“Failure is Always an Option” – Adam Savage

Updates

So guess what this post it about.

To start thing off right/wrong this is not the post I thought I was going to make. It was going to be a short and sweet post about the new patterns I was working on and their inspiration but in the end it didn’t turn out that way. In fact not a lot turn out the way I was expecting. I will warn that this is a long winded post but there will be pictures.

So this is how thing started…

On my last visit home I found my current favourite dress at Joe Fresh. It is a black knit tank dress with a racer back and double layer front (one is lower cut then the other). I would love another one since I wear it all the time, problem being, the nearest store is about 1,500 km away and the summer stock is gone. So I decided to make my own version but with a twist, literally. Enter one of favourite pattern drafting books, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi. I have been wanting to try some of the techniques in this book since I got it and this seemed the perfect opportunity.

One of the techniques is called “Nejiri” (meaning torque in Japanese) and involves skewing the pattern so that the fabric will be twisted on the body but still sitting were it should. (i.e. side seams are still straight). I thought this would be a great variation for the front of my dress. The drafting was fun and it went quickly once I got my head around how to create the twist. While I was looking through the book I thought the Kakurenbo (meaning hide and seek) technique of concealing flare in curves would be really cute on a little girls sun-dress. Once again the drafting was fun and went quickly one I got my head around then instructions.

That’s where I was going to end the post along with some pictures of the samples. Well things didn’t continue that’s smoothly.

For starters on my way to Kinkos to pick up the pattern I realized that the outer front pattern piece wasn’t modified enough to achieve the affect I wanted. Doh! I got ready to cut an realized what fabric hogs both patterns were, so I didn’t have enough of my planed fabric. Doh! In the end both patterns didn’t turn out quite as expected or hoped. Doh! 

But…

“Failure is Always an Option”

One of Adam Savage’s better know quotes, he has often talked about this concept be it on Mythbusters or other venues like the Makers Fair in 2009. (His TED talk on Obsession is also really interesting.) I thought of this as I realized that the day wasn’t ending with me propelling fabric across rooms or into walls. I didn’t even have the urge to do that. I decided I think I learn too much.

It is amazing how much the right psychology can completely change a situation. Instead of being terribly frustrated I was excited at what I had learned and eager to try again.

I often draft in my head; try and figure out how I want to draft something long before I put pen to paper (or stylus to tablet as the case may be.) It can be very helpful in finding errors before they are made. In fact this is why I knew the pattern wasn’t done before I picked it up. But I couldn’t do that this time, the concepts were too new so I had no frame of reference for how it would turn out. I love that sort of thing though. Novelty, challenge and something to learn. The sort of thing that you can either know or get.

What I learned:

Nejiri – I ended up making two versions, the printed dress with the twist on both sides and the pink dress with just the outer front layer twisted (the original design).

1 – The twist isn’t big enough to be very noticeable, you can hardly see it in the photos or person. It would also help if the twist was more focused around the waist. As it is, it gets lost on the skirt.

2 – The twist needs tension work. It is fine on the pink dress as the back and under layer control things but this isn’t the case for the printed one. You can kind of see in the photo the side seams uncoiling at the hem since the hem has no tension on it. (This dress was generally cut looser so the whole thing tends to want to unwind.)

Kakurenbo – Pink dress for Mina. The proportion was off some how…

1 – Like with the Nejiri, the effect wasn’t drastic enough. The skirt still has some wave to it but when using such a drapey fabric I think there needed to be more. I may try it in a woven fabric and see how it fits.

2 – This kids knit dress was one of the hardest things I’ve sewn in a while! It did go smoother if I sewed with the skirt on the bottom and bodice on the top. 

After all that, even if it didn’t turn out how I wanted I have a much better understanding of how these patterns work. I am starting to get it not just know it, something that wouldn’t have happened if everything went right. In retrospect failure was the best option.

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Later or The Making of a Bikini

Updates

So despite my lack of posting I have been quite busy with projects.

As alluded too in my Coffee Cup Sleeve Tutorial post I have children’s pyjamas in the works. As well there are tights, t-shirts, panties/bloomers and a dress. All are ready or nearly ready for grading. On the adult front I’m working on some dresses (halter dress, sun dress and wrap dress), a halter top and of course I’m still working on the Sunrise hoodie. All the patterns are in various states of drafting and/or correcting. One would think this wouldn’t be the best time to add yet another project but but I really wanted a new bikini…

After not finding what I wanted in stores I decided to make myself a new bikini. I had some great fabric I could use and some not so great fabric I could sample with so I gave it a shot.

First up was the drafting. Although I had a bathing suit block from school it would have to be graded and adjusted before I could use it so I decided it would be easier to start from scratch. Using instructions from Pattern School.com I made patterns for low riding bikini bottoms, bandeau top and two styles of triangle tops (fitted and gathered). After sampling, correcting and sampling I was ready to start the final bikini.

With some careful cutting I was able to easily match the print on the back of the bottoms and bandeau top during construction. Aside from having tension issues on my coverstictch machine and agonizing over the placement of the print it was a relatively quick project over all.

I must admit, this is my favourite bathing suit I own and plan to make more. I also plan on making it my next release! I am aiming for the end of July.