ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

sew sexy

Updated on December 1, 2009
happy collaboration between designer, stylist and photographer: hurrah! :D
happy collaboration between designer, stylist and photographer: hurrah! :D

peekaboo design studio

Fashion facts of life from one of Dublin’s most sought-after rock-chick fashion designers, Susan Dempsey, the creative force behind Peekaboo Design Studio

 UK fashion dame Vivienne Westwood’s new collection for Urban Outfitters is attracting a whole new generation to the wonders of sumptuous silks, in-your-face tartans and sizzingly sexy, diaphanous gauzes that skim your figure.

And on a smaller, but equally sassy scale, there’s an arcane designer in Europe who’s attracting a clientele of discerning women.

Dubliner Susan Dempsey is the woman behind Temple Bar’s Peekaboo Design Studio. With some of the same edgy rock credentials of doyenne Vivienne Westwood, the Irish designer’s work has evolved from the club scene into a style that embraces all the emotional landmarks of a certain type of woman.

Her clients may have first come to the shop as a 16-year-old debutante, returned for their college ball gown and again for their wedding dress, she says.

Susan’s obvious delight in mastering her craft tends to attract the knowledgeable buyer whose own sense of design has been channeled into reproducing some of the all-time classics of fashion.

“We often encourage people to bring in their own designs or share any ideas they may have,” she confirms. “By the time they’ve advanced to knowing their own shape and what structural shapes flatter them, they’d be fluent in tailoring devices that suit them.”

Those tailoring devices that have become instinctive responses to Peekaboo’s clients would be the ‘fashion facts of life’ like: “a straight neckline for a modest lift, a scooped-neck for a more ample cleavage and sweetheart for the fuller figure,” says Susan.

Susan’s self-taught skills and innate eye for design means that her studio never lost its street-style urban edge. She began designing and hand-making clothes in 1993, when her original designs hit a chord among clubbers.

And her trademark corsetry is one of the features that attract her dedicated clients. The structured bodice of a Peekaboo corset is a key statement of womanly confidence, whether it’s worn above sumptuous silks and satins of an ‘event’ gown’s skirt, or with jeans.

Susan works from her studio in Dublin’s Temple Bar using high quality silk, silk satins and velvets. While pieces can be had off-the-peg, every bespoke Peekaboo item is unique to the wearer’s specifications.

She welcomes her clients in bringing their own fabrics and ideas to the store. Which infers that making the most of having a ‘maestra’ fabricate your statement gown, means that you’ve already satisfied yourself that you’ve found the perfect texture of fabric in the absolute colour you want and know which accessories will enhance your finished effect.

Hickeys Stores, which has branches in many of the major cities and towns throughout the country, has had great success in its recent collaboration with top Irish designer Peter O’Brien.

Its latest ad campaign illustrating the glamour of 40s femininity with designs by the former Dior, Givenchy and House of Rochas designer, shows a return to simple basics that emphasise the key motifs of classical tailoring: short-cropped, minimalist shapes in jackets teamed with contrasting fuller skirts.

“There is a revival in knitting and sewing,” Hickeys’ Managing Director Ian Donnelly explains.

“People are coming in again for accessories for existing clothes they have. “There’s been an increase in traffic for sewing – sewing schools have really filled up this winter – and we’ve found that in the current climate people are looking at sewing differently.

“People were time poor whereas now they’re looking at something traditional at a sensible cost.”

But where the creative bargains are really catching Irish women’s imaginations is in the haberdashery department, he says.

“Not everyone is a ‘sew-er’ and the haberdashery departments offer quite simple things for people looking to revitalise say an old jacket, or even a plain black new garment from the likes of Penneys.”

Hickeys’ decorative buttons, motifs, flowers and braids are fast fixes for the ‘iron on’ market as well as those nifty with needles.

Sewing machine shops around the country have also seen a rising interest in not just their machines, but all the smaller pieces that go with it.

For those keen to get started there are little portable machines available through ebay, but these are designed for light and limited use. For anything other than hemming lightweight fabrics, look to a more versatile machine, say the experts.

“Expect to get a basic machine for under €200 and it will do button holes, zig zag, it’ll have a ‘free arm’ for doing cuffs, or hemming or taking up a leg of a jean; it’ll sew a variety of fabrics.”

• Log onto and click onto ‘projects’ for free designs and instructions to get you started: there’s a cool canvas handbag that’s looks like an easy place to start. And see for further details on corsetry.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)