Posts tagged patternmaking

Saturday’s Patternmaking Lesson

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!

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