And draft patterns, will log some of the processes here.
And draft patterns, will log some of the processes here.
What’s your least used sewing gadget?
Vying for first place I have
Seldom I remember that I have some dressmaker’s carbon, and rarely does it turn out to leave a useful mark . Its probably great if you always use smooth textured pale and washable fabric. Shirtmakers, this is for you.
Then there’s these things – honestly two needles in the ironing board work so much better.
And then there’s one of these . I have used it for cutting binding, but clearing space for the self healing mat, pressing uniformly and firmly on the steel ruler, not wobbling and avoiding slicing a finger tip, rapidly blunting blade – I’ll take the shears.
Got any space wasters lurking in your workroom?
What do you/would you sew yourself for yourself, or, probably more to the point, what don’t you bother to sew? Here’s my list.
socks, tights, bras, knickers
jeans 50/50 (ok, sometimes I’ll make them, but as you can pick them up for peanuts in sales…. not often)
How about you?
Hayboxes and similar methods of getting food cooked in its own heat after bringing it to boiling point are not new, some version has probably been around as long as cooked food. I once posted about making sewn versions, Betsy asked if I can make a pattern available for those who want to make their own. This post is to explain how you can make your own pattern.
(Its a bit more elaborate than some, because I have removable cushions for the polystyrene, and easier to pull drawstrings.)
First measure loosely round your cooking pot from the centre of the base to the centre of the top, holding the tape measure two or three inches wide of the side and top. You need this to be wide because there will be insulation around the pot. Use this measurement as the radius and draw a circle.
Cut the circle out and fold it so as to get eight segments and draw lines along the folds like the spokes of a wheel. Mark one inch in from the edge on each line with a dot.
Trace a segment off. Add half an inch turnings to the two straight sides.
Measure or calculate the circumference. Draw a rectangle three inches by half the circumference plus one inch.
Draw round the base of the pot and add an inch all round this circle.
This is going to rely on text with the odd diagram. I removed most of my photos of the process when I took down the old post, I’m limiting my sewing while the ligaments in my hands come to terms with my having played lumberjack .
(Picture of my doppelganger from here)
Materials cotton or linen fabric with a close weave, cord, tape or ribbon for drawstring, polystyrene beads or other insulation.
Cut 2 of the large large circles. One is lining, one is outer, so you might want to have pretty fabric for the outer.
Cut 4 small circles – these make a base cushion and a top cushion to help the insulation.
Cut 16 segments. These make cushions that tuck in between the outer and lining, so scrap fabric like old sheeting is fine.
Cut two rectangles which will bind the edge of the outer circle making channels for the drawstring to draw it up around the pot.
Fold the large circles pressing the folds so that you have guidelines for stitching the 8 segments. Mark on the lining piece the dots you put on the pattern an inch from the edge.
Hem the edge of the lining circle by turning in the edge 1/4 inch to the wrong side, stitching along the fold, turning a second time taking 1/2 inch and stitching .
On each strip of binding, turn the short edges under 1/2 inch and stitch. Fold in half lengthwise and press the foldline.
Bind the edge of the large circle like this:- stitch one piece of binding to the edge starting from one of your segment lines and ending half way round, putting right sides together and taking half an inch turnings. Ease the binding in as you go, it will be slightly longer than the line you’re stitching it to. Do the same to the second half with the other piece of binding. Fold half an inch under on the other long edge of the bindings and stitch down enclosing the raw edges on the wrong side, along the first stitching line or close to it.
Thread a length of ribbon or tape through each of the channels you just made, passing it out in the spaces between the two bindings.
With the lining circle wrong side down on the wrong side of the outer circle and the segment lines matching, stitch along the segment lines, stopping at the dots you marked and back stitching to secure. Stitch across these ends for about an inch each side of the line (less if you’re making a small version). This T shape stitching is to help hold the segment cushions in place, but you need to leave a big enough gap to push them in.
Now you will have a large circle with eight pockets and you make eight segment shaped cushions to fill with beans.
To make and fill segment cushions put two segment pieces wrong sides together, stitch round, leaving a gap at the pointed end. Turn right side out and using a funnel fill it with polystyrene beans about two thirds full. Stitch the gap closed. Repeat for the other segments. Tuck them into the pockets.
This was the make-shift funnel I used to fill the segments, cardboard lashed up with parcel tape. I recommend filling outside if possible, the beads go everywhere.
To make and fill top and bottom cushions stitch two of the small circles wrong sides together leaving a small gap, turn right sides out, fill loosely and stitch closed. You’re done!
The pot sits on one cushion, another goes on top, and the sides are drawn round by pulling up the drawstrings.
Ready made sewn cooking bags in attractive fabrics can be bought from this company. I have no affiliation. I read that they set up to help the cooking fuel problems in South Africa, and now sell in many countries. Please only use my instructions to make something for your personal use .
I have made this with eight segments, but if the pot is large you could make more, say ten. Then you will need to use a protractor to get the segments even, and you will need to cut yourself a guide for stitching the segments.
Simpler versions don’t have the segment cushions and tape channels. They are made with two circles, stitched together along the spokes , the segments filled directly and closed at the wide end, a single channel made at the top by turning under the edge of the circle and threading tape through it. I am indebted to another maker on The Sewing Forum for the idea of making the drawstring channels as separate binding pieces. Its definitely a neater solution for making at home. For users with not much strength in their hands, you could have the channels in four pieces instead of two, to make pulling it closed even easier.
Advantages of my version for making at home :-
its easier to manipulate the small segment cushions under the machine without getting filling jammed in your feed dogs
if you spill casserole on your bag its easier to launder with separate little cushions
Straight binding for the channels is easier to get neat than a wide fold round a circle
Two drawstring openings make it easier to close the bag round the pot.
You could make a pot shaped container instead, circle for base, sides with pockets created by stitching straight strips divided by vertical lines into pockets to the base circle and a lid cushion. These could all be filled with polystyrene sheet recycled from packaging.
Any insulating material should work instead of polystyrene. You don’t need to purchase new materials to make insulating bags. Any recycled cotton or linen is fine. Other fabric may be ok, but check that it stands up to the heat of a just boiled casserole before cutting and stitching.
Betsy asked about pots with handles. Pots with those small handles on the side should be accommodated by the squishyness of your insulation . I use my second example with a pot with side handles.
If you want to make something to fit a lidded saucepan with a long handle, you would need to have a space for it. I haven’t tried this but I think if you make the straight sided version in the last sketch you could easily have a small gap at the top of the seam where the side pieces join. At this small gap you would tuck your turnings in and top stitch near the edge to keep it neat. The drawstring closure would be at this seam, so little heat should escape.
To make something like this, I’d draw a circle a couple of inches or more bigger in diameter than the pot, to allow for insulation and cut five of them. Four would make top and bottom cushion, the fifth to serve as the base to stitch the sides to. To make the sides I’d cut 2 rectangles the length of the base diameter plus turnings and stitch channels in them, finishing a little below the top. These would be seamed leaving a handle gap and joined to the base and have a drawstring channel made at the top.
An advantage of making your own, which Betsy pointed out, is that you can change the size to suit the pot. The top example, first one I made, is small. I use this more often in our family than the larger one, its very good for cooking rice which we don’t eat by the bucketful.
How good are these at saving steam and smell in the house? I cooked some pre-soaked dried pulses – actually chick peas – a couple of days ago. On the hob only this takes around 40 minutes boiling. Using the bag, five minutes on hob, transfer to bag, leave to cook for remaining time. (I don’t have a pressure cooker) You might want one just for camping/picnic trips, as a classier alternative to wrapping your dinner in your sleeping bag.
I’ve had this book for years, much consulted, as you can see from the state of the cover.
My review was all planned and then I stumbled on an excellent one here. No need to reinvent the wheel then!
‘Dress Fitting’ follows through from the author’s pattern drafting books, uses the same terms, and expands the information in them to the problems of individual fit. Chapter eight deals with altering her blocks to fit individual measurements, a shortcut for a bespoke designer/dressmaker to making a personal block for a client. Whilst you could follow the method with any drafting system and table of measurements, its obviously easier if you’re using the same one as the book.
There are modelling exercises ( draping exercises) designed to develop an understanding of the basic blocks, ease and grain, the distribution of fullness and darting. Then the book moves to fitting for specific figure individualities, in the order which the alterations would normally be tackled.
I found her notes on sleeve fitting problems to be very comprehensive and logical. What is especially helpful about this book is its undogmatic approach, there is a lot of hands on wisdom in suggesting alternative ways of arriving at a reasonable fit where there are several problems impinging on the same garment part, or where the dressmaker finds herself with insufficient seam allowances to make the ideal adjustment. Unlike modern fitting books which use lots of photographs of individuals, this book relies on diagrams. I find this no disadvantage. Photographs can sometimes muddy the waters, in that it isn’t as easy to focus on the problem in hand when you look at a real life figure presenting several ‘problems’ at once.
As you would expect, an excellent book. The ‘Classic Edition’ is still available.
‘The Art of Dress Modelling : Shape within Shape’ by Lily Silberberg and Martin Shoben is a more recent purchase, mine is the 1998 edition. Its a slim paperback, about A4 format.
As you’d expect from these authors, its packed with step by step illustrations, covers the essentials of fabrics for toiles and toile evaluation in a couple of pages, then bangs straight in with detailed work on styles. The style pages have a fashion sketch illustrating what your aiming for, text and drawings for the process.
Wonky scan of ‘Wrap over bias cut dress with front drape’
The book has three main sections, the first section has fourteen styles (includes the one above), next section is Bridalwear, last is Basic Modelling skills.
The bridal section limits itself to adding elements specific to bridal wear, with some work on trains, veils, bows and surface decoration. While the examples aren’t extensive, there’s enough there to spring your own design from.
The third section on basic skills has so many little drawings of the stages that its the next best thing to having your tutor looking over your shoulder. There’s a useful page on evaluating your toile too, what to look out for when you think its looking ok, but aren’t quite sure if it will pass muster when its transferred to fabric and stitched up.
For example the paragraph ‘ Has the cloth been over-stressed in modelling?’ lists the tell tale signs, directs you to an illustration , and gives a probable cause – stretching the fabric horizontally when forming darts.
There’s a pattern to make a padded arm for your dress form, so you can work the sleeve designs, several collar examples, strapless bodices, skirts and dart manipulation.
Jeni has a post about draping from this book. If you’ve never draped on the stand before and feel you need extra visuals Academie de Poitiers has a series of instructional videos, which are brilliant. Don’t be put off if you don’t speak french, its pretty clear what’s going on without the commentary. Here’s an inspirational video from Dior too, on working from sketch to toile.
Other news – no sewing since the 3 dress marathon, but I’ve cut some patterns – a jacket with a (I hope delicious) portrait collar, a sheath dress cut in my size and drafted up in a range of sizes and cup sizes, a top with a pleated cowl, and a jacket for me with an asymmetric front fastening and collar.
I messed up my hands with tree-related work (don’t ever hurt a tendon in your fingers by the way, boy does it hurt) and haven’t turned out any toiles yet. They’re getting better thanks to my new bionic gloves. This sounds like a plug but I’m not affiliated in any way to the makers or suppliers of these. Its just that every time I put them on I bless the little cotton socks of the designer, so if you too sew and do ridiculously heavy gardening you might want to try them.
Here’s why two Fridays have flown by without a pattern book review. This is one of ten or so giants brought down last week in the chaotic rocky hillside that masquerades as a garden chez nous. The top of this one, too high to see before, drips with hundreds of little baubles in purple, cream, yellow and chocolate brown, some already opened to let the seeds out, some tight closed and unripe. Masses of gold and green fronds twist round them.
Incredibly lush and beautiful, I wish I had time to paint them, but everything has been put on hold in the interests of splitting and stacking great piles of trunks and branches.
Before this carnage, the semi-planned post was ‘ Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear’ by Ann Haggar.
This book works with the metric system. Its a textbook for pattern drafting, and doesn’t include making up techniques.
It has a comprehensive range of blocks, clear illustrations and diagrams, and a good layout for instructions.
There are size charts from 8 to 18, and enough adaptations or variations to get you close to whatever design you are aiming for.
Here are some of the styles covered (several variations for each group) :-
waist petticoats, full length petticoats, camisoles, vests/singlets, bras, corset, basque, bustier, waspie, briefs, bikini, thongs, french knickers, cami knickers, nightdress, nightshirt, pyjamas, sleep suit, dressing gown, bathrobe, negligée bed jacket, kimono, swimsuit, bikini, tankini, strapless bodice, shorts, playsuit, beach wrap, beach pyjamas, hipster trouser, housedress, tube dress, bodysuit.
Doesn’t just reading that list make you glad you’re a woman (who sews!). Boxers and a tee – no contest.
There’s also a stretch guage at the back of the book.
A couple of sample pages to give the flavour of the diagrams :-
These by and large conveniently face onto the instruction page, and illustrations are usually on one or the other of these pages, minimising the amount of irritating flipping back and forth you have to do.
A good textbook then, not, obviously, as comprehensive on each section as those books specialising in just bra making, or corset making, but one which will teach you the basics of the pattern making for lingerie and close fitting garments. I’ve tested most of the blocks in this book and found them good.
Can’t leave the undies issue without a blast from the past. These two pages come from ’The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Needlecraft’ reprinted in 1946 by Odhams Press Ltd.
Dainty? Who remembers those white rubber buttons and wire hooks then?
One of my favourite books is up for a quick review next. I have had ‘Pattern Cutting and Making Up for Outerwear Fashions’ by Martin M. Shoben and Janet P. Ward for a couple of decades. Its as a clear, well illustrated no nonsense guide to outerwear as you could hope to find. Don’t buy it if you want flashy photos of inspiring makes. Don’t buy it if you want to learn labour intensive slo mo tailoring, all horsehair and hand pad stitching. The design elements are standard, and the methods are ‘trade’.
Do buy it if you ever say to yourself ‘Surely there’s a better, quicker way to get this zip in’, or ‘Which bits of this jacket should have stay tape’.
The only annoyance I have found so far is that an illustration of a step and the instruction that goes with it is not always on the same page. This seems to be a side effect of having very large, clear drawings. Its not a big deal, but for the procedures I use quite often (and still manage to forget between times), I work myself a crib sheet, with a layout I like.
Here’s a page with some of the instructions for a collar and rever. The book is A4 size – see how great the illustrations are?
A far cry from Burda WTF instruction style. There are some pages on techie matters like thread twist and needle size, and common stitch problems, information on seam types and neatening, and how to manipulate fabric under the machine (there is a right way?). There’s also a very useful memory jogging page on edge finishes for hems and waistbands. Outerwear block drafts are included of course. An excellent book. Get it if you can.
I allowed myself to be shoe-horned, flattered or intrigued into making dresses, in a rush, model nowhere hereabouts, to be posted with fingers crossed. I allowed myself to think I’d be bound to have the right stuff lurking in stash, or that the local store would surely have something if I dropped in.
What is it about seamstresses and these surely doomed but somehow irresistable challenges? What blythe but brainless spirit beguiles us with thoughts like ‘you can easily do that’ and ‘you can use this to test that pattern’ and ‘wouldn’t it look great in that fabric’?
Like a legendry old crone in the french revolution, knitting and watching heads roll off the guillotine, I’m both impressed and appalled when someone takes on those last ditch stand bridal jobs, jumps in to the fire and runs up a party costume for a friend for the weekend, or knits a little bonnet and bootees for a baby shower in a week. Tut tut, I wouldn’t let myself in for that would I? Just say NO. But I didn’t.
So three dresses in two days, not much inside finishing, slapdash detailing and no pictures to show. Dress 1 was the self drafted different sized version of this one,
The fabrics I used are these, teeny scraps left. Self draft in the black with white blobs, Vogue in the two different sides of the blue/grey with the crepey finish, one matt one shiny, and Burda in the rather interesting rayon with one side purplish brown and the other side a soft greenish colour, with creases permanently steamed in.
Needless to say I didn’t pick the Vogue for the seriously strange ladies with worryingly small extremities on the cover, (foot-binding?), or the Burda for its jolly hockey sticks presentation. They came closest to the requested style, and I didn’t think I had time to draft these as well.
The Vogue pattern, natch, comes with tentish ease. Per finished measurements printed on the pattern there’s seven inches at the bust.
Its a 1947 model. 1947 in the UK was an exceptionally cold almost fuelless winter. Might this have been another American gesture of support, generously drafted so ladies could get three cardigans on underneath? Nah, its just Vogue. Keeping to Vogue tradition it also has a sleeve head too vast to ease or shrink into its armhole, and, you guessed it, I just ‘redrew’ the line under the machine, yanking the head curve further over the line. .
Burda sleeves, despite being mangled by me to remove the puff, slid into the armhole without a whisper of complaint. The styling and the instructions on the Vogue are good, the good part of the Burda styling is the collar and revers. Its a nice shape and very simple to put together as collar and revers go. The instructions are blurgh, as are the absurdly narrow facings.
I got an email today to say the self draft and Burda have arrived and ‘fit a treat’. That is little short of a miracle under the circs. and has lifted my mood.
Another Friday flip through one of the drafting books on my shelves. This time its the 1987 edition of Helen Joseph Armstrong’s tome.
The first chapter is about things I suppose you might not know if you’re just starting out, like what tools you need, what terms you might come across, how patterns are marked, how darts are drawn and sewn. There’s some logic to starting a textbook from the very basics, and this does it.
The next chapter is devoted to figure differences. It should probably come with a Government Health Warning. “Could cause severe body image issues if seen by your angst ridden teenage daughter or her mischevious younger brother”. Park your self delusion and find your double.
Measurement taking is comprehensive, with more direct measurements than is the case with many drafting systems. Most systems work off a few direct measurements and some ‘givens’, relying on fitting to sort out individual quirks like a different shoulder slant, or lower bust line. I haven’t tested the HJA block draft, tumbling rapidly into grumpy old woman mode when I found no comprehensive size chart. Confusingly, there was one for the sleeve draft but the measurements were listed under ‘sizes’. OK, so I might get to grips with finding out what the author means by size 6/7 etc one day, and what the European equivalent is, but so far, not done. I like to have a standard size chart, with bust, waist, hip and back nape to waist as a minimum . Of course, standard size charts aren’t standard, but its nice to know what the author is working with.
That’s about the only omission, the book covers drafting for most types of garments including outerwear, swimwear and actionwear, has information on altering commercial patterns for fit, fitting problems, and adapting patterns for stretch fabrics.
Most useful for me is its comprehensive, well indexed, well illustrated adaptations with clear diagrams. If you wonder why I have so many drafting books its because you can never have too many adaptations to browse through. The styles will become out of date, but the basic ideas keep on going.
This is a typical page layout, fashion drawing, instructions and pattern diagrams.
And many pages include suggestions for alternatives, like the yoke designs on the left page below. The right shows the draft for a flange, not often included in pattern cutting books.
I’ve read some complaints of errors in HJA from other sewing people. I haven’t found any yet, but then I tend to eyeball adaptations and work them directly without referring to the ‘recipe’ of measurements. Some errors in drafting books are probably to be expected, in the nature of the text, so if I find one or two I won’t hold it against the author. Its a good book, well ordered and logical.
This post on Chiral Craft strikes a chord. Especially as I’m in the process of drafting the dress I just finished for someone a different size and shape.
“What I guess I’ve learned is that it’s true that grading isn’t as easy as “just making something bigger,” because everyone’s got a different build and proportions, and gains and loses weight in different places. So offering a pattern in a very wide range of sizes is challenging, especially when it’s quite fitted. Not impossible, clearly, but challenging, so thanks to those pattern lines that give it a go.”
Its where the size difference is (sometimes equating with where the weight gain or loss is), its shape changes, and its what will be flattering.
I’m one of the most vociferous of the slaggers-off- of -the -Big4, but have a nagging feeling that this is slightly hypocritical of me. A small inner voice is carping on the question “How would you cater for all these variations and still turn a profit to stay in business”
Design development can take a lot of time. I’m not talking about churning out an A-line skirt with just a slightly different yoke style or a couple of pockets, but a completely fresh looking fashion can involve weeks of trial and error. There’s a reason why design development is almost always done in a small, small cup, sizes. Its just that much easier to make anything work on what is the nearest thing to a blank canvas.
Back to the pattern in hand. The size I’m working on now is five inches bigger on the bust measurement than the one I just did, and most of that is in the front block. That translates as starting with a bust dart twice the size.
The easiest way to get a flattering fit on larger cup sizes is without a doubt a shoulder dart or a shoulder dart translated into a from the shoulder princess seam. Only, I hear ya plus people, getting pretty bored with that whole concept. Everyone else gets at least six dart positions to play around with, getting stuck with one feels like discrimination.
When a drafter branches out, trying to grade up something that’s working well in a small size, there’s a lot of fabric to move somewhere. Its not the actual measurement itself, its the relationship to all the other measurements.
The best answer to this is, I think, to attempt subtle adaptations of the style. For example, one huge dart becoming three smaller ones,or a simple dart shapes becoming boat shaped darts to get over the baggy midriff problem, or using extra dart positions not in the original smaller style. Or hiding seams under drapes and putting some of the dart in the seam.
All of this takes a lot of extra time. How commercially viable would a pattern company find it?
This time Natalie Bray ‘Dress Pattern Designing’ and ‘More Dress Pattern Designing’ came off the shelves.
My copies of these books are the 1964 publication, and the first pattern drafting books I bought. For years, they were the only drafting books I owned and used.
They were, and still are, excellent primers on pattern drafting. They use inches, feet, yards, not centimetres, metres, but later editions are available in metric. Its typical of the book’s style that a chapter about conversion to metric and the decisions that have to be made is included in the later editions.
Unlike Aldrich, which socks you with unequivocal directions, Bray goes into explanations about why you are doing things the suggested way, and what alternatives there might be, if appropriate.
The diagrams are large and clear, the directions are fullsome. So, the two larger volumes cover pretty much the same range of basic blocks and adaptations as one of the Aldrich books, although there is some childrenswear in the second book.
Take dart manipulation for example. This is the first technique one learns for changing the basic block to different styles. Natalie Bray has a whole page on the general method. There are about 300 words in the paragraph on the different fit of different dart positions.
If you’re learning drafting from scratch and don’t have a lot of experience sewing up and fitting other people’s patterns, this can only be helpful. The next page is about the six basic dart positions, with four style illustrations for each, and there are pages of how to work some of those – an illustration page facing a full page of text.
If you’ve already absorbed knowledge of patterns, fitting and making up, you might prefer to have the directions for an adaptation in the Aldrich shorthand.
Other differences between this author’s approach and Aldrich are:-
1. The sleeve block is drafted from arm measurements, then there’s a page of text on the correct hang of the sleeve and its correct position in the armhole and how to balance it with the bodice.
2. Dart position on basic block, Bray uses mid shoulder, Aldrich places it by the neck. There really isn’t any practical difference. You save a bit of block drafting time putting it by the neck, but the chances are that you will move it from either of these positions for a design.
(I have some blocks ready cut with some of the more common alternatives. That’s a time saver. You often have to move the bust dart temporarily in order to work one area of an adaptation. Having several versions of the block to choose from can cut out this stage. I wouldn’t choose one book over the other based on dart position.)
3. Construction of basic bodice block, balance of measurements between the front and back and amount of ease (in a nutshell, I find personal blocks for fuller figures work slightly better using Bray’s method, but the fit is sometimes too generous for ‘trade’ work, that is mass produced rtw. ) My own workaround for different kinds of figures is to have different blocks for different cup sizes in each size range. That can be a shortcut.
4. Natalie Bray uses words and abbreviations in her draft instructions. I find this more user friendly than Aldrich’s use of numbered points. There’s a series of diagrams for the draft of the basic block, interspersed with a lot of written instructions. Let’s give an example
“The Bust Line, Waist Line and Hip Line having already been taken across to the Front, it now only remains to add the Chest Line, the front Shoulder Line and the line for the base of the neck….” and so on for a third of a page.
Aldrich’s instructions come at you like this:-
“4-20 one fifth neck size minus 0.7cm 4-21 one fifth neck size Minus 0.2cm; draw in front neck curve 20-21″ The whole block ‘recipe’ takes less than one, smaller than Bray, page .
Conclusion – these are excellent books to teach you drafting, needing little prior knowledge or experience. Making up instructions aren’t included.
This one’s self-drafted. In case you can’t see the details through the foliage it has three tucks at the top of the bodice. Tuck one and two were intentional. First one was drafted to start at the centre front neckline as a deep tuck and taper to nothing at the shoulder, following the angle of the neckline. Second one followed a similar trajectory, but starting lower and going to mid armscye.
The third tuck was a
drafting error, spur of the moment inspiration. The dress front is cut in one and the bodice careers off on the bias. I failed to take into account that this might stretch. So, third tuck was born to get rid of bagginess.
Below the waistline the front is cut into a pointed shape and three draped pleats go from this shape towards the side seam at roughly hip level.
I’m happy as Larry with the way it has turned out. It was essentially a toile. I made it up in a scant yard and a half of fabric originally purchased at a bargain price to make a summer skirt (didn’t happen, obviously).
Being short of fabric, I had to cut the back with a waist seam, but the all overish pattern takes it well.Have you squeezed anything out of scanadalously short yardage recently? Or do you lean more to the planned purchase mode of sewing?
How do you feel about Fashion? Fascinated but from a safe distance? Keenly in the vanguard? Kid yourself it has no place in your sartorial choices? Overwhelmed? Underwhelmed?
Moving along the shelves from my pattern drafting books I pulled out ‘Fashion Details, 1,000 Ideas From Neckline to Waistline, Pockets to Pleats’ , a Rockport publication, dated 2011.
Bondaged, straight jacketed, in a bit of a state. Cui bono.
Random Decoration, mixed metaphor, weird shit on your head.
Facial Obliteration. Identity crisis or bank job?
Medical Experimentation. Thermoregulation. The subject was kept warm as toast from the waist up. How does her body respond to being frozen south of the equator? Control group gets proper clothes.
Drab. Enough shapeless neutral already!
Pointless Iconaclasm Dada has a lot to answer for.
Unrealistic Expectations. Looks commanding in an etherial way from the front on impossibly tall, thin models who aren’t moving, smiling, coughing, eating, carrying three or four plastic bags of shopping, picking up a wriggling toddler clutching an ice cream. Not all views are equal. Less designing than choosing. Reverse Darwinism. Unnatural selection .
Underwear as Outerwear. I’ve got nothing to wear. Nothing! Be bold, just wear your big knickers. Put it in your diary.
Have I missed a fashion faux pas? What’s your fashion nemesis? Would you cut the cutting edge design, or shred it for dog’s bed filler?
Lest you get the wrong impression, this book offers an organised photographic scramble through fashion details, many of which are more enviable, desirable, rip-offable than the above whinge would suggest. Its in the vein of the designer’s scrap book or pile of magazines with the dog-eared pages, but looks better on your coffee table. As well as snickering at the desperate fringe of fashion, you can pass a happy hour or two mining for gems.
All photos are from the above book, included for discussion purposes. Designers in order Nerea Lurgain, Julius, Malafacha, Elena Skakun,Diana Dorado,Harrihalim, Mal Aimée, J JS Lee, The Swedish School of Textiles, Mal Aimée, American Perez, Aganovich
Lladybird says she doesn’t do UFO’s . I’m impressed with her determination. My longest running UFO was around twenty five years. That’s about how long this suit, made from bordeaux wool crepe too nice to chuck, sat around waiting for me to face the fact that I didn’t like the bound edges I’d originally put on the jacket and do something about it. Of course by the time I’d sorted it, my smart suit wearing days were pretty much over. There could be something in Lladybird’s ”soldier on” system.
What’s the longest time you’ve held on to a half finished project? And how many UFOs do you own, or own up to? What sparks dither mode for you – fit, pattern hell, fabric disappointment, something more exciting turning up, can’t find the right buttons, hem length, or indeed hemming?
Anyone remember this? Vogue 1218.
I tried already to fix the absurdly low neckline with some strategic wide black cord binding. The armholes were side bra revealing. I put it aside months ago with a note to find fabric, cut sleeves. Who was I kidding?
My eldest daughter tried it on. She is six inches taller than me, the neckline was still a don’t lean forward disaster. Time for realism, no amount of soldiering will fix it. Pattern hell.
I’ve been bag making again. This time a simple clutch bag.
My first trial of the new pattern draft, in an African batik cotton. I love this one.
Second run through in another printed cotton, inside view.
I’m working on the diagrams for the pattern. Should be ready to go in my etsy shop in a few days. Following some advice on Sewing Pattern review, I sprayed the cotton ones with the equivalent of Scotchgard fabric protector. It seems to work.
I took my purple silk “Quilty Bag” for a walk to the nearest supermarket this morning. The bag behind it is one I made from ‘Sew Serendipity Bags’ some time ago. Folded up into the red pocket on the front, it fits in to the purple one, leaving purse and key space. The shopper has nice wide straps, so you don’t get the busted tendons in your fingers, the Quilty has a wide shoulder strap which makes for comfort on a trek.
M.Rohr, Pattern Drafting and Grading, Women’s and Misses’ Garment Design was a well known text when I learned to draft. Then it somehow dropped off the radar. A few years ago, browsing internet as one does, I spotted a copy. In a fit of nostalgia and not at all put off by the fact that I’d have to wait for it to come from Australia, I added it to my shelves.
Kathleen Fasanella proposed a reprint idea, I don’t think it has happened yet. It seems this book has joined the sought after texts people will pay silly money for.( $757.60 was one listing, now that surely must be a misprint? For a warehouse full of them?)
It is thorough, and you could learn to draft from it. You can learn to draft from lots of books. Just don’t fall for books with the ‘easy method’ stuff with no bust darts (or their alternative princess seams) . I think you can guess why. Rohr, happily, was written when women were women and allowed to be woman shaped.
This was published too before we got to need instant learning gratification. Don’t expect in your face graphics or design graduate layout if you buy a copy of this book. Here is a typical page…..
Tiny illustrations and diagrams, typed text and dinky little arrows wandering between the two. But, isn’t it marvellous, fascinating in an archeological way? Dig in for the information and you will be richly rewarded.
1/4 scale blocks are included, printed on card so that you could cut them out, draw round them and scale them up if you don’t want to work your own draft.
Don’t you love the quaint illustrations, every one a gem. Is my gusset showing?
Unique I think to Rohr, is the neck and armhole guide. So, you can knock the price of a fancy ruler off the book cost if you want some purchase justification. This was aeons before the pattern master. Armed with your cardboard cut out, and the instructions on the facing page you can get the curves right, find the shoulder angles and draft a ‘fitted waist’, the old fashioned term for a bodice block to the waist, with all the darting in the waist.
There’s basic Grading in there too – using the shift method Peter Lappin writes about here. Also tables of measurements and taking measurement info. Draping on the stand is not included, its a book for flat drafting.
Upshot of this ramble is I wouldn’t part with my copy, not even for the price of a rust bucket, but if your maiden aunt has one mouldering in a box in the outhouse, rescue it.