Sunday, August 24, 2008

Brocade Blouse Project (#1)

My first learning project was to design and create a blouse made from some lovely English brocade fabric I found at one of the local sewing stores (see photo on the right). My model for this project was Marie Louise Bourbeau, who is my business partner and primary collaborator in my professional life, as well as a good friend. Marie Louise loves good clothes and is herself highly creative - she has encouraged me in my "learning to design clothes" project. In fact, she was the one who suggested that if I could make virtual clothes for virtual worlds, I should also be able to make real clothes for the real world :)

I began the project by making a "duct tape dress form" of Marie Louise. This was a bit of an adventure in itself. I downloaded instructions from the web. These indicated that the duct tape should be placed in a "loose fit". However, when it came to stuffing the finished form, the final product ended up being a 38 bust instead of a 36 bust - I overstuffed it, but a looser stuffing wasn't easy to achieve.

After working for a couple of weeks with this dress form, I started on another project involving a different set of measurements. The first dress form couldn't be used for this second project. I finally decided to purchase a commercial dress form as these can be adjusted for a range of measurement sizes. In the photo at right, the dress form is shown along with my currently still chaotic organization of fabric.

The next step consisted of generating a sloper and modifying its pattern to make something more interesting. As this was my very first pattern-based project, the only changes I made were to the neckline. I made a sleeveless blouse with a slightly dropped neckline. The difficulties encountered were numerous:

- I had trouble making my first darts (and they ended up being too long). It wasn't until I read the Margolis book that the use of dressmaker's darts rather than design darts was made clear to me ;
- I had a lot of trouble sewing the front part to the back part at the shoulders. The problem was the facings - I had put on the facings separately on the front part (button strip and neckline) and the back neckline, and had difficulty sewing them together ;
- I had trouble finishing the sleeves. I tried using bias tape (too cludgy and bulky) before I ended up turning the seams over to form a "clean finish" ;
- The fit to Marie Louise wasn't great either. I had too much ease at the front at the level of the arms, and too little ease at the waist.

Nevertheless, in my favor, I was able to complete the blouse and have it fit more or less, and the result looked reasonably good, despite the fitting difficulties.

No comments:

Post a Comment