Some of you may have noticed that I have disappeared from the online world in the last few months. I’m here to tell you that I am still here; I’ve just been quite busy behind-the-scenes.
I’ve Been Pattern Drafting
If you remember, in February I was busy drafting a personal moulage and sloper. In fact, in January I posted details of Making My First Moulage, followed not too much later by the Making of My Second Moulage. I thought that I was finished and the product perfected. Man was I wrong!
As soon as I started to draft a sleeve, I discovered that it actually affected my bodice and the way it was drafted. It might seem trivial, but significant changes to the cross front (upper bust/chest) and cross back (shoulders) had to be made so that the sleeves didn’t pull tightly when I moved.
I have finally perfected the fit. This actually took a fair bit of time as I had to sew quite a number of drafts and mockups, with countless fittings. Many thanks to my husband who patiently pinned my centre back seam each time. He admitted thought it was quite amusing that I would walk around with only one sewn sleeve – of course this was just to save material.
Unfortunately I was testing with a polyester material that’s somewhat transparent, so I don’t have any photos to show you. Sorry.
The success of my own personal sloper has sparked a desire to make a commercial sloper, something that I can design patterns to sell (or give away for free) from. This bought it’s own issues. I had to source a reliable list of body measurements. The fashion industry has long struggled with quality (and standardised) body measurements for drafting from, so much research resulted in inconclusive results. For more information see my post Issues of Standardised Pattern Size Charts and Measurements. Not to mention that different world regions have different body shapes – think of comparing Asians with Caucasians.
I ended up purchasing the latest ASTM documentation. Yet, following my pervious successful drafting techniques, I have come across numerous issues. I’ll probably rant more about these in a later post, when I am desperately begging for someone’s help…
I’ve Been Learning To Draw
Since I am interested in learning how to make commercial patterns, I have decided that I should really learn how to sketch my ideas. Not only is this great for future references (if one idea isn’t taken to term), but it’s a great way to merge several ideas until it’s perfected. A quick sketch is much cheaper – and faster – than making several complex mockups.
This picture may look rather perfected, but it took me days to sketch. Quite literally, days. I kept going back and adjusting curves and lines, redrawing posture, and so much more. I also had to very heavily rely on reference photos to actually get it looking like a human.
I wasn’t happy with just a pencil drawing either. I decided that such a good-looking picture (if I say so myself), needed colouring. So out came my old watercolour paint pans and water brush, and I set about bringing my design to life. All this work for a simple blouse, skirt and scarf design…
My goal is to be able to sketch somewhat detailed pictures in a suitable amount of time to put down ideas, allowing me to abandon an idea or continue working on it in some way. Of course, this all requires a certain amount of practice… and bad sketches. This can be hard for a perfectionist like me to achieve.
I’ve Been Embroidering
I have a way of obsessing over things… and this can contribute to a degree of anxiety and depression. Even if I walk away, my mind keeps going back to the problem until it’s solved. My husband noticed how much I kept going over and over the pattern sloper and that I was getting more and more frustrated, so he suggested that I took up a new hobby to help me relax.
Embroidering is one of the few things that I find relaxing. I think it has something to do with the repetitive process of stitching a needle. That, and since I am following pattern guides, no matter how long I take doing the embroidery I am guaranteed with a stunning finished product.
I really do enjoy embroidering though; it’s quite rewarding to see sections of artwork come alive and form as you spend hours working away.
My first ever attempt at embroidering was a stamped embroidery kit called Springtime View from Dimensions Needlecrafts. You can see the progress of Springtime View embroidery in my portfolio section. If you don’t know the difference between a stamped cross-stitch pattern and a “standard” cross-stitch pattern, then know that a stamped pattern has outlines and little X guides where to stitch. A standard cross-stitch pattern is often called counted; where there is no stamping and you are required to count out the square’s weaved directly onto the canvas.
I actually cheated a bit with this kit; instead of using the typical cross stitch I chose to use my punch needle tool (which I had bought at the same time). The finished picture still turned out great, and I must admit that if you don’t have much patience for large embroideries it is much, much faster. After all, a 11×14″ embroidery does take a fair while to complete.
Chickadees In Spring
Since then I have gone on to do several more embroideries. The next embroidery I completed was Chickadees In Spring, another Dimensions Needlecrafts product. This one is much smaller, being only 5×7″ in size.
The smaller embroideries can be completed much faster – in only a matter of days if you have the time. I enjoy working on them whilst sitting with my husband.
The Willow Pond By Charles White
Then there is a needle point embroidery called The Willow Pond. It’s designed by Charles White and is produced by Candamar Designs. I guess the biggest difference between a standard cross-stitch embroidery and needlepoint is the size of thread and needle that you use; in cross stitch you split each string of thread into smaller pieces (usually using 2 strands instead of the six that make each string). If your thinking that bigger thread will make the process go faster, you are wrong. Needlepoints are often a lot bigger than embroideries.
For example, The Willow Pond is 16×12″. It’s absolutely massive and takes a long time to embroider. Absolutely forever! When I started at the beginning of April, my embroidery looked like just a massive mixture of purple color. You couldn’t determine any picture or shape at all. But by mid to late April you could clearly see a tree starting to form. Then by mid-May I had formed the large tree on the left, partial lake and the willow tree in the background.
This embroidery was picked specifically for my husband in mind. Years ago we used to go on dates to the park, taking a sandwich and coffee. We would sit on this lovely wooden bench that overlooked a man-made lake filled with ducks and fish, and an absolutely stunning willow tree. We would sit there for hours watching the ducks and sun shine through the three.
I’ve Been Learning To Paint
Another way to help me relax was to draw and paint. Since I had already dragged out my watercolour paint pans, I decided I might as well use them. My husband surprised me with an order of quality paint brushes and an instruction book to encourage my new hobby.