Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Pattern cutting made simple

I am just working on adding a size range to my current one size only free sailors top pattern and it's inspired a blog post!

I absolutely love pattern cutting and being able to interpret my ideas into a 3D form, but how complicated or simple does it need to be? Pattern cutting is a vast subject with a lot to learn, but one of my favourite things is how simple it can be. I am a collector of things I suppose and one of the things I like to collect is vintage items of clothing. Not ones that I will wear or are in the best condition, but that have details that interest me. The below snaps are of a vintage French nightgown? Recognise that underarm gusset???

I regret not taking a full length picture of the gown to give you a better idea of the garment, but it's below the knee, has a simple flare to the skirt portion and a simple round neck and front button placket. It's really lovely and the front and back are cut in one piece with a reinforcing yoke underlining on the back which is stitched through to the front. It appears to have been made on the cuff without a pattern and is beautiful in it's simplicity.

I find myself drawn to these types of garments constantly and really love this page from a vintage dress design book from my collection.

The page on the left with the toga and saree type garments highlight the fact that often the most complicated looking draped garments are made from simple rectangle lengths of fabric whilst the following page shows how garments looked when a bit of shape started to be introduced to the cloth (much like the French gown above).

 I'm not really talking about draping here or even doing anything way out there, but you can make really very pleasing garments from very simple shapes. The sailors top I am currently grading really is a bunch of squares and a triangle. I do not say grading without a bit of a giggle because it really just entails making the straight sided shapes a little bigger or smaller, but you know it is a pattern at the end of the day ;-)

Another top I made recently was also formed with these very simple shapes and is copied from my favourite RTW jumper that has been under attack by some wretched moth/moths. I just cut straight into the jersey armed with a ruler, a fabric pen and some scissors. I was getting a bit stressed about the original and kept trying to mend it, but eventually once I gave in and made one I was really relieved as I now know I can make them as long as I like this style, phew! The jersey has like no stretch, so it was essential to cut the trims on the bias and also looks pretty cool!

Here are is a cutting guide I did for some insta pals should you wish to recreate!

So how about you? Have you thought about making personal patterns before? I highly recommend it and some of the first clothes I ever made myself as a teenager were made from patterns I made myself on old newspapers. Ah, the blind courage of a new sewist!!! I just love it when you are starting out on a new skill and really have no idea of what might go wrong. Who cares if you can only take baby steps in your new maxi skirt or can't flex your arms in your new top? Ha

The sizes for the sailors top will be ready in a few weeks to coincide with the release of my new pattern. Very excited about it and this will look perfect with it! ;-)


Crab and Bee said...

I love some of those traditional clothing styles! I think they can be zero-waste, too. I also blindly started cutting into old sheets as a beginning sewer, with some unusable but highly instructive results!

Chloe said...

Haha - I just had a chat with someone at work about square gussets last week - she thinks they are incompatible with the human body, and I love them - particularly to sew.

Bellbird said...

I really like those designs and find myself drawn more and more to simpler patterns. Must make another sailors top!

Marilla Walker said...

Hey Morgan, absolutely these can be zero waste! My most recent top in the top pic was cut from 80cm wide fabric and the scraps are tiny. It would have been even better to have no scraps, but it was close! I actually think the narrower fabric lends itself better to that way of thinking and is probably more likely to have been produced in a more enviro friendly/ethical way too!

I was given a load of vintage fabric when I was at school which was absolutely amazing and really got the creativity flowing. I really think you can learn so much from having a go at making shapes into clothes. Even if it's for experimental purposes only, it broadens your thinking. I reckon that you and I are probably on a similar wave length in our approach to any new skill/craft. ;-)

Marilla Walker said...

Hi Chloe, I love to think of a conversation about square gussets! I'm happily on your team ;-)

Marilla Walker said...

Hi bella, your style is perfectly suited to these kind of shapes. Sometimes just adding a little bit of shaping or a tuck can make a plain piece of fabric look phenomenal and don't we all just love those Japanese sewing books which are full of ideas like this? X

Kathryn said...

I love that you just cut into fabric and go for it, with such good results! I need to try using the underarm gussets next time I make a sailor top.