Our first assignment in the Advanced Couture course at Melbourne Fashion Institute is to “generate a pattern” and design a bespoke tailored jacket for a client. The jacket must have
- two piece sleeves
- at least one single or double welt pocket (outer or inner)
Now, go easy on me! I don’t generally draw, but I had to give it a go! There is a ‘design’ class at MFI but night time was the only option and I’m now relieved I didn’t commit to schlepping into the big smoke more than I already do!
To develop some drawing skills I used the Craftsy class ‘Drawing Fashion Flats’ by Laura Volpintesta. Laura also runs tutorials online – Fashion Tribe. She’s one of those lovely warm teachers with a nice sing song-y voice. She advises to draw something basic and then create photocopied sheets on which to try different design elements. All the better just to scratch away with lots of ideas and not be intimidated by redrawing the jacket every time a fancy idea popped into my head. You don’t want to vet anything at this stage – just get lots of ideas down on paper.
An alternative to the photocopied basic shape is to draw over your basic using tracing paper. Perhaps if you’re really not sure about the basic shape (outline) of your garment, this might work better.
I’m designing for Princess. Some in my class are designing for their boyfriends/partners. Some are designing for the size 8 dummy, which completely defeats the purpose of bespoke design for a human body if you ask me!! Princess has no hips, so I thought I’d design her some by allowing a bit more ease over the hip/backside. Interesting panels could work to accentuate the hips?? My tutor wasn’t keen on that idea, but he was keen on the use of hand stitching on the outside. I would prefer to see it on the inside!
Princess specific design considerations
- Client has no hips
- Generous bust with a small waist
- Broad shoulders
- Tres conservative (classic) and absolutely will not wear anything remotely outlandish
No matter how I tried to be ‘design-y’, a standard tuxedo jacket without bells and whistles appealed to us both. Classic tailoring was what I was aiming for, using classic tailoring methods. Understated and well fitted, not on trend, but somewhat timeless – is that even possible?
If you have a generous bust, the jacket will be more flattering if there is less fabric extending beyond centre front. Yes folks, I’m quite proud of having come to this realisation all by myself!
Just imagine you’re wearing a double breasted jacket unbuttoned – so much fabric hanging open at centre front. The side view will be overwhelmingly extended. Single breasted – less fabric at the bust line from side view when worn open.
‘No breasted’ (is there a name for this?) – each side meeting at centre front extending to a cut away hem, no overlap = minimal fabric from the side view.
This blew my mind!! Can anyone see a flaw in my theory? I’m interested in your thoughts on this bust minimising strategy.
So I set about patternmaking a jacket block from the school’s size 10 dress block. Hmm, only 2 calico toiles and it was looking pretty good for a block. It may have been more expedient to draft the jacket block from scratch, I’ll never know because having got it this far, I’m unlikely to revisit the task!! Oh ignore the sleeve, that was a moment of madness that clearly didn’t work!
It may have been the very wise Linda who suggested using pattern envelope line drawings to test design ideas . Just trace the line drawing, blow it up on your printer – then sketch all over it! Have you ever tried this trick?
Stay tuned – the jacket gets better honest!