Posted on

Feed the Muses

feed the muses

I am a fly by the seat of your pants, roll with the punches sort of gal.  Living in the moment helps me to adapt on the fly when things don’t go according to plan.  Mostly, this works for me.  But having a plan and, more importantly, sticking with it, is ALSO a good skill set to have.

Among the many things I have learned are that those slutty muses WILL give away your ideas if you don’t act on them.  Now, don’t panic.  Just because you have an idea does not mean you MUST act on it RIGHT THIS MINUTE.  Rushing in is where you go awry.

Now, inspiration feeds inspiration, and once the ideas start coming, inspiration becomes the norm.  The more often you feed the muses by heeding their call, the more often they will reward you with ideas.  My original desire to create patterns was inspired by a very specific picture.  Then I saw another picture and thought “Oh, I want to make that too.”  Then another.  Now I have approximately 15 ideas for patterns floating around in my head.  And the muses keep feeding me more.

This is where having a plan becomes vitally important.  If I jumped up and started working on every single pattern as the idea occurred to me, nothing would ever get done.  I would start a pattern, something else would catch my eye, and I’d drop my current pattern project to work on the new one.  Live in the moment is great in specific situations (not everything will fit in the car?  What don’t we need for this weekend?)  But have a plan to progress forward with ideas.  Otherwise the ideas remain floating in the ether.  And eventually, those muses will lose patience, and give your idea to someone else.

Should that happen, don’t throw in the towel!  Too many people, on starting a project and discovering that someone else had the same idea, lose heart and quit.  Find YOUR angle.  Use YOUR voice.  How is your product different and/or better than what the other guy came up with?  Be the standout, continue feeding the muses, and eventually, your voice will be as clear as Melpomeni.

Posted on

Make Your Own Dress Patterns

Make Dress Patterns Review

So this is a brief review of Make Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele P. Margolis.  I honestly don’t even remember how this book came on to my radar to begin with.  It’s not new. It was published with copyrights in 1985.  Even so it is solidly written.  It covers basic geometric shapes, darting, shaping, slopers, and style techniques.

And one might look at this book and assume it is dated, but the pattern blocks are solid and the instructions are clearly written and detailed.  And the designs don’t LOOK dated.  They look timeless and elegant, with design details that have periodically cycled through stylish and in to classic, and back in to haute couture.

The book flows logically from one concept to the next, covering how to add or remove fullness, and how to design necklines. Button placement, collars and closures, cowling and yokes.  Margolis even covers how to make uneven opening, plackets, and tabs.  Everything is truly covered in an easy to read and digest format.

I’m sort of loving this book and can see why, even with a copyright of 1985, this book is still being printed and sold for the home sewer.  This is a strongly recommend, even if you don’t intend to make your own pattern line for sale.  If you only need a book to help with minor adjustments, even just drafting a different collar for a commercial pattern–I would recommend this book for your collection.

Posted on

To Make a Pattern

to make a pattern

Ok, this is not as horribly bad as I thought it would be.  I mean, it’s not easy.  Or maybe it would be if I had majored in fashion design.  I’m basically using my 30 years sewing experience in sewing to make a pattern.

And then I have to expand that pattern in to multiple sizes.  Again, something one would not think was difficult.  But judging by several pattern companies I have tried to work with before, where in the patterns did NOT size up well, this is the part that scares me.  Not to the point I’m unwilling to try it.  But I don’t think it’s as simple as adding a line 1″ out from my start point.

But I’ve figured out my size tables.  It helps that my first two designs are loose garments, utilizing a S/M/L format.  So a little pressure to get sizing JUST right has been removed.  Also helps that my area of costuming interest tends toward loose and flowing.  We already have dozens of patterning companies that make excellent Robe a l’Anglaise and Victorian ball gowns.  Even excellent patterns for Elizabethan Gowns and 1920’s jazz babies.

There are even books for these styles.  Lots and lots of books.  What’s missing are books and patterns devoted to eastern fashion.  I want Egyptian style.  I want entaris and caftans and gallabeyas.  I want appropriate dance skirts, and flowing bohemian style.  I want Mongolian Deel and Chinese Robes and Japanese Kimonos.  I love the grace and elegance and simplicity of cut that allows the silk to be truly showcased.

And I can’t be the only one.  It is utter folly to assume that because I want these things, a market must exist.  However, logic says if I can master pattern making with loose fitting garments, then I can eventually move on to fitted garment patterns.  And so that is my aim.  To make patterns that I love and can be proud to wear.  That other’s will love and not send time ripping their hair out in frustration as they try and figure out what I meant by do the thing.  So, once more in to the breach of knowledge.  Wish me luck.

Posted on

Patterning

Patterning...The Tome

The easy part of pattern making is knowing that I can’t draw a straight line.  Seriously.  Even with a ruler, my lines tend to veer off page.  Which means patterning for me is finding a good program that won’t break the bank.  Not actually as easy as one might think.  There are A LOT of good programs out there.  All offer excellent packages, with excellent options.  Most are over $1,000.  Which breaks the bank for me.

Burda University did offer an excellent class on pattern drafting using Adobe Illustrator.  Which was my introduction to Adobe Illustrator.  And it’s a lesson I’m sure I will revisit as I work my way through patterning and decide to offer digital downloads.  But first I want to know how to make and print actual patterns.  And for that, I need books.

Fortunately, as a long established bibliophile, I actually had a ready collection of books on Patterning in my collection (I also have books on beekeeping, horseback riding, trance dancing, and Mongolian history…I am eclectic in my tastes…).  So for my deep dive in to the world of pattern making, I will be pulling on Pattern Making for Fashion Design, Make Your Own Dress Patterns, The Pattern Making Primer, and Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear.  As an added bonus, I have actually read three of the four before deciding to start this venture.  Pattern Making for Fashion Design is an epic, text book, looking tome which reminded me freakishly of math class, so that one is new knowledge.

And since I REALLY want to have at least one pattern available by the time I hit Hot Raqs, I have some motivation to hit the books…college style.  And I just have to remember that while practice makes perfect, perfect is the enemy of the good.  My first pattern doesn’t have to be the height of couture, it just has to be good enough for people to follow directions and for all the pieces to fit together without extra inches.

Perfect is the enemy of the good, but practice makes perfect.  I’ll get there.  With practice.