Monday, June 3, 2019
More often than not, dress making is perceived as a complicated form of art that has too many technical aspects to it. Newbies, whether you are a first semester fashion design student or a self-learner, often get intimidated by these technicalities. If you are first semester Fashion student, you wouldn’t have much choice, however others conveniently resort to their friendly neighborhood tailors for their sewing needs.
But honestly dress making is a simple process as long as we keep the end result in perspective.
To make things simple I would like to divide the whole process of dress making in four parts —
Your ability to imagine an outfit on completion, in it’s full glory. And thereon your ability to work backwards and translate that three dimensional visual onto a two dimensional paper or fabric. This transition from concept to product gets better with every well executed project.
I started making my clothes early on in life. It was more an act of survival. Being a middle child with an elder sister and a younger brother most of my clothes were hand me down. Now that I have two daughters, I understand the joy and pride the younger one feels in owing her sisters clothes. I felt the same joy when I received my sisters’ clothes. The only problem here was they were over sized, and I literally swam in them. So, I would say my experience with clothes had more to do with alterations than making them from the scratch. I would put on those over sized clothes on my petite body and start putting the safety pins around the waist to create the darts, pull in the shoulders to settle the cloth on it and even fold up the hem to reduce the length to match my height. My motivation was simple – I was getting something new to wear. It’s not that I did not have my share of new clothes, but I understood early in life that for a girl there’s never too many dresses. Hence the moment my sister got her new dresses I would start imagining them on me, if I did not like the design or the style I would imagine how I could rip open the seams and redesign it to my liking. That imagination is the key.
Before you even start taking the measurements for yourself or for someone you want to sew you have to imagine and visualize that garment on the body. For which its also important to understand the body, its shape and curves. Body is the platform where your dress will develop. Your measurement will help you understand the body but your visual will make you understand how the design will drape and fall on that surface. Of course it would help if you belong to the same gender as the clothes you plan to make. for example women would find it easier to visualize women clothing than men but with time and after taking many measurements one starts to understand the body well.
Another important aspect to visualization is the communication of that visual. Its not just enough to be able to see the design in your mind, unless you are the one who is sewing that design one should be able to translate that design visual first on the paper and then on the fabric.
I firmly believe pattern drafting is the back bone of dress making and a good pattern leads to good fabric cutting. Sewing is just a matter of attaching pieces of fabric together that can be mastered by consistent practice. With the accurate body measurements and the instructions you can achieve the basic fit and design and with time can incorporate more creative and innovative patterns in your dress making.