Friday, January 16, 2009

Wardrobe versus Collection

I've thought through the issue of making a collection and have worked out what I plan to do. I have written before about the fact that I'm not at ease with the traditional notion of a collection. A collection is really a group of garments with a common theme produced by a single designer and used as source material to develop lines of ready made garments. Since I have decided that doing and selling ready-made garments is not what I want to do, a collection from this perspective makes little sense.

Instead, I enjoy making custom-fitted garments, for myself and others. And I want to make groups of garments. So I'm focussing on the idea of developing a "wardrobe" rather than a "collection". My idea of a wardrobe is a set of matched clothes of different styles and uses - outfits for home and casual use, for work, for sports and for evening events. The ability to combine these differently for different situations should be built into the design, hence the notion of "matching", but matching that doesn't necessarily make for an overly "kit-like" look. The wardrobe will therefore have an "integral" feel without being homogeneous.

I am currently developing two types of wardrobe. The first is a men's core wardrobe. The basic idea is to provide a variety of styles and looks, all smart and contemporary, for trendy men who want to dress outside the traditional "business look". I have been developing such a wardrobe for myself, and I plan to organize the idea and then make it available as a business offering.

The second wardrobe idea is a women's under-wardrobe, focusing on a set of lingerie for different contexts and situations. Both of these wardrobes would be offered via custom fitting arrangements, that is, for individuals with their particular measurements. I am also thinking through the issues involved in making custom-fitted garments in a more streamlined way, to bring the costs down somewhat.

Christmas come and gone...

Well, Christmas has come and gone. It was an eventful time this year. I ended up in Vancouver and Victoria with my brothers and their families. Although I took no sewing supplies with me, I hadn't quite finished the black shirt for my youngest brother. I ended up not doing an e-shirt for him - I wasn't happy enough with the results of the e-vest effort to feel comfortable giving one away, and already, making a custom fit shirt was a great present. However, in order to finish the shirt, I needed a sewing machine and my sister-in-law had an old one in the bottom of her closet, so we turfed it out and I got it working. It needed a new set of needles, but worked pretty well as is.

Anyway, once I had a working machine and had finished the shirt, I ended up going to the local fabric store, buying some remnant silk, and made a woman's slip - my first venture into lingerie and underwear. The result was superb and SO satisfying to make! I am hooked on making lingerie now. I'm investigating the possibility of making more, with a focus on bra-and-pantie combos to begin with.

However, following the Christmas break, I realized I have a number of projects on the go I need to finish up before opening up too many new ones - two shirts for myself to finish, the e-vest to finalize, a pair of pants for myself, and a dress for a young friend.

On the e-vest, I just need to integrate an on-off switch - I had to order more of these from Aniomagic before I could finish it up. I'll publish images of the results as soon as I get it finalized. What I find irritating about the final product is that, although it looks fabulous, there is a fair amount of bulk on the back panel that I'd like to reduce. Also, the fibre optic tubes need to be sealed away beneath something - they are a bit fragile just laying on the surface of the vest panel. I'm not sure what the answer to this is yet. So I need to construct a version two before I can be happy with the result.

Still, I'm feeling so much more confident with my sewing, now, and designing is also going strong. I've learned to use Photoshop to help with the designs, but until there is a fabric, the design cannot be completed. I'm still looking for good ways of visualizing the results, as my sketching ability is not very good.