Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All that glitters

So, i finally finished the "gold" order. Four party dresses with sashes, three vests and three matching ties. It was certainly a challenge, but it was also a much needed victory in the "make my own pattern" department. Don't get me wrong--there are some rookie mistakes in there, but generally, the two bigger dresses, which were my greatest worry, fit (almost) like a glove. Minor alterations at best. I didn't get a chance to fit the littlest girls--but i made their dresses so that they would be easier to fit--empire waists, tied straps. I cursed and fussed at these dresses for a couple weeks, but in the end, i think they turned out quite pretty. They did remind me, though, how much i HATE making ruffles and how lucky i am to have had a boy. (not that having a girl would necessarily mean ruffles. I fought ruffles all throughout my youth, so there's no guarantee that any girl child of mine would actually WANT a ruffle in the end...)

So, now actually begins the hard part. Since i created a pattern from scratch, and that said patterns turned out cute--not only by my own opinion, but from those opinionated ladies from my sewing boards-it's time to create a "publishable" pattern. Which means recreating the dress, step by step with pictures, in a PDF format that is easily downloaded. Oh dear lord...

This is the direction i was ultimately headed, But I'd had such crappy luck creating patterns, that i guess i never thought it would happen. I mean, the only reason i created this pattern in the first place was because i could not find one that was already made. I suppose that means that there could be a market for a cute little dress like this...

I was pretty concerned with turning out a fantastic product on this last order that i didn't sit down and write down every step, so now i am preoccupied with how to best explain the construction of this dress. (ever the teacher--the substance almost doesn't matter, it's the way you deliver it that makes all the difference!) I was driving my son to preschool this morning and thinking of the order of ruffle, underskirt, second tier in a way that would make the seam lay neat and flat. Of course if you could get into the head of people driving on the morning commute, I am sure you would find stranger subjects than garment construction and PDF formatting. Better than getting angry at the moron in front of you at any rate.

I suppose I'll have to get some beta testers see if my instructions actually make sense to someone else who doesn't think like me. Or to someone who doesn't feel as confident in his/her sewing skills--because anyone with skills doesn't really rely on instructions anyway, if they can figure out an easier way to do it.

As you can see, while the actual job may be done, I've still got a lot of work to do

Lessons learned these past weeks:

  • creativity is great if you don't have to explain it to anyone
  • my life feels more constructive without glitter
  • people cannot drive in this town
  • i need to learn to storyboard again

Sunday, May 2, 2010


So, I've got no pics this week because I missed a couple days in studio due to the (hopefully) FINAL installment of this d&#! root canal, and because i am working on an order. I don't post pics of orders in progress because...well...that just seems weird. Like, it's not your order, so why would you care, right? But this order has challenged me a tad and has got my brain workin.

I'm making some party dresses and vest/tie combos for a friend's mom's birthday bash. All in gold. And the material choices were not mine. My client picked out a combo and separately looked questionable, but as i start to put them together, have begun to really sparkle--literally and figuratively. Let's just say there is gold lame' involved as well as an embroidered lace that has "sparklies" on it. and on me. And on my counter. And in my sewing machine...

Yeah, I'll be glad when this order is done and i can take a dustbuster to my studio.

The vest and tie are from a pattern--because i see no reason to draw my own pattern when there are gazillions out there. I mean really--there are very few men's patterns out there, but of them, a great many are vests. In fact menswear patterns fall into a five categories: shirts, pants, jackets, vests & other. I can see why fashion designers don't get into menswear--it can be a yawn. Anyway, as much as i am getting into drafting patterns and such, i also don't believe in reinventing the wheel. If i own two patterns for a boy's/men's vest, why would i spend over an hour drawing one?

I'm also making ties--which seem to scare people. I vaguely remember making a tie before for an ex, and i don't remember it being a pain. And yet i hear these horror stories about making ties--how difficult they are, etc. *cocks an eyebrow* I'm thinkin' someone made it more difficult than it looks. I'll have to get back to you on that because right now I'm working on the hardest part of this order, the dresses.

They are supposed to look like this. Searching my pattern catalog, and others, i did not find a suitable copy, so i got to practice those drafting skills and make my own pattern. Luckily they are for girls, and i don't really have to worry about darts or even a close fit-since they will have sashes to tie around the waist. One of the dresses is for a baby, and one a toddler--and i altered the pattern a little for them--making an empire waist and tie straps for easy fitting. why put a zipper on a toddler's dress if you don't have to? The two older girls' dresses though are waist length with a zipper. Both of the girls are skinny as rails, and drafting did have a few challenges--according to chest and waist, these girls were a size 6--but the length of their torso was not (they are 8&9 years old--or close to) so i had to create a bodice pattern that had the length of a size eight, but width of a size 6. I forsee some fitting issue with them (mostly taking in) but nothing too strenuous. The skirt is a basic tiered skirt--separate tiers. I hadn't made one before, but that was the easiest draft because it was just a basic A-line skirt , cut up into separate pieces, upon which ruffles will be placed.

If all goes well, I may be able to create a couple sized patterns to sell, which would be AWESOME. Women who sew LOVE to make little girls dresses, so I'm hoping this all works out without too much alteration and fuss.

ANd i'll be glad when i don't sparkle like a stripper when i come out of my studio...

Lessons learned this week:
  • dental work can be exhausting, physically and economically.
  • Challenge is good for the brain
  • i dislike glitter
  • Men should wear skirts