Finely crafted garments to express your style, grace, and passion for quality.
Draping and Patternmaking
Patternmaking is my favorite phase of development. It is when I negotiate between the 3-dimensional form of the body and the 2-dimentional reality of fabric. Seeing the shapes in 2-D on paper reveals the mysteries of geometry which the fabric is experiencing and allows me to intervene with careful decisions. How deep should this pleat be? How wide should this pocket be? Should this fabric really be cut at such a sharp angle?
Then, when I have made adjustments to the 2-dimensional pattern, I recut and resew a sample, to see what garment this pattern will produce, and how it will look on a person.
Draping the front of the "Super Sleeveless Blouse"
I usually begin the patternmaking process by draping a piece of fabric on a dressform in the way I want it to hang, then pinning it, and then marking the shape of the piece. In these pictures you will see several markings. First, when the fabric is flat on the table I mark a vertical line to show the direction of the fabric grain. It is important to pay attention to the direction of the yarns in the fabric, because it determines how the fabric hangs. Sometimes I also mark the perpendicular line also. Then, after I have pinned the piece of fabric to the dressform in the way I want it, I mark where I want the seams to be. I also mark little hatches on those seam lines to show where they will meet the other pieces. After I have draped all the pieces, I remove them from the form and put them on a table to transfer the shapes to paper.
Transferring a draped skirt yoke to paper, using my lightbox-drafting table.
Marking and Cutting
When the pattern is ready I have to decide how to lay it out on the fabric so I can cut the pieces. A marker is a big piece of paper the same width as the fabric on which I trace the pattern pieces. Each piece needs to be aligned to the edge of the fabric so that the fabric hangs correctly when you are wearing the garment. After the pieces are all traced out on the marker, I lay the marker on top of the fabric, and cut through both the paper and the fabric. Each fabric needs a different marker, so if one garment uses 3 different fabrics, I need to make 3 different markers.
Grading is the process of developing various sizes for one style. Here you can see some of the pieces from the Wrap Dress. The front and the sleeve are "nested," which means that all the sizes are printed together in a nest so you can see how they relate to each other. You can see other pieces printed individually, ready to be arranged in a marker to guide in cutting. I graded this style with a Computer Aided Design software specially developed for the garment industry. I can also grade by hand, tracing each piece with adjustments to alter the size, an inch less here, an inch more there.
Muslins and Fittings
After I have a paper pattern ready, I can use those shapes to cut out a muslin, which is a rough draft of the final garment. I use fabric that has similar body and behavior to the real fabric I will use in the final garment. Then I try that muslin on a fit model and take notes on how I want to change the garment, so it will fit better, or so I will like the design more. Fittings can involve a lot of pinning, cutting and marking. After a fitting a muslin can look like a wreck. The marks, pins and notes I make during a fitting give me the information I need on how to change the pattern before I cut the next muslin. In theory, each muslin should look better and better. When I like a muslin enough, I can call the pattern finished, and prepare for grading, marking, cutting and sewing.