Thursday, July 15, 2010

Slopers and Steroids

The results of Mr. Dude's dedicated measuring of his wife:

Here we have both a pants and a shell fitting pattern, complete with seam allowances -- what?!? That's right. Pattern Maker includes seam allowances in their computations, which excites me more than I care to admit.


So, 'member that time when I said I was off to buy muslin and a printer?

I lied.

I managed to get as far as printing out the patterns. I won't put in writing exactly how I managed, but I did. However I still don't have the proper fabric to bust these out.

We've had some... well, interesting issues lately with a next door neighbor who is experiencing a bit of corticosteroid-induced paranoid psychosis. And by "corticosteroid-induced paranoid psychosis" I mean literally. Not in the figurative sense you might be used to. Not like when you're all, "What's up with my boss lately? She's totally got a case of corticosteroid-induced paranoid psychosis. Jeez."

Nope. Not like that.

I mean like when you're all, "What's up with my next door neighbor using a sledgehammer to manually disassemble his garage all Sunday afternoon, then glaring at Mr. Dude demanding, 'Do you know who I really am???', jumping in his SUV and racing it at 140 mph off the nearest freeway on-ramp into a ditch, getting cut out of said demolished SUV with the jaws of life, then escaping the emergency room with a compound fracture in his arm and six broken ribs against doctors' warnings, removing the cast and stitches himself during a bout with insomnia, then telling Mr. Dude that if he ever feels like helping him take the rest of the stitches out to just go ahead and knock on his door whenever? Seems like he's got a case of corticosteroid-induced paranoid psychosis. Jeez."

So I've been a bit jumpy around my house lately, is all.

Hopefully I can tackle the fitting shell and pants sometime soon. And hopefully my neighbor doesn't find another SUV to use.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jeesh, slopers already.

I understand Ms. Fasanella's point about nubes and slopers and her precautions against looking like a dork when pursuing a career in the fashion industry. Luckily, no one would ever confuse my project for anything at all fashion-industry-y, so awaaaay we go!

Slopers, slopers, SLO-O-O-P-P-PERS.

At first glance, a sloper might seem like a dumb thing because it is essentially a pattern for a super boring plain shift with nothing useful at all about it including, but not limited to, seam allowances. It vaguely resembles a pattern, except that it's missing things like design details, anything that might make you want to wear it, and any indicators of what the hell you're supposed to do with it. And this is because it is the most basic prototype for the body you are designing for, for the design elements you feel bursting out of your designer head, for all those things that will require you to develop indicators of what the hell you're supposed to do to make a garment. Problem is, in order to make use of a sloper, it helps if you have some idea of what you're doing -- but that fun will come later.

So the first item of business is to take an assload of measurements. In certain phases of my past life, I dealt with a lot of charts like this, charts that make me feel a bit woozy about my ability to not screw up where numbers and accuracy are involved. It's considered an art form for a reason, right? The art of precise mechanical engineering. Where art and nuclear physics combine in a seductive, mind-numbing dance. But you need these measurements to make sure your final product, the sloper, is precise and useable. We'll use them to double-check our work as we go.

I was curious about the old-school method of drafting a sloper, and found this, which to me represents how NASA would approach garment design. I'm all for playing rocket scientist for an afternoon, but I'm not sure how the resulting garments might function if I were to rely too heavily on my math skillz. (Still, it's certainly a clearer description of the method than this, which makes me want to fling myself off the cliffs at Torrey Pines.)

Some techniques have you take a ready-made "fitting shell pattern," and adjust it according to all those measurements we took. I might look into this option, but I have a feeling I have the tendency to over fit things which might be amplified by this approach.

But then I came across this, and I think I like it. I will need to actually try it and all, but in theory it's awesome. It comes with its own measurement chart which Mr. Dude will helped me complete (before cocktail hour), and you just plug all those numbers in and click on a button and, voilĂ  - a pattern that will (sort of) work! From reviews it seems you still need to double check the measurements and fit it to yourself, but it sounds like you get a better result right off the bat than any commercial pattern will likely achieve. Once I have the pattern I will need to make a fitting shell out of it in an appropriate fabric, double checking it with my measurements, and fit it to my actual body. My O.G. pattern drafting books tell me that my fabric needs to be a heavy-ish muslin that I haven't washed the sizing out of, with a nicely squared weave straight off the bolt. I've got three giant boxes of fabric in my studio with nothing of the sort in any one of them. Seems I'm addicted to pre-washing fabric.

Off to buy muslin and a printer,
Ms. May

For the love of ignorance. (And slopers.)

So, yeah, that sloper link in the last post was a little technical. And, apparently, it was also wrong. Semantics can get so bitchy, eh? Hopefully my home studio will stay fashion-industry-whore-free and no one will snicker at me for using a sloper. Though, done right, a good snicker could be pre-t-ty funny.

For the sake of clarity, I'll be referring to the thing that results from the draping of a bunch of effing cloth tightly across my bosoms and gut to get my actual shape as a fitting shell. And the stupid thing that results from it, the non-pattern for chrissakes, I'm calling a sloper.

And here's where a disclaimer is due.

I have never gone to design school. Okay, I have, but it doesn't count because it was theatrical costume design and I quit so fast I never got past Ionesco or made it to the after-hours orgy portion of the gross absinthe parties everyone was always having. Okay, maybe they didn't have actual absinthe, but they totally wished they had absinthe. This lack of formal training means I don't know a lot of proper terminology. Or worse, I think I do and I don't. For example, I have no idea how one refers to the green silk I'm using for the lining. It's a heavy. It's crunchy. It's green. Taffeta? I don't know. That's all I've got. And I appreciate that it's probably more respectful of the art and practice of fashion design (or whatever we're calling this) to actually take the time to learn what that silk is called, or what the parts of a machine are named, or what the truly proper seam would be in a particular application. But, dude, I don't have room in my brain for that and generally functioning in life. I'm hoping these things will become demystified over time as I progress through this project. Therefore, the words "thing," "thingy," "whatever," and "stuff," and the phrase "I don't know" are most likely going to show up a lot around here. And, kids, maybe we'll learn together.

That's enough yammering for today. More later.

Ms. May

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Procrastinate much?

Yes, I lag.

And, yes, I stress about lagging. But enough already!

I will shove the neurosis down to show you:

Which is supposed to come together to make this:

How, you ask? I don't know.

I spent the better part of Furlough Friday installing padding on my work table so I can iron big pieces of fabric instead of figuring out how to actually make this thing exist. My hands are permanently clutched into claws from stretching layer after layer of flannel and stapling like a crazy person rather than drafting the mock-up to this coat. There may have been an over-abundance of coffee involved.

I also realized that I've never made a sloper for myself, which I think anyone who sews for themselves will tell you is an absolute must. I'm a rebel. I like doing things the hard way. Some might say, the impossible way. I feel like I learn more this way. Har har.

And this weekend was spent in Palm Desert, so there was much more of this:

...than designing and sewing going on.

Seriously, though, my next post will prolly be about boring slopers. I just think emerald green silk and SUPER scratchy double pinstriped wool are much more fun to look at. And Mr. Dude and Pearl in their Fourth of July glory, also. And, since I'm still setting up my basic tools for this project, I've decided not to start the clock yet.

Neener neener,
Ms. May