Transfering Patterns or designs to embroidery

A word on transferring designs. I truly enjoy applique and embroidery, especially Celtic and Nordic knotwork. These designs can be truly breathtaking and complicated. So I wondered how to transfer these intricacies to fabric form without having to use transfer chalk (which wears away way to quickly), washable pens (which don’t always wash away), permanent markers, basteing stitch, or overhead projectors.
What you need:
1. the pattern/design you want to replicate, and the size you want. Do not use original peices, always make a copy.
2. tulle (if you use a light colored one, you can use it on both light and dark fabrics.)
3. Sharpie, wide tip
4. masking tape
Now take the tulle, lay it over the design, use the masking tape to tape the tulle down (it likes to travel). Trace your design or pattern, all lines, avoid blacking in mass areas. When done, remove masking tape and lift up the tulle, file away your paper design/pattern for later reference.
Now lay the tulle over the fabric you plan on using, you can see your outline perfectly. Now you can use disappearing ink pens or pencils for the design. Or you can be OCD like me, and not mark up the fabric, but pin the top two corners of your design to the base fabric. Now start your embroidery, flipping the tulle up and down as needed… kind of like a physical counted cross stitch.

The Joys of Pattern Drafting part II

Okay, since my last pattern draft post, I have been able to complete all my pending projects and finish two others. I finally went back to the drawing board… literally. As I stated before, the pattern draft, for my body style, required 3 darts each for the bust area. This caused the fabric and prints to be severely butchered, ruining the aesthetics of the outfit. Granted, the fit of the outfits were perfect, all of the sundresses require no underlying structure for bust support. Amazing!

Now I want to get the fit with out misshaping the fabric or disfiguring the print designs.

I started where I began before, cutting a basic shape from muslin and sewing in all the darts. I then marked lines all the way up the underlying darts and up to the opposing seam. On the back piece this was easy, I only needed one dart on either side, thus the curvature of the dart to the arms-eye is slightly sloped. On the front, in order to figure out where to place my “master” line, I drew lines all the way through each of the three darts. I then picked the one that was most freezable for the fabric, taking into consideration the slope of curvature. I cut the fabric all the way up these “master” lines, giving me 7 pattern pieces, in total.

Now in doing this, one might notice that one or two of the pieces do not lie flat. This is where the iron is very important. On the pieces where there are intact darts, iron out the pieces so they are as flat as possible. (The fabric may dimple or round over, just get it as flat as can be!) Now I transferred these fabric patterns to paper, and Voila! a new pattern, fully fit with NO darts.

These 7 pieces, require more sewing in total, but they allow for the print, fall, and drape of the fabric to stay intact. Finally I feel more confident modifying this base pattern into the different clothing designs that are rattling around in my head.

As a side note, I do have to make a little statement on seam allowances. I never forget to add seam allowance to all my drafts. I had a teacher in college who drilled that very successfully into my head! But I have noticed that I forget to transfer this seam allowance to the sewing machine. On one of my latest projects (the blue striped sundress with black edging), I drafted out 5/8″ seam allowance, but placed my sewn seams at 3/8″. As you can imagine, the final fit was a bit off. Lets do the math… 2/8″ x 14 = 3 1/2″ off of drafted pattern. that is 3 1/2″ added to the final fit of the dress… that is 3 sizes too big, and needless to say, it fell off. Luckily I figured out this mistake early, and only wasted about 20 minutes of sewing and ironing.

Always remember to sew your seam allowances at the correct width… also! when drafting out, if you use a large tip pen or sharpie, to cut INSIDE the lines, or else you will end up adding 1/8″ to all your pattern pieces. The more pattern pieces you have the greater error will occur.

Pictures to come soon!

Aargh! Homemade patterns…

Inspired by this seasons new show, the Fashion Show, I have been starting to design my own clothing. I began with a pattern draft for the upper body, it fit PERFECTLY. With help from my handsome partner (love you hunny, xo), I was able to get the darts in the right place. I have since tried making two different sun dresses. The first one thwarted me, because during the initial stages of sewing I realized that the fabric I used had more ‘give’ in one direction over the other. Creating the issue of expanded lines. Granted the dress turned out incredibly comfortable, it just was highly disappointing in the aesthetic fit.
The second one, I am half way through, and have had to stop before I set it on fire. I do not want to modify the base pattern draft, but would like to see all the styles I can make with it before I move onto different cuts. All the darts and tucks are perfect, but I wanted to make it have a double lining for the bodice…. What is thwarting me is sewing the neck and arms eye and then turning it right side out…. it is a continuous turn, I just can not seem to get it all the way righted. It is really making me feel a little defunct!
I also realized that I really don’t like what the original pattern does to the fabric. Since I have a somewhat simplified form of a hourglass as a body shape, the breast darts equal 3. It seems to butcher the fabric, which starts to make me not enjoy what I am making! Luckily I am using fabrics that I have been scoring at the local thrift shops! So I am not so heartbroken. I do believe it is best to forgo my original idea of making as many styles off the original pattern draft and move onto the next step and making modified pattern pieces which allow the originality of the fabric to stay intact.
But first I will have to conquer the 2nd sundress, just to show myself that I can not be intimidated by necklines. LOL.

Dealing with Medieval Reenactments in the South.

From 1997 to 2007 I played in the SCA in Northern California, happily learning, loving, and celebrating with the Wonderful Kingdom of the West. I was “found” at a College clubs day, my first semester of college, and was hooked from the start.

Due to the wonderful weather, diverse locations, and multitude of existing art work, it was like a SCAdian Utopia. In those 10 years I did move in and out of Northern California, I played in both Caid (Southern California, and Hawaii) and in Antir (Oregon). But I always came back to the West, and was happy to do so.
About two years ago I decided to enhance my mundane life by building equity… and also to be closer to a family member I had not seen in years. So I moved to the Kingdom of Trimaris, otherwise known as Florida. Now in the West Kingdom I had a persona focused on 10th century Viking… an era that I truly enjoy and wish to continue. But here in Trimaris… the weather is not conducive to the Viking era…
I have found that I have had to do some modifications, and I am trying to do them in a period-correct manner. The first event that I participated in, required me to modify my basic needs, just to survive in the outdoors with out ending up in the emergency room…. Recently I have expanded on those differences, to make them more livable, more aesthetically pleasing, and of course close to period style….
The first change was a full coverage bug screen for the sleeping area. The second was elevating the bed, the third was converting all Costume silhouettes from cold weather to warm weather wear. I am attaching some pictures of the changes made… and will in time write up little essays on each, and the construction along with documentation. But as of right now, it is too hot to to continue… so adieu.