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The best sewing related shows to watch this winter

The nights have well and truly drawn in and that means one thing… it’s time to get stuck into some fantastic telly. I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE watching something while I sew. What better opportunity to watch something about sewing while sewing yourself? We have shortlisted some of the best programs to keep you entertained this winter. So it’s time to settle in and here are The Fold Line  team favourites….

Documentaries:

  • Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards – An in-depth portrait of MANOLO BLAHNIK, self-confessed ‘cobbler’ and the man regarded by most influential fashion figures as ‘the best shoe-maker of the 20th and 21st centuries. (Amazon)
  • Trouble at Topshop – Hear about the rise and fall of iconic British Bran Topshop from the people who worked there. (BBC)
  • Inside the Shein Machine –  an interesting deep dive into fast fashion brand Shein (All four)
  • Wonder Boy – an amazing documentary about the creative director at Balmain Oliver Rousteing. (Netflix)
  • Worn Stories – a heartfelt documentary where people tell you the story behind their most meaningful item of clothing. (Netflix)
  • Dries – For the very first time, fashion designer Dries Van Noten allows a filmmaker to accompany him in his creative process and rich home life.
  • Jeremy Scott: The People Designer – Featuring a star-studded cast including pop culture superstars: Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Rita Ora, and CL. Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer follows the story of Jeremy Scott’s ascent from a small town in Missouri to his current position as the Creative Director of Moschino. (Amazon)

  • 7 Days Out –  Follows the Dior events team in the 7 days leading up the to the Couture Shows. Full of fantastic intel and makes you really understand all the work that goes into creating an event like that. (Netflix)
  • House Of Cardin – A rare peek into the mind of the design and business icon, Pierre Cardin. With exclusive access to archives and unprecedented interviews with fashion’s elite, House Of Cardin documents how one man became a fashion empire
  • Martin Margiela: In his own Words – An intimate profile of Martin Margiela, one of the most revolutionary and influential fashion designers of his time. (Amazon)
  • Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful – A wildly entertaining portrait of Helmut Newton, the trailblazing photographer who had a defining impact on the world of fashion. (Amazon)
  • Advanced Style – God I loved this, honestly you have to go and watch it. The documentary follows a group of New York women who are seventy plus who have the most fantastic style, you get to see in their wardrobes and hear their life stories.. it’s wonderful.  (I-Tunes)
  • Iris – This is a spin off from Advanced Style with one of the women featured, Iris Apfel. She is 87 at the time of filming and the documentary is wonderful, and takes you though her impact on the New York fashion scene. (Amazon)
  • Madmoiselle C –  This follows Carine Roitfeld, as she leaves her role as editor of French Vogue, and starts out on her own trying to create a new magazine. (Amazon)
  • The True Cost – This was one if the first documentaries about the true cost of fashion. Made in 2015 it’s slightly out of date but it’s well worth a watch. (Amazon)

  • McQueen –  a story told by his close family and friends about his life and work, it’s wonderful. Excruciatingly honest and really sad, if you are feeling delicate it might not be for you. (Amazon)
  • Dior And I – This is magical, its shows the point that Raf Simons was appointed the creative director at Dior and follows him in the lead up to his first show. Annoyingly Amazon has removed it in the UK at the moment, but I’m hopeful it will come back!
  • The September Issue – This follows the infamous Anna Wintour editor of America Vogue during fashion week. I adored this when it first came out and you can see where the inspiration for the Devil Wears Prada came from! (Amazon)
  • Westwood: Punk Icon Activist –  Get a proper behind the scenes look at the life, work and activism that Vivienne Westwood has become famous for. (Amazon)
  • Fresh Dressed –  Follow this story of hip hop fashion from it’s birth in the South Bronx to how it’s become a multi million dollar industry. (Amazon)
  • Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel – oh my days I loved this, one of the most influential women of the 20th Century and editor of Harpers Bizarre & Vogue from the 30s through to the 70s. Fantastic fun documentary with a host of fashion A -lister talking heads.  (Amazon)

  • The Gospel According to Andre – Andre Leon fashion icon and editor of American Vogue shares his life story. The hardships of growing up as a gay black man in the deep south. It’s really worth a watch… I mean the outfits alone are out of this world. (Amazon)

  • Bill Cunningham New York – I absolutely adored this, fashion photographer Bill, on his bike in New York. He was the  street fashion chronicler for the New York Times and beloved by many. (Amazon)

  • Love Cecil – An examination into Cecil Beaton’s life work. Really interesting and you really understand how important he was creatively as a photographer.
  • Unzipped –  the oldest by far of these (1995) following Isaac Mizrahi as he gets ready for fashion week. It’s hilarious and stuffed full of supermodels!
  • Notebook on Cities and Clothes – This one I haven’t seen but it’s on the list, it’s an interview with Yohji Yamamoto on cities fashion and people. (Amazon)
  • Paul Smith: Gentleman Designer – I’ve got such a soft spot for Paul Smith, and have always loved his work. This is a lovely documentary showing the inside of his studio. He’s an avid collector and his office is an absolute treasure trove. (Amazon)
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor: This must have been the first of it’s type of fashion documentaries, released in 2008 it’s dated but it’s pretty darn fabulous and he’s hilarious in it. (Amazon)

 TV Series:

  • Halston – Watch Ewan McGregor tell the story of the American iconic bran Halston. (Netflix)
  • Next In Fashion – Tan France and Alexa Chung host a Project Runway style format, but the designers are at a higher level and all currently run their own companies.  The designers are generally pretty kind to each other and it’s really great watching. (Netflix)
  • The Sewing Bee  – You can watch ALL the back series of these!!! Follow twelve hobby makers on their journey to be crowned winner. (BBC)
  • Making The Cut – Hosted by Heidi Klum Tim Gunn on Amazon. This is a Project Runway spin off but on Amazon, same format but with more established designers. THere are three series so you can  really get stuck in!
  • Breaking Fashion – Follows a fast fashion company in the UK called In the Style as it heads into it’s busy summer season. I never knew how those companies worked and it’s a really interesting insight into influencers. (BBC)
  • Inside Misguided – similar format to above, I’d say Breaking fashion is a bit better and the narrator on this programme swears like a trooper, so might not recommend watching with children! (All Four)
  • Assassination of Versace – it’s a bit gory this tv series! It follows the lead up to Andrew Cunanan’s murder spree in 1997 where he kills five people including Gianni Versace.
  • Atelier –  A Japanese drama about anew employee starting at the atelier and trying to find her feet. (Netflix)
  • Velvet – I haven’t seen this yet but it popped up on Netflix it’s in Spanish, but the story is about a seamstress who works in the most prestigious fashion house in Spain. I’ll report back!  (Netflix)
  • The Collection  – Set in a Paris fashion house post second world war, looks set to be full of drama! (Amazon)

Not strictly sewing but amazing outfits:

  • The Pursuit of Love – My favoueite book in the world! Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan. (Amazon)
  • Bridgerton – follow along with London’s high society in this fun period drama (Netflix)
  • The Serpent – A True Story of a jewel thief. (BBC)
  • A Very British Scandal – Sex, secrets and suspicion – the true story of a duchess publicly shamed in a high society divorce that gripped the nation. Starring Claire Foy and Paul Bettany. (BBC)
  • The Queens Gambit – Set in the 50s,  it’s a tail of an orphan who becomes a chess whizz. Again, fantastic costumes!
  • Marvellous Mrs Maisel – One of my favourite programmes. It it rumoured to be based on the life of Joan Rivers and follows of housewife Midge as she pursues a career in stand up comedy. It’s set in New York in the late 50s and arguably has the best outfits I’ve seen in a TV show. (Amazon)
  • Mad Men – Set in a 1960’s New York Advertising agency in the era of the ‘American Dream’ follow the lives of the of the team. Prepare yourself for extreme sexism, alcoholism and the most fantastic outfits! (Amazon)
  • Killing Eve – The story of assassin Villanelle and the spy Eve who has been assigned to catch her. Full of fantastic outfits and dark comedy you are going to love this.  (BBC)
  • The Crown – This follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from when she takes the throne in her twenties, through to her fifties over the three series. Full of wonderful costumes and a great insight into social history in the UK. (Netflix)
  • Sex and the City – I mean this really doesn’t need any introduction does it? Follow Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda on their dating journeys around New York. (Amazon)
  • And Just Like That – This is the next installment from the Sex and the City gang.. great feel good watching! (Now TV)

 

Films:

  • Mrs Harris Goes to Paris  – the enchanting tale of a seemingly ordinary British housekeeper whose dream to own a couture Christian Dior gown takes her on an extraordinary adventure to Paris. (Amazon)
  • The Dressmaker –  You know you are in for a treat when a sewing machine is on the cover! Kate Winslet plays the character of Tilly who returns home from a Paris couture house to her local town to rebuild her relationship with her mother. It’s full of fantastic outfits, love and humour. (Amazon)
  • Bright Star – This is the story of  the poet Keats’s love affair with the girl next door called Fanny. She is a fantastic dressmaker and is even introduced as the ‘well stitched Miss Brawne’ (I wish people introduced me as that!) and the opening credits are fab. (Amazon)
  • Phantom Thread – This is such a fantastic film! Daniel Day Lewis plays a tailor in 1950’s London who takes on a young waitress to be his muse. A lot of the film is set in his workroom and full of dark humour. (Amazon)
  • Coco Before Chanel – I feel like this film needs no introduction! It follows the story of Gabrielle Chanel in her early life in the run up to becoming the style sensation she was. Played by Audrey Tautou its stuffed full of fantastic outfits. (Amazon)
  • Yves Saint Laurent – This film is in French and wonderful! It follows the story of the designer from the start of his career in the late 50s when he met is partner in love and business Pierre. (Amazon)

These aren’t about sewing but have wonderful outfits:

  • Rebecca – Based on the Daphne Du Maurier book. It’s got fantastic costumes and set in the 40s… it’s fab. (Netflix)
  • Marie Antoinette  – Full of colour and wonderful vibrant outfits Marie Antoinette follows the story of her turbulent life. (Amazon)
  • Atonement –  A classic love story set in the Second World war and it flits between three different time periods. It’s really wonderful if you haven’t watched it, go for it, and get the tissues ready. (Amazon)
  • The Devil Wears Prada – Set in a glossy magazine in New York, Country girl Andrea has a baptism of fire into the world of fashion. (Amazon)

 

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4 thoughts on “The best sewing related shows to watch this winter

  1. Oh wow these look so great!! Thank you!! One more for you; Hors de Prix (in French) with Audrey Tautou. Silly romcom about a gold digger – I love it though and her outfits are incredible!!

  2. Wow, Kate, what a wonderful list! I live in Italy so, sadly, can’t watch BBC progress., but you’ve listed so many other options, which will keep me going for months!!
    Thank you 😊 Steph

    1. Programmes, not progress 🙄

  3. Love these lists. Just a note for US viewers (& maybe elsewhere?). Many of these docs and also these films are available *free* through your public library and the Kanopy app for streaming to your screens.

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