Updated: Jun 27, 2018
A Backless 1970's Inspired Print In A Contemporary Silhouette
Many people, specially petite ones, are very afraid of large #prints. Indeed, style experts will advise you against anything with a large print. This rule can be broken, but you must take into consideration your body shape, garment silhouette, and the shape/repetition of the print.
The picture above, is a good example of a large print on a slim petite model.
Here the patterns have geometric shapes, but we have taken into consideration all the elements and principles of #design: line, shape, balance, size, texture, color, value, proportion, etc.
It will not matter how great of a seamstress you claim to be, if the garment you are about to design, doesn't fit or flatter your client. Below are two more shots of the same garment.
At first glance, the print seems to have been placed quite randomly. Look carefully, and notice how the skirt geometric prints are not centered, but rather off to the sides. The sleeves are symmetrically matched, the bust area is on the bias (symmetrical as well), and the pleated waist bands are also symmetrical. To better visualize the complexity of the design, here is a photo of the fabric measuring two yard.
The fabric is a medium weight jersey. The content is polyester and lycra (spandex) with excellent four way stretch, completely opaque, but with a slight sheen.
A Tedious Process
This garment design is not for the faint of heart, but rather for someone willing to pull off not only its technical challenges, but also to have it worn by a client or yourself, desiring a daring & sexy outfit.
As usual, we begin by choosing a good quality fabric, and a concept/idea in our minds. You can take inspiration from many sources, and then add a personal touch to it. As we have done in previous posts, we begin with draping/moulage, making paper patterns, draping again, adjustments, fabric cutting, sewing by hand and machine, and then the final fitting/adjustments.
At this point, it is a great idea to make your own couture attachable and pinnable arm for your dress form. You have to know a little bit about #pattern #drafting, but it is not hard. The advantage? Not only it is to your arm's exact measurements, but it also takes the guessing game out of the equation when draping sleeves. Accuracy with sleeves is extremely important.
• Upper arm width
• Elbow width
• Wrist width
• Arm length
• Lower arm length
• Arm hole circumference
• Muslin Fabric
• Rulers: L-Ruler, French Curve, Clear Ruler
• Markers & Thread: Black, Red
• Needle (for hand sewing)
• Sewing Machine
We will not go into details on how to make the arm, perhaps on a future blog. Let us concentrate on the garment at hand.
In the garment industry, specially the ones "made in China", the production process is highly automated, making it faster, accurate and highly efficient. We can sometimes make the #couture process more efficient by using some 21st century technology. For example, the pattern in this case is a complex one, and we want to make it work. Let us take a photograph of the whole fabric, and use the image in a photo editing program in order to place "sections" of said fabric, on top of the moulage we just created. Essentially, we are simulating a "raw drape" in order to avoid waste, and a disastrous expense. See below:
As you can see above, it is a rough simulation of what sections will go where. The picture of the fabric must be in scale, otherwise you will be wasting your time. Once we have an idea of the different pieces, we can proceed to place our paper patterns made out of the draping/moulage onto the fashion fabric. Carefully place them, and make sure you have about one inch of seam allowance in case you need to reposition the patterns.
In couture, unlike ready to wear, we are not concerned with saving fabric, specially if this means compromising and ruining our design. This design, required four yards of fabric, and plenty of space between patterns. We could have placed the patterns tightly together following the same grain line in just two yards of fabric, but the "look" of the final garment would have been ugly and cheap just like a fast fashion garment. Why even bother! Just go to Zara, or Forever 21 and buy yourself some GMC (genetic mall clothes)... Keep on contributing to enlarging our landfills with cheap clothes.
Once you have carefully cut your patterns, begin basting all your pieces together. From time to time place them on your dress form in order to check for accuracy. This is a fastidious and arduous process, but if we are to succeed, there cannot be shortcuts. Slowly the fabric begins to take shape and look more like what we have envisioned. Once done with the basting stage, install a temporary closure, in this case an invisible zipper.
At this stage, do the necessary adjustments, and also put the basted garment on you. Many times a couture garment will have underpinnings. The type of application depends greatly on what the garment needs: Add underlining in some areas, reinforce the edges (specially on the bias), add elastic to the back opening, steam iron seam allowances, etc. Home sewers very often will completely disregard the techniques mentioned above, and a frumpy, cheap, unrefined outcome will always result. Be patient, take your time... do it right.
Some candid pictures of the final garment:
Thank you for visiting.
Continue on creating !