Sewing like Dior: 8 inspirations for beginners and advanced seamstresses

You want inspiration? Why not look for the best? From my summer home visit in Paris, I brought back the best sewing tips from the magnificent Christian Dior exhibition currently running there. If those sparkling, shimmering dresses don’t cure you from the fall blues… nothing will! 

Ok yes, I have been a little lazy at translating my french articles into english. If you ever want to polish your French, you can have a look at how to pick your sewing books here or how to get inspired by Lady Gaga’s outfits here.

For today, let’s travel to beautiful Paris and visit the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. One of my favorite museum back in my home town… I already told you about it for this exhibition by the way. It usually has the best exhibitions in the capital regarding fashion  to be honest.


This Dior exhibition will go on until january I believe, so if you have plans to visit Paris, go ahead! If you don’t, here is how to sew you own Dior wardrobe…

Why you will be inspired by Dior

Dior sits up there with Chanel (even higher than her in my opinion) in this fashion hall of fame everybody slightly fashion sensitive has in mind. The “new look” is worldly famous and has that retro vibe everybody finds so irresistible (and French).

But how can it translate in today’s fashion? Is it only for sewing experts?

Rather than simply telling you about the exhibition, I will walk you through the inspiration you can draw from it and integrate into your fall wardrobe…

haute couture dior robe

here we go!


Inspo for beginners

If you are still struggling with pillow cases (It’s ok too, everybody has to start somewhere before making master pieces) you can still start “Dioring up” your look.

You will not create an entire dress of course, those are awefuly technical to make. But here are the techniques you can start practicing right now!

The Dior knot

As you may have noticed, Dior products often include a particular knot, with a one side buckle. See below those embroidered versions? Easy right? They could ornate a dress, a bag or a hat and look very fancy.

haute couture dior robe

haute couture dior robe

haute couture dior robe

Here is a demo video I took during the exhibition of how you create it:

  1. create a classical shoe lace knot
  2. pull completely on one of the buckle
  3. trim ribbon to your liking



I saw A LOT of charming embroidery items during the exhibition, as those adorable gloves below:

haute couture dior robe

It brings a light and charming touches to otherwise simple attires…

haute couture dior robe

Adopt the “Dior” colors

Of course Dior made dresses in every existing colors. Yet he frequently confessed  being a fan of 3 particular colors: red, pink and grey.

“Rouge Dior” is a deep crimson red, without looking like Santa Claus. Big fan here.

haute couture dior robe rouge
I was clearly eyeing that cute little red and green hat

See this for example, one of his earlier creation. Look how modern that pleat work is…

haute couture dior robe

Second color is a blush, “millennial” pink, also very popular those days…

here are blush tones of yellow, pink and blue


haute couture dior robe
hello !

And finally, you have grey…

haute couture dior robe

haute couture dior robe

Inspo for Intermediate

If you already master basic sewing techniques, this is a good way to up your game big time!

Do proper mock ups

robe dior exposition paris

Well this is also an excuse to show you this breath taking room where they displayed many mock ups. This is a good reminder that master pieces generally take one try out (or several) before they looked so wonderful.

robe dior exposition paris

robe dior exposition paris


robe dior exposition paris

The Over sized Obi knot

robe dior exposition paris

I am crazy about this detail and desperately want to incorporate it into the next “fancy” dress I make. You see it in many dresses throughout the exhibition. I am addicted for good… The most beautiful examples are make with stiff fabrics that hold their shape well.

robe dior exposition paris
Those pink flowers though…
robe dior exposition paris
And look how this suit is “made” because of the giant knot…


Hate the color but look at this neckline and pleating work…

robe dior exposition paris

robe dior exposition paris


Inspo for pros


Mixing old and new

I share with Monsieur Dior his passion for 18th century. And it shows in various dress in various reinvented ways. For example the “New Look” figure has tiny waist, and big hips, a reminiscent of the stays and panniers of ancien times. Far from the flowy lines of the 20ies and 30ies, the body is reshaped to create a “new silhouette” (hence the name).

robe dior exposition paris
Look on the right, this is a new take on the panniers, here sitting lower on the hips

Look at this skirt detail.

And then observe the sleeves of this Renaissance dress. Same impression of having the under garment “peeking through”.

The fabrics mix

Those dresses use the most delicate, hard to work with materials : silk, taffeta, velvet etc. Details and ornaments took hours to be created and IT SHOWS! Nothing is too beautifull for House Dior:

A fifties flower dress
It’s current version

It’s almost the same dress Natalie Portman is wearing in the latest Miss Dior perfume ad.

robe dior couture expo
Look at the beading work, it’s revealed and hidden at the same time by the overlaying net fabric
robe dior couture expo
A rather simple cut, made magnificent by the quality of this green velvet
Look how pleated mesh works well with silk velvet…

“Dior j’adore” for you too?

I couldn’t stop from shouting in admiration during my visit. And yet I see a looot of those. This is really impressive work.

Funny thing is that Dior is very far from the “free woman” I like to be. For having asked my grand mothers how wearing such outfits felt, they both agreed on those being very inconfortable : your waist is crushed under a corset to appear thinner, fabric is stiff and skin tight… Here is an example of the “tailleur Bar”. Not really a Yoga pant option right…

robe dior expo tailleur bar

And yet I am fascinated by those dresses. I badly want to recreate one of those quickly… What about you? Wanna try one of those ideas?

More details on the exhibition and on Dior can be found here.


Next time we will talk about my latest silk dress…

La bise



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