January 31, 2013

A bit of process

 Every once in a while, someone asks me to share more about the process by which I get to making what I make. Occasionally, I try to answer but most of the time, I either forget or it all happens in my head so there is nothing to show but the final result (Ok, and pattern pieces...).

In fact, I often start drafting a pattern just based on an idea in my head. But just as often, I will try the idea out in a very rough sketch first. This can also serve as a means to 'capture' it and stop it from getting away. In the pictures I just added to the 'retro detail' post, you might be able to spot such a sketch (although it's really hard to see) proving how I may just use any bit of paper I can find for this. 

This is a better picture of the other side of the cuff pattern piece (the side shown before has just one sketch), which has a sketch for the top I was making (I was still considering neckline options while drawing) as well as a couple of others which are all different twist designs, under consideration for a grey rib knit I bought recently. All of these are 'thinking on paper', the different twist designs will, eventually result in one top. A marl grey one, which should go really well with the colourful skirts I've been making this winter.

Here's another sheet of 'thoughts' (all original except the one on the top right. I altered that one just before scanning, to show what I really want the back to look like. You can still see it's lighter original lines). It's a dress design which was brewing in my head for a while before I tried putting it on paper. 

It started with the re-surfacing of this fabric. A dark grey cotton stretch velvet which I had obsessed about before, way back in 2010.

This time, I was think 'kimono sleeve', '30's inspiration from the bustline down' and 'maybe something like a shawl collar'. 
After the first sketch, I was disappointed with the idea. It looked too much like this dress, which I love and still wear a lot, but it's not what I wanted for the velvet. 
I got thinking about Asian influence and mostly, the things I love about Pattern Magic's wearing a square: the odd shoulderline created by the 45 degree angle, the roomy-ness with the blousing at the back and the neckline (which I could make more fitted by pulling a bit of it into a pleat at the back. 
This thinking eventually led to a sketch I am happy with: the one in the center at the bottom. I still worried about construction details: I don't want wearing a square's underarm triangles, nor it's tendancy to pull the entire garment up if I lift my arms but I would, in theory like not having an upper arm seam... Which brings me to wondering about this design in relation to the nature of the fabric: how to deal with the pile? 
According to what I've learned, you cut velvet tops with the 'hairs' pointing up to show the greatest depth of colour. On skirts or trousers, they should point down to avoid ugly pale spots when the pile gets crushed (which will inevitably happen with sitting on it). I asked M about the 'rule' for velvet dresses and she said a dress with a horizontal seam should be cut according to the 'top' and 'bottom' rules for the respective pieces. On a dress without horizontal seams, the pile should point down. 
I checked my fabric in front of the mirror and I didn't think the 'meeting' of different directions looked weird at all. In fact, even having the upper front on the crossgrain (where it would end up if I cut it like wearing a square) didn't look odd. 

So, this is where I am now: ready to start drafting as soon as I have enough time and energy for it. I think I should muslin that bodice before cutting into my velvet, just to be on the safe side. I'll keep you posted!

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