Wednesday, March 31, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Vintage Buttons

Vintage Buttons are one way to make a garment look unique.
Because vintage glass buttons are becoming harder to come by, I recommend picking them up when ever you come across ones that you really like! Many of the older buttons have more detail and charm than newer buttons.
I personally LOVE collecting vintage buttons, leaving them on the cards and even framing them!

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Stitches

The importance of different stitch techniques-

Stay Stitch- Wenever you need to clip a curve or cut to a point, it is a good idea to stay stitch first.  Stay stitching is a line of stitching that is sewn just to the right of the seam line in the seam allowance, as close as possible to the seam but on on it.

Understitch- Understitiching is mostly used to keep facings and linings from rolling to the outside and showing.  It also helps to keep edges flatter.  To understitch, clip curves and grade the seam if necessary.  Move all of the seam allowances and the lining or facing to one side, Lay the garment to the left and the seam allowances and the lining or facinging to the right.  To the right of the seam line and as close to the seam as possible, stitch the seam allowances and the linging or facing together.  It helps to use a zipper foot.

Stitch in the Ditch- Basically, it is sewing on top of a seam that already exists.  It is very useful for attaching waistbands and sewing some parts of the linings to the garment from the right side.

Source- Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia

Friday, March 26, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-"Healthy Competition" Words from Karl Lagerfeld

I can't help but LOVE Karl Lagerfeld!  Though he comes across as being arrogant sometimes, he has been in the business for many years designing for one of the most prestigious fashion houses of our time. 
Every designer has his or her own source of inspiration.... I, however, find Mr. Lagerfeld's to be quite amusing. 
Happy Friday! ♥

Thursday, March 25, 2010

✂-The Designer's Tip of The Day- Croquis

A Croquis is a template used to draw flat or technical sketches.  Flat sketches are the diagrammatical detailed drawings of your design work.  They are graphic, clearly drawn explanation of the garment, showing all the construction details, such as seams, darts, pockets, fastentings and topstitching.  The flats are drawn with no figure represented, but to scale and as the name suggests in a flat rendering.  They will also show the front and the back of the garment, something that is often forgotten in the design sketch or fashion illustration.

I personally find  a croquis helpful when working on a custom garment so that I can translate details to the client.  They're also very useful for sketches used in line sheets, cost sheets and pattern making.

Source- Research and Design by Simon Seivewright and How to Draw Drape Fashion Models by Felip Sanchez and Nancy Picot Riegelman

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

✂-The Designer's Tip of The Day- Vintage Sewing Books

Vintage sewing books are great resources for inspiration.  Many of the older techniques have been forgotten, I have found that by flipping through the pages of dated resources I've learned a "new" way of constructing a garment.  We live in a time where things are rushed, but sometimes taking a little moment to hand sew something can make a garment that much more exquisite.

Friday, March 19, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-Tips for Knits

Tips for sewing knits:

Knits are easy to sew and comfortable to wear.  They can be used to sew a wide variety of garments.  It is easier to fit garments made from knits than those made from woven fabrics, because knits stretch and designs for knits tend to have less complicated lines.

Pattern Layout-When laying out and cutting pattern pieces on knits always use a "with nap" pattern layout.  Knits have a directional quality that shows up as difference in color shading in the complete garment.

Needles- Light weight knits use a 70/9. Medium weight knits use 80/11, and for heavy weight use 90/14.

Seams- Prevend distorted or rippled seams by reducing the pressure on the presser foot.  This can be done by pressing down on the back of the presser foot with your thumb, lifting the front of the foot.  Or adjust the pressure bar on the sewing machine.

Knit fabrics normally do not fray, making seam finishes unnecessary.

Source-Singer Sewing with Knits by Singer

Thursday, March 18, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Grading

Grading is the pocess of proportionally increasing or decreasing a master pattern according to a prescribed set of body measurements.  Each piece of pattern is shifted and traced step by step while at the same time the original style lines of the pattern are maintained.  It is the skill, for instance, of changeing a size 10 into a well fitting size 14, without losing the style proportions established by the designer.
The diagram above shows how a basic bodice pattern is increased in size evenly throughout the whole pattern, by using a specific  "grade".  The increases or decreases of measurement between the sizes is referred to as the grade. The grade varies according to the type of measurement: circumference, length or width.

Source- Grading Techniques for Modern Design by Jeanne Price & Bernard Zamkoff

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

✂-Designer's "Challenge" of The Day- Break the Mold

Today I was inspired by the book I'm currently reading- "Christian Dior The Man Who Made The World Look New" by Marie-France Pochna.
      "We are just coming out of a period of war, of uniforms and of military females as sturdily built as boxers.... I have designed flower-women" recorded Dior in his memoirs.  In a matter of months, this fashion, dubbed the "New Look, " had achieved world wide popularity.  However, there was a bit of a backlash.  A Dior model was harassed by housewives in Paris, English tailors protested against the length of his skirts, and during his visit to the US, hostile banners were waved.

I think what inspired me the most was his choice not to follow the trends, but break them.  He created a new silhouette based on his own vision.  I have a great admiration for the many designers that have followed suit in breaking the mold- John Galliano, Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier, and of course Alexander McQueen, (just to name a few)..... So instead of having a Designer's Tip of The Day, I've posted a challenge- while working on your latest creations, challenge yourself to create a new silhouette or detail, explore your own imagination and allow the possibilities to be endless!!
Happy Designing!

Source- Christian Dior The Man Who Made The World Look New by Marie-France Pochna. and Icons of Fashion the 20th Century by Prestel Publishing

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Lightweight Silks

Luxurious and sometimes expensive, lightweight silks are comfortable to wear year-round. Crepe de Chine, charmeuse, silk organza, foulard, China silk and georgette chiffon are just a few to name.

Fabric Characteristics-
-Lightweight silks are comfortable to wear.
-Firmly woven fabrics do not fray badly.
-Most lightweight silks are easily marred by machine needles, pins, and ripping.
-Puckered seams and skipped stitches are sometimes a problem.
-Seam slippage is a problem at stress points
-Chiffon and other soft silks are more difficult to sew than crisp silks.

Lightweight silks are drape really well and are perfect for styles such as blouses, skirts and dresses.

Source- Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide. Fabric shown is a 55% Silk 45%Rayon Burnout, currently being carried at The Designer's Lounge.

Friday, March 12, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Concept Book

Designers are inspired by fabric, images, details and moods. A Concept Book is a great way to keep your ideas and sources of inspiration all in one place. A Concept book could just be a collection of magazine clippings, fabric swatches, sketches and notes. Over time a theme will develop, this will make your collection more cohesive and tell a story.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-Marking An Altered Hemline

When altering a hemline a Quilter's Chalk and Sewing Gauge are two really great tools to use.  The Sewing Gauge can be set at the desired width for the hemline. Using the Quilter's Chalk, mark the distance along the cut edge.  Don't forget to account for the seam allowance!  Once everything has been marked cut along the chalk line, fold up the hem, press and sew! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Tracing Patterns

As Designers we are often attracted to vintage, out of print patterns, but wouldn't dare cut into them.... There is a way to make use of those old styles!  By using removable tape, a large sheet of butcher paper and a tracing wheel, you can trace out the pattern onto a new piece of paper.  Once all the pattern pieces have been traced off, you can "connect the dots" left by the tracing wheel with a pencil and a set of pattern making rulers.
Now you can cut out your fabric using the new pattern pieces without worrying about damaging the original pattern!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of the Day- Lace ♥

Lace can add just a little something special to any garment. Laces come in many widths, patterns, and colors, although ivory, black or white are the most traditionally used. Use lace on any hemline, dress, skirt, top, etc. Or find lace appliques to dress up a basic T-shirt!!
The laces above are eyelet-cotton lace and a rayon lace.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

✂-The Designer's Tip of The Day-Surrealism in Fashion

Fashion enjoyed a fruitful and reciprocal relationship with the surrealist art movement (founded in 1942) based upon a shared propensity for fantasy and displacement. This was frequently evidenced within the realms of window display, fashion photography and advertising during the late 1930's. Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the few fashion designers to actively engage with Surrealism, collaborating with key artists including Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.

It was not the silhouettes that Shiaparelli displayed her tendency towards the surreal, but in the details. Buttons took on the form of circus acrobats, beetles, guitars, vegetables and lollipops.....
The use of Surrealism in Fashion is the device of displacement- the placing of an object or image in an unfamiliar and jarring location.

Source-...isms understanding fashion by Mairi Mackinzie

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of the Day- Embellished Fabrics

Materials such as beaded, sequined, and embroidered fabrics and cracked ice are among the most glamorous fabrics available. They can be used for complete garments or accent trims.
Sequins and beads are frequently applied with chanstitching which, when inadvertently pulled from one end, will unravel a large section.
Take care when using such fabrics, however, they make a great dress for a night at the Oscar's!!

Source-Clair Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide 2nd Edition

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-Embroidery by Machine

Embroidery is a great way to add something unique to your garments. Embroidery Machines come with many different features and can run anywhere from $200-$2000 for a home machine. Most come with a large selection of patterns, but additional styles and patterns can be added to your collection. This pattern was made with a Janome Memory Craft 300E, pattern purchased from the Martha Pullen collection.

Monday, March 1, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of the Day-Design by Draping

Draping is modeling or shaping a piece of fabric on a dress form or life model. Madelene Vionnet (in the 1920's) and Madame Alix Gres (1930's) were the first couture designers to devote their talent and time to the art of draping. To this day, designers look back on their achievements and recreate their techniques.

For the designer who is looking for a more exciting cut and who is prepared for the unexpected, draping is an excellent way of approaching design and pattern development. Let yourself be inspired by the texture, colour and fall of the fabric and see the design evolve before your eyes.

Source- Basics Fashion Design 03: Construction by Anette Fischer
                 Drape by Liesse Morreale-Jones