Thursday, July 24, 2008

Olympic training

For those that don't know, Ravelry is putting on the Ravelympics to coincide with the Summer Olympics. You pick a personally challenging project and you can cast on during the Opening Ceremonies and you try to finish by the end of the Closing Ceremonies. There are teams and events.

I haven't joined a team but I have picked my event..... the Designer Discus.

In preparation working on some current and old designs....

The Habu Jacket I started last summer, a habu scarf, and a cabled cardigan.

For the event I'm going to attempt to design and knit the 2 sweaters using these fibers.....

some Habu soft wool and Koigu KPPPM.

The hope is that after the Olympics are over I will have my official Fall Collection done and ready for the public. It's a bit crazy and ambitious but wish me luck anyway.

And as a side note, the KPPPM is something I bought at my new job. Well, it's not so new because I've been there since the start of the summer. I'm doing some web design but if you're ever in during the week you may see me around. The owner is planning a massive in-store sale to coincide with the Olympics/Ravelympics. I'll keep you updated. Those that live in NYC won't want to miss out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Trellis & Vine pattern available

The Trellis and Vine Shawl pattern is now available in pdf form in the sidebar ---->

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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Being a designer: Finding your voice, your vision

I was out with some friends last week when one said something truly profound. We were talking about a singer of this cover band we were watching and he said "It's easy to copy other people's things. Finding your own voice is the hard part".


Lately I have had quite a few conversations about other "designers", major and minor. I get asked "What do you think of so and so?" or "What do you think about this blog". I've been asked so many times that I feel I should share this here.

What I have discovered is that there are two types of people..... designers and people who just make stuff. The problem is that "people who just make stuff" are walking around calling themselves designers and really don't know what they are doing. It's like singers who think they can act without an acting lessons. Some do have the natural talent but that is rare and most of them really don't.

The same thing goes with designing. I call myself a designer, and although I had absolutely no formal training until this year, I made it a point to actually study the art of fashion design. I bought textbooks and magazines and practiced for both sewing and knitting. I don't use programs to do my knitting patterns. I do them all by hand and I do all the math with a calculator. I want precision and an actual crafted and well thought out design.

I guess I am saying all of this because I want people and people that claim to be designers to respect what real designers do. Being "famous" and/or "rich" doesn't make you a real designer. Respecting your craft, knowing what's right and wrong technique, and having your own vision is what makes you good.

This leads me into what I originally came into this post to do. I wanted to give a view into the design process. They do it on "Project Runway" but I wanted to show what I did for my last project. For my next post I'm going to show the steps I went through to make this outfit.