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Pattern Completion, Garment Construction and Draping Techniques
Fitting the Toile
For the first fitting, a designer will produce what is referred to as a ‘toile’, which is a version of the garment made from cheaper fabric. The toile should be close in weight to the final fabric.
After you have created your toile, you will make any necessary alterations, and it is then that more detailing is added.
Altering the Pattern
Alterations are a very important step in the design process that you should never ignore because a poorly fitted garment will not sell.
Cutting and Laying Your Pattern
After you are finished with your final alterations, you can begin laying and cutting your pattern.
When you are cutting a pattern, it is important to consider the direction of the grain line. How you cut your garment will significantly impact how the fabric hangs on the body. You can cut along the grain line in one of three ways:
Straight Grain - The most common method for cutting along the grain line is called the straight grain cut.
Cross Grain - With this technique, you will cut pattern pieces at a 90-degree angle along the selvedge.
Bias Cut - A bias pattern is cut at a 45-degree angle on the selvedge and cross grain.
Laying your Pattern
At this point in the process, you have your pattern pieces and grain line, so it is important that you piece them together correctly. Once you have decided the direction to place your pattern in, you will lay the grain line parallel to the selvedge.
When you are cutting your pattern, you can follow one of several different layouts:
Double layout, Single layout, Crossway layout
Marking the Pattern on the Fabric
After you have chosen your cutting plan, you can mark your pattern directly onto the fabric using tailor’s chalk.
Garment construction can be divided into several different areas, and it is up to you to decide what area you want to enter as a designer.
Haute couture tailoring - These are at the top of the fashion industry and work individually with customers.
Industrially produced garments - Garments produced are quick and easy to process using mass produced methods.
Tools for Garment Construction
Before you start any project, make sure you have the right tools. With your tools in hand, you need to make sure you have the perfect thread for the job, which is no problem because there are several threads in many colours and weights.
The easiest way to join two pieces of material together in garment constructions is with seams. Your seam allowance faces the inside of the garment and is used to create shape and influence the design of the garment.
You can prepare a seam in one of two ways: Pin or use a hand basting stitch to pieces material together
Hand Sewing Techniques
Although sewing machines are highly sophisticated and designed to handle a variety of specific tasks, there are still some garment skills that will require hand sewing. Here are some important sewing stitches that need to be learnt. Basting stitch, Hemming stitch, Blind hemstitching, Cross-stitching
During the pattern cutting process, you may remember that everything was cut without a lining. Now that you are in the garment construction phase, it is time to add linings to your clothing.
Surface Specific Techniques
You know how to sew and stitch basic fabrics. However, there are some different techniques that are used for specialised fabrics and materials that are difficult to sew, cut, and finish. A few of these fabrics include felt, lace, sequinned, wool, fur and leather.
Draping the Mannequin
The next step in the design process is called draping, which is done on a mannequin to shape or mould your fabric.
In the 1920’s, Madame Alix Gres and Madeleine Vionnet were the first haute couture designers to devote time to draping.
Grain Line and Draping
Earlier in the module, you learned about the importance of the grain line directions. When you are ready to drape on the mannequin, the direction of the grain will greatly impact how the material hangs on the body.
Balancing the Pattern
Once a garment is draped, it is important to ensure that the pattern is balanced to ensure that the clothing fits comfortable on the body.
When you are draping your garment, you can drape it on the mannequin as an actual shape, close to the body, or structured away from the body. Another method you can use is loose draping, which anchors the fabric on certain areas of the body, like the shoulder. As with anything in fashion design, practise will make perfect and with time, you will get the hang of the technique.
Some of the more commonly used methods in the fashion industry include:
Tips to help you perfect your skill
Make sure you always use a fabric similar in weight and texture to your final fabric
Always iron your final fabric before you start draping
Use the same grain line that you intend to use in the final garment
Use a mannequin with the right size and shape
Consider using fine pins that fit into the mannequins nicely
Concentrate on perfecting your shell before working on your details
Do not stretch fabric on the mannequin
When your drape is complete, step away from your work and look at it from several angles