Archive for the ‘Pattern Drafting and Alteration’ Category

This morning I was thinking about the Bunka sleeve draft that I wanted to try out, and I was wishing I had the book:  http://www.amazon.com/Bunka-Fashion-Garment-Design-Textbook/dp/B004XYLRVK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453500755&sr=1-1&keywords=bunka+fashion+college .  I looked the sleeve up on the internet and found various instructions, and read the instructions in my Japanese sewing magazines (looked at the illustrations, rather, since I don’t read much Japanese).  Eventually I figured it out:

DSC01826  I’m interested to try it out on my blouse pattern because I had moved the shoulder seam forward and this draft seems to account for that.  This will let me match the top notch to the shoulder seam and will let the sleeve seam match the side seam again.  DSC01828

I finally made my TNT blouse pattern into a sloper of sorts by cutting it out of poster board and trimming off the seam allowances.  Now I can use them to try some Japanese sewing patterns I have saved.  The photo below shows how the sloper (the red portion) is used as the base for the new pattern.  You trace out your sloper and make the changes and additions as shown in the pattern graphic.

DSC01829Now that that is all drafted, I can start sewing a new top for M.  I cut out the Jungle Print top and cut two sets of front and back yoke pieces.  One will be the lining and one will be the right side.  It is a large print, and the color scheme of each set was so different that I took pictures of them and sent them to M so she could decide which she liked best.

2016-01-21The one on the left has more animal print and lots of black and white, and the one on the right has more teal (which she likes).  She chose the one on the left, so now I am going to go thread the machine and get started.

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Now that I have tried out Sure-Fit Designs pattern drafting system, I have decided that I like it a lot and that it really works well.  It makes it very easy to draft up a sloper to use to fit commercial patterns and to draft patterns for yourself or others that fit well.  When I was in college, I used to go to a nearby bookstore and buy the Dressmaking Magazine copies with some of my very meager spending money.  I still have all the old copies of this Japanese magazine.  I recently found out that there are copies of recent Japanese pattern drafting and sewing magazines on ISSUU, and I realized that I could use my SFD sloper to produce some of those fashions.  The magazines use different slopers including the Bunka sloper which seemed to be really interesting, so this morning I tried drafting that one.  It is very scientific and involves calculations and angle measurements which made it really different from the effortless and easy SFD method.


My Dressmaking magazines

DSC01804Starting the Bunka draft

Below is my finished Bunka sloper.  I used my real shoulder length instead of the calculated one, and used the SFD method of locating the bust point, but otherwise followed the Bunka method.  One thing that helped a lot was to do all the calculating ahead of time so that the results were already noted down when I started drafting.


I compared the Bunka sloper to my SFD sloper (which has seam allowances added and a lowered neckline) and they were very similar.


I got a little carried away printing off copies of Japanese designs I want to draft so I made up a new binder to hold them and other sewing info.


It’s like playing grown-up paper dolls with all the cutting and taping, but this time the clothes are for me.

Last weekend I was in San Jose with my husband so we stopped in at Kinokuniya.  I thought I had seen the Bunka textbooks there and wanted to get one, but alas, it turns out that I saw them at the LA branch.  I did find these excellent magazines, though, and the Pattern Magic book which has a short section on the Bunka sloper drafting technique.


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When I get a pattern to fit, I use it many times with design and trim variations.  Here are a few pictures of ideas that I have been saving, mostly involving tucks which are an inexpensive, fun to sew, and interesting design element.Fullscreen capture 452013 52849 PMThis yoke has many large tucks.  My usual method is to create a piece of fabric with a tucked surface and then lay the pattern on it and cut it out.

Idea for twist pleat yokeI saw this shirt in a store while I was out shopping and then found a picture of it online.  It has many narrow tucks that are sewn down in opposite directions to form a pattern.  This would be easy and looks really intricate.  You’d also make a piece of tucked fabric larger than your pattern piece and then cut it out.Fullscreen capture 792011 63811 PMSame idea, but the tucks are slanted.Fullscreen capture 792011 63651 PMThis is an effective way to use a little bit of lace.Fullscreen capture 762011 80848 AMSewing lace motifs around a neckline, but you could also use embroidery.

I still have four or five lengths of fabric to make into tops for M, so I’d better head over to the cutting table.

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I used up my roll of butcher paper that I use to trace patterns so it was time to go buy some more.  I get my paper at a restaurant supply store near my home.  The paper comes in big rolls and is not a cheap purchase depending on the width of the paper, but these are BIG rolls of paper and will last a long, long time.  I don’t even remember when I got the old roll, but it has to be more than 5 years ago.  I also have a very wide roll for bigger projects, but I am afraid it will fall on someone so I keep it tucked away in the corner behind a table.  I’m going to have to come up with a better storage solution because it is hard to access.  I also keep a smaller roll on the floor of the sewing room, and that is the one I replaced today:

This roll is 18″ wide and 1300 feet long.  It cost about $35 which ends up being a little over 8 cents a yard.  I notice that the paper is a little lighter in thickness than the paper used to be, but in this economy a lot of products are smaller/thinner/skimpier than they used to be.  For my purposes this is a good change since my only complaint about the paper before was that it was a little stiffer than necessary, and now it isn’t.  I don’t know what butchers think about this, but it works for me.  Here’s what the label on the roll looks like:

The paper isn’t really thin enough to see through, so when I trace patterns, I put the pattern on the top of the paper and trace the lines with a Flair pen.  The ink soaks through enough so that it transfer the lines to the butcher paper underneath.

Here is my completed blouse pattern traced off onto the butcher paper and ready for the first tryout.  I only get the urge to trace off patterns once in awhile, so I have to hurry and do a few before the mojo evaporates.  I also want to trace a tank top and a sweater cardigan so I can make twin sets.

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I’ve been thinking about styles and what I like, and though I have definite likes and dislikes, I’m never very current in my fashion sense.  I just don’t feel any need to keep up with trends or have the dress that’s popular now or whatever. A lot of fashion seems like the Emperor’s New Clothes to me where people like something just because someone tells them it is great, but in reality it looks ghastly (like low-cut jeans and many popular hairstyles).  In my sewing, these are the things I am interested in:

1.  Embroidered and ethnic garments

2.  Shirtmaking

3.  Purses, totes, and handbags

4.  Sewing with flannel

5.  Bright colors, happy colors, color combinations.  Neutrals, though necessary in a wardrobe, are boring.    Dulled-down colors are boring.

6.  Dresses for little girls are fun to sew, and I can call up endless design ideas, probably because I have sewn hundreds of doll dresses over the years, and though smaller, the construction is the same.

7.  Tablecloths and pillowcases are quick and easy and useful.

8.  Mending something to make it useful again.

9.  I hate doing alterations and avoid it like the plague.  When people find out you can sew, they often ask you to do alterations, but I learned to say no firmly and definitely.

Here are the new techniques I want to try soon:

1.  Become proficient on the serger and quit being intimidated by it.

2.  Sew more lingerie

3.  Learn to use the sewing machine feet and attachments I have in abundance especially the binders, ruffler and the narrow hemmer.

4.  Get rid of fabric I am never going to sew

5.  Don’t get bogged down sewing stuff that is not interesting to me.  Sew what I want to when I want to, and avoid deadlines and pressure.

What I am sewing now:

It took me about a year and a half of occasional work, but the workshirt for A is now a TNT pattern.  I want to try to morph it into different styles with different sleeves and necklines, so I am working on a summer top now.  A needs plain colored tops to wear with skirts and pants, and there is more scope for me to make her bright printed skirts if she has plain tops to wear with them.

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When I was at UC Berkeley, I had a library stack pass. Usually a student had to fill out a request form and hand it over the counter, and a library employee would find the book and deliver it to the waiting customer. There was no walking around the aisles, pulling books from shelves and looking them over in those days. Students with a certain grade point average were awarded the coveted stack pass, or the right to go mingle with the books. I used to go up into the stacks and look at old, rare books just for the fun of it. I would glance at the checkout card on the inside of the cover and see when the last person checked the book out (this was pre-computer). The books I was interested in were not very popular, and it was usually about 30 years since the book had been let out of the stacks. Two of the books I liked the best were a huge volume on architectural rendering (wish I owned that) and a lovely old book from 1830 full of diagrams on how to draft the garments of the day. It was a large book with page after page of plates full of diagrams for shirts, bonnets, dresses, undergarments, etc. There was no xerox then either, hard to imagine, isn’t it? I would really really love to have that book now. Anyhow, I copied out the diagrams for a shirt and a bonnet, both of which I eventually sewed. I have always been interested in historical garments sewn from rectangular or square pieces of fabric in the old way to use the available narrow widths of fabric in an economical manner.

Years later, my husband wanted to take part in the craft fair being held in the park in our small town on the Fourth of July. He is a photographer and wanted to sell some of his photos, so he requested that I make him an “old-timey” shirt with a late-1700’s or early 1800’s look to it. I found my old diagram and made this shirt:

I used a homespun-looking fabric. I think that for some reason I was unable to make the buttonholes (buttonholer lost or broken?), so I just sewed on the buttons and closed the cuffs with a hook and eye. All the pieces are rectangular or square except the yoke pieces. I seem to recall that they started out as a rectangle and had the slant for the shoulders cut in afterward. There are gussets under the arms, and the sleeves are pleated to the shoulders. There are also pleats or gathers in the center front and center back.

Similar shirt designs are shown in the wonderful little book, Cut My Cote:

This book is a terrific resource, is worth adding to your library, and is still being sold on Amazon.

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