Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Patternmaking In CorelDraw9

Wow,  once you know how to use a software and you have a skill you can implement iton it,  like patternmaking things can get really cool.   With the precision of a software like CorelDraw9 program your confidense goes up and because you don't have to worry about wasting any fabric or paper you're ready to edit anything over and over again,  save all your 'work in progress' steps as valuable resources and above all experiment.   I grade my patterns,  I build the seams,  add the allocations and pattern markings,  use slash and spread techniques and dart piviting as well as create and edit style lines all in one place.   The only problem is that I couldn't measure curves.  

This becomes a problem any time I had to true up the armcye and/or a sleeve cap.   Before today I was printing out sections of my patterns and reprinting them from AdobePhotoshop CS2 whenever I had to walk the sleeves into their armholes and adjust their curves as needed because there was no way for me to perfectly measure them.   Truly a nuisance.   So I decided to look for how to measure curves in CorelDraw9 on Google.  

I stumbled upon a forum where some guy who happened to be a CorelDraw user that developed a script for doing just that.   Cool little thing too.   Any way here's the full lowdown for any of you who may need such a curve measuring script:

(Thank you Peter Clifton of the UK,  for putting out this free to download and edit script,  God bless you big time)

First download the curve measuring script for your version of CorelDraw9 from Peter Clifton's page: http://www.clifton89.freeserve.co.uk/

Then follow the instructions about how to incorporate the file into your CorelDraw9 subdirectory (folder group in programs on your computer) Scroll down to the bottom of this page:

And all this has got me to thinking about my own designs too.   When I've completed patterns for my clients and I have a little extra free time,  I could develop my patterns,  say in a size 6 like my dressform and either sell them to home sewers who like my designs or sell them to clothing manufacturers who like them.  Of course this means I'd most likely lose re-sale and distribution rights,  but I won't mind that at all if I can get credit for my designs (not at all like when you work as ghost writer).

At this point,  I have no idea what next time's post will be about,  but it'll definitely be something cool about patternmaking or fashion design.   I thank God for all the people out there that put together free information,  programs and scripts for those who need them.

If you'd like to read more about fashion, information on the industry and online schools check out my site at:
Budget Online Fashion Design Schools and Resources

If you're a designer or home sewer and you'd like to find some cool eco-friendly fabrics and more check out my resource page at:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lemon Tulip Lingerie Pattern Completed ! What To Do Next...

Here it is,  my pattern is all done,  anotations,  pattern markings, seams and print ready layout:

Now before I did the layout of the blocks I looked for a print shop that could make me a print out of the finished pattern.   I settled on Staples,  you got to love that place,  however,  unlike the Staples printing services that offer affordable printing for custom oversized print outs,  Canadian Staples only offer print jobs that fit into poster sized layouts.   This being 24 by 36 inches and 22 by 79 inches.   Not bad but I would have liked having the US oversized Staples options available.  Oh well,  this will be good too.

I decided to make the front blocks pink and the back blocks green just so it would look pretty on my blog,  but if I was sending this out to a client,  I think I'd better stick with black.  It's more professional,  unless of course they like the color idea.

Now I have to find out how much it's going to cost to get this printed out for the prototype garment.  If it's a bit too pricey for me right now,  I guess I'll 'cut' the layout up in Adobe Photoshop and print the little letter size portions out on my HP and tape it all together.   I'll only do that though if I get too impatient and someone isn't ready to send any work my way in the coming week.   

This is so neat to be sewing up my own pattern.   I know that it's going to be a big learning/thrill experience that will help me gain some terrific insight into patternmaking.   However,  I've got my worries too,  such as

1.  how relaxed and puffy will the gathers in the skirt and tulip sleeves look?  I want it to look really floral,  not tired

2.  will the darts in the bodice allow the bodice to sit nicely on the bust area?

3.  how will the wide,  deep neckline sit on the shoulders and neck?  (I took care of the gaposis issue following Connie's advice in her book "Patternmaking Made Easy" but you never know right with one this large,  I'll learn through this experience)

4. how will the hem facing affect the hang and 'puff' of the tulip skirt?  I hope it won't be too heavy

5. how will the bias cut effect the hang and puff of the tulip sleeves?  Again,  I want them to look floral not droopy, at the same time though I didn't want to give it a normal hem and stitchy up the edge of these "flowers" so I took up Roberta Carr's suggestion in her book "Couture: The Art Of Fine Sewing"

6. I cut the side seams of the bodice band at an angle matching the angle of the bodice side seams and I'm wondering if it'll allow the bodice to sit right and look okay while gently anchoring the garment just below the bustline?

So I'm apprehensive,  excited and even a little scared,  but my curiosity of course has got the better of me which is a good thing.

Soon as I have the esemble complete I'll post it here on my blog,  but that may be awhile so the next several posts will mostly likely cover patternmaking issues/discoveries I make through working with my clients and so on.

If you'd like to read more about fashion, information on the industry and online schools check out my site at:
Budget Online Fashion Design Schools and Resources

If you're a designer or home sewer and you'd like to find some cool eco-friendly fabrics and more check out my resource page at:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Clients And How To Plan Out Your Digital Patternmaking Process

People are still contacting me about my patternmaking services even though I haven't refreshed my add since the first time I posted it.   I do wish communication with people who contact me was consistent.   Things happen though,  one lady has had an unexpected tragedy in her family,  this is usually a time consuming disaster in anyone's life,  however,  I think some people just starting out can get easily side tracked,  like one fella I was talking to,  that reminds me,  I should email him again see what happened to him.  

Never be afraid or put off emailing people,  it's how to stay in touch.   Don't always assume that people have changed their mind about you,  it's just that there's so many things to do in work and life that if your services aren't needed "right now" than you may not hear from them in a while.  However,  this can put you at risk of being forgotten or shied away from.   People will be like,  "Gee, maybe she's forgotten about me and maybe I better contact someone else because she's probably gotten real busy,  it's not like she's contacted me recently"  You know what I mean?

So contact your contacts, hehehe,  it won't hurt and they won't bite.   I'm going to contact that guy right now... be right back.

Done.   And they got back to me already too,  so cool,  you got to love clients who are that fast :)  .   So here it is,  the fella I was talking about is just taking care of all the necessary prep work, he's got 3 shows coming up all in one month and one of my lady clients is going to send me a payment for some work I've done already.

Now for the Digital Patternmaking Process:  

As I've done this several times already,  I've worked out a step by step system for setting up and completing a digital pattern in the most efficient and time effective way,  here it is:

1.  pick out your sloper in the right size and type

2.  don't get rid of anything in your pattern vector doc,  you may need it for reference,  alterations or even another pattern so keep everything and copy everything too

3.  copy your sloper into the new garment pattern file making sure that front and back side seams have been aligned perfectly then separate a copy of them on a separate page (within the same vector file) but keep them on the same level (waist and bust lines are aligned across the page)  this will help you keep your pattern drafting in correct orientation.

4.  do your garment shells first

5.  have a copy of all the necessary pattern markings you'll need ready on the outside of your pattern's vector page

6.  group front and back pattern blocks then place them one on t0p the other with side seams matching

7.  true up your pattern blocks and place your pattern markings

8.  plan out your facings/interfacings

9.  mark them accordingly

10. create your seams,  plackets and hems

11.  make as many copies of these front and back sandwiched blocks as other pattern pieces you'll be needing,  for example if you need armscye,  front and back facings,  make a copy of the block 'sandwich' for each separate piece

12.  ungroup the pattern block sandwiches and delete each unnecessary piece till you have each pattern piece you need from each group of front and back pattern block 'sandwiches'

13.  group each new piece with their own separate pattern markings

14.  arrange in order on the page,  save again (do this often,  make it almost like breathing)

15.  export a copy as a jpeg and send it to your client and another one to yourself preferably in gmail should anything happen to your computer you'll still have your work in an email account that won't get rid of it

In my next blog post I hope to have a few pictures of my "lemon tulip lingerie" number as I'm almost done with the pattern.  Just have to do those pretty little tulip sleeves.   Slow going only because I've also been working on my clients projects.   I'll have it completed before long though,  no worries.

If you'd like to check out my fashion or eco friendly fashion resources lenses here are their links, feel free to drop me a note if you like what you see/read, I'll be happy to hear from you:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Design Illustrations For My Patternmaking Portfolio

Here are my two illustrations for the designs I've done for my portfolio, all colored in with AdobePhotoshop,  I'm starting to really love that program.   And for all who may be interested,  I know my work is a far cry from professional,  but to get that water color wash look,  I used the "wet edges" brush option for the shape dynamicked "paint brush" I used.  Makes me wish I wouldn't have missed Ludmila Adam's free webinar tutorials for AdobePhotoshop,  you can find out about that on her Fashion Chalkboard facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/illustrator.for.fashion?sk=wall  As for my two designs,  one's lingerie and the other one is summertime outer wear.   I'm both excited and intimidated by this project "...oh so cool,  so pretty and then...oh my God,  moment of truth,   will I be able to deliver excellently?"   Hehehe,  yeah,  I'll do good.   Just wish the sewing machine I've got to work with was a little better.  I'll get around it,  I usually do.

The reason I've chosen these kinds of designs for my porfolio pieces is for several things, 

1.  they can be kind of complicated to execute
2.  they are interesting
3.  they can't be so simply made from ordinary kinds of patterns, they show that I have the skills to edit,  slash and spread and even think out of the box to design/draft a pattern

And these are all things you want prospective clients to know you can do.   After these,  I'll add some normal pieces to demonstrate that I can produce balanced and even patterns.  Think I'll do a suite and a princess style slip,  with some detailing to add interest.

If you'd like to check out my fashion or eco friendly fashion resources lenses here are their links, feel free to drop me a note if you like what you see/read, I'll be happy to hear from you:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Patternmaking Progress Benefits Of Going Both Manual And Digital

If you're a manual patternmaker,  meaning you draft your patterns entirely on paper,  that's great,  keep doing it,  but you may also want to consider adding digital patternmaking to your capabilities as you'll enter a whole new world of perfection and precision.   Sound good?   It is.   There are a few different ways of handling digital patternmaking if you aren't using patternmaking software and are simply using a vector program.  

Why vector?   Because it's easier to edit and move your lines,  alter sizes and access seperate layers of your work without a hassle and your work taking a serious degradation hit as it will get if you use a bitmap editing program (Adobe Photoshop,  PaintShopPro,  etc)  so I use CorelDraw9.

Another way cool thing about Using CorelDraw is changing the colors of your objects/layers is as simple as a click of a button.   As for actual hands on measurements though,  (I think this is probably the plus size that one may  find with patternmaking software) CorelDraw doesn't allow you to measure curves,  which is a nuisance,  however,  I just make a jpeg export file of my selected curve or pattern section, open it up in Adobe Photoshop and print it off to take the measurements.   Then I'll make the necessary adjustments and repeat the proces till those curves are what they got to be.

I love manual pattern drafting,  but it takes up the kitchen table all day and all night and that's a problem.   Also,  if you make an error, the whole pattern has to be done again rather than just a few lines having to be made or a copy of the original file needing to be tweeked.  A lot easier to handle there,  even if the experience isn't quite as much fun as traditional pattern drafting,  you're still getting the job done especially if you're working from a drape you scanned into the computer because that's what I've been doing.

Just wish I had a model or a professional dressform with an arm attachment so I could do drapes of different sizes and properly check my sleeve draft. 

My New York client wants to have a few samples produced before I begin the rest of the collection so I might have a day or two to work on my own portfolio pieces till I start back again.   Once I get going on my portfolio pieces it'll also be some of the best patternmaking practice I've done because I'll get hands on,  full,  all around effort and results from draft to finished garment.   This is something I can't do so well with my clients work because I'll never get to see the first sewn samples so I can't experience the purpose behind the adjustments that may need to be made. 

With my own patterns though,  I'll be able to tweek my pattern drafts to perfection and learn a lot of patternmaking secrets in the process.

I had a great idea last night though,  I'm going to see if I can rent different size dressforms,  or go somewhere to get access to them so I can drape different size bodice slopers.  That would be so,  so awesome if I could do that.   That way I'd have a sloper size for every client's needs.   Welll a lot of clients needs anyway,  without having to guess whether or not I'm doing it right.   If I can do that,  I'll also look into getting some knit fabric so I can finally make my knit slopers.   You see if I can do that,  I won't actually have to invest a whole bunch of money into multiple dressforms or an adjustable one because I'll have those foundation slopers to make everything from.   Unless of course I get into some serious draping.   Then I'll still have a problem.   I'm going to look into that today.   There's a sewing shop nearby so I'm going to give them a call later. 

As for working with clients,  I stumbled upon a great resource a while back that was meant for the designer or company wanting to learn how to hire a patternmaker.  I feel this 8 page e-book is very important for a patternmaker to read as well,  just so he or she will also learn how they need to professionalize and perfect themselves (or rather,  their work,  I know,  you're probably feeling "but I am my work :)  ,  hehehe)  and what to expect from your employer/client.   This is so helpful.   It may be a little scary,  daunting to live up too,  but knowing what's expected of you and taking the guess work out of what you need to know is great for getting a real handle of control over your efforts and focus.   In the end,  when you put in the time to perfect everything,  it's empowering and well worth the extra effort.   So if you have enough courage and faith in yourself to go the route,  here's the link:

If you'd like to check out my fashion or eco friendly fashion resources lenses here are their links, feel free to drop me a note if you like what you see/read, I'll be happy to hear from you:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scary Sloper Issues And Patternmaking Problems (Solved)

Last week I got a client who wanted me to start work as soon as possible.   I started checking out my size six sloper so I could grade it down to a size 4 only to discover that the front and back blocks were not drafted correctly.   They just sit well at all on the dress form,  complete with gaping around the armscye, centre bust  and lop-sided waitstline.   After having followed all the instructions I actually emailled Connie Amaden Crawford to see if she could help me figure out what went wrong.   This wasn't the first time either,  she's a wonderful help when I ask her for patternmaking advice.   She got back to me the same day and it was a Sunday!

First of all my dressform is a home sewer's dress form,  it's an okay tool,  but according to Connie because of it's imperfections ( such as having caps at the armscye position instead of being flat) it can cause problems.   Which brings me back to something I said before,  it's a good idea to try and invest in professional tools.   However this didn't bring me to the point of giving up.  the dress form is shaped like a human being,  so it's got to be some use even if there aren't any of the special aids to help me get the drape right and so on.  

Connie assured me that beginners always stretch their drape,  so this second time around,  I very carefully handled my fabric  with the gentlest touch possible,  following the steps one by one, not skipping anything and not doing a later step before it's time.  For example, in the book "Pattern Making Made Easy"  Connie states that you need to pinch the darts from the apex (the bust point) I didn't do this with my first drape.   This creates the problem of a twisted and incorrect dart where as a dart pinched from the apex will lie smoothly and be easily pivoted in the right position later on (in your paper draft) if you want to move it.

So I fixed up the drape,  traced it on 3 sheets of paper,  back block on top of the front block so that side seams would automatically match :),  nice little trick there I tell you.  Then after a bit of  tweeking and experimenting I adjusted the armscye,  got rid of the gaping,  eliminated unwanted ease and my beautiful sloper pictured above was the result:

This didn't come easy though,  this is making a terribly long story of trial and error short.   I did several failed pin fittings with paper re-visions of my slopers,  I was disheartened and tired too.  Making matters worse,  my later experimental adjustments to the sloper in CorelDraw9 were worse than the first few attempts.  I was clearly going in the wrong direction (you can do this when you're tired) so it finally dawned on me that maybe the real problem was that I was checking the paper fit and not a fabric one.  You can see those below,  they're stiff but they're still kind of neat.   Lol,  when  I sewed up my sloper in a nice hand of fabric (pictured above) it fit like a glove,  a thing of beauty.

If you'd like to check out my fashion or eco friendly fashion resources lenses here are their links, feel free to drop me a note if you like what you see/read, I'll be happy to hear from you:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Benefit Of Printing Out Your Digital Patternmaking Trial

Previously,  I used an old piece of flannel to drape a bodice sloper onto my dressform,  hehehe,  nice try,  it was,  I liked it because it turned out pretty well,  or so I thought.  So I've drafted up all my basic slopers,  all of them.  Then,  more recently because my patternmaking study and hands on practice went so well in developing my understanding that I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at digital pattern drafting in CorelDraw 9 and then use Adobe Photoshop CS2 to create printable files from my CorelDraw pattern.

Well,  I had a bit of a pause in my progress from then because I've had to work on a writing assignment but last night I hurried up (at 11pm) and put together my print out jpeg files (that is divided my digital patternmaking exercise into printable size documents,  printed them and then taped them together) and put the front and back bodice patterns together.   Trued them up,  perfect of course except some adjustment to the armscye curves,  but I was expecting to have to do as much.   Any way though,  when I compared them to my manual,  original,  non-digitally drafted patterns I realized there was a problem.

Okay,  so I took my print quality paper (this white stuff is not as soft as the packaging paper) and sized it up against the dressform and discovered something very valuable... the benefit of 'fitting' a paper pattern to the dress form lies in the paper's inability to stretch.  

This was an 'ah ha' moment for me. 

Originally I was a bit frustrated with how the armscye on my original bodice sloper that I'd sewn from the first paper pattern draft,  seemed to not hang comfortabley on the dressform and the reason I think,  is that the height level of the front and back shoulders on the pattern draft ended up being just a bit shorter then they were supposed to be and at a slightly wrong angle as well.  

The reason this happened was because the fabric that I used to drape on my dress form must have stretched a bit while I was draping it.  So now I realize that a draped pattern must be tried,  sewn,  fitted than compared to a "fitted" non-stretchy digital paper pattern and not just given the "Okay" when the first fabric sloper seems to sit well.

What a relief to find that out.  So I'm going to hurry up and fix that later on today hopefully,  before my client sends some work my way.  I want my work to be perfect,  totally perfect.   So what I'm going to do,  is make the adjustments to the digital pattern,  make a set of print outs, put it together,  cut it out of some fabric,  sew it together and check it again.  I can't wait to see if the armscye issue will be corrected,  I'm thinking it will be and I'll be happier with the fit.  I think I'm going to find a better piece of fabric to work with though,  one with a tighter weave this time around.   And next time I want to post some pictures too.   My brother gave me his iPhone and the camera on it is better than the one on my cell phone (yeahhhh).

If you'd like to check out my fashion or eco friendly fashion resources lenses here are their links, feel free to drop me a note if you like what you see/read, I'll be happy to hear from you: