Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Generosity and Patterning

The one thing I find absolutely amazing about this community is our generosity.

For the most part costumers are more than willing to tell other costumers their process and not just individual to individual but also to the entire community and then in tutorials and such.  It’s very different from aerials where once you reach a certain level creativity is coveted and kept to oneself for fear of a trick being “stolen.”  Of course we teach each other we just don’t share quite so openly.

Anyway, I find it surprising and encouraging when friends of mine that do commission work tell me their process because being that often costuming and prop making are their career they could easily tell me to order the piece from them but instead they encourage me to learn more.  That in itself is inspiring.  For the most part the help and advice is not asked for (I am not very good at asking for help) but it is given regardless.  Sometimes in my research process I will throw a costuming question out and I get a bit taken back by who responds because not only do my close friends but prop makers who I would never ever think of asking for tips and tricks from wind up giving me tons of information.

That said, I was asked awhile back if I had any tips for patterning.  Truth be told, I am very new to patterning.  I am still figuring it out, but I am finding that I really enjoy patterning.  It reminds me of drafting blueprints in 7th grade.  It employs math, drawing, drafting tools, brain storming, problem solving and creativity.  Yes, I like math.  It’s not a passion but I am good at it.

The patterning that I have done recently is for basic blocks, Castaspella’s leotard and Elektra’s leotard.  I used different methods and sites for each one.

Basic blocks (or sloopers): YouTube PourModelol
I used her YouTube tutorials to draft out my basic blocks.  She has quite a few up there for women and MEN.  They are in French.  Some of them are in English but at times can be tough to follow because sewing terminology is not the easiest to translate and it isn’t always straightforward.  For the tutorials that are not in English (most of them) almost all have English subtitles.  She has a great tutorial on corset patterning.  I haven’t watched the homme tutorials as I am not male and have no use for them but feel free to let me know what you think!

For Castaspella’s basic leotard I found this amazing website: PatternSchool.com  
(apparently the site is either down or no longer active as of 8/20/13.  I do hope it returns because this is an amazing resource)
The site itself is not intended to teach anyone how to draft swimsuits and such from the basics.  It’s intended to be a supplemental site for intermediate design students.  At times it can get confusing.  It was confusing for me when the negative tension came into play and the percentages.  So I had to take say my bust which is 99cm and deduct 20% (guessing) equaling 79.2cm.  Take 79.2cm and divide in half (39.6cm), add 2cm to the front and deduct 2cm from the back.  You deduct a percentage to get the tension required for stretch fabrics so that they fit nice and snug.  Since the site is down I cannot use the real percentage deduction because I do not remember it.  There is a certain amount of deduction taken from the horizontal as well as the vertical.  The site has some great information on it.  I high suggest looking through everything before starting any project.  He outlines lots of measurements and how to use them.  He has women’s, men’s and children’s.  Plus he has this amazing tutorial on how to craft a custom bra (which takes two people).  He also offers help if you ask.

I used his site to pattern out a basic leotard block for Castaspella and then I modified it for the top detail and created a second block of the upper torso to pattern the stretch mesh on the top half of the upper torso.

For Elektra’s leotard I used a pattern book: Kwik-Sew’s Swim and Action Wear by Kerstin Martensson
This is a pattern book a friend of mine has and it’s a great resource for women to have on hand.  Unfortunately, it does not cover menswear or children.  The book is very much out of print and the styles are a bit dated but they can absolutely be modified for modern day styles.  My favorite thing about the book is the way the master patterns are laid out so you have the ability to customize the sizing to your needs.  There is a section explaining the measurements and sizing based on xs, s, m, l and xl.  I fall into various spots depending on the area of the body.  Curse you inverted pear shape!  So my bust is a medium, my waist is a medium, my hip is a small and back waist is an extra small (apparently I have a short torso).  The way the patterns are laid out I was able to mark off my different sizes and their appropriate points and play connect the dots where needed with my French curve.  I placed tracing paper over the pattern.  From there I started modifying the pattern on the tracing paper.  Once I had my tracing paper pattern complete, I cut it out and moved it on to brown craft paper.  Name, date, and project.  Done!  The patterns also have modification directly on the pattern such and a strapless bust line and two different leg openings.  I chose the high leg for Elektra since my previous suit has lower legs.

The book is long out of print but you can still find used copies online.  I was very lucky to find a deal on eBay as this 80 page book can fetch up to $50.  Just make sure the listing states uncut patterns included because if they are cut they become useless.  I will definitely be using this book for Castaspella's leggings.

I still have more to go with both Elektra and Castaspella.  I am excited to get these done.  The new Elektra is a testament to how much I have learned in 3 years and Castaspella is the most ambitious project I have worked on to date.  Alas I must get going as I need to sleep or no crafting will be getting done (not correctly anyway).