Many pattern designers and authors, including moi, like to keep their projects under wraps until it’s ready to show.
Often it’s to stop someone pinching their idea before they bring it to fruition, but sometimes it’s because they aren’t sure of the outcome or how long it’s going to take.
Over the next several weeks I’m planning to design and make a zero waste top and share the process with you.
I guess there’s a possibility someone could take the idea, and I’m certainly not sure of the outcome, but I can say it usually takes me about a month to produce a pattern (although I’ve done it in less time). Blogging about it weekly is sure going to add a bit of pressure but I like a challenge, especially a patternmaking one 🙂
The starting point is an idea, which takes the form of a potential cutting layout rather than a sketch of the finished garment. I had an idea for a simple sort of top with a hood – here it is in my trusty sketchbook:
It’s accompanied by other little notes like this one:
This idea may or may not work, but I thought it over for a few days and decided to give it a try.
Zero waste clothes are designed a bit differently from how we usually design fashion. Instead of starting with a fashion sketch, the design emerges as the pattern is made. [You may enjoy reading Making a zero waste pattern and 7 challenges of zero waste patterns for more about this.]
The next step is to try out the idea in fabric. Usually I work out some measurements and draw it straight onto the fabric, however, this time I drew it on paper first. I used a basic block (that fits me) as a guide to getting the size right. I’ve been surprised at how often I refer to a block to get “minimum” measurement for necklines, armholes etc.
The pattern needs to have the seam allowances in it.
Then, after more note-taking, I drew it onto fabric and cut it out.
You can see the original idea has been tweaked already: the hood is squared off at the head instead of curved, the body is longer than the hood, and there is spare fabric for a pocket. The hood is actually too narrow for a person’s head and needs changing.
I’m using woven fabric, rather than a knit, for this top. This is curtain fabric from the op shop; it’s about quilting cotton-weight.
I pinned the top together to (carefully!) try it on. Here’s a quick photo. I should mention that beige is a terrible colour on me!
It needs some work but I think it has potential. It might look like this when it’s finished:
Over the next week I’ll sew this top properly and work on resolving some of the pattern issues. Please come back next week!
Read Part 2 here.