Friday, January 28, 2011

What I'm Working on Now.

 This is my documentation of a new project I just completed yesterday. It's my first attempt at T.R. pattern making which is a little known Japanese pattern making technique.  T.R. stands for "Transformation Reconstruction" and is completely unlike traditional methods. It involves free-hand sketching on the muslin, & cutting up your own design (eep!) to transform it to something else.  Currently, there's very little information available in English on this technique and I mostly taught myself from Japanese Youtube videos!  From what I can tell, there is just one Japanese professor slowly tour universities teaching this method and is currently in Milan.  He's rumored to be coming to North America in 2011, but nothing confirmed. I'd love to take a class from him but since that's unlikely, I think I'm on my own!   I really enjoyed this project and plan to start another T.R. dress (this time a gown!) this afternoon. 

Before you even start, you need to make a basic A-line sloper pattern piece, achieved by draping muslin on the dress form. This photo shows taking what's on the form & drafting the flat pattern piece.
Okay, getting started! Free-form sketching shapes directly on the muslin sloper.
I wanted to add design to the hips, so I needed to join a back sloper to the front to link the shape. This is going to make it impossible to have a normal side seam, but I like a challenge!
All my shapes are sketched on the muslin and I've now drawn my final lines in pen, extending the lines down to divide up the pattern pieces.
Now the whole damn thing gets cut up! This is the 'transformation' part! All the smaller diagonal lines also got cut up (but I forgot to take a picture) making roughly 45 pattern pieces to keep track of.

'Reconstruction' begins with taping strips of paper between the cut pieces. This has to be done very carefully so edges will match up later.  You can see the 3-dimensional shape beginning to form.

Each extended piece needs to be re-drafted onto muslin & all important indicator lines marked.
All the final pattern pieces are finished and laid out on the final fashion fabric, which is a shimmery ivory fabric. Yeah, it doesn't exactly look like a normal dress pattern!
The dress is taking shape! You can see on the lower right side where part of the pattern is missing.
Ta Da! The finished dress! It's fully lined with an invisible zipper, but you don't really see that in the pictures.
Click on the pictures to see a larger image

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weirdly Wonderful: Chinese Designer Guo Pei

Imagine if an avant garde Chinese opera hit the fashion runway.  That's the best way I can sum up the work of Chinese designer Guo Pei.  Her designs impractical but undeniably stunning works of wearable art, deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture.   Her models are very brave to wear the shoes, risking a broken ankle with every step.  She gives Alexander McQueen a run for his money in the weirdness department, that's for sure!   Yet the intricate craftsmanship, down to the most minute details, is what makes her designs so breathtaking.   With their bold and exaggerated shapes, the designs are like a colorful fantasy that's both frighting and fascinating.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Summery Tabletop

If there is one thing we need right now it's images of summer!  In MN yesterday we were "blessed" to have temperatures as high as the mid-teens!  So, yeah, it's cold & I find myself wondering why the heck I live here.   But my heart was lifted a little when I saw these wonderful table-scape images from Snippet and Ink!   The flowers were done by Claire Bean.