Friday, December 20, 2013

Draping Lucy - Terminado! New Dress and back to Rec Sewing

Lucy is the first garment I've
created  from a pattern I
made entirely myself, on my
custom dress form.

I haven't done any regular, recreational sewing all semester (one semester = 16 weeks) because I've been focused on the class work and final projects for my two fashion classes at Cañada College. The first class was Pants Drafting, taught by Lynda Maynard (that's the woman who knows what we really want to sew, and teaches us how to do it!)  In that class, I used drafting techniques,  and many fitting followups, to produce inumerable muslin garments, tissue pattern drafts, and my first pair of jeans. Can't wait to use that pattern again and again!

My second class was Draping. This class is excellently taught by Judy Jackson. Again I went through a lot of muslin, this time learning to design my own patterns by draping them in muslin fabric on a dress form, then creating tissue patterns from those draped garments. You may have seen some of my posts this fall that showed off some of the basic garment shapes I created on a standard sized 10 dress form (I called her Babs, a name that seemed appropriate for a mannequin who came to life in the early '60's). I also began draping on my own custom dress form that I created over the summer. 

When I last talked about my custom dress form I was calling her Colette, but I've since realized that she is really a Conchita
I found working with Conchita even more challenging than working with Babs, and Babs wasn't an easy customer. Was it because Conchita represented clothing I actually plan to wear? I'm not sure yet. But if I figure it out, I'll let you know!

Starting around midterm time, I spent several weeks creating a muslin sloper (a fitted bodice and fitted straight skirt) for Conchita. For some reason I found this very challenging, though I had produced the same garments for Babs. My teacher seemed to think that there should be the same amount of challenge, if only I was careful with my measuring. I worked very hard to be exact but all I can say is that it was much harder for me and just took a lot of time, muslin, tissue and patience.

Another view of Lucy
As you can see, I moved on from my sloper to make my first garment. I had originally planned to make a traditional shoulder-yoked, dropped shoulder, shirtwaist dress with a collar and front button plackets. I was of two minds as to whether the dress would have a separate skirt joined by a waistline seam or be a one piece dress. I was planning to use a beautiful piece of deep forest green silk noil (raw silk) that I have for that dress. In my mind the dress I was planning to drape was named Ivy. I'm still planning to take up with Ivy in the not to distant future. But I got distracted by Lucy....

I'll be writing more about the process of draping Lucy in upcoming postings in this journal. One thing I know I'll be reflecting on repeatedly, is learning to read the fashion fabric's story. This lesson came from my experiences in both my pattern-creation classes this semester. In both cases I saw that constructing beautiful garments is not just about designing a piece in my mind or on a sketch pad. It really comes down to watching the behavior of the fabric I've chosen to sew with, after it's cut out and initially put together on me or my custom dress form. Creating a muslin test garment is an important part of the pattern making process, but once I start the ball rolling with muslin, I then really have to listen to the story the actual material for that garment is telling me. That's what is going to guide me to bring the garment I'm sewing to life.

Learning to listen to, and read the fabric's story really keeps me
Enchanted by Sewing
~ ~ ~ 


You can drape on a person or on a dress form. When creating for ourselves, it's easiest to use the dress form approach!

In the September Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast Dress Forms Episode, I described my experiences creating two different dress forms. You can listen to this talk either online on the web, or you can download the show to your mobile device (like an iPhone, Android, etc.)

I'm just beginning to learn the historic and modern art of draping. It's a very artistic experience !  I've begun to develop my skill set in a class taught through the Cañada College Fashion Department. I'll be continuing my draping journey by continuing to follow the richly illustrated draping tutorials and examples in our class textbook, The Art of Fashion Draping. This excellent, and highly regarded book, by Connie Amaden-Crawford has been in use for decades. both within the industry, and by home sewists. 

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