I wanted to title this post “Hand Knitting Meets The Industrial Revolution,” but I realized yarn is spun using a machine too. I recently completed two classes in Fashion Design at Canada College located in Redwood City, California, one of which was Flat Pattern Design. The other class, “Designer Techniques” discussed different ways to refashion an existing pattern and make it your own.
Demonstrating a technique not covered in class was one of the course requirements. I elected to combine hand knitting with fabric. For the sample, I incorporated techniques from Flat Pattern Design and drafted a half scale dress with princess seams.
The pattern pieces are pinned to the hand knit and traced with two rows of stitching using a teflon foot.
An alternative technique would be to baste a line of stitches on your fabric using sturdy thread. With your knitting needles, pick up into the stitches and knit down to create an attached piece of knitting.
In order to eliminate bulk from seams, position the knit fabric with an 1/8″ to 1/4″ seam allowance on the hand knit and 1/2″ seam allowance on the fabric.
Combining hand knit with fabric is an idea I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. “Designer Techniques” was the perfect venue which presented an opportunity for me to take my idea of combining hand knit and fabric a reality.
Wow! I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. It all began in August of last year…
At the end of August 2017, I decided to enroll in a Fashion Design Program at a not so local community college. Immediately, I was thrust into the lanes of commute traffic arriving at my location at least an hour before class two mornings a week. Surrounded by an interesting group of like-minded individuals, I learned so much about the material and myself.
Flat Pattern Design was an intense, rigorous class with a language all its own. The process of translating a two-dimensional design into a garment was challenging and at the same time, a rewarding experience.
Above is a sample of various half scale and quarter scale dart manipulations I produced. The final project for class consisted of using a basic bodice, sleeve and skirt sloper, along with various dart manipulations, in order to design a garment.
My design adopts and adapts the loose fit of the kimono by incorporating the dropped armhole along with the chemise silhouette. Godets are added on the side seams to add fullness imitating fabric layers of the kimono. Fabric folded origami sculptural motifs are added to the surface of the design.
The dropped armhole reflects fashion of the 1940’s along with fabric choices reminiscent of the Mod print fabrics of the 1960’s. Through the use of dart manipulation, my design expresses the influence the Japanese culture and the 1960’s played in my life.
On one of my recent visits to Britex in San Francisco, I learned the store was phasing out sewing patterns from the “traditional” companies like Vogue for Indie and independent designers. I respect Britex’s attention to uniqueness and its historic reputation to stand apart from the rest, especially craft/fabric stores, but it’s sad to say good-bye.
I decided to simultaneously work with a Vogue pattern and a pattern designed by independent designer, Lois Ericson. The written instructions for the Vogue pattern are more detailed, while the Sew and Design Pattern (Lois Ericson) is open-ended for creativity. I believe prior sewing experience is necessary to work with any of her patterns. (Of course, there is a new generation of designers I’m looking forward to investigating, but not limited to are Colette Patterns https://www.colettepatterns.com/ and Victory Patterns https://www.victorypatterns.com/.)
I traced the patterns onto medical pattern paper, and cut out a muslin of each pattern, and attended a garment construction class with Sally-Ann Flak. Sally-Ann fitted the patterns to my body, and I incorporated the changes to the pieces. Here is what I learned about my body in relation to these two patterns.
The pants pulled down in the back because my derriere sits low and I needed to add extra fullness. I added 1/2 inch 6 inches down from my waist by cutting and spreading the pattern piece. The front pants piece required no alterations. The top ended up being two sizes smaller than the pants.
As with the Vogue pattern, I traced and cut a muslin of the pattern. To begin with, the pants needed to be shortened 3 inches and the pant legs needed to be redrawn. The crotch length on the front needed to be shortened 2 inches. The waist on the front and back needed to be decreased by 3/8 inch. I needed to slash and decrease the hips by 1/2 inch. The back darts were a bit too long, so the adjustment didn’t require me to redraft the darts. The jacket is one size smaller than the pants, and needs to be fitted. I have a feeling the jacket needs to be one size smaller and 2 inches shorter.
Of course, the patterns are two different styles and probably is not a fair comparison, but I’m definitely developing a deeper understanding of pattern fit and alterations. My bod is not in proportion. The top of my body is two sizes smaller than the lower portion of my body with one hip higher than the other, and my hips tilt forward.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to delve into the world of fashion design, and I believe now is the right time. Staring in August, I plan on exploring the Fashion Design and Merchandising Department at Canada College in Redwood City, CA.
Vogue 1120 by Lanvin, Vogue, October 1950. Photo: Richard Rutledge.
This week, the second post in my series on Lanvin sewing patterns. (See my post on Jeanne Lanvin’s interwar patterns here.)
Born Marguerite di Pietro, Marie-Blanche de Polignac (1897-1958) was the only child of Jeanne Lanvin and her first husband, Italian aristocrat Emilio di Pietro. Marie-Blanche (who is sometimes called the Comtesse Jean de Polignac) was director of Lanvin from her mother’s death in 1946 until the appointment of Antonio del Castillo in 1950.
From the earliest Vogue Paris Originals, Vogue 1052 is an elegant, short-sleeved dress with a waistcoat effect:
Vogue 1052 by Lanvin (1949) Image via eBay.
Clifford Coffin photographed the dress in Paris for Vogue magazine:
Lanvin pattern Vogue 1052 in Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
According to Vogue, this strapless evening dress design was “sketched by David in Paris.” The…