Sunday, April 24, 2011

Evolution of a skirt

I've been really enjoying my course, and I am getting something out of every class, but the class that excites me the most is pattern making.  I love the possibilities it generates - taking a plain pattern and transforming it into a hundred variations.

Two of our classes intersected recently when we sewed a skirt in Clothing Production from a pattern we had drawn in Pattern Making.  Here is its story...

The front and back halves of a basic skirt pattern - we were given this by the school.  The school has a very cool pattern printer which prints patterns to full size from a computer drawing.  (I just did a google image search, and the printer looks something like this. Our teacher said that if you were to start a small business you would probably need one of these and they cost about $30,000 to buy.)  It is very cool to watch it print!

We transferred this basic pattern onto cardboard.  These are our 'Basic Skirt Blocks' and they are what we use to draw every skirt.  With modifications you can create any skirt from these simple blocks.  The blocks are only one half of each side.  The idea is that most clothes are symmetrical, so you only have to draw one half of the pattern, and then cut two identical halves.  Our teacher drummed into us that when drawing a pattern, always have Centre Front closest to you and Centre Back furthest away.

This story follows the top skirt - a short skirt with panels, back zip and back vent.  From this sketch we drew a full size pattern.

This is called the pattern construction, to draw this, you trace the basic block, and then make modifications to create pattern you want.  The block has two darts but this skirt only has one dart, so you have to adjust the dart size and add a panel.  Then add a zip and vent.  We also dropped the waist and raised the hem.

From the construction you trace your pattern pieces and cut them out.  Don't forget to mark the grain line!  Then it is time to cut your fabric ready for sewing.  (In case you are wondering why there are lots of sewing items on the pattern, I'm just covering my name).

Finished skirt!  The front - panels and a single dart on each side.

The back - with vent, invisible zip, panels and darts.

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