I Love it When a Pattern Comes Together
I was thrilled that the patternmaking for this month’s design challenge went smoothly. Sometimes when you are creating a pattern from a block, it takes numerous tries and toiles to get it right. As you can see in the photos above, my first toiles worked out well enough that I felt I could confidently charge ahead with the finished garments. I tried a few different finishing techniques on the toiles so I felt even the construction of the garments would go smoothly. If I am unsure of how the patternmaking will progress on a particular design, I will make the toile out of muslin or old sheets. The bonus with this month’s toiles is that I can wear them, once I sew in the zippers, as finished garments. I have yet to wear one of the toiles I have made out of old bed sheets out of the house, no matter how nicely they have turned out.
Making a Beeline for the A-Line
Converting my skirt blocks into an A-line pattern was pretty straight forward. This pattern manipulation is something we learned early on in University. Before I learned how to do the patternmaking for this manipulation, I thought you would just extra volume to the side seam and voila it would transform into an A-line skirt. My fabulous teachers taught me that this was not the case and stressed the importance of balance and being precise when patternmaking. In the image above (and in greater detail in the Periscope video below), I explain how I used the slash-and-spread method to manipulate the block into an A-line pattern.
I used the A-line skirt base to manipulate the pattern into the final design. I have to admit something here; I was not sure this was going to work. I had an idea of what I wanted the skirt to look like in three-dimensional form but was guessing how I could make it work in the two-dimensional pattern. This is my favourite part of the process. I like designing, do not mind constructing a garment but absolutely love the patternmaking. I love the challenge. Some projects will go smoothly, and others can really test my knowledge and patience. But the whole process is challenging and a lot of fun.
This skirt was no different. I had an idea of how I wanted it to look and created my first toile to how I thought it could work. I drew my design line for the yoke. I then took that fabulous leap of faith that happens in patternmaking and created two rough rectangles for the front pieces. See the diagram above or the below Periscope video for more details. I was thrilled with how it turned out. The only changes I needed to make was to tweak the back darts as they were a bit short which created excess fabric where I did not want it.
Patternmaking the Jacket
The patternmaking for the jacket was quite straightforward. I did not change it much from the original blouse block. I used the blouse block instead of the bodice block as the blouse block is less fitted and would more closely resemble the look I wanted for the finished design. I made the front of the jacket wider so there was an overlap and shortened the hem. The only issue with he finished toile was that upper back section of the armhole stood off the body funny. I asked the fabulous ladies on Periscope if they would suggest taking the excess out of the sleeve cap or the back armhole and they suggested taking the excess out of the sleeve cap. Thanks to the fabulous input from my viewers on Periscope and on social media the armhole adjustment was a success.
Test, Test, and Test Some More
The last issue I had was I did not like the shoulder detail on the jacket toile. I started making samples of other ways I could finish off the shoulder detail (see above photo). I had thought sample A with its piping would look good but discovered it protruded too far off the shoulder for my tastes and would have made the seams that went across them bulky and unable to lie flat. I liked the look of the second sample with a folded piece of the contrast fabric sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric (B), disliked the look of sample C, and liked the last sample (D). So unsure if I liked sample B or D, I again went live on Periscope to discuss the issue with the fabulous sewists that tuned in. Sample D, an appliqued strip of contrasting material, was the clear winner amongst the viewers and myself and ended up being the method I chose to use on the final garment. How did it turn out? In my next post, I will reveal the photos of the finished garment and discuss how one tiny detail can make a huge difference to the overall garment.