Ideas For Sewing:


This is a Just Cavalli design from Fall 2011. To me it looks like strips of denim have been hemmed in a wavy shape…maybe with a roll hem and then placed layer upon layer. You can see the rows of stitching where each respective layer is placed on top of the previous one. And isn’t the ombre effect cool. You could replicate this by recycling pieces of worn denim and using really faded pieces for the palest parts.

5 unusual design ideas for sewing


This is by Ralph Rucci from his Spring 2015 show. I had a look at the other designs too and they were so lovely! This is a combination of sheer and non-sheer fabrics. I’m guessing the sheer is silk organza and it looks like flat bias tubes of the main opaque fabric are arranged on the organza and stitched through the centre in a lovely wavy design. This would be so easy to replicate on a Summer top with a sheer yoke or hem extension. I’d love to try it!

Unusual design detail by Ralph Rucci


Ahhh, McQueen…wonderful!. This is from the Spring 2018 RTW show and it featured a lot of tailored looks. This gorgeous jacket is made up of various tones and scale of dogs tooth check suiting fabric (most likely wool). It’s such a fabulous effect. I’m in awe at how each strip is subtly shaped to make the jacket curve of the body. If you didn’t want to be contending with shaping the pieces as well, I think this effect could work really well on straight areas of a garment…a shift dress maybe? Or just a panel somewhere. You could use print in various scales or even textures could be combined in a monochrome colourway. 

5 Unusual Design Ideas For Sewing


This one is by Thom Browne from his Spring 2013 collection and I think it’s a great idea that you could use for mixing subtly different prints. It looks like each fabric piece is edged with a narrow bias binding in sweeping curvy shapes. Even small peephole gaps can be left for a bit of cheeky skin exposure.  Maybe use this idea on just a yoke area, a bodice or make a skirt and incorporate the wave shapes at the hemline. You could experiment with toning plain colours or prints dpeneding on what you prefer. Could be fun!

5 unusual design ideas for sewing


And finally, this last example is from Thierry Mugler’s Fall collection in 2015. I’ve seen similar ideas before but I love how these eyelets are arranged into specific design shapes and the metals used are of different tones (or is that just the light catching the metal?). Another garment from the same show had different scales of eyelets arranged together and that created a great effect too. It’s quite a cool idea I think and really eye-catching on the sleek white sheath dress particularly. I received a fancy table-top-mounted eyelet punch with many different sizes of eyelets for a present last year so if I practice with it I could maybe try this sometime.

5 unusual design ideas for sewing

So there we have it. I had fun putting this post together and I for one feel very inspired after doing it. Does any of these ideas appeal? Let me know in the comments.

Ooh and in case you’re interested I have some other posts in this series that you might like to take a look at:

Inspiring Buttonholes

Colour blocking

Beads and Embroidery


Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the interwebs and having a read and please don’t be a stranger, come back and visit again!

See you soon!

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  1. April 3, 2021 / 8:02 am

    Really liking the Mugler one with the eyelets. You mentioned having a tabletop eyelet press, which is something I’ve been thinking about – hammering them in is hard work! Would love to hear about yours some time.

    • diane
      April 3, 2021 / 11:56 am

      I like that Mugler dress, too. It’s such a great design.
      I just emailed you the link for my eyelet press too. I haven’t got around to using mine but it’s q good substantial bit of kit.

  2. PatB
    April 3, 2021 / 12:47 pm

    Great post, very inspirational. So many great examples of taking our sewing to another level. Thank you.

    • diane
      April 3, 2021 / 8:38 pm

      Thanks, Pat! So glad you enjoyed it x

  3. April 3, 2021 / 2:29 pm

    I laughed seeing 3 & 4 – having just had my eyes “fixed” (cataract surgery) my sight is suddenly back to life and everything around me is suddenly in “relief” and three dimensional which is what these 2 garments brought to mind. I absolutely LOVED that denim shirt (number 1) I’ve been fantasizing about an interesting denim shirt and jacket for a while. Now that my sight is back I found myself puttering around my sewing room yesterday…. organizing, ripping out an elasticated waist band (the elastic had gone – it was an expensive pair of bought linen trousers), hemming a pair of my husband’s pants and “eyeing” the unfinished Cambria duster that’s been waiting about 1/2 completed on my cutting table for me for months to return 🙂 I still have to sort out my reading glasses which should be accomplished in the next few weeks and I’m back to joy 🙂 Over the years I’ve met so many aging sewists lamenting the loss of their sight and I must say it has been a difficult loss!

    • diane
      April 3, 2021 / 8:41 pm

      Ohhh, so glad your surgery went well! Bet you’re counting down the hours for the reading glasses. That denim shirt is fab, isn’t it? I think it could be fairly easy to replicate too. But first your Cambria duster 😉

  4. Joan
    April 4, 2021 / 12:13 am

    I love the Ralph Rucci bias tubing over net technique and the Mugler grommets! I think I would do something different with the techniques design-wise, but both are elegant garments (for other women).

    • diane
      April 4, 2021 / 8:31 pm

      Cheers, Joan! I agree, we can definitely take these ideas and use them in our own ways and incorporate them into styles that we love to wear.

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