pattern making techniques

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 1

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves Part 1 | The Cutting Class. Céline, SS14, Paris.

Céline, SS14, Paris.

There have been a few questions posed to The Cutting Class recently about sleeve shaping, so this post has been put together to take a different look at sleeves. The focus will especially be on the fullness created around the armhole area and will help you to think about where exactly the fullness and shaping is distributed through a few different styles of sleeves.

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A Nod to Process at Vionnet

A Nod to Process at Vionnet | The Cutting Class. Vionnet, SS14, Demi-Couture, Paris.

Vionnet, SS14, Demi-Couture, Paris.

In his first collection working on Demi-Couture at Vionnet, Hussein Chalayan created a range of garments that worked with pleating and layers of sheer fabrics often embellished with cords and metal hardware. There was also a nod to the pattern making process with fabric prints that resembled pattern making paper.

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Clever Pattern Making Details at Kenzo

Clever Pattern Making Details at Kenzo | The Cutting Class. Kenzo, AW14, Paris.

Kenzo, AW14, Paris.

Hidden amongst the clashing colours and prints of the Kenzo collection for Autumn-Winter 2014, there were some clever pattern making details including crisscrossed lapels and panels that folded back on themselves to create peplums and collars.

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How To Work Out Patterns for Complex Details

How To Work Out Patterns for Complex Details | The Cutting Class. Images from Valentino, SS08, Couture Collection.

Valentino, Couture, SS08.

The Cutting Class recently received a query about how the skirt folds had been constructed on two dresses from Valentino’s final Couture show in Spring-Summer 2008. This seemed like a good opportunity to talk through some strategies for working out these sorts of details yourself.

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Inspiration Images for Subtraction Pattern Cutting

Inspiration Images for Subtraction Pattern Cutting | The Cutting Class. Comme des Garçons from Jane Magazine August 1998

Comme des Garçons. Image from Jane Magazine August 1998 via iiiinspired»

Following on from the previous post on Subtraction Pattern Cutting with Julian Roberts» it seemed fitting to collect together some images of garments that could possibly have been created using this pattern cutting technique, or which could inspire you to experiment with this technique yourself. If you haven’t already downloaded the "Free Cutting" PDF by Julian Roberts», then download the book now and then be inspired by the following images.

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Subtraction Pattern Cutting with Julian Roberts

Subtraction Pattern Cutting with Julian Roberts | The Cutting Class

Image from “Free Cutting” by Julian Roberts.

Many garments are created from flat pattern making methods, or from drape methods, but a method of “hollow construction” has been created by fashion designer Julian Roberts». This pattern cutting technique known as “Subtraction Cutting” makes the most of the negative spaces that can be opened up in fabric and falls somewhere between traditional pattern making and drape resulting in experimental garments that break the boundaries of the usual garment shapes.

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Working With Difficult Materials: Part 2

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Garment images are from the project “The Garments May Vary” by Nadine Goepfert via Thisispaper»

As we began to discuss in the previous post, Working With Difficult Materials: Part 1», there are many strategies that you can adopt when designing and working with difficult fabrics. In this post we will discuss some tactics you can try to help you to experiment with how you sew the fabric and some ways to streamline your draping and pattern making processes as well.

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Thom Browne’s Off The Body Tailoring

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Thom Browne, AW13, New York.

When the silhouette of a garment moves far enough away from the body, all the old pattern shapes become almost obsolete, and the garment needs to be dissected by a new set of panel lines. The Autumn-Winter 2013 collection by Thom Browne showed a perfect example of how traditional tailoring can be stylised to the point where new pattern cutting techniques are needed.

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Shaping the Shoulder Curve: The Dropped Shoulder and the Set In Sleeve

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Antonio Marras, RST14, New York.

When pattern making any garment that crosses over from the shoulder to the arm, you need to consider the placement of seam lines and have an understanding of how the seam line placement will affect the shaping of patterns. The position of the armhole seam line, and the amount of volume in the pattern will have a large part to play in how the silhouette is created, and in how much movement there is in the armhole for the person wearing the garment.

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Fundamentals of Pattern Making: Tucks and Gathers at Prada

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Prada, as shown with Menswear SS14, Milan.

As part of the recent menswear show, Prada also showed a selection of womenswear pieces that will be sold as part of Resort 2014. Among the womenswear pieces were a variety of examples of how tucks and gathers can be used to create shaping and fullness.

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Ways To Think About Pattern Changes and Fitting Alterations

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Comme des Garçons, AW97. Photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia 1997.

This amazing photograph of a Comme des Garçons dress provides a perfect visual example of how to think about parts of garments as separate plates that come together to create a 3D form. Thinking about a garment in this way will help you to recognise fitting problems and to correct pattern issues.

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Matched Pinstripes at Alexander McQueen

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Alexander McQueen, SS06, Paris.

One of Alexander McQueen’s more subdued collections Spring-Summer 2006 provides a garment that is a good case study for precise pattern cutting. The relatively understated piece that blends a tailored jacket into a tailored pair of shorts, uses a carefully measured dart to flow the pinstripes continuously through the front of the jacket.

A waist dart is used to create shaping in the front of the jacket without disturbing the line of the stripes and allows the eye to follow the pinstripes down over the welt pocket and through the waistband of the shorts.

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Using Seam Allowances to Support Silhouette

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Robert Wun, “Burnt” Collection, 2012.

In a bid to remove bulk from garments we often try to create patterns with less seams and less seam allowances but there are also times where the positioning of seams, and their seam allowance values, can be used to reinforce the shapes and silhouettes that we want to create.

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Naoki Takizawa Design Illustrates Use of Notches

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Naoki Takizawa, SS11, “Mode & Science III – Anthoropometria”.

This image shows a garment by the designer Naoki Takizawa that was part of his Spring-Summer 2011 collection. The image provides a great way of seeing how pattern notches are used to join different shapes of fabric together to ensure that the garment puzzle pieces will join together correctly when sewn.

In the case of this image, the notches are seen as small black lines which illustrate where the seams need to meet each other. Notches are not normally seen on the finished garment and for this reason it can sometimes be hard to show examples of notching in contemporary fashion, except in cases such as this image where the process of making the garment becomes a visible and aesthetic part of the design.

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Drape Analysis of a Balenciaga Jacket

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Balenciaga, AW13, Paris.

Sometimes it is worthwhile focusing on some of the more subtle pieces of a collection and understanding how they are formed in order to learn from the way they are constructed. The following example diagrams deconstruct the pattern shapes that may have been used for this Balenciaga jacket to examine how the careful draping has been formed.

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