Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Summer of enlightenment!

I have taken a break from pattern stuff over the summer. I consciously want to avoid self imposed deadlines during this kids school break as no matter how I try to switch off, I inevitably get stressed like the pattern I'm working on needs to go out NOW!!! Nobody really cares. I know that, but I get so focused that it all becomes an unnecessarily big deal. To counter act this I am studying all things lingerie like a crazy person and am filling all my evenings with pattern drafting and research. It is such a brilliant summer project and I am learning a tonne already.

I have basically flicked through 'Patternmaking for underwear design' a million times and have read through 'demystifying bra fitting and construction' a few times too. Funnily enough, I came across this post yesterday on Mellissa Fehr's blog and she recommends these two reads exactly! I have also bought 'Pattern cutting for lingerie, beach and leisure wear', but am yet to really get into that. To be honest, I have found Shins method in 'pattern making for underwear design' so successful for the bras I am designing and playing with at the moment that it will probably be a while before I really refer to the latter.

So, as well as drafting I am looking at all sorts of construction by looking mainly at garments and reading through old sewing books. I am interested in modern construction techniques, but also more traditional approaches as a to way inspire designs that rely less on having the perfect shade elastic in 4 different finishes to hand. It is endlessly fascinating!

With regards to drafting, it is so refreshing to return back to paper and pencil and not be stuck with my head down in a computer all day. Since selling patterns I manage the whole process digitally from start to finish. It makes sense to me and means that every seam on the final product gets thoroughly tested in the same format. Digital is a fantastic way to work for many reasons. You can reduce your work space (a really important factor for me), work quicker and more efficiently and also reduce the storage space. I like to retain every stage of a pattern for reference from my original changes to the block, to subsequent adaptions and so on. This is easy on the computer and my files are supremely organised and any changes easily traced. Drafting on paper is so satisfying though and it's great to have the physical pattern pieces in front of me at all times. I have made an envelope for storing my block and have a separate compartment in it to store all redundant iterations of it, plus the master copy. It's brilliant and I have the same feeling looking inside at all the pretty pieces that I used to get when I had new stationary for the new school year. Whichever way I tackle it, I love the process of drafting patterns and it's reviving the fun to be challenging myself in new ways. Everybody should find new ways to challenge themselves, but sometimes it's not that easy to work out how that might happen.

I'm sort of treating this experience as if I were learning in a formal arena and critique as I go, but it's quite hard in reality as I am plagued with self doubt at all stages as to whether or not I am addressing the correct fit or sizing issues. This is good by the way! Self doubt makes you work harder! When you do a degree in fashion, it's pretty common to be told that you haven't quite captured a brief or the balance in a design is not as pleasing as it could be (in your mind they are saying you are shit and everything you do is shit). Luckily I have the inner voice that tells me I'm shit without a lecturer present ;-) Seriously though, it means that I am striving to do the best I can as long as those inner voices are present. When I can't hear them is when I get complacent and find I have to go back and correct a seemingly stupid mistake!

So far then, I have a good solid bra block (made to fit me) and I am toiling lots of different styles to see what I like, what I don't like. There are loads of pattern drafting suggestions in Shins book, but I find the idea of re-creating them too boring, so I am designing my own things and drafting patterns for them in my own way. It's good to have the book to hand for any similarities to my designs, but for the while I find it more useful to my skill development to just go for it with what I want to make.

What a load of waffle! Not sure if this is interesting at all, but I needed to write what's in my head! I'll try and update my progress as I go with what I am making now, next etc... Since making the bra in this post I have come to realise that the fit was not quite spot on. Demistifying bra fitting put me right there and I noticed that the under wire was not in exactly the right spot. Once you notice, you can't un-notice, so that bra has been retired as a development sample that I can refer back to!

Once the summer is over and I can get more time to do stuff I would love to return to the idea of this zero waste dress and mull over what I can do with it. It is not clear to be just yet, but I just need to dedicate some time to the idea. That's it for me for now, so byeee and I'll be back soon! x