Friday, 20 January 2012

Drawing up the line drawing

Completing a clear line drawing is essential for pattern drafting as it reveals all of the specific design elements which aren't always clear in a costume design. This is certainly true in the photograph of the Crawford suit, which appears much more clearly onscreen (and with a bright screen setting!) than when I have printed it off. To help me understand its proportions, I traced it in Photoshop. I only included the head and feet so as to get a feel for proportion.

The line drawing is my best understanding of the style lines in the suit. From what I can tell of the skirt:
  •  The central skirt seam is a-symmetric (although it is difficult to tell as she is standing at an angle), and there is an inverted knife pleat which reaches up to the knees. 
  • The skirt is quite long, and narrow

  • The jacket is very fitted at the waist and across the hips. 
  • It is less tight above the waist. This might mean that the bust shaping should be incorporated with pleats rather than darts, depending on the bust size of the model.
  • The lapels come across as extensions onto the centre front line.
  • The central belt is quite wide
  • The sleeves are quite narrow. 
  • The shoulders are quite square.

From my research (see the research tag as well as my separate hard-copy research file) I have discovered a number of commonly-used style lines in 1930s suits and my line-drawing is therefore drawn according to a combination of these, as well as the suit photo.

[line drawing image]

  • The skirt is the same cut as above (a fitted pencil skirt tapering in slightly at the knee then flaring out very slightly below it); however I have decided to keep the central seam to the centre front, and add an inverted box pleat. The reason for this is to keep a harmony of line within the suit, the with slimline effect emphasising the large, exaggerated lapels.  
  • I have decided to incorporate a box pleat firstly because it will allow for easier movement. I am making the suit to be worn by a woman of today, and feel that a very long and narrow skirt will be unnecessarily restrictive of movement. The inverted box pleat is still in keeping with the period (I have found it on other examples of suits, dresses and skirts of the 1930s) but means that the suit can be more easily and comfortably worn. Crawford, after all, was wearing it for a publicity photograph and possibly within the film; it is therefore unlikely that she really had to do much walking in it!
  • The second reason to incorporate a box pleat is that it will subtly reflect the V-shape of the collar.
  • There will be a side zip and a separate waistband. 
  • The skirt is shaped at the waist by darts.

  • The jacket front is shaped by vertical waist and bust darts. 
  • The jacket back is shaped by the addition of a side-back seam. I have decided to incorporate this instead of using darts as I have seen it on many 1930s suits (see my research) and feel that it is a nice addition which again visually reinforces the slimline feel.
  • The jacket is divided by the central belt, which crosses over the centre front and closes with a self-covered fabric button.
  • The central belt continues across the back. It is without the centre-back seam, but is shaped at the side seams.
  • The centre front will be closed with hidden hooks-and-eyes.
  • The lower skirts are cut on the straight and shaped to the body with darts.
  • The lower skirts are cut away at the centre front, in line with the point of the arrow of the central belt.
  • The jacket has shoulder pads which will be made to couture methods and shaped on the stand 
  • The sleeves are cut as a two-piece sleeve. A squarer sleeve head, it is fitted smoothly into the armhole, not with pleats. There will be padding in the sleeve head to achieve this look.
  • The skirt and jacket will both be fully lined
  • Skirt lining will be cut away over the pleat on the inside.
  • Jacket lining will mostly be sewn into place by hand
  • The jacket will be fully canvassed and pad stitched
  • I am planning on using as many couture-level construction techniques as possible, according to what time I have!
I want to investigate as many sewing techniques suitable to the period - and what would have been a high-quality garment - as possible. I also want this to be a wearable garment for a modern women, which looks (and is) as period-accurate as possible. I do not want this to be a suit which she can only stand around and pose in, nor do I want it to be a museum piece.

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