Image Map

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making A Basic Pattern Block

Even if you are new to sewing there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to make your own patterns.
Making a pattern can be easier than sewing!

And sometimes you just can't find the style you want so you have to make your own...

If you can follow a recipe you can make a simple pattern.
But you do need a good patternmaking book to follow, and a few tools, just like you need a good cookbook and the right tools when you are learning to cook.

When making your basic blocks, precision and accurate measurements are the most important things because you will use the BASIC BLOCKS to make all of your designs from and if the basic block fits well, then a lot of your work is done....

This week I made a basic block for my three year old.

I used the book above  called Metric Pattern Cutting For Children.

I have many pattern cutting books and this is the only one I have EVER found that is geared for children. 
So if you want to learn to make your own kids patterns you should buy this book,
The good thing is the book is very easy to follow and the patterns fit really well if drafted accurately.

These were the directions I had to follow to make my basic pattern block, which I will later use to design some clothes.
You have to take a LOT of measurements which is the hardest part with a wiggly kid.
However, my nine year old was no problem !

Here is my basic block for my three year old. It took some concentration and I had to take the measurements with a metric ruler.

Since doing this basic block I have made another one for my nine year old and I used my regular imperial ruler. But I have to say, doing the calculations were easier the metric way. How hard was it to figure out 1/16 of 7. 5 inches?!

Trust me, doing the math is easier using metrics!
A basic block does NOT have seam allowances. This allows for more accurate designs when you trace your blocks and cut them apart to make new designs.

To make a muslin to check for fit, I traced my basic block front and back and sleeve for one side of the body.

Then I added seam allowances.

The fit was good!

Of course fitting a toddler body is pretty much a no brainer compared to the curves of an adult. The sleeve was about an inch too long.

But as I mentioned before, taking measurements for a wiggly toddler is another story altogether!

Stop by after the 13th and I will show you how I used my blocks to create the design I made for Gigi for Project Run & Play!

Pin It

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Madeleine Vionnet and Learning Bias Cut sewing

Below is my post about Madame Vionnet and my experiences with making dresses cut on the bias over the past two years, since I got into dressmaking.
 I posted this over at Cation Designs earlier this week.
Actually this is also an old post and one of my faves that I rewrote and added to, hence the old comments!

Madeleine Vionnet (June 22, 1876 – March 2, 1975) 

I am so inspired by the French designer, Madeleine Vionnet and would love to share her with those who might not be familiar with this legendary French designer. I am also going to explain some of the things I have learned from my pursuit of learning to sew bias cut garments!

The gowns that follow were designed by Madame Vionnet in the 1930's and are courtesy of the Metropoliatan Museum of Art.

Madeleine Vionnet was a revolutionary designer of her time: not as universally well known as Coco Chanel but just as influential to the world  of fashion, especially the fluid looks of the 1930's

 She basically developed the bias cut gown, a technique of cutting fabric on the diagonal grain of the fabric which creates a sinuous and slightly clingy silhouette. She had fabric custom made for her as wide as 180 inches to have her gowns cut out of. Bias cut dresses use up a lot more fabric so they are more expensive to produce. 

 It seems like a simple enough process but there is an art to it. For instance, a bias skirt can cling and tug in odd ways if it isn't cut right or pressed properly during construction. The seams can stretch out of shape easily and it's not unusual to have a garment stretch by as much as four inches after letting it hang on the hanger for a few days. There are many techniques  for working with bias to be learned.  I learned on one website that it's easier to make a bias skirt with a center seam so it hangs evenly on both sides. 

Madame Vionnet was influenced by ancient Greek statues and wanted clothing to move and flow with the wearer. It's not surprising she made dresses for  Isadora Duncan, the avant- garde modern dancer of the twenties and thirties . 

In todays world with all of our stretch fabrics it's easy to overlook how revolutionary it must have been to wear something that draped to your body the way her dresses did after the boxy and loose fashions of the 1920's.

 The seaming on this gown is so amazing.

A 1930's Vionnet gown being worn in our times. Good design is never out of fashion!

Unfortunately Mme. Vionnet had to close her couture house in 1939 with the beginning of World War Two. Fashion was put on the back burner to concentrate on the war effort and the country's resources were reallocated. She never did reopen.

Above is a dress pattern from the thirties from the Customized Pattern Company. Vionnets' widespread influence on fashion is evident here.

I have had my own small obsession with working with dresses cut on the bias and have my share of triumphs and failures.

 This velvet dress looks OK, but it was cut in a thick woven velvet which tugged uncomfortably while wearing!
Perhaps it wasn't cut on the true bias. it's so important to make sure the garment is laying perfectly on the bias. the tiniest bit off grain can result in tugging and pulling.

If you would like to try your hand at bias cut dresses Collette Oolong above is  good pattern to start with.

I would recommend letting bias hems hang on the dress form or hanger for a day or two. Above is how much my skirt stretched out on the dress form after hanging for two days !

This wedding dress above I made for a friend is my piece de resistance when it comes to bias dress making. It was lined with china silk, sewn of silk charmeuse and had an Alencon lace overlay.
It was all cut on the bias, thus using several more yards of fabric than if it had been cut on the straight grain. There was a center seam under the lace overlay, making the dress lie more smoothly.
A linen bias cut dress above I designed with godets, which add a nice flare.

Both of the dresses above were made from the same pattern, but I raised the waistline on the second pattern and cut the second skirt with a center seam.
You can see how different choices in fabric can really influence how a bias cut dress lies!

I hope you have enjoyed my little report here and just so you know, I am a little biased about sewing on the bias! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Galaxy Dress: A High/Low Dress

I was shopping with my girls and we found some amazing silk fabric in downtown LA with a galaxy print.
It was almost 3D, the print was so realistic, like a photograph.
We had to buy it!
Plus, I couldn't believe I found this silk for five dollars a yard.

My daughter wanted me to make her a dress for her birthday party.
After coming up with a few sketches for her to peruse, this was the design that she was excited about.

   A bandeau top with an elastic encased skirt and the high low thing going on at the hem.

I think it's a little racy for a teen but she loved this design and wanted something like it.
So I gave in.
One less dress to be bought at Forever 21!

If you would like me to post this pattern as a PDF, please leave a comment!
I am learning how to make and upload PDF patterns and this dress is so simple to make that I think it needs a tutorial and a pattern to go with it.

But first, I'd love to hear your opinion ...
 Is this dress too racy for a 17 year old?

According to trend reporters, this galaxy fabric is going to be popular this season. Check out some dresses from some recent shows.

Christopher Kane's Galaxy print dress. 
I love this little dress. I found this photo after I made my dress. I would love to try making the dress on the left and probably would have tried to knock this off if I had seen it, but my silk was a little too thin anyway. The dress above looks more like a thicker silk satin.
That neckline is gorgeous. 
This dress retails for 2,195 dollars! 

Here are a few more cosmic frocks:
Have a great week!

Pin It

Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Posting At Cation Designs!

Hi everyone!
I'm guest posting today about the fashion designer Madame Vionnet and my long term obsession with sewing on the bias at The Cation Designs Sewing Blog Today!
Cindy has a very cool blog.
Last month she did a fabulous post here about sewing with thrifted bed sheets so today I am visiting her blog.
I love guest posting.
Stop on by!
Just click here.

Pin It

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday 8/25/2012

Welcome to Sew & Tell Saturday!
Thanks for stopping by to take a look or to post your sewing and crafty projects!

Her are a couple of the great projects shared here last week :

The pattern placement on this Plaid dress from Handmade Martini is really clever and very flattering!
The Rainbow dash dress by Sew Chibi would be a dream dress for most little girls! The front is so pretty too.

Pin It

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On sunflowers and growing up

Sunflowers and small children are memories of summer.

As the summer winds to an end and the children go back to school,
I am trying to enjoy these last days of summer
at home with my little one while the big kids are gone.

The sunflowers remind me that summer is fleeting, like childhood, and while the house always needs to be cleaned, a three year old wants to jump with you on the trampoline for only so long, then she is gone off to older childhood.

So I try to take the time and remember to play with her, even if I'm not always in the mood.
 Other things are really not as important as finding sticks to help her make a "campfire" and playing hide and go seek in the sunflowers.

I think I am feeling sad that my oldest is leaving for college soon.

This one above used to love to play for hours building fairy houses, and putting them down by the creek.
Her big sister used to make little notes and hide them in the little stick houses for her to find.
She had many little special spots around the yard where she played pretend games.

We planted all of these sunflowers as seeds in Spring. 
Isn't it amazing how fast they grow?
Kind of like children...

Pin It

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Easy Tank Top Dress Tutorial

I bought a little dress at the thrift shop that was way too small.
But I loved the pockets and fabric and was going to make a kids dress but never did.
I noticed the colors looked kind of cute with a tank top I had in my giveaway pile.
This was the perfect opportunity to make myself one of those tank dresses I'd seen a zillion times!

The main issue when working with these elastic waistbands is to keep the stitching on the waistband looking neat..
I made this dress over the weekend and wore it to church on Sunday.
It was so comfy I wore it all day!
Here is how I made my tank top dress:

Tank dress tutorial

Pin It
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...