Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh, Senior Collection again...

The entire collection will be done in about three weeks, but this is all I have pictures of so far. These are not the best pictures, but show my progress none the less. The jeans still need belt loops and a hem, the shirt needs a good pressing and a nice rolled hem. I have also completed the mini skirt which is exactly like the jeans. I have a good start on about 3 other garments, and should have pictures of those soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

NY Fashion Week is over!!

And I have free time again!!
My boss, Tina, is actually incredibly organized, so the month long lead up to fashion week wasn't as hectic or busy as it is for most other people working in fashion, but it was still exhausting, and I am reveling completely in my free weekend, sitting here with my cup of coffee looking at my workspace, planning out my projects for the day. As a way to commit to completion, I'm going to list them here:
-Start in on that enormous pile of to-be-fixed clothes. They never take long and it's so satisfying -- you suddenly have an entire week's worth of new clothes!! but I still never do it. From scratch is so much more fun.
-Develop, mock up and test bicycle saddle bags. With a lovely industrial machine, and two leads on waxed cotton suppliers, I don't have an excuse anymore. Plus summer is just around the corner.
-Make a series of draped jersey shirts and dresses for the days at the end of the week when all I want to wear to work is pajamas.
-And, along the pajamas line, draft a pattern for harem pants. It should take about 10 minutes. And oh, the coziness!

Quilting with Gee's Bend

I finally bought the book The Quilts of Gee's Bend on ebay the other day, after a year or two of covetting it. If you haven't seen the quilts made by the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama, you're in for a treat. They have an incredible free form grace and the color schemes are sometimes surprising and irregular. The stories behind the quilts make them all even more stunning.

Just before finding the book online, a friend invited me to join a little quilting group she's starting with friends in Brooklyn. I'm really excited to start my own Gee's Bend inspired quilt -- I don't want to copy the quilts, I think that out of context they would seem a little dishonest and lose a lot of their appeal. I've been thinking though about precision versus a kind of conscious imprecision, and the idea of making something spontaneously irregular seems like such a refreshing contrast to patternmaking. It's similar to when, after working on tailored pieces for awhile, you get to play around with some poufy irregularily pleated asymmetrical gown.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Standard" work on cutting

I recently found this book at Powells and found that it had all kinds of patterns in it that used ideas that I have been curious about. I have started thinking that most of the patterns that I draft are too flat. By this I mean that the shaping of seam lines is less varied than the shapes of the body part it is covering. I imagine that this is due to many iterations of pattern drafters truing all the subtleties out a garment. Whether or not this is true I have no idea but it makes sense in my head. At work I do many patterns on much smaller things than the average frock coat but I have learned to love the tiny 1/8" and 1/16" of an inch adjustments that take a pattern from fine to awesome. The most interesting thing I have discovered about these adjustments is that they often take the pattern away from the mathematically idealized version and involve asymmetric darts and extra "bend" allowance in areas that are hard to stuff properly. (I'm thinking more of back pack straps than frock coats.) This has led me to think that all of the areas in sewing where we make straight lines on curved parts of the body might be the wrong way to approach things. So while I was thinking about this I found a book called "Standard" Work On Cutting (Men's Garments) 1886. That's right this book was written in 1886. Now before you start thinking that you don't want to make a frock coat for the corpulent figure (pg 20) let me ask you a couple of questions I have been wondering.
Why is it that the shoulder seam for men's dress shirts doesn't sit at the apex of the shoulder (or there abouts) and is in fact cocked forward by a large amount, and what exactly should that amount be?
How come it is so hard for me to find pants that fit well in the rear? And why do we draw a strait line in the rear crotch curve when its one of the curviest parts? For more on this look at the fashion incubator site for insight on butts, camel toe, and jeans fitting.
How come the interior line of a relaxed hanging arm is so much smaller than the exterior line but our sleeves are patterned symmetric?
There are these and many more questions but I would like to show you this book.

Look at these crotch curves! It all makes sense!

Look at the angles of the shoulder seams?! Look at everything.

And finally because this book was written so long ago it's copyrights have expired and you can download it for free from Google books. Take that Powells! Wait, No! I didn't mean it. Come back Powells. I love you. I swear I'll never cheat again, I promise!

P.S Sorry for all the exclamation points. Sometimes I just get carried away.