Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Reflections on pattern drafting

I have now completed the pattern drafting and have cut out. My thoughts on pattern drafting are simply that it has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated (which was quite a long time!). I think that a lot of this is simply down to experience: I still feel new to pattern drafting, as I was only introduced to it when I joined the course. The flat pattern drafting is helping me think about body shapes, and how cloth works over a body. E.g. lines (for instance on the bottom of a waistcoat) may look straight but in actuality are always curved, in order to go round the body. Once worn it gives the illusion of being straight. I hope to continue developing my understanding of the body in relation to clothing in the future as it will really benefit me as a maker - and a designer of course.

Ultimately, I think that I can only get better at pattern drafting with practice. A good example of this is of course Graham glancing at the pattern and immediately seeing anomalies and places for change! What I have struggled with was the tailoring systems used as on the whole they are written by someone making the assumption that you have been working in a tailoring workroom for 10+ years until making it up to being a cutter. Whereas this is my first suit!! However once I started following the instructions I managed to get into it. It was important to keep reminding myself that the systems are imperfect and are to be used as a guide. It was difficult to step away from what I created using the system and just look at the pattern itself. I think that this was due to a lack of confidence: pattern cutting kind of scares me at times so it felt natural to rely on the instructions. So this tells me to have more confidence in my own abilities (which can't be that awful) and take charge of the task myself.

Also what has been confusing was simply that 2 of the instructions were in metric centimetres, and the jacket instructions in imperial - inches! I am more than happy to work in inches  - but all my equipment (tailor's square and pattern master, etc) are in cm! If I decide to take up tailoring seriously in the future and will be using the old fashioned tailoring systems it could be worthwhile investing in a set of imperial equipment....it would certainly make things much quicker!

Anyway.  The last and final difficulty I will mention has been the measurements I was provided with. Simply put they seem anomalous, as well as being incomplete!! It was unfortunate that we were not able to take the measurements ourselves, or even see the actors we are making the suits for, in order to see their body shapes. So according to Graham's advice I have altered some of the measurements and have cut the patterns with lots of seam allowance. I have no idea how they will turn out at the fitting as any one of the measurments could have been incorrect, throwing everything askew. Fingers crossed!!!

So his proves importance of accurate measurements - which actually I was aware of before, and in the past the costumes I have made have fitted well. So maybe in the future I could do my best to measure the client myself. This might require diplomacy.

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