On Sewing as a Universal Language
October 18, 2014 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Cousu Main (which starts here) is an adaptation of The Great British Sewing Bee, and the blog of one of the participants features significant spoilers for this season. Although it's in French, the show is not hard for an English speaker to follow, just as Project Runway Vietnam (2013: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), Project Runway Korea (2009: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ...), and Projeto Fashion from Brazil--among others--make some sense to those familiar with the English-language series Project Runway Australia, Project Runway Canada, Project Runway Malaysia (2007 finale: 1-5 and 6), Project Runway Philippines (2008: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15), and Mission Catwalk from Jamaica.
posted by Monsieur Caution (11 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
They just started airing the Swedish version of the Sewing Bee called Hela Sverige Syr (roughly translated: Sweden sewing). Unfortunately, it is not nearly as good as the original (the contestants are a bit bland; the jury does not have enough character; the challenges don't have that neat structure the British version had). Still somewhat enjoyable, I will come back for at least the second episode.
posted by KTamas at 11:22 PM on October 18, 2014

Also, no Patrick Grant.
posted by KTamas at 11:35 PM on October 18, 2014

And thank fuck no bloody Tilly.
posted by jonathanstrange at 11:44 PM on October 18, 2014

Or Korina! What an awful person.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:02 AM on October 19, 2014

Just as a shout out for a MeFi subsite, I'd like to mention that this season of Project Runway has been having some very nice discussion on FanFare, though obviously it's relevant here too.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:21 AM on October 19, 2014

Just dropped the link for this FPP in the most current PR discussions over at FanFare. :-)
posted by travelwithcats at 2:37 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whether or not sewing is universal, the structure of that kind of show definitely is. I can click on a random show in Vietnamese or whatever and instantly know what is going on.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:14 AM on October 19, 2014

Or Korina! What an awful person.

From this season? She's not even that bad. Believe me, there is a whole wide world of nasty, rancid, bitter designers to discover.

It's a magical journey!
posted by louche mustachio at 5:42 AM on October 19, 2014

Well I know what I'm doing today.

The Eagles have a bye week so I was looking for something to watch.
posted by the webmistress at 7:43 AM on October 19, 2014

Yay! I've been so excited for this show. There's a very strange phenomenon in France whereby it is the world capital of haute couture, and yet it has remained staunchly deserted when it comes to home-sewn fashion. Up until three years ago, when the Internet and Anglophone fans of all that is French finally converged and French entrepreneurs said to themselves, "oh hey, we could sell French sewing supplies on the web", you could hardly find a damn thing in this country. I frickin' had to special order bog-standard sewing machine needles and pins, for pete's sake. Fabric not for curtains? Good luck. Cotton in colors other than white, black, and beige? Hahaha, no. Quilting prints? Only if you were willing to shell out 25-30 euros a metre (which is a touch longer than a yard). Sewing patterns? Pffffft. I've been ordering directly from Vogue/Butterick/McCalls for years because you still can't find any more than a dozen at any one fabric store... if there's a store, and if the store carries them, which many don't. Burda is more common, but the exception proves the rule: you usually have to special order the pattern you want from in-store catalogues.

The biggest change has come with Maison Sajou, originally a solely-online shop that was such a hit overseas, the French finally began to wake up to the reality that regular people also sew. I follow them on Facebook and recently asked them about that; they said that notwithstanding increased interest, 90% of their sales are still done overseas, and mostly in English-speaking countries. "Nul n'est proph├Ęte dans son pays..." remarked the founder. ("No prophet is accepted in their own country", Luke 4:24, one of the rare Bible verses to be a common expression in France.)

Maison Sajou and their Paris shop are featured in "Cousu Main"! I can only hope the show contributes to the still-nascent interest in home sewing in France. As things are, I'm pretty happy to have been able to move to Paris, because I can hit the foot of Montmartre and be in fabric heaven (Tissus St. Pierre, among others, which is often on Project Runway when they go to Paris). It ain't easy elsewhere in the country.
posted by fraula at 10:24 AM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Fraula, check out la droguerie if you haven't yet! That store is a wonderland.
posted by travelwithcats at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2014

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