The book Flats: Technical Drawing for Fashion by Basia Szkutnicka is what I have been using to figure out how to draw these diagrams. It suggests several different methods, one of which is to take a photo of the flattened garment and trace the lines in Illustrator. This is basically what I did, although I managed to photograph the shirt such that there was a small angle in the image, meaning that nothing was perfectly symmetrical so I couldn’t create the diagram by drawing half of the shirt and then copying and reflecting the other half. And I made some mistakes which when fixed created slight distortions from the image lines, so this drawing isn’t a perfect rendering of the Shannon shirt. The illustration took 5-6 hours to create. Illustrator pen tool and I are so close now that when I close my eyes the outlines of the shadow shapes I see with my eyes closed have lines and anchor points.
It might be easier to work directly with the Illustrator drawings provided with the book as templates, but what I realized right away is that these drawings consist mainly of separate lines, not Illustrator fill regions, which means you can’t easily fill them white. Having white fill regions makes it faster to draw an illustration because if you draw each region on a separate layer you can move pieces below other ones to hide unwanted lines. Maybe others with more experience using Illustrator know how to get past this issue.
This is an example of one of the flats the book provides.
Are these drawings really necessary for home sewing patterns? If necessary, how much detail is important? Are stitches important? What about realistic looking buttons?
I know they have a specific use in the garment industry as part of the technical specification of a garment used by professional pattern makers, and they are traditionally printed on Big 4 patterns (as well as others), but do they serve a specific purpose for home sewists? I’m curious. I know that I do look at these diagrams sometimes during a sewing project to remind myself of details, but I don’t look at them for styling information. The photos tell me what I need to know about the design.
We have several patterns from other indie pattern makers and they all include these diagrams.
One thing the back view of the Szkutnicka shirt flat reminds me of are the ways in which designers get to play with details and possibly make changes to aspects of a garment. For example, our Shannon shirt pattern also offers optional back shoulder pleats, but instead of placing them at the ideal shoulder blade position as recommended by David Coffin and as pictured in this women’s shirt flat back view, he positioned them slightly closer to the arms. Why? As the sloper, he wants to have comfortable shirt samples to wear, and placing the darts a little closer to the arms gives him more range of arm motion. He has a very curved back with a lot of muscle — it’s difficult to feel his shoulder blades. Moving the shoulder pleats is a good choice for Martin. So why didn’t we move them back into the “average” traditional position for the official pattern? We certainly could have, and maybe we should, but then again, maybe the shirt will fit more people positioned where they are, or the people who don’t want them there will move them where they want them to be. If any of you reading are indie pattern makers I hope you will share how you make these trade-offs in converting the pattern from you as sloper to standard measurements.
Does every single tradition have to be followed in creating a home sewing pattern?
In other news, it turns out Peter hopes to sew the Shannon later this month. We believe we are still on track to release by the end of the month. Hence, we are sending the revised pattern back to our original tester and will incorporate Peter’s feedback when it is available, possibly after the pattern is released depending on how things develop. There are a staggering number of details needing to dealt with before the official release.
I did get a low volume printing quote from SEWPRINT.UK and it will be too expensive for us. Our CAD supplier Isabelle Lott, also a pattern maker, said one of her customers is very happy with palmerprinting.com, so I have requested a quote. Isabelle suggested putting multiple sizes in one envelope but I explained that the single size is a point of differentiation for us. On the other hand we’re open to input if people have ideas about this. The vellum is too bulky to pack multiple sizes so we could only explore this option printing on tissue. I’ll write a future post on printing and packaging.
That’s all for now. The Fall choir retreat at our Episcopal church starts tonight which means on top of everything else we will be singing again!