I had the pleasure of teaching a Summer School at City of Bath College this past week. A lovely bunch of ladies came along to the class and I hope I’ve managed to not put them off pattern cutting for life and managed to teach all just a little something!
The first day is always the most intense session: Predominantly focussing on dart manipulation. Day 2 we investigated sleeve and facing techniques and the two final days everyone got down to either creating a pattern and a toile for a bodice of their own design or a series of scaled patterns to explore a variety of pattern cutting operations.
Claire, Irene, Katie, Karon, Lauren, Mandy and Winnie all worked incredibly hard, asking all the right questions in the right places to really extend their learning. The most asked question during the early sessions was “Why/where do I put the dart” and I was very proud to find by the end of the sessions they could all equally proudly answer “Wherever I want: I’m the designer!”
Winnie has written about her journey over on Scruffy Badger, go check her out!
- Close bust dart.
- Close waist dart and open dart at armscye notch.
- Draw in style line from bust pivot point to side seam approx. 6.25cm from waist. Mark in notches for gather control.
- Close RHS armscye dart.
- Slash LHS from style line to bust dart.
- Close LHS armscye dart.
- Spread LHS released sections.
The skirt part is composed of rows of French seamed circular flounces, originally developed but rejected as a “Super Sempstress” cape for my Foundation Degree final collection, which means it’s been residing in the box since 2007. The top part’s origin is unknown, probably brought back from a scavenging mission at Anne Kings. It’s a Kimono shape with delicate white on white cutwork which had been removed from a very damaged gathered straight skirt. The cutwork is machine made but the rest of the garment had been constructed with perfectly regular hand stitching. The Empire Line join had a hand sewn feather stitch to reinforce and secure the seam allowances and once my clear out is finished I’ll recreate it. The Obi belt, in case you’re interested, is a lovely buttery soft grey leather which I’ve owned so long I’ve forgotten where it’s from.
It’s been a busy Summer at House of Jo. I’m near the end of a Busman’s Holiday of sorts and have been working on a project with my colleague Andrew Richards which will be released into the wild in S/S 12. In the meantime, here’s a cuff and cuff guard construction worksheet lying fallow on my hard drive.
Martin Margiela can be considered the fashion designer’s designer and possibly a 7th member of the Antwerp 6, Rei Kawabuko and the late Alexander McQueen praised his work as inspirational. Margiela was born on April 9, 1957 in Belgium and studied fashion at the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts in Antwerp. After graduating cut his teeth as a freelance designer (1980-1985) before three years assisting Jean Paul Gaultier.
Irish Crochet is lace/crochet hybrid traditionally composed of a fine linen thread. A series of button hole stitches (or double crochets) are worked with a very fine crochet hook over a foundation cord of various thickness or strands. This padding foundation thread is in and out of work as the individual motif requires and can be used to draw up the petals to create a curve or a curl to mimic petals and provide a stabilising element. These individual motifs are then sewn face down to a temporary background and joined together with a fine netting crocheted ground.
Initially Irish Lace was a significant part of the Irish needlework tradition offering women the possibility of working from home and supplementing household income, something that was never more necessary than in the years after the Potato Famine of the 1840’s. In an attempt to revive the Irish economy classes in Irish Crochet were given by charitable organisations to anyone who was willing to learn. Crocheted lace was a particularly suitable technique for this because as initial investment for a cottage industry were minimal: thread & hook rather than the multiple pairs of bobbins and cushions required for lacemaking. Crochet is an incredibly portable occupation having only one active stitch at anyone time, making it easier to pick up and put down as other tasks dictate. The vogue for light coloured lace must also have been a boon for those working under poorly lit conditions and it should also be remembered that the unique quality of this lace being made from individual motifs would have allowed collaboration between women. This is particularly possible as there is an element of free styling to making the motifs-mistakes can be easily disguised and do not impact upon the eventual fabric.
Even Gaultier has had a go.