Sewing Inspiration: Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016. The Floating Seam

If you were following the fashion media during New York Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2016 presentation, you probably could not help but notice a common “thread” or two in some collections. The design feature that stuck in my mind was the “hanging seam” or floating seam. I didn’t know it was called the hanging seam until Zac Posen, who I follow on Instagram, posted a photo of one of his designs and called it the hanging seam. Yay.

The images in this post are from the Vogue Runway website. Its the next best thing to actually being at the fashion shows.  Go there to explore fabulous fashion!

If you are a sewing enthusiast, you may (or may not, if you are too young) have come across the hanging seam way back in the past decade or so. Remember some articles in Threads magazine focusing on this seam treatment? Author David Page Coffin wrote a feature on designers Judith and Lim and their unique but wearable designs, where the seams, exquisite on their own, are joined together by thread tacks! Look up issue #64, April/May 1996 (when designer Zac Posen was probably in junior high).

Then look up issue #98 for Kayla Kennington’s floating seams joined together with embroidered dots – yes, dots.

Then, pull out issue #139 and visit Ralph Rucci’s atelier with Claire Shaffer for exquisite visuals on this seam treatment, where its proven that floating seams work with heavier weight fabric, too.

More?   Go back to Threads issue #68 wherein Andra Gabrielle was featured using the hanging/floating seam in some of her delicate designs. Only, Andra’s designs have an heirloom look. Her floating seams are really faggoting with beads.

When the hanging/floating seam treatment showed up in certain high fashion retail collections for Spring Summer 2016, and I was thrilled. Because we seamstresses reach that zenith of peace and happiness when the high fashion industry designs something we can recreate for ourselves.

Here are just two collections where noteworthy floating seams made an appearance:

Zac Posen

Zac4 Zac3

Zac Posen incorporates the technique in deliciously wearable items, like these summer dresses. The way I interpret the photos, the seam edges have tube-like tabs (in the red dress) or loops (black dress), with a continuous self-fabric cord threaded through to join up the two pieces. Genius! Click on the photos to enlarge.

Zac2 Zac

In some pieces, Zac used the “bar tack” method, as far as I can tell.  By the way, the black number on the right reminds me of the iconic Loboutin shoe (black pump with red sole). Notice that all pieces are lined in red, and then “tacked” together to form the dress. Similar design on the left but lined in pink. Again, genius.

Zac Posen stapled seam SS16

Then, there are Zac’s stapled seams in a more tailored outfit. I’m floored!  I’m not sure how to create that. Any ideas?

Prabal Gurung

_PRA0205 _PRA0139 Slide1

Prabal Gurung’s designs are long, loose and swishy, and the hanging seams provide a break and lots of interest in the expanse of fabric. Again, the seam edges seem to be joined with a bar tack, albeit a substantial one. Bravo, Prabal!!

There are more details which caught my eye in Fashion Weeks offerings for 2016. More about those another time. Meanwhile, I’m off to try and replicate the floating/hanging seam for myself.

Your turn! Any thoughts about these details? Have you used them? Anything else you noticed in Spring Summer collections – if you follow the fashion media?

May the sewing force be with you……..


11 thoughts on “Sewing Inspiration: Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016. The Floating Seam

  1. Yes, Samina, they are beautiful seam treatments, and yes again, I have used them over the years and loved them! One especially comes to mind that still hangs in my closet – a soft blue green textured fabric made into a floaty vest that’s worn over a jacket. The side seams are bound front and back pieces of the garment, held together by iridescent blue/green/plum bugle beads sewn by hand to make the vest even floater than it otherwise would have been. Could send a picture, but am not sure how in this forum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne!! Please do send me a picture through the contact page of this blog, or through Facebook messaging. It would be great to include your picture in a post in the near future with my own attempt at this technique – which I am beginning to do in a simpler project than your vest.


  2. Good morning, Samina. Well you got my day off to a good start. This is my favorite of all your posts! Thank you for the fashion info and pictures. It’s about all I can do to have clothes that cover my body in a flattering color. I have all of those copies of Threads. Guess I have to pull them out. Although I love all the fashions you posted the only one I think I would wear would be the Prabal Gurung that looks like a long t-shirt. Think I could wear it to HEB? Loved it when I saw it in the newspaper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved this idea when I first saw it years ago, and still do. So, I think it’s about time I tried it out :). I’m sure there are easier ways to cut down the time on the “connecting dots”. I’ve begun to explore a project with this design element. Wish me luck!


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