Saturday, January 29, 2011

Duct Tape Dress Form Version 2 & How to Calculate Dart Width

The Pattern School website I mentioned in yesterday's post is brilliant. There's so much to explore. Case in point: under the 'Measuring and Sizing' tab you'll find another version of how to make your own dress form. While I like the Etsy Labs tutorial I posted last week for the taping instructions, the Pattern School version gives a better discussion of materials and shows you how to turn the taped 'mummy' into a hard dress form.

Another page of interest is 'How to Calculate Dart Width'. There you'll find very useful math for making custom garments and for when designing around stretch factor.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All For Blue

No wonder humans find ways to automate every process under the sun. The amount of labour it takes to naturally extract indigo is crazy.  

Here's another video worth seeing. This one is about Adire. These textiles are incredible and the amount of manual work that goes into their production is astounding.  I think it's worth considering a world with less automation but what would it do to the cost of fabric? This cloth should be very expensive: 

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Little Deeper

Worn Fashion Journal -Have you come across this magazine? This has to be one of the more interesting 'fashion' mags I've found. I'm sure you can get subscriptions through their website but they also have an Etsy store:

As for other internet finds, check out the academichic blog. I liked today's military-art/costuming reference but I still want more 'something'. Perhaps that desire misses the point of creating a somewhat casual space for Professors to simply explore the sartorial side of academia. I'll continue to visit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I want this book but it's not in my near future: "Master Patterns and Grading for Women's Outsizes," by Gerry Cooklin.  Hmmm... I seem to be leaking content from my post about making plus sizes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Duct Tape Dress Form

I've been getting lost in an epic post about requests for larger sizes and the reality of offering another size category. In the meantime, here's a great tutorial on how to make your own dress form from the old Etsy Labs Blog.

Happy taping!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Subtraction Pattern Cutting

"The basic premise of Subtraction Cutting is that the patterns cut do not represent the garments outward shape, but rather the negative spaces within the garment that make them hollow. Simply put, shaped holes cut from huge sheets of cloth through which the body moves." 
   -taken from 'what is Subtraction Cutting' on Julian Roberts' Subtraction Cutting web page

Good thing I happened upon Julian's Pattern School and fully downloadable notes about 4 years ago before he pulled up the free sign! Yes, I have the notes from a Master Class he taught and can attest to the fact that they are very worth reading. Would I buy the book? Yes. I wonder what else is in there.

So what's it all about? Well, an entirely different way of pattern making and garment construction. It's sculptural, a little mind boggling and a great way to avoid working with measurements and numbers. Take a look at the photos on his web page  and see for yourself, but I'd say the results definitely lend themselves toward a 19th century look with lots of volume.

If I were a dressmaker or designing for the bridal industry I would incorporate this technique into my practice for sure!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Library of Congress

Want to download a free, Italian pattern drafting book from 2004, or a pattern grading book from over at The Library of Congress? How lucky can this possibly be? Some kind of mistake perhaps? Better snap them up quick!! Where am I finding this information? Fashion Incubator, of course.

Zero Waste

     Every once in a while I let my disdain for waste stop me from beginning projects. Whether this is a paralyzing act of eco-conscience or just a complicated form of procrastination is of little consequence. Either way, nothing happens.

     Have you ever heard of zero fabric waste fashion? I found this site through the Fashion Incubator forum. Blogger Timo Rissanen is a PHD candidate concerned with eliminating fabric waste by changing design practices. Really, if you can scroll down to October 02, 2010 to see a pattern layout it's worth checking out. He uses every inch of fabric. I wonder how easily patterns could be graded and whether it lends itself to a certain look. I hope he publishes his dissertation!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Public Domain

It took me forever to find pattern drafting books when I first started looking and even longer to find books on pattern grading. School just wasn't in the cards, new books cost more money than I had, and at that point the internet was just a thin line to Elsewhere for which I had very little patience.

Enter I could just stop there. Maybe I will. Bon voyage!

Hundred Mile Closet

     I have a full-size, shuttle loom. It belonged to my Grandmother. It's likely a far cry from the kimono loom in the video above, but I plan to get it up and running this summer. Imagine working with selvage denim made in-house? Imagine wearing jeans made from cloth woven just up the street? 

     I've been thinking about this idea for a while and was really excited to come across the videos from the Japanese denim brand Momotaro.  They even dye their own cloth! I won't get too carried away (yet), but in house cloth production, even on a supplemental scale, is something I'd really like to work towards. 

     Judging from the videos I found on Youtube, Momotaro denim isn't exclusively a hand-woven denim company either. At 8 hours of labour per meter and about 3 meters of fabric per pair of jeans, I can only imagine how many years it would take to fill a store let alone keep it stocked. 

     The video below is also from Momotaro. Look at those machines! I like this level of automation -the machines are assisting the people in contrast to the videos I posted earlier this week where the opposite seems to be true. Very inspiring!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gold Mine

       Fashion Incubator has to be the best resource I've come across for anyone looking to start a clothing line or for anyone who already has one.  Even if you just want to learn how to sew it's a great site to find tutorials. I also highly recommend the book written by Site Founder Kathleen Fasanella, "The Entrpreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing". You can buy it on Amazon or through her site for about $60.00 USD.

75 Pockets

     The machines in this video are totally brilliant in a mad scientist kind of way but a little frightening in what they're doing to consumer expectations.  I wonder what the human/machine production ratio is 10 : 1? At any rate, this video sheds some light on what's behind the new standard.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Another blog for the internets: this one for sharing what I've come across trying to learn as much as I can about the needle trade. I hope you find it useful.

Here's a video I came across the other day. It's all about factory made jeans. I make jeans, too, but only a handful at a time. Do they take me 15 minutes to make? Try the better part of a day each depending on style, number of pieces and how many small distractions are pulling at my pant legs. Am I slow? Not at all -I'm just not fully automated.