sewing and construction

Glossary: Fastenings

Glossary: Fastenings | The Cutting Class. Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris. Fastenings reference busk hardware of corsets.

Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Examples of back fastening details that were used in the Chanel Autumn-Winter 2014 couture collection that appeared to be based on the same hardware that would normally be used as a closure on the busks of corsets. The busk section is usually used in the front of corsets, while the corset lacing is used at the back.

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Draping and Moulage

Draping and Moulage | The Cutting Class. Progress image of draping on a Hervé L. Leroux garment for couture SS13.

Work in progress on a dress for the label Hervé L. Leroux from the Spring-Summer 2013 couture collection.

While many designers design garments that can be created using flat pattern making techniques, other garments are created by working directly on a mannequin using techniques often referred to as “draping” or “moulage”. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when working in this way if you are using draping techniques to develop your own designs.

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Creating Cartridge Pleats

Creating Cartridge Pleats | The Cutting Class. Alexander McQueen, AW13, Paris.

Alexander McQueen, AW13, Paris.

Cartridge pleats are a detail that you may associate with historical and period costume as they are often used to create Elizabethan ruffs and provide fullness on skirts. The labour intensive detail does however have the sort of beautiful structure that is often used in contemporary garments, and can easily be appropriated into collections today as both a structural or decorative detail.

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Star Wars and Smocking at Rodarte

Star Wars and Smocking at Rodarte | The Cutting Class. Rodarte, AW14, New York.

Rodarte, AW14, New York.

From a construction perspective, the Rodarte collections tend to revive or reference the sort of techniques you’d expect to see in a dusty craft magazine whether it’s patchwork and quilting, or in the case of Autumn-Winter 2014, smocking and crochet. In a way it is the adaptation of these homely, retro construction techniques that helps to give depth to the awkward nostalgia of their collections.

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Modern Ruffles at Dries Van Noten

Modern Ruffles at Dries Van Noten | The Cutting Class. Dries Van Noten, SS14, Paris.

Dries Van Noten, SS14, Paris.

The ruffle is one of those sewing embellishments that can struggle to look contemporary, too often falling into the trap of looking prissy or dated. For his Spring-Summer 2014 collection, Dries Van Noten was able to use ruffles without compromising on the usual slouchy cool of his collections.

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Graffiti Inspired Textiles at Céline

Graffiti Inspired Textiles at Céline | The Cutting Class. Céline, SS14.

Céline, SS14, Paris.

In contrast to some of the more subdued minimalism that Céline has become known for, Phoebe Philo’s collection for Spring-Summer 2014 felt altogether more guttural, drawing on the photography of Brassaï as a reference to create textiles dripping with thread and marked by bold woven and printed brushstrokes.

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Simple Details at Helmut Lang

Simple Details at Helmut Lang | The Cutting Class

Helmut Lang, SS14, New York.

With some of the simpler and more minimal catwalk collections it is worth spending the time to drill down on the elements at play, and move beyond just “I like it because it’s so simple” to “It works because they’ve refined this particular detail”. The Helmut Lang collection for Spring-Summer 2014 was filled with simple details that take time and consideration to refine and execute correctly.

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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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Working With Difficult Materials: Part 1

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

Some of the most eye catching new conceptual designs are made from surprising fabric choices that require new methods of construction. From creating the patterns through to sewing the seams there are a number of different approaches that you can try so that the design that you imagine does not become plagued by construction and process issues.

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Trims in Negative Space at Christopher Kane

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Christopher Kane, AW13, London.

We often think of trims and braids as something that goes on the outside of garments. We run trims around edges, sew them on top of seams and add them onto finished garments. There’s no reason though why we can’t make space for trims within the panelling of garments, taking advantage of windows of negative space. There was a nice detail in the Christopher Kane show for Autumn-Winter 2013 that serves as perfect inspiration for some new ways to approach trim details.

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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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Surreal Motifs at Christian Dior

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Christian Dior, AW13, Paris.

The recent Christian Dior collection for Autumn-Winter 2013 used an array of solid and elegantly draped silhouettes in combination with sparse embellishments seen in the form of painterly watercolours and illustrations borrowed from Andy Warhol»

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Comme des Garçons Shows How Ribbon Roses Are Done

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Comme des Garçons, AW13, Paris.

There is always a certain generosity in the way that the Comme des Garçons garments are created, more specifically a generosity of volume. This means that when Rei Kawakubo does a take on ribbon roses, then we are not shown mere puny, silky roses but are instead shown large masses of fabric that seem to grow from oversized tailored garments.

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Louis Vuitton’s Checkerboard Counterchange

Louis Vuitton, SS13, Paris.

It was all about the graphic use of counterchange at the Spring-Summer 2013 show for Louis Vuitton. A checkerboard design was used in a wide variety of scales, with minute details to match.

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