Saturday, August 11, 2012

I have posted a new tutorial on the Free Tutorials section of my website. It contains instructions for drafting and sewing what I call my Angel Dress. The drafting instructions are for either using Garment Designer, or for drawing a pattern based on an A-line dress pattern with set in sleeves.

The finished dress looks like this:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Hat Using Garment Designer

Someone recently posted pictures of a sweater and matching hat. They had designed the sweater using Garment Designer, but I misunderstood and thought they had designed the hat too. While I was corrected about this, it got me thinking about whether it would be possible to make a hat pattern using Garment Designer.

I opted for a simple 6-segment design, but you can change the number of panels easily.

First I took my measurements. Around my head from the nape, over the ears and across my temples I measure 22in. Over the top of my head from the nape to my forehead measures 14in, but from earlobe to earlobe measures 16in. I therefore decided that the segments should measure 3.5in wide (to allow for a little stretch) and 8in long.

I decided to use ‘shapes’ to develop this design, so the sloper size used is not important. I went into the Display Pieces dialog box and turned off all the standard garment pieces.

For the hat, I selected Shape 1 from the Extras menu, and set the shape to be Triangular, Curved-Medium. I also displayed dimensions.

I selected the bottom line of the triangular shape and dragged it downwards until the height measurement was 8in for the upper section of the side.

I selected the point at the centre of the bottom edge and moved it upwards until the measurement for the height of this segment disappeared completely, then adjusted the curve control points until they completely flattened this bottom line.

I selected the outer point of the bottom line and brought it inwards until the width at the bottom was 3.5in (i.e. 2x1.75), then adjusted the top of this line segment and its control points until the line at the edge looked ‘right’. In my case this proved to be a line that is 5.66in high (from the statistics on the bottom left of the window), perpendicular to the bottom edge at the base, and with only a very small curve inwards at the top.
The final step is to reshape the curve at the top to flow more smoothly from the lower section.

If you are sewing, add seam allowances now, print the pattern and cut 6 identical pieces from fleece with the greatest stretch going across the pieces.

For knitting, you will be making either a circular or flat piece that is 6x the width of this pattern piece. The shaping at the edge of the pattern piece will be accomplished by decreasing at the 1/6th marks. You may want to manually stagger the left and right edge decreases so they don’t appear on the same row.

You can see from this short tutorial that you could adjust the sides any way you want to get your desired shape of hat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Craft Fair Pictures

So the craft fair happened last Saturday, and my friend Carla took some pictures. Here they are:
An overview of my space

The table with sock monsters and upcycled fingerless mittens

The clothes rail with upcycled t-shirts, sweaters and jackets

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Chrstmas Craft Fair

New Directions Reading is holding a Christmas Craft Fair on the 19th November.

Students and tutors will be selling hand made crafts, and there is also a fabric sale. I will be there selling my upcycled garments.

Details here:

Two Cowl Neck Top Designs

Here are two interpretations of the term 'cowl neck top' using Garment Designer

Cowl Neck Top – Type A, a bias draped cowl at the front.

I decided to use a contoured top with cap sleeves, so I picked these options. The semi-fitted Top Style is the least fitted of the contoured options.

Top Group: Contoured Top Style: Semi-Fitted Shoulder: Sloped Neck Group: Boat Neck Style: Modified Darts: None Sleeve Group: Cap Cap Style: Angled

As I consider the waist and hip still a little too fitted, I selected those segments and moved them to a more pleasing position. I also made the cap not so wide, and the armhole shallower. I also raised the shoulder point slightly.

To make the cowl, I selected the centre front neck point and dragged it outwards to make the neckline longer. (Not forgetting to turn off F/B symmetry before doing this.) I also used the curve control points on the neck to straighten it out. Then I selected the centre hem point and dragged it slightly out, and downwards to increase the centre front length. I used the hem curve control points to make the hemline a better shape.

To complete the pattern piece, I created a facing for the neckline. When printing the pattern, print the pages with the facing a second time and cut it out separately, then flip it over and attach it to the neck edge so it forms an extension to the pattern piece. It will make a V shape at the shoulder. You may want to cut this out so it is wider at the centre front rather than parallel to the neckline for its whole length, as the inside of the neckline may show when worn.

When you cut out the fabric, the centre front should be cut so it is on the bias, NOT the straight grain, or the cowl will not drape correctly. (Unless of course you are using a knit fabric)

(Unfortunately, this pattern adaptation only works for sewing. I think you should be able to knit something with the front in one piece, but as the centre front is not at 45 degrees to the vertical, it is not possible to generate shaping instructions for this pattern piece with the centre front as a vertical line. There may be a way of doing this by moving the points for the shoulder and side seam instead, but I have not worked this out. )

It is the dragging of the neck point out and down, then cutting it on the bias, that creates the cowl, so here is a picture of an alternative cowl neck garment to give you the idea.

Cowl Neck Top – Type B, an exaggerated roll collar.

For this, I am going to look at the neckline only. For this reason I am not displaying the sleeve, but of course you will want to include it if you are creating a sleeved garment.

I selected a round neckline, and opted for the Wide Deep style. From the Extras menu I selected to have collars Joined At Back. This activates the Collar Group selection boxes. I changed the Collar Group to Full Roll.

The bottom edge of this collar will fit the neckline. I want a much deeper collar, so I selected the neck edge and moved it downwards until I got the collar depth I wanted. (You should display dimensions to help with this, but I have left them off to make the pictures easier to see.)

To make the outer edge looser, drag the outer points outwards.

For sewing, I would cut this double with the outer edge along a bias fold. Although the Full Roll collar is not available in a ‘joined at the front version, I would use a back seam for the collar. Do not make the outer edge too large or the collar will look strange.

For knitting, I wouldn’t use the shaping instructions as generated, as this will produce a strange neckline shape. Instead, I would look at the number of stitches to be increased from the neck to the outer edge, and the number of rows deep. I’d then decide how many increase points around the circumference of the neck, and divide the number of stitches to be increased by this, to determine how many increase rows I would need. For example, if I need to increase 36 stitches, and I decide to have 6 increase points, I would need to increase 6 stitches evenly around the row 6 times. With 30 rows, my increases would need to be every 5 rows (probably starting on row 2 or 3 then every 5th row 5 more times, then straight to row 30.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pool Cover-up Jumpsuit

I am now a dealer for Garment Designer software in the UK. Contact me if you are interested in this software.

In the meantime, here is a tutorial about how you can use this software to make a pattern for a pool cover up strapless jumpsuit.

A client brought a strapless jumpsuit to me for alteration recently. It has shirring at the top and at the waistline. When I mentioned it on the Designer School Yahoo List, someone asked how such a garment could be made using Garment Designer, so I put together this tutorial. I hope it will be useful, or at least interesting for you

Start by selecting the following:
Category: Top Plus Bottom
Top Group: Basic
Top Style: Semi-Fitted
Sleeve Group: Sleeveless
Armhole: Standard
Darts: None
Shoulder and neckline are not important as they will be cut off.
Subcategory; Pants
Pants Group: Women’s Template
Pants Style: Straight Low Crotch
Waist Treatment: No Treatment
Darts: None

Because there will be shirring at the waistline, I moved the point where the side seam meets the waist on the pants over to the side seam. This will show the point where the shirring will be added.

To add ease I grabbed all the points making up the side seam and moved them over (you could switch dimensions on to see how much ease you are adding, or use the gridlines.)

I also added some ease by moving the crotch point down, and the inseam over

Because we are making a strapless top, the armhole depth needs to be reduced to match up with the depth on the sloper. I selected the two points forming the underarm part of the armhole and moved them upwards.

Next I added extra length to the body to allow for some blousing. I did this by selecting the whole of both the front and back tops and moving them upwards. I used the Shift key when clicking the 2nd piece to make sure I had them both selected.

To draw the line for the top of the garment, I needed to see how long the side seam is, so I turned on Dimensions. I selected the hemline of the top and used the Additions menu to add a facing, setting the width to the same as the side seam length.

I then added a 2nd facing this width plus the amount I wanted to turn down as a hem at the top, and also a global seam allowance.

The final step is to turn off the dimensions and sloper and display the final pattern.

When printing this, ignore the portion above the ‘facing’ lines. Appy shirring above the pant waistline and at the top edge after sewing the garment together using your favorite pant construction sequence.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dramatic Shawl Collar Jacket

Chiffon Jacket With Dramatic Shawl Collar
Someone recently asked me about this chiffon draped jacket, so I thought I would put together a tutorial on how to create a similar garment using Garment Designer.

I started with a Standard Top, using the Oversized style with Sloped shoulders. The neck is Shawl Collar, Basic Shawl. I used sloped shoulders. The sleeves are Attached, Kimono 2.

I first adjusted the curve of the kimono sleeve to get a smoother line where the sleeve joins the body by nudging the curve control points.

Before going any further, I switched off F/B symmetry. I also checked my dimension units in the Project Options – I will be using Inches, Decimal for this project.

To make a deep inverted box pleat at the centre back, I selected the centre back seam and added an Extension of 3 inches.

I then switched my attention to the centre front, moving the centre front seam outwards to make a very wide collar. I displayed dimensions so I could watch how wide I was making it, adding 15in to the width of the hem. The shawl collar became a very strange shape but I ignored this for the moment.

I checked the seam length of the back neckline and the collar, then made the neckline vertical by moving the point at the top of the collar, keeping the seam length the same. (I got a warning message during this operation to remind me that the two seamlines needed to be the same.)

I then adjusted the collar itself to give me a straight front edge and a right angle at the top. This involved moving both ends and both control points for the shawl collar.

I decided I wanted the length of the jacket a little lower than my hipline so I adjusted the Top Length to 32. I dragged the bottom point of the centre front down to get the dramatic point at the bottom of the collar.

I added seam allowances all round both pattern pieces – I will make a folded and topstitched edge around the edges. As the pattern pieces are so wide, there will need to be a centre back seam. Before trimming the back neckline from the printed pattern, remember to fold the box pleat in place behind the neckline and trim all 3 layers together

I used French seams on my chiffon, though this isn’t suitable for the back neck/collar seam. This can be clipped then bound with a bias strip instead.
Sew in this order:

  • Two fronts at the centre back of the collar.

  • Stay stitch and clip the corners where the collar meets the front shoulder.

  • Make a tuck in the collar at right angles to the centre back seam This is 2in wide, i.e. 1in finished width, and is centred 3 ¼ in from the back neck edge of the collar. (You can use a facing on this line to mark the position if desired). It should extend across the back neck and about 2 in in front of the shoulder.

  • Two backs down the back.

  • Two backs at the centre back to waist level, making the box pleat. The box pleat is sewn together to about waist level, but is supported from the neckline rather than trimmed away.

  • Sleeve/shoulder/back neck, catching the box pleat and the bias strip into the back neck seam.

  • Underarm/side.

  • Sew loops on the front points at the hem, and put buttons on the centre of the shoulders to allow for draping of the fronts.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The story of a cardigan

The story of a cardigan

On holiday a couple of years ago, I wandered into a yarn shop and fell in love with a colourway of Noro Blossom. I bought up what the shop had in stock, even though it was not enough for a complete garment, then sourced some more from a couple of online sites. I felt with such a variety of colours in the yarn, a mismatch of dyelots would not notice too much.

After researching the available patterns, I did not like any enough, so I looked at pictures of other garments, and finally decided on a sidew
ays knit cardigan with an asymmetric front opening.

Since the yarn is self-striping, I decided I would need to ke
ep the widths of the pattern pieces fairly even to reduce the amount the stripe widths varied. This led to my choosing to design a pattern with separate sleeves, and a separate front and back. To make the garment fit together easily with the stripes, I decided on square shoulders, and for such a garment I felt darts would be unnecessary.

With such a basic garment shape I was able to use a Simple Fit sloper.

So the choices were:

Top Group: Basic
Top Style: Average
Shoulder: Straight
Neck Group: Round
Neck Style: Standard
Darts: None
Sleeve Group: Separate
Sleeve Type: Drop Shoulder
Combo: None
Armhole: Standard
Sleeve Shape: Tapered
Sleeve Length: Long

Looking at the on-screen pattern, my first thought was that the sleeve was too wide at the top, so I changed the armhole depth by selecting the underarm point and nudging it upwards using the up arrow key.

Next I worked on the front opening. Changing the L/R Symmetry to Give/Take, and switching off F/B Symmetry so I didn't affect the back neckline.

I selected the centre front segment and moved it to the right using the right arrow key. When I had moved it so the left neckline was almost straight, I changed the Display to Actual Size and was able to nudge the line using the arrow kes until I completely got rid of any jagged sections of the neckline. (I often change the display scale to get an exact measurement or straight line.)

I then turned L/R symmetry off completely, made sure I only had the right frontís centre front segment selected, and moved it further over to obtain an overlap for closure.

My cardigan was now ready for the yarn information. I hand knitted a test swatch on the needles recommended on the ball band, measured it, and recorded the information:

Next came the conversion to sideways knitting. I generated my Pattern Pixel-Per-Stitch Graphics.

Selecting each front piece in turn, I pressed 'Z' once to rotate them clockwise.I then selected the back piece and pressed 'Z' 3 times to rotate it to the same position as going anticlockwise. The sleeve did not need rotating as I planned to knit it in the conventional direction.

I now changed from displaying Dimensions to displaying Stitch Counts.

Because I was planning to knit by hand from the left side, I set the cast on points to be the bottom left of the fronts and the top left of the back, by clicking on the numbers at these points. I also decided to work the sleeves top-down to allow for easy length adjustment, so I set the cast on point at the top right of the sleeve.

The shaping instructions were fairly straightforward. In order to work a moss stitch edge, I needed to manually add instructions to start and finish a moss stitch portion around the neckline as well as the opening edges at the fronts and the bottom edges of all pieces. I also needed to manually add the buttonhole.

I started knitting with the left front, so I could check my tension, and also weighthe finished piece to determine the stitch count by weight to determine if I had enough yarn.

I finished the cardigan with a large button at the top of the asymmetric opening, and press studs down the rest of the opening to prevent it flapping open.

I recently wrote a guest blog for Cochenille Design Studio detailing how I used the software to design one of my cardigans. They graciously allowed me to repost the blog entry here.

To see the Cochenille Design Studio blog, visit