Monday, May 25, 2009

Project Rungay

Here's the way my mind works. I have a big, important project with a very definite short time frame - namely, job hunting. In truth I'm finding the thought of it a bit overwhelming. So of course I've been spending my time... learning pattern drafting and starting to design a jacket for myself. See how that works? La la la I'm not listening. Oh look, shiny!

(Actually I have sent off one application, and left a couple of messages with my old temp agency... but frankly I could be doing more.)

A few months back I bought a fab book Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear by Winifred Aldrich. Winifred (don't you love it?) teaches you how to use standard measurements, or your own, to design all sorts of basic pattern blocks which can then be adapted to create unique designs. Given that my own shape is a somewhat unique design (short and stocky) I decided to use my measurements and draft some basic garment blocks.

First up the 'classic casual jacket' block, a close fitting jacket block with minimal shaping. So it's slightly boxy without being oversized. The shoulders fit the natural shoulder line, and the chest and hips are fairly close fitting. I also drafted the 'basic one-piece sleeve' block, then cut them both out of some scrap cotton I had and bunged them together. The cotton is a bit lightweight and wrinkly for the job, but it's what I had on hand. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only did the sleeve fit the armhole like a charm, but the entire thing fits me brilliantly.

Since then I've been tinkering with different collar designs (the one above is the 'standard convertible collar'), jacket length, whether to have a button or zip closure, pockets, and even epaulets. I have a lovely lightweight navy wool and I'm thinking of making a slightly military style hip length jacket, with epaulets and possibly 4 patch pockets. Fun! Thank you Winifred.

Tomorrow, job hunting. I promise.


Ur-spo said...

that sounds wonderful. I make my own shirts but I use a standard pattern. Not entirely happy with it, I would like to branch out into some more individual parts of the shirt including more precise measurements. You give me hope.

Ted said...

Andrew, would this be applicable to designing knitwear? Could someone use the approach for designing sweaters, or does it best suit woven fabrics? Men are always complaining that there are no descent sweater patterns for men, but they always balk at the complexities of pattern drafting.

The Other Andrew said...

Ur-spo, that's something I never knew about you! How cool. I didn't know that you sew.

Ted, I would imagine that it would be useful to layout the design. You could create a mock-up in fabric ( a 'toile') and use that along with your gauge to figure out how many rows and stitches you need, where to increase and decrease, place pockets and design elements etc. Quite useful I would think.

M-H said...

What a great project. I learned pattern drafting when I was a young woman - went to night classes - so I'm familiar with the principles. I used to draft all my patterns and at one time had blocks for my clothes, my mother's clothes and of course the kids' clothes. It is very liberating to realise that something that seems so complex can be reduced to a few basic principles.

Mindy said...

That jacket shape is so you. I can see you wearing it already. Maybe a new career in designing and making bespoke clothing?

Mikey (TLE) said...

Looks good. It looks quite a bit like the two Akira jackets I bought (in navy and charcoal) which I never wear as Evan is always wearing them... I must remember to give you a look at one.

See that web-based shop idea is looking better and better.

Josh R said...

Andrew -- I write a short-guy style blog, so this whole Metric Patternmaking things is extremely intriguing to me... Thanks for turning me on to it.

(I would love to speak with you more about it sometime, because I think it'd be of interest to my readers, too).