Pattern drafting - week 2

Thanks for the comments about my proposed design. The good news is I'll be making it with one adjustment. I needed to add an additional seam line down the front and under the bust. Not surprisingly this is one of the more complicated designs within the class but I've been reassured that we will succeed! 

The main focus of this session was to map the pattern out and then trace the pattern pieces from that map. From our sketch we mapped out the different seams we will need onto a diagram of the bodice block which had been extended to the knees. 

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The lower line of piece 1 is the additional seam

Mapping the front design took longer than the back. I'll have five unique pattern pieces for the front and two unique pieces for the back. I'll be adding godets to the front and back of the skirt, probably  six in total. On the front I took in the sleeve line by 2 cm (and remembered to make the same change to the back). With the help of a tape measure I settled on a 7cm strap across the from of my shoulders. From there I drew a curve from the inside line to a little above the waistline. The next seam was drawn from the lower part of the arm scythe to my under bust point. I had to eliminate the side dart at this point using a pivot technique similar to the one to move a dart. The side panel was next. I drew a curve from mid way on the outside line of the front dart to the hip line. I then graded the curve out to the inside line of the dart, thus eliminating it. The last pieces drawn in on the front was for the bustier and we eyeballed this! 

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The back in comparison was a breeze. I lowered the neckline and drew in the side panel from the arm scythe to the hip line eliminating the dart as I went. Hopefully you can see the details in the photos, the paper is a little shiny and the pencil marks are hard to see when photographed. 

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From here I lengthened the block by 65cm so it hit my knee which is where the skirt will sit when completed. 

After a break for a cup of tea I got to work on creating my pattern pieces. This involves tracing each individual piece from the main map. You can make your life easier by tracing over the seam lines in different coloured pens. This took a while as every time I lined up the dots and crosses on the paper it moved making tracing accurate pieces rather difficult! 

Anyway, I managed to trace all seven pieces before the end of the class. We were encouraged to name each piece but I couldn't work out what to call some of them so went with numbers, unoriginal but effective! My homework was to add the 1.5cm seam allowance (because I would forgot to include this when I cut the fabric) and to cut out the pieces. 

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I can't wait to see how this works out. I'll be making a toile of the bodice in the next class to check the fit is ok. This means I'll be watching my classmates move ahead with cutting and sewing but I feel this is important - I would rather end up with a dress that I can wear at the end so patience will be required. 

Pattern drafting

Work continues to be crazy and my time and energy for doing something creative this week has been sapped. Luckily I started a pattern drafting course last night named Vintage Frocks run by Pinworks, the learning arm of Darn It and Stitch. I walked away from it feeling more energised, having completely forgotten about work because my brain had to work in ways it has not for a long time!

The course takes place every Wednesday evening for six weeks for three hours. The idea is that we will have a fully finished dress at the end of it of our own design that fits us perfectly. I have a dress in mind, one by Zac Posen, but it is far too complicated for a first attempt and the time scale that we have. I'll be working on the design this week for homework - yes, we have homework! This is the first time that I have seen a REALLY expensive dress and thought that I could make a version of it. 

Last night we began by taking a series of measurements, more measurements than I have ever taken before. What struck me at this point is just how much my shape can change in a few days. The measurements I sent across before the class were accurate except for my waist, which has always been my problem area. I tend to fluctuate a lot but didn't realise just how much until it is put into numbers. I don't dwell on it but I do find it interesting to get items to fit at times. 

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From the measurements we chose our standard size basic block and tailored it to our individual measurements. I had a few minor tweaks across the shoulder. If you squint at the pictures you can just see that I graded out a bit. I also needed to extend the shoulder dart meaning the front contort dart moved down slightly. So far, so good. And then I got to the waist measurement and that completely confused me! Against the size chart I had to add a good deal in this area but when it came to drawing in the dart on the block I had to take away. Can you see the confusion for someone who has not done this before? What I didn't realise is that the chart measurements are without the width of the dart. Once I figured that out, with Adam's help once I got home, I got it. For me, the darts at the back are narrower than the ones at the front as this is, and I quote, "where you need more fabric". I love the frankness that was delivered with!  

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Once we had our basic blocks tailored we learnt to pivot the dart on the front. I had never moved a dart before and the thought of it conjured up all sorts of thoughts about it being a complicated process. Turns out it isn't. As long as you remember where to stop tracing before pivoting you're fine! You can see on the photo above where I redrew the line to move the dart to be under the bust. You need to mark where the top right line is on the shoulder dart on to the paper you are tracing, hold a pencil at the point near the bust and then pivot the paper to the right until the left line of the dart reaches the mark of the right. You can then draw in the dart under the bust and draw the outline of the pattern by finding the middle. Does that make sense? It is actually harder to write than to demonstrate. 

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So this is where we left it. As I said at the beginning, I'm now off to finalise the design so I can I can begin to create the pattern next week.