Friday, July 11, 2008

Concept to Creation: The Jumper Dress

Step 1: The Inspiration

One of the first steps to any design is to find your inspiration. It can be a time period, a costume, an object, or just about anything.

I am starting the interview process for internships and I needed a business outfit but I didn't want to wear a suit. I wanted to have something business like but youthful and not so rigid. Most of my inspiration comes from old /50s/60s movies. I wanted to go for a 50's junior assistant/secretary/Nancy Drew-ish look.

The jumper has princess seams, single piped pockets (like back pockets on nicer pants), a big belt loops, a back invisible zipper, and box pleats on the front and back, with a slight flair to the skirt.

The shirt would be a vented front with a large starched collar and short sleeves with french cuffs.

Step 2: Make the Pattern/Layout and Cut

There are 2 ways to create something. You can drape or make a pattern. When draping, you can go straight from fabric to finished garment but if you want to duplicate something then you will always need to make a pattern from the draped garment. For me it's fastest to just start with a a pattern.

Making a pattern starts with a sloper. Slopers are a very basic pattern without seam allowance which you can manipulate to make other patterns.

From the slopers I make drafts of the pieces of my garment. From the drafts I make the final pattern with seam allowances. From there one should test the garment in muslin but given that I know my slopers pretty well and have made other things that are similar, I know how things will turn out.

When cutting out your material you should alway mark your notches and darts. Some suggest thread tracing and others do it with pins. The type of dart or marking determines what I use. You can also use white tracing paper, but never any other color, as it won't come off.

Step 3: Baste and fit
Technically, you are supposed to baste and then fit your garment. I machine baste and fit as I go along.

Step 4: Sewing
One important step about sewing is having a good iron and pressing supplies. The best items to have are a sleeve roll or sleeve board, a ham, a pressing cloth, a point turner, and a really good iron.

Step 5: The Finished product

Along the way I made some design changes. The biggest was adding puffier sleeves to the shirt. It also has a zipper in the side seam so that I could add darts to make it more fitted. I didn't want a bunchy shirt under the jumper.

So there you have it. A garment from concept to creation.

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