Friday, 29 April 2011

Pattern review - jeans skirt

Pattern description

Self-drafted jeans skirt.

Pattern sizing

This was drafted to my personal measurements, using a slightly modified version of the technique in "Metric Pattern Cutting" learnt at the custom pattern course at London College of Fashion.

Fabric used

Medium-weight stretch denim from A-One Fabrics on Goldhawk Road, with grey topstitching and dark grey rivets. The waistband facing and the pocket bag are made from grey cotton salvaged from a pillowcase.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when you were done?

Well, it looked like by sketch! (Incidentally, photographing this skirt on Wilma has alerted me to just how differently she is shaped compared to me. The skirt looks like it fits terribly on Wilma, but actually fits me perfectly.)

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I obviously didn't have any instructions, so before I started sewing I sat down and figured out the construction order, and wrote it all down so I didn't get confused. This was only my second attempt at a lapped zipper (the first was a disaster), and I'm very pleased with it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The perfect fit! This has given me more confidence in using my self-drafted patterns - I'm going to psych myself up to tackle a self-drafted top next time...

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

As drafted, the back vent was way too high, so that was lowered in construction, although I think I probably lowered it a couple of centimetres to far. When I tried it on for fitting during construction, I noticed the centre back was jutting out, so I raised the side seams on the back section.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I probably won't sew this exact same skirt again, but I'm definitely going to use my skirt block to draft more skirts for myself. I would highly recommend others drafting their own skirt block - fitting on this is very easy (much easier than the bodice), and alterations for a variety of styles are simple too.

Conclusion

I'm very pleased with this skirt. It was another wardrobe-hole filler and has been very successful, and has already got a lot of wear.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Pattern review - high-waisted black skirt

Pattern description

BWOF 1/2009/112

Pattern sizing

36-42. I cut the 42, but with a bit extra at the side seams - I measured the pattern flat and figured it would be ok as I was using a stretch fabric.

Fabric used

Black doubleknit bought in A-One Fabrics on Goldhawk Road. This was actually bought about 3 or 4 years ago for the express purpose of a high-waisted skirt, and I've finally got round to it! The yoke is interfaced with tricot fusible, and faced with lightweight black jersey.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when you were done?

Yep, pretty much, with a few tweaks.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, they were very clear, but it's a particularly easy pattern. I winged it on the exposed zip, using a RTW dress as a model.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The silhouette is very flattering, and making it in stretch means it's very comfortable. The shaped and panelled yoke is a nice detail.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

I added about 2cm total at the side seams, but since making it I've lost a little weight (woohoo) and now need to take it in a bit). I think it could do with being pegged a bit more at the side and back seams as it's not quite as "pencil" shape as I was intending, so I will do this alteration when I take it in. The waistband facing is cut slightly smaller than the actual waistband to keep it from stretching. I added an exposed metal zipper, neatened with grosgrain ribbon. I didn't add the belt loops as I didn't want to add bulk to the waistband as I knew I wanted to wear a tops untucked with it. However, I might add thread chains as when I wore it with a belt I had to keep moving it around to keep it in place.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might make a variation on this design, maybe in a brightly coloured twill. I would definitely recommend it, it's a very flattering skirt, and very quick to cut and sew up.

Conclusion

I'm very pleased with this skirt. It was made to fill a hole in my wardrobe, and succeeded in that. I've worn it many times, and it's also versatile - worn with a pretty top tucked in it's great for evening, with a jersey tank it's a comfy daytime look.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Draping galore

As expected, the draping course was AMAZING. We covered the basics of draping, starting with preparing the stand and fabric. We draped a basic skirt and bodice, an A-line skirt, a circular skirt, a ruched front bodice, a sleeve and two collars. Doesn't sound very exciting, but it's provided the basics to understand how to manipulate the fabric into whatever I want! Well, maybe not quite anything just yet, but soon...

The teacher was excellent, and the other students were a very lovely bunch of ladies. (The weird thing is that one of the other students is moving to Switzerland too at the end of April! Unfortunately to Z├╝rich, but hey, Switzerland's a small place...). Studying at the LCF is also very inspiring, surrounded by all the industrial machines, cool looking fashion students, and amazing fashion photography, and it's great having a proper workspace. Speaking of which...

Here's my workspace! I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I forgot to take many pictures, in fact only three in total - here are the other two:

I'm now desperately looking for a reasonably priced dress form as I can't drape on Wilma - as she's adjustable, there's big gaps right where I need to mark and pin along the centre front and back and sides. I wonder if I can make a cover for her as an interim measure...?

After the course had finished, I had a morning in London to spare, so went to the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at the V&A with my mum. I didn't really know what to expect, or much about his clothes, but oh my, it was definitely the right thing to see after a course on draping on the stand! The clothes were beautiful and intriguing, and the best thing was that we could closely inspect them as they were laid out without any barriers or cases! Unfortunately photos weren't allowed (and I couldn't sneak any due to the burly Japanese security guards), so here's a few from the V&A website:

ETA - There's a very interesting "behind the scenes" blog on the V&A Yohji Yamamoto website, written by the exhibition curator, Ligaya Salazar.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

My very own "fashion week"

So, I've just landed at Heathrow to spend a week in London. And I'm very much looking forward to it - because I will be spending the week at the London College of Fashion on a course to learn how to drape on the stand! Squee!

I did a course a few years ago on personalised pattern cutting (i.e. making a block to your own measurements - or your client's - ha!), and it was great fun and I learnt an awful lot, so I can't wait to get started on this one. It was meant to be running last week, but had to be moved, and in doing so the location was moved, which I'm exceedingly pleased about, as instead of trekking over to Old Street every day, I'll be in my old stomping ground of Hammersmith/Shepherd's Bush, handily located for curries on King Street, shopping at Westfield, and of course fabric shopping at Goldhawk Road. I think I may end up paying some excess baggage on the way home - I'd intended to bring as little as possible in order to bring back vast quantities of fabric, but ended up bringing far too many clothes - well a girl has to have choices if she's spening a week at a fashion college!

In other news, I've been doing A LOT of sewing lately in the run up to this week - in the last ten days or so, I've sewn two skirts (one of which is a jeans skirt), one top, and altered a dress. Which is more than I sewed the entire of 2010 I think. Vie been on a major mojo bender - I've also planted up innumerable plants on our balconies, including lots and lots of veggie seeds. Hopefully this continues! I think the sunny weather has helped :)

I don't think I'm going to be able to post photos whilst I'm over here, so expect a glut of photo heavy posts on my return...