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Jul 9, 2016

First Patternmaking Class Project: Hit or Miss?



Readers, my first formal flat patternmaking class project was to create a (structured) drop shoulder hip-length top.

The bodice could not be fitted.  It had to either be tent shaped (we created a tent-shaped sloper in class) or a simple box shape with no waist darts.   We were to create only the right side of the garment and use muslin and one other fabric.  Our professor emphasized that she wanted us to be creative.

I tried my best with a not-terribly-inspiring-to-me assignment.  I'm not a fan of the drop shoulder.  If truth be told, until our professor showed us some examples of one, I didn't even know what a structured drop shoulder was.  Here are some of the photos she posted on the blackboard for inspiration:









I also found a few structured drop shoulder vintage patterns online:





I own this one.

In class, we learned how to draft the drop shoulder torso from our basic fitted torso sloper and sleeve sloper.  Lots of steps involved.  Parenthetically, one of the odd techniques I've seen a number of FIT professors use is, rather than measure and divide a number, say, into fourths, they'll take a paper scrap, mark the distance between two points, then fold the paper in half and half again and use that measurement.  Anything to avoid math.



Anyway, I created style lines on my dress form and worked through some ideas.



An early sketch looked like a vintage Fifties maternity smock -- very I Love Lucy.



I decided to design a front yoke that extended into the drop shoulder and dropped down in front like a tuxedo shirt plastron.  My contrast fabric is a blue floral quilting cotton remnant.  I added a line of narrow ruffles for visual interest.  (I made them on my Singer 15-91 with my vintage Singer ruffler attachment.  The rest of the garment was made either on my Singer or my pink Hello Kitty Janome.)



I also added a simple Mandarin collar and button loops.



Finally, I drafted a pattern for a lantern sleeve -- my first lantern sleeve ever.  The top portion is muslin and the bottom is my floral quilting cotton.  There's a narrower muslin inner sleeve that supports the outer sleeve and keeps it looking full.







I'll admit it's a rather strange looking garment but it is well made: all the edges are faced and all the facings have sew-in interfacing.  I could see a Fifties hostess wearing this over cigarette pants and ballet slippers, couldn't you?  (This kind of thing.  Or this.)  Perhaps a pregnant Fifties hostess....

Since I'm working with a Size 12 dress form in class, I was able to try the top on myself.  It would definitely be more wearable with a left side.





Readers, what do you think?   Too weird for words or just wacky enough to work (or something else entirely)?

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the other students come up with.  (Hopefully I'll be able to take few pics and share them with you.)

Have a great day, everybody!

40 comments:

  1. I could see this in sparkly fabrics, no ruffle, for an evening wrap. Perhaps velvet, brocade, or lace. I like the lines of your design.

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  2. I like the design but I wonder how it might look with pin tucks instead of ruffles? You have done a great job with finishing your work!

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  4. I like it; it has a definite 70s feel and I think fulfilled all the requirements of the assignment. Good job!

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  5. I second everything that Katie said. My first thoughts when you posted about this a couple of days ago ran straight to Lucille Ball - in a good way.

    Spud.

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  6. I really like it; it's just the sleeves that are a little ... ugly. With plain white sleeves (not clown sleeves) it would be really cute.

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  7. I think you pulled it off: fulfills the brief and is well-made. Do you follow Rhonda Buss' blog? She often shares drafting and wonderful sleeves.

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  8. Who did the wonderful sketch?
    Vancouver Barbara

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  9. This looks very Victorian , early 1900's or turn of the century . Having made a few living history outfits myself for this time period I would say you incorporated many of the time period's details. Puffy long gathered sleeves. Upright collar, yoke front with ruffles and a wide bodice that is tucked into a long A line skirt.

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    1. Oh, I never made that connection but you're absolutely right!

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  10. Some of my vintage drafting books use the "mark a piece of paper and fold it in half or thirds" for measuring. But they use this mostly for small numbers (like half of 5/8s) or something, which makes me suspect that their rulers didn't go down that small.

    And then it became an artifact of an era of sewing.

    But what a wacky top! I agree with the I Love Lucy vibe.

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  11. It looks like a shortened church choir robe because of the color contrast. Maybe better in softer shades/pastels?

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  12. You need to keep doing this, you are good.

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  13. I love the thinking and the work that went into it. The actual item reminds me of old Filipino ladies I used to work with. They were badass in florals.

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  14. Bonkers- I loved it at first sight...then changed my mind. Beautifully done, but I'm afraid you CAN have too much Lucy, it seems!

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  15. Beautifully made. Absolutely met the brief. But no.

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  16. I love seeing all of these crazy projects you make for class. I think it's a hit. You've followed the (not so inspiring-to-you) instructions and you've made something excellently. Do I love it? Not so much but if I were in a Shakespearean play, this would be my go to costume! It is rather Lucy during the expecting phase. And Mary Tyler Moore could probably have rocked it with her cigarette pants.

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  17. That sleeve could be burnout velvet or sheer chiffon and the inner sleeve a nude sheer. Not crazy about the ruffles but the lines are great. You entertain us and educate us at the same time...Bravo!

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  18. To me, it's 2 great things that aren't great together. The sleeve would be great with a simple bodice, and the dropped shoulder (with or without the ruffle) would be terrific with a simple sleeve.

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  19. I think this would work in all over black chiffon. The drape of the fabric would take the look from the Victorian age to something much modern.
    Lee

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    1. I was thinking the same thing. A lightweight, drapey black silk would take the bulkiness out of the sleeves and body and tone down the ruffles.

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  20. You fulfilled the requirements of the assignment to the letter. The instructors inspiration pictures are not especially inspiring. The mod jacket is fun, but those 80s dresses remind me how hideous that episode of fashion was. I echo a p/p observation. The bodice would be better with a simple sleeve, and the full sleeve would be better balances with a simpler bodice. The ruffles while beautifully executed, are too much. Look forward to seeing further projects. You clearly have learned a lot this summer.

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  21. Freddie FOREVER!!!!

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  22. This looks just like a muumuu that tutu's (grandmothers) would wear in the old days -- the floral print, big yoke and ruffles all around the yoke. The sleeves would be puffed but not as large as yours, or they could be slim fitting. I think it is adorable! I also love that drop shoulder pattern you have, not commercial because of the precise fit needed, but something a home sewer could achieve. Thanks to you :), I am looking for vintage patterns that can deliver that custom look.

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  23. I really like the jacket/skirt combo in the 3rd example picture -- late '60s, early '70s? It has a structured, modern look that I prefer.

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  24. I often see garments disparaged as "maternity smock." You know what? For the 4-5 months that a woman NEEDS maternity wear, she REALLY needs it. It would be very nice to be able to purchase/make something lovely and light and floaty and pretty, instead of squeezing oneself into spandex as is the current fashion. Being pregnant in the summertime in the U.S. South is a very sweaty proposition.

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    1. I've heard that getting pregnant in the South is too!

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  25. Given the requirements, you did good on the lines, except for that ruffle. Ruffles just aren't my style :-) And another preference-only item, is those 2 colors don't do anything for me. If this were in 2 fabrics that were much more closely coordinated in color, I'd wear it.

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  26. I've never heard of a lantern sleeve. Interesting. I wonder why you were instructed to make the right side only though?

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  27. In awe of your beautiful workmanship. So interesting to learn the names of things. Has the feeling of the Italian clown (can't think of his name.) In all white, minus the ruffles, a pirate shirt.

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    1. Are you thinking of Pierrot maybe? Or the opera Pagliacci?

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  28. Learning and laughing! I get so much out of your adventures and the comments. I don't have time for the classes and am so glad that you do! Keep going, keep posting!

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  29. Yup...well done, followed the brief, but no. You'll keep taking these classes and making things that you'd never wear but will know SO MUCH!! I love the Butterick one, tho. In a jersey or double knit...yum.

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  30. As an exercise , perfect ! As a garment .......... But then I don't like the patterns either , I like very simple clothes best , in a nice material. Whenever I tried something with a more elaborate cut , I did not feel " at home ".

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  31. It is truly weird, but i mean it as a compliment. I would make it a "cowboy" blouse, marrying this weird, frilly, feminine look with something durable. Corduroy contrast, leather appliques, rhinestones, fringe... (I'm totally serious)

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  32. i love the sleeves! Lantern sleeves are so cool, but very rarely used nowadays. As to whether it's a hit or miss... I suppose it depends on what you're measuring. Did it excellently fulfill all the requirements of the assignment... Yes, and more! Is it a sweetly nostalgic reminder of another time and place... Absolutely yes. Is it a garment most people would feel comfortable wearing on the street today (assuming it had a left side)... ehhh, maybe not so much. And yet, and yet...
    I could see it made in two or more different, solid color wools, no ruffles, extended to calf length, worn as a winter coat. Hmmm... So that's a yes for the pattern from me!

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    1. Oops, meant to say two different tones of one color fabric. So the seaming is clear, but not as contrasted.

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