After a long talk with Sharon on the construction of this jacket, I’ve decided that people think about fashion completely wrong. It’s not an art; it’s engineering. It’s figuring out the appearance and movement of a given piece, then choosing materials and building internal structure that will give you the look and function that you want. I don’t know why it’s considered an art form – perhaps because fashion is “aesthetic” (but then so is the Eiffel Tower), perhaps just because it’s a girly thing ““ but the underpinnings are as purely engineering as building a bridge. And frankly, it seems about as complicated to learn as any other form of engineering (says the former mathematician!).
At any rate, after discovering that we had put the front fastening in the wrong place initially, we had to make quite a few changes. So I am making”“ are you surprised? ““ yet another muslin. But this is probably the last one. I am taking the opportunity to calculate the perfect placement of stripes in the outfit. I have copied the pattern pieces onto tracing paper, and drawn dashed lines to indicate the borders between the stripes. I started by making a single stripe perfectly centered down center front, and then drew the rest of the stripes on center front. Then I figured out where to put the stripes on the shoulder of each back piece so they would align with the stripes on center front. And put the stripes on the facings, the back facings, the sleeves, etc. ““ lots of etc! But it was interesting to see how all the rest of the stripe placement was immediately determined by the placement of that very first stripe.
This took me all morning, but now I have a pretty good idea of how to cut so that the lines match up. I will still have to be careful when I actually cut the fabric, as these things are never 100% accurate ““ but it’s a good start. I am now cutting out the pieces of the muslin, drawing lines on the muslin to reflect the stripes on the pattern pieces. This will show whether my pretty pattern pieces work out when sewn.
Meanwhile, we are starting to test interfacings. Sharon gave me a couple of interfacings with instructions to test each by cutting a 6×12″ piece of fabric, cutting a 6×6 square of interfacing and fusing or sewing it to one end of the fabric, then flipping the other end back over to form a “sandwich”. Then we’ll evaluate the feel of the sandwich and see whether it’s appropriate to use as the jacket interfacing. She gave me four interfacings ““ two woven fusible, one very stiff craft interfacing, and some hair canvas ““ and I’ll be applying those. This will require “wasting” about one foot of precious handwoven yardage, but I keep reminding myself that it’s necessary, and that I have plenty of fabric!
And, of course, the loom is now at AVL, undergoing the upgrade. It was an uneventful seven hour drive, and quite pleasant, with the mustard blooming in bright yellow patches amongst the vineyards, and acres and acres of blooming fruit trees. I’m glad it’s over, though, and I won’t have to go back until I pick up the loom next Monday.
Once I finish the muslin, I plan to have a little fun with dyes. I have tools for batik, instructions for stencils, and some silk and cotton fabrics on the way. This weekend, if I have time, I plan to take half of Sunday to play with various dye techniques. I also have a new copy of Quilter’s Academy: Freshman Year, and plan to start studying piecing and quilting techniques in that. It is a book by Harriet and Carrie Hargrave that gives a rigorous introduction to quilt-making. I don’t expect that quilting will be a huge part of my work, but I do want to understand the techniques, because I have a sneaky feeling they will come in handy later.
It isn’t ‘wasting’, it’s investing a linear foot of fabric to make sure the garment will be what you want. 🙂 Sample, sample, sample! 😉
Peg in South Carolin says
I think there are some bridge builders, not to mention a lot of architects, that would take umbrage at your first paragraph! Structural soundness and beauty are not incompatible–think about weaving! Indeed one of the problems that many weavers have is that they forsake structural soundness for the sake of aesthetics—the current all too prevalent example of this being weaving silk at incredibly wide epi’s in order to achieve a soft and flowing textile.
Peg in South Carolin says
I ran across an amazing blog the other day by a woman who is weaving/engineering a jacket. You might enjoy taking a look at it just for fun. It’s called Ruth’s Jacket Project the url is http://ruthsjacketproject.blogspot.com