Friday, May 17, 2013

New vintage trends and pattern matching

Few weeks ago, I spotted this skirt by the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania label. It sold out on net-a-porter for a 'mere' $519 - it's her mass market line after all, right? But I loved the skirt for its pleat manipulation and some vintage feel (just imagine it with a petticoat)

Now, imagine my surprise when I went through my skirt patterns and found this:

There is of course, some difference between the skirts: the pleats on the pattern cross, while the VVA pleats cross on the right, with one more slanted pleat on the left.  To be honest, I like the pattern version more, but I absolutely love the blown up digital print on the VVA skirt.

The bad thing is the pattern is for the 33" hip, just a few inches less than mine. And with all that dart intake obsessiveness going on on my mind, I think I will just draft a new pattern based on the vintage one. That is if I have time for it - I still need to finish two summer skirts for myself and a dress for a client.

By the way, I found the same skirt on Zappos, but this time it is in solid cotton. What a difference, right?

What recent trends do you love, readers? I know, we all love timeless pieces, but maybe there is something new you discovered this season or two?

A correction to the post on darts

Dear readers, it happens to me as well - I misled you in my previous post and feel really embarrassed about it. The dart placement areas should be determined at the hip line, not at the waist line, according to the author - I corrected everything in the original post. I must add that I am still testing this patternmaking method and will keep you updated!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dart placement in the skirt

As I am delving further into the new patternmaking method by a Russian designer and patternmaker Galya Zlachevskaya (more about it later) I am gaining much better understanding of the general principles. It has often annoyed me in other systems that you had to memorize, or frequently refer to, extensive tables and formulas for dart placement, for example. The graph that I am placing below gives answer to many questions about skirt dart placement.

adopted from a book by a Russian designer and patternmaker Galya Zlachevskaya

What I am learning is that darts should be distributed at the hip line within dedicated areas only. Where precisely they are placed depends on the individual body and aesthetics. Let's take hip circumference of 90cm (35.4") - I will be using metric system from here on because of the ease of calculation with decimal numbers.

1/3 of the hip circumference in the front area (30cm in our example) can be used to place our front darts without hardly any effect for the fit. You can move them closer to the side seam or to the center front - it won't matter much unless you have some pronounced curves - in this case you will want the darts to place so that they help create an appropriate shape around your tummy.

Same applies to the back area: 1/3 of the hip circumference (30 cm for our example) for the back darts (there could be two, four, six, or even more darts), which should point at the most prominent part of your buttocks, or, as a less accurate solution, placed in the middle between center front and side seam

What you can't do is move your front or back darts to the side darts area (that extra intake at the side seam), which takes up approximately 1/6 of the hip circumference (15cm in our example). That also gives you a range for the side seam movement. Adding 1cm, or more, to the front or to the back is, actually, purely a design decision, not a construction necessity as it is sometimes presented. On the graph, though, the hip circumference is distributed equally since this is the easiest for the calculations for a basic straight skirt - the first project in this patternmaking course.

This whole dart placement rule makes even more sense if you are designing a pleated skirt. I am talking a pleated skirt where pleats are only pressed and start at the waist (not mid-hip). Why? If you are not curvy you may be just fine with the most common way of creating pleated skirts:

(hip circumference - waist circumference) : number of pleats = pleats reduction at the waist. 

This would work great for a perfectly round ball, but our waist looks more like an ellipse from the top with slight deviations. So, if you are slightly curvier, even distribution at the waist can lead to a problem when some pleats overlap where less intake is needed (usually in the front), or spread where the intake in not sufficient (usually in the back, or on the sides).

In the past two days I have browsed internet in search of a perfect pleated skirt and realized a pleated skirt is not possible without compromises. I will continue on this subject later... Today, I would love to hear your comments about this dart placement rule! Please leave your comments and feedback about the subject. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And the winners of the Threads Magazine are...


SewingElle of He Cooks... She Sews

Please contact me with your mailing address at mvk(dot)fashion(at)gmail(dot)com, and thanks to everyone for congratulations and participating!  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

On my sewing table: Pleated silk skirt

I have a confession to make, readers. I have never made a pleated skirt before. Ok, I did, tried, but the pleats were a little messy, overlapping or spreading around the hips. Not significantly, but annoying enough to produce a wadder. What has changed? I've learned how to integrate the dart intake in pleats, and if you do not possess an 'ideal' figure, it is not done equally, readers. But more about it in a separate post  - it requires a more complex graph to demonstrate it, and I will post it once I the pattern is ready. Here I just wanted to show you the style I decided to make and my fabric choice (from the stash, readers - hail to stash busting!).

To make this skirt I decided to use this medium-weight Oscar de la Renta from my fabric stash. I bought it at Mood maybe two years ago, but in case you like it, they still have it in two other colors online. I think the weight is good to give a pleated skirt some body and structure, not too thin, not too stiff.

Now, let me warn you - this is my first pleated skirt based on this method and it may still go wrong. So just wish me luck and do tell me what's your experience with pleated skirts? Have you used commercial patterns or drafted it yourself? What was the outcome?

Friday, May 10, 2013

The link I HAD TO share: hand-made dress shirts

Ok, if you are following my Facebook page you have already seen those (yes, it is much easier to update the Facebook page than the blog), but I still wanted to share this link here. Facebook timeline is like the dark matter of internet - you know something is there but after a while all your links and status updates are impossible to locate. So, here we go!

Dress shirts: hand-made is better - This post, readers... this post is a jewel of all aficionados of hand-made. This occasionally updated blog is a sartorial treat and, if you are into tailoring, you have to give it a good read! To make it even more enticing, here are some teaser pictures from the post, featuring some of the world's best hand-made shirts.

exquisite hand-sewn buttonhole

undercollar has a cut-out canvas, which allows for a better roll. 

partly hand-sewn flat-felled seam

Now, tell me you are not impressed !

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Godet skirt again and a GIVEAWAY!

Readers, I missed you. Beginning of this year I was not sure if I wanted to blog anymore - workload,  brushing up sewing and patternmaking skills, and so on... I like doing custom work and teaching, but I also want to blog. The key question was how can I provide unique content, so I tried to re-evaluate my approach/ attitude to blogging and sharing the knowledge I accumulated so far. I must say mail I received from some of my readers during the break helped a lot. Thank you!

...Well, since, after a long break, this seems a good topic to start over again, please allow me to brag (again, I AM really sorry) about my old Burdastyle godet skirt, which was chosen for the Threads' Reader's Closet.

The poor skirt was unworn for quite a while, the hem was unpicked for a couple of couture techniques demos and Show & Tell meetups. I was so tired of it that I was quite happy to send it away (yes, I do feel bad about it). It was only after a few weeks at Threads that I knew I really wanted to wear this skirt again. I was wearing it for two weeks in a row, and after receiving compliments from my friends and, yay, strangers, I feel that our relationship is great again...

Well, enough of the skirt. The good news is Threads magazine sent me two extra copies of the magazine and, since I am a subscriber anyway, I decided to give them away to my readers. Everyone is welcome to enter - my US as well as international readers. All you need to do is leave a comment by Monday next week, and I will announce two lucky winners who will be chosen by random drawing. 

PS: By the way, everyone can be featured in Threads. All you need to do is upload your garment to the Reader's Closet Gallery on the magazine website and include a brief description and techniques. Hope to see some of your garments there!


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