Pattern Puzzles

This entire post is inspired by my fascination with circular knits.  I've not had much experience with this particular cloth but have always been hooked by the possibilities.  I found this piece (slight grey marl cotton) at the back of one of the local fabric shops and grabbed a couple of meters to play with.  My first idea was to try the twist, especially with a fabric that's half-way to dressing you without any side seams.

The Drape Tube Skirt has turned out to be such a favourite in my wardrobe that I think it'll be the first #PatternPuzzle to be turned into a pdf pattern for the website.  Although my first impressions were of a failed sample, it turns out not to be the case. :)  ADDENDUM MAY 2017:  At last The Drape Tube Skirt available as a PDF sewing pattern here.

Elegant and flattering, this is an interesting cut in a knit fabric.  By using my Knit Block or your favourite tee shirt patterns, you can self-draft the front pattern piece to drape while leaving the back and sleeve patterns exactly as they are.  It's a looser shape than many drape tops and is cut with a more gentle fitting rather than hugging tight to the body.  That slightly looser, non-grabby tee shirt is always flattering and much easier to wear.

This is where it all started:  The Dolman Coat.  Inspired by a Yamamoto garment: the pattern making instructions were developed for a loose fit kimono block.  For this sample I have used a polar fleece and for winter that makes it seriously snuggles. ;)

There have been a few of this variety of skirt gracing the catwalk for the past couple of years.  I have also cut similar for local clients and the beauty of this design is its simplicity for a first attempt at cutting drape patterns. The drape shape is infact separate to the front and back patterns and acts as a decorative overlay for the front skirt.  Start with my Skirt Block and follow the pattern making instructions in this post.  Suggested fabrics:  Crepe weaves with a transparent overlay for the front drape or a satin backed crepe where you are able to reveal the satin back in the cowl of the drape.  If you are interested in Drape Skirt Patterns you can click through to our dedicated workshop and check out the detail.

Welcome all to this somewhat delayed blog post.  I am gradually catching up and would like to thank you for your patience.  The idea with this puzzle was to test one of those apparently simple pattern shapes you so often find on the net.  Every now and then we all come across stuff on the internet that suggests the simplest cuts will make the most flattering garments.  Who can say until you have actually made the thing up.  :)  This pattern is based on multiple squares in a variety of sizes with a little adjustment on the stand.

For this week's #PatternPuzzle, my initial idea was to make a slim jersey skirt with a #CowlDrape on the Centre Back (CB) seam.  When I started the pattern development I found there was also an opportunity to work some draping magic with the waist shaping (side seam & back dart).  What I came up with is a number of options for this skirt pattern development that should suit everyone's taste and style.  NB These instructions use my skirt block and are for two-way stretch jersey and light weight ponti only.  If you don't fancy making your own pattern, I've just added this PDF pattern to the website for the Drape Tube Skirt in Sizes 6-22.

This weeks design follows a current trend for large cross-over tucks as seen in a couple of recent #PatternPuzzles.   I know that I am really pushing the envelope with this style.  To get the drape right in the front and make sure the tucks are holding everything in place will be quite a challenge. This is probably a good opportunity to remind everyone that these puzzles are ideas only, with guidelines for making the pattern. The proof is in the testing and that's a creative and technical journey from a well-fitted dress block through pattern making knowledge in the desire of beautiful creations. For industry product development, a dress of this complexity will take a minimum of two toiles (more likely 3-4) to get the balance right.  And it's not just the cutting but the choice of fabric that is crucial.  If the fit on the bust is too tight it will push the drape tucks open and  be potentially ugly.  If the fabric is too stiff, the front hem drape will stick out in a doll-like fashion.  So take a deep breath and be prepared to make at least two toiles, to finesse this pattern, before cutting into your valuable fabric.

About two years ago, in a Draped Dress Patterns workshop, this jersey style came into being.  A combination of Cowl and Twist Drape, it proved to be a fabulous idea for students dealing with their first ever drape pattern.  Using my knit block for these early drape patterns is always a plus.  There is never any question about... ' what to do with the darts!'.  If you'd like to learn my method for creating Twist Drape Patterns I have a detailed worksheet for making Jersey Twist Patterns.  For just a few dollars you'll get the same training you'd get if you came to the workshop in my studio.

What a week ! A brand new set of workshops for Personal Block Development, and an amazing group of students with some surprising things to say. Firstly the new workshops: they're an addition to the existing program at Studio Faro and extend the scope of the basic and advanced pattern making workshops.   They're focussed on allowing individuals the time and space needed to perfect their own block fit, before making the first fit toile. It's so disappointing and risky to attempt pattern making with an ill-fitting block.  For fans not able to come to these classes I've added all my garment blocks to the website as PDF downloads.
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