Thursday, October 18, 2018

Turquoise, Garnet and Amber Necklace

More Scrap Designing

A scrap top made from thrift store finds.

Random pieces of silk.

Random Discharge Stencils

Blue silk with random commercial and self-designed stencils. Shirt is self-drafted.

No Designing Needed With This Beautiful Panel Print

Vest with Woven Fabric Strips

First a fabric is woven using 1/2 inch strips of fabric and ribbon and trim. It is backed with light weight interfacing and stitched to reinforce.

Detail of woven fabric.

Fabric is cut randomly.

Solid black fabric is placed behind each random piece for accent.

Pieces are arranged on dark grey denim vest and small squares of orange are added for additional accent.     
Detail. Each piece is appliqued using a wide zig zag stitch.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Designing a T Shirt with Multiple Fabrics

There are many reasons for using more than one fabric in a garment. If you have never combined fabrics before here are some reasons to do so.
  • Garment is more interesting and unique
  • Challenges your creativity
  • Challenges your sewing ability
  • Keeps boredom out of your sewing
  • Uses up leftover fabric
  • Gives you a signature look
  • Discover new color and pattern combinations
  • Some prints are too strong to use by themselves
There are many ways to approach designing with multiple fabrics. Once you become familiar with the different approaches to designing with different fabrics you will move freely from one approach to another. No one approach is better than another. All are equal and can be combined for maximum creativity. 

Before you begin you need some fabric to work with. This is the beginning of the design phase and how you acquire the fabric is part of the design process. You should have some big scraps in your stash that are not really big enough to make a full T shirt but just too pretty throw away. This is an opportunity to look at the color ways that you have been following for awhile. If you don't see any color patterns emerging from your scraps it may mean you don't have enough scraps or you are too eclectic in choosing your colors. Just keep collecting and saving fabric.

While you are building a workable stash you can purchase coordinating fabrics. It is not too difficult to find two fabric that go together but finding three or more can be challenging. One way to get around this is to add a solid, a strip, or polka dot fabric. Solids, stripes, and dots are wonderful bridging fabrics. Often a first attempt is a beautiful print for the body and black or other dark color for the sleeves.

How much fabric should you buy? For a T shirt from one piece of fabric I buy 1 1/2 yards because I always make long sleeves and sometimes make a shirt a bit longer than normal. 1 1/2 yards allows for some nice size scraps to save. If you find three coordinating fabrics you could start with 1 yard each, but this is costly and leaves a lot of waste for one shirt. A better solution is to buy 3/4 - 1 yard for the body and 1/2 yard of the other two fabrics. Don't forget to check your stash to see if something you have been saving will go with a newly purchased piece.

If you are not sure which piece to use for the body follow this guide line. The bolder, larger print or pattern is best for the body. When you have no plan in mind but want to start a fabric stash just buy 1/2 yard pieces. The advantages to buying 1/2 yard pieces are lower cost, and you will be forced to be really creative. I rarely buy less than 1/2 yard pieces for several reasons. Many online companies will not cut less than 1/2 yard. Cuts less than 1/2 yard are often skewed and hard to use, especially if they come off the end of the bolt. Patterns with a long repeat don't allow enough of the pattern for strategic placement of pattern pieces.

Sources for fabrics are where ever you can find them. When I first started making knit garments I lived in southern California and had a store in my town that bought knit fabric from jobbers in Los Angeles. Many of the fabrics were from high end designers so I was very spoiled with both the selection and pricing. I could also easily drive to Los Angeles and shop the fabric district. If you are lucky enough to live near Los Angeles or New York you have access to wonderful garment and fabric districts. Sewing exposes are another great source for fabric but are once a year events.

When I moved to rural New Mexico I had to use my energy and creativity to find other sources for fabric. I found one outlet in Tucson and Phoenix but these were three and five hour drives for just so so fabric. Over time I learned to shop the internet. If you have a good knowledge of fabric you will soon learn to shop without the need to touch the fabric. You will make some mistakes but in a very short time you should be able to make purchases with confidence. The online stores I use have developed their own unique way to market fabric.

Once you have a nice collection of knit fabric, you may begin to look at combinations. You will need a vertical design board to move the fabric around. Fabric will look different if you lay it out on a cutting table. Experiment by arranging related pieces side by side, exposing larger or smaller areas of fabric to see what is pleasing to the eye. 

Drafting a Yoke On a Darted Pants Pattern

For years I have been making elastic waist pants, but decided I wanted a smoother look. I wear my tops on the outside of pants but feel there is excess bulk with the elastic waist. I have a skinny leg pant with a yoke and with fabrics with high spandex percentage I can make them minus the zipper and pull them on. My wider leg pattern is darted with a waist band and traditional fly front. The yoke style is more comfortable so I converted the darted pattern to a yoke pattern.

First, mark the yoke depth at the side seam and center seams. Trace around the pattern, including all markings. At center front (back) trace across waist from the side seam to the first leg of the dart. On the side seam trace up to the marking for the yoke depth.


Next, using your pencil tip or a pin at the dart apex pivot the dart to a closed position. Continue tracing from the closed dart around the waist and down to the point on the side seam where the yoke ends.


I used blue for the yoke and green for the pants. You will need to smooth the lines with a curved ruler.


Add the appropriate seam allowance to the bottom of the yoke and the top of the pants.


Using a separate piece of paper trace the yoke and label it. Once you cut out the yoke you can cut out the pants, ignoring the yoke markings or you can trace the pants also and save the draft. 

The final step is to walk the new seam lines and true the edges at the side seams only. Mark one notch in front and two notches in back to line up the yoke and pants seams. 

You can either cut the yoke as one piece placing CF on the fold or cut two pieces and seam the centers. It depends on whether you will be adding a zipper or not. With stretchy fabric these pants can be pull ons. I like to use an invisible zipper at the side seam when needed. 

Cut a facing for the yoke to finish.