Clothing Construction, Fabrics, Fashion Design

Bioengineer Actually Meets Dress Form

Today was a busy day. I did the draping for my top and cut the pattern and watched the epic Federer vs. Monfils US Open tennis match.  (That Federer though. What an athlete. What a gentleman. What incredible hair.)

We’ll start with the draping, well because we have to.  You can see it in the images at the end with the white looking fabric on the dress form (Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger).  As you can also see, it’s only half of the dress form because the other side will just be the mirror image (guess I did need that geometry from high school…kind of).

The purpose of the draping was mainly to figure out how and where to place the darts (those triangular folds you see) so the top would fit nicely.  On the front, the two darts remove that extra triangle of fabric on the abs and under the arms so it doesn’t just hang there like a T-shirt.  On the back, there’s one dart that takes out the extra fabric on the lower back.  I then marked the the dart folds, the two on the front and the one on the back, which will all be triangles when I unfold them.

I did a very rough outline of the neck and sleeves while it was on the dress form just to get a feel for the placement, that way I can adjust it on the pattern or later when I actually make the top.  I also marked the side seam, shoulders, and waist (in the color purple, like the Oprah movie).

In order to make the patterns, which are the two flat pieces you see in the pictures at the bottom made out of the purple flowery fabric  (yeah, so? It’s just the reverse of the fabric on the form. That’s all I could find, ok?), I took the fabric off of the dress form and cut along the lines I’d marked.  The cut out triangles are where the darts were (that’s where the excess fabric was I wanted to take out).

When I make the actual shirt, the triangles won’t be cut out; I’ll just draw the edges, fold them on top of each other, and sew them together (and it will kind of look like what it was on the dress form, but neater, duh). Also, fun fact: I didn’t know whether I was supposed to cut out the fabric in the darts on the pattern, but I cut one edge without paying attention…so I basically had to cut out the rest.

I’ve also included a couple of photos of what the actual shape should look like when it’s finished.  I basically just pinned the pattern onto the form but at least it gives you an idea.

And a fabric note: I was watching Project Runway, and I think I’ve found a fabric that better suits the box dress so I’m switching it to glass organza.  It’s more like what I envisioned but I didn’t know what it was exactly. Haha.

Next, I’ll do the skirt.  Or go buy the fabric. Not sure yet.

And, now that I’m learning how to actually use WordPress, you can follow my blog or subscribe via email! Just click the black directory button next to the search icon at the top of the page and you can sign up! Voila!

-Yours Truly, the girl who just wrote a very wordy blog she hopes isn’t confusing.

Music Credit: Selected American Top 40 Hits and the occasional tennis grunt.

Draping - Front of Top Angle: Head On

Draping of Top – Front
Angle – Head On

Draping of Top - Front Angle - Side View

Draping of Top – Front
Angle – Side View

Draping of Top - Back Angle - Head On

Draping of Top – Back
Angle – Head On

Draping of Top - Back Angle - Side View

Draping of Top – Back
Angle – Side View

Pattern for the front of the top.  When I cut the actual top, I will make the right side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

Pattern for the front of the top. When I cut the actual top, I will make the right side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

Pattern for the back of the top. When I cut the actual top, I will make the left side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

Pattern for the back of the top. When I cut the actual top, I will make the left side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

How the top will look shape-wise once it's made. Angle - Head On

How the top will look shape-wise once it’s made.
Angle – Head On

How the top will look from the front, shape-wise, once it's made. Angle - Side view

How the top will look from the front, shape-wise, once it’s made.
Angle – Side view

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise once it's made. Angle - Head on

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise once it’s made.
Angle – Head on

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise, once it's made. Angle - Side view

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise, once it’s made.
Angle – Side view

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Fabrics, Fashion Design

“This is my Design”

So today is the design reveal! I’m excited! This must be how James Franco feels when he writes a poem he knows is going to get published because he’s James Franco. Or when he gets into an Ivy League because he’s James Franco. Or when he gets to play a version of himself in every single movie he’s in because he’s James Franco. Maybe I should start a “Thoughts on James Franco” blog…

Anyway, where was I? Yes. The design! It’s at the bottom of this post! I should warn you that my sketching ability is nothing close to anything on Project Runway, so if some of it looks like a Picasso, it’s unintentional and definitely not genius. And since my drawings rarely do justice to my thoughts and the visualization in my mind, I’ll explain the design a little. (Seriously, please don’t be scared off by the drawings, bear with me, I’m learning. Haha.)

The conception of this design really started with me researching techniques for making clothing using a dress form, which led me to a video on youtube about how to drape (fancy speak for shape) a top on a model. Since this appeared to be the simplest technique in the video series by a lovely Scandinavian fellow, Sten Martin Jonsson, I decided to go with it as my base. Essentially, it is a very fitted, sleeveless top, as you can see in my sketch. Not only will this satisfy my need for something appropriate for a beginner but it will satisfy my dress form’s desire to be taken out of the closet (poor thing has been cooped up in there since I got it for my 16th birthday…I really didn’t know how to use it).

But honestly, a fitted top has got to be the most boring thing on the planet, besides the movie “Quantum of Solace” (I’d say poor Daniel Craig but you can’t really pity that guy, can you?). So I had to shake it up and yet still keep it simple.

Since I love opposites and contrast (hello, bioengineer making clothes here), I thought why not take a fitted, streamlined silhouette and layer it with something more boxy? That’s how I came up with the outer, slightly-cinched-at-the-waist T-shirt dress (yes, on the sketch it does look like an outline floating over an actual outfit, I didn’t know how to draw it very well, but you get the idea). It’s not fitted. It’s loose but yet it’s structural. And to keep the streamlined underneath, I’ll do a fitted skirt (I was originally going to go with some slim cigarette pants, with a full skirt layered on top instead of the dress, but it felt like too much fabric, this isn’t a wedding dress after all). I’m going to crop the top a bit, exposing a strip of midriff, to give a visual break at the waist which will highlight the fact that the box dress goes in a little at that point (this will also add to the color story, which is coming right up).

Since my brain seems to only work in the color white, this design naturally came to me in red. No it didn’t. It came to me in white (Apologies for the lame, somewhat confusing joke). So the fitted top and skirt will be white, probably made of a simple, light cotton fabric, or, if I’m, feeling adventurous, white pleather, though that might get bulky unless I can fit it really well.

Now the box dress. I knew I wanted it to be made out of a stiff and yet fine-grain mesh so you can see the top and skirt underneath. With that vision, my mind jumped to “X-Ray,” which is all about contrast (and, funnily enough, part of my favorite class in college about medical imaging technology). So the color for the box dress will be a dusty, dark navy color (I thought black might be a little harsh and the grey hues from the dustiness of the navy would introduce something that looked a little like bluriness). The visual break between the underlying top and bottom will therefore break the solid white but the mesh on top will maintain the continuity of the outfit again by introducing a sort of blur.

So that’s my spiel. I’m sure the design will evolve as I go along, and that’s what will be fun about documenting the process in this blog. You will get to see the changes I make and be able to experience with me the thought process that comes with taking something from design to finished product.

Next blog, I think I’ll do a little draping and pattern making for the top (which I guess you could say is the technical design of the outfit and making all the parts that you need to construct it).

Also, please feel free to leave comments below! I’d love some feedback (since I don’t have Tim Gunn in tow).

-Yours Truly, the girl who hopes they have the exact fabrics she wants at the fabric store, pretty please?

Music Credit: John Mayer (Aka: What I was listening to while I wrote this blog/made my design)

As Will Graham of Hannibal would say, "This is my design."

As Will Graham of Hannibal would say, “This is my design.”

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