Vintage pattern design update

This post refers to the previous vintage pattern design contest. All of this belongs under comments of that post but not everybody will know to look there for updates so I put it here. Also, some people are writing me directly or posting to another list instead of placing their comments here so I have to summarize and address those. Btw, I’m very pleased with the response. Invite some more friends.


People seem to be interested in the project but they either want to personalize it or they don’t have the specified fabric in the specified color (white rayon). This is not a problem, this was just supposed to be for fun, I didn’t think anybody would actually do it so let’s just play a little first until we get to know each other and can work together. Okay, I agree that not everybody may have access to rayon for the project. I understand that but I had to specify something. I picked rayon because it has some drape to it and it’s not anything close to silk in price. I think a poly georgette would work if somebody had some of that. As it was, even I couldn’t come up with some white rayon so I got a length of coral micro-fiber something. What happened to rayon? There wasn’t any in the store. weird.

Also, this exercise is from an industrial perspective because it’s useful to learn a different mind-set. Keep what’s useful and leave the rest. As an industrial exercise -to have a pattern made- you have to specify the fabric type so you can draft for it. There was also a little trick in my contest. Rayon shrinks. I was hoping people would catch on and either pre-wash their fabrics or cut to compensate. Now, if you don’t have any rayon, do what you can. Use the lightest colored fabric you have. The fabric restriction -a light colored solid, no prints- is important because it’s very difficult to see problems if your eye is chasing detail all over the piece or it’s too dark to see ugly lines. So cut it out of the lightest color possible This is just for the try-outs. If you like the way it comes out, maybe you can cut it out of something else. Please do not assume your project will be final-form on your first try. If it is, you’re a better pattern maker than I am and I’d like to meet you, so please call me.

Styling. Again, this is just for fun, so have fun. Let’s call the style depicted as the source of your own vision of what you’d like it to look like. As it is, I was going to cheat myself (don’t think that I didn’t know that a lot of you were going to cheat either because I did). The block I’m using is a V-neck bias cut dress that I knocked out of the book _Madeleine Vionnet_ by Betty Kirke. I was going to adjust the neckline before I slash and spread to shape it to match the basic neckline but now I’m not. Just do something that folks could readily identify as relating to the design. As it is, I’ve decided to make mine a dress so I’ll be attaching a skirt. I don’t know about sleeves tho. I’m looking for an excuse to use my Klein Bottle sleeves but I don’t think it’d work on this. Btw, have I mentioned I’ve done a lot of experimental type pattern drafting? It’s all math, I wish I knew more about it. I’m horribly obsessed with topography, origami math, Escher and Erte. I wish I knew more math.

Cheating…welcome to my industrial mind-set again. C’mon chicas, what’s the goal here? The goal is to have the best looking prototype based on this design. That’s it. Not only is draping not cheating, who said you even had to make the thing yourself? Someone was concerned whether draping was cheating which brought up my whole belief system of just what is cheating. First off, who said you couldn’t enter the contest by hiring someone to draft and sew your design for you? Nobody. I surely didn’t. In my opinion, the person who did that should be the winner! That’s the point of manufacturing. You can’t do everything yourself and once you figure that out is when you start to make broad strides. Hire out to others what they do best and nurture a talent.

I don’t see cheating the same way you do. For example, I once gave a class in Manufacturing 101 here in El Paso and about 20 people showed up. Three of the attendees came together, three sisters who already operate a going concern, a laundry facility that processes denim for local manufacturers. Anyway, I always give an opening quiz designed mostly to open people’s eyes to the myths of the industry but it also included some practical questions, and I look over and these three chicks are working together on the test, sharing answers, passing their sheets back and forth amongst each other. I’ll bet you’d consider that cheating just as some of the others in the room did but I didn’t, they were smart. The test wasn’t really about what any single person knew about the business, it was knowing how to know, it was knowing where to go to get the information you needed. These ladies just shared information, there was no contest amongst them to see who was the “smartest”; they just wanted a positive result (they got the best scores too). There’s a lesson there for all of you. To me, cheating means taking something that’s not yours and saying it is and that’s in word, thought or deed.

Conclusion? Take smart short-cuts. The goal is not to be the smartest person in the room; it’s to be the most successful. Being successful doesn’t mean stomping on other people but nobody’s getting hurt if you’re paying for the work.

Related entries:
Vintage pattern design contest
Vintage pattern design update
Re-inventing Vionnet & 24001 draft
Vintage pattern post #4
Vintage pattern post #5

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