This is going to sound really smug, but it’s not like that. I’m actually surprised this is such a mystery to most people. When I was in high school, I’d pore over European fashion magazines, wishing I had a machine that could scan (before scanners) a photo from the pages (usually Gaultier) and make a copy of the actual garment, only you know, at a price I could afford. Well, I went to fashion school and quickly became that machine. I was fortunate to have an awesome patternmaking teacher in Connie Amaden Crawford at FIDM. She helped me uncover my talent for draping & patternmaking.
Continue reading How To Solve Any Problem With Fabric.
I went to Boma Siara to teach the girls how to do a rub off. This is a popular trick used by every major designer I’ve worked for, because there’s always some amazing garment one might want to have a pattern of. Because said garment is often rented from a vintage purveyor, or bought from a store to be returned shortly, it’s best to be able to copy it without taking it apart. This is called a rub-off because you literally rub wax chalk or pencil on muslin laid over the garment, to transfer its seams to the muslin. The muslin is then used to make a pattern. I figured this would be a great lesson for the girls, as they could copy any client’s favorite garment, which is much faster and easier than making a pattern from measurements. The students were overjoyed to see the process, and I was overjoyed to be showing them a marketable skill. Especially when one pointed out that they could use it to copy a popular used garment, as pretty much all the non-African style clothing sold here is used, and there’s a really interesting documentary about that whole process, called “Travels of a T-Shirt” or something. Anyway, I copied a lovely leather jacket I’d gotten from a Rozae Nichols sample sale, and cut it in a Tanzanian Kitenga fabric printed with Giraffes and Zebras. I’ll know later this week if the girls remembered the lesson well, as they did not have time to practice the method themselves. Lucky for me, the sewing teacher was also there, and she sewed up the jacket, since I have never used a foot-powered sewing machine and didn’t want to try just yet. I find it very amusing that here I am surrounded by Husqvarna (non-electric, at that!) sewing machines, and back home I have a Husqvarna motorcycle!
Continue reading Saturday’s Patternmaking Lesson