The Fall semester is over, the grades are in. My major sewing oriented project at the moment is revising my pattern program to work in inkscape as an extension. Thus far this has involved learning how use inkscape, python, svg, xml . It is nowhere near complete however I am making progress. So far, it only draws the yoke.
Some of the advantages of writing it as an inkscape extension are:
Inkscape is open-source
Inkscape is multi-platform
It is very easy to install extensions into inkscape. Just drop a few files into the inkscape extension folder and you are done. ( the major challenge on the Mac is to find the inkscape extension folder)
The screen shot below shows the inkscape window with the PPD-Shirt extension dialog.
Of course as I work on this program I realize ways to refine the program to make it more flexible. For example, giving the user the option of changing the shape of the yoke by adjusting a few parameters.
(Thanks to David Coffin for suggesting that a standard yoke should be included in the pattern.)
I expect to have a fully working version sometime in the Spring. I will have partial versions to play with before that.
Meanwhile, not wanting to spend all my time on the computer, I have been sewing a few more shirts (I still have much to learn about sewing shirts). Currently I am having fun with snaps instead of buttons. Snaps may not be as classy but they are way more fun to install.
White linen shirt with snaps and a shaped cuff:
I have also been experimenting with shaping the cuff. The goal was to make the cuff longer but have it cutaway around the thumb metacarpal so as not to impede the hand motion.
I also made the same shirt out of a pink chambray.
My next sewing project will probably be some trousers.
I did a very-very quick muslin of Joost De Cock’s “Textbook Trousers” at MakeMyPattern.com and they look very promising. Also, I am in desperate need of trousers.
This post is about the PPD-0102 pattern which is now available for download.
I am showing here a work in progress, ivory twill. I have not had time to complete it yet.
Eventually there will be step-by-step instructions and more photos.
The shirt pattern has its own page, PPD-0102 where you will find links to the pattern files.
My goal in producing these patterns is to help a sewist produce a shirt that fits well. The commercial patterns available for a sewist tend to come in the standard sizes 34-36-38-40-42-44-46. The skilled sewist is then expected to adjust the pattern as necessary to achieve a good fit. My initial plan is to produce the patterns in a finer gradation of sizes and hopefully make it easier to get a good fit (34-52 in 1/2 inch intervals). Eventually I should be able to offer custom sized patterns.
Admittedly this shirt pattern may not be of interest to the average sewist for a couple of reasons:
1) This pattern features a “shaped” yoke instead of the traditional “straight” yoke . I am considering making the next pattern with a standard yoke so that a standard basic dress shirt pattern would be available in a wide range of sizes.
2) This pattern looks a bit different than traditional sewing patterns although I do believe that the pattern is fairly clear (I still need to finish the instructions).
A remaining challenge is actually take measurements of a person and produce a pattern and a shirt for that person. I know it works for me, but that is a sample size of one. There are about 15 measurements that go into this pattern. I will describe these measurements in a future post.
In the meantime, I hope you find the patterns interesting and/or useful.
Well sort of. I have had time over the summer to reassess my goals for my sewing and designing projects. Most definitely I am not going to try selling the patterns. As I complete them I will make them available for downloading — my contribution to the creative commons concept.
Susan is now focused on her own projects which can be found here.
I am fully taking over the blog for Partlan Pattern Designs (PPD) as of this post.
To make this transition, I thought I would provide a little back story.
I wanted to learn how to make my own clothes.
Why? Partly because I like to make things and partly because I felt that the ready-to-wear (RTW) industry was not producing garments I liked or that fit. And, an additional consideration was that the mass market RTW industry has a reputation for employing garment workers in abysmal conditions (though certainly not all of it).
I started sewing and found there was a lot to learn: sewing technology & techniques, fitting techniques, fabrics, threads, equipment, photography and social media. All of which have steep learning curves.
Surprisingly, on the sewing front, I was able in a fairly short time to produce a garment that was crude but passable enough for me to wear. In my work (teaching physics at a local community college) casual clothing is appropriate most of the time.
This was enough of a success to encourage me to keep going.
As I wore the garments that I had sewn, I found that in wearing them one begins to really understand the fit and function. When I had time I modified the designs and tried again. As Susan says, I am a tinkerer.
My first shirts left much to be desired. However, I felt I could improve on the implementation, and have.
As I was tinkering with aspects of shirt design and fit, I became interested in designing my own complete shirt pattern. Basically a pattern self-drafted on me, until I got the form.
Because I had experience with AutoCad in my past I was able to fairly quickly get the design into a pattern software program (using Pattern Works).
So far so good. At the time it seemed like this might be a plausible business, hence the name Partlan Pattern Designs
Then, the tunnel at the end of the light appeared in considering how to grade the pattern to all other sizes, and, in my naiveté, thinking there might be many of them. Another barrier to producing a viable pattern business is to produce an intelligible set of instructions for the pattern. Susan spent several months on that part of the project in addition to managing the communications, social media and the infrastructure required to actually sell the patterns.
In the end for reasons she discussed here, we decided to close the business. I am taking the pattern design on as my personal hobby. I do plan to release the shirt pattern, probably sometime in the summer of 2015 as there are a number of revisions I want to implement between now and then.
As I begin my blogging adventure, I plan to reflect on the learning curves and share some of my experiences.
Up coming blog topics will include what I learned about:
threads and needles
fabric (natural fibers)
sewing the different parts of the shirt (multiple)
drafting a pattern
grading a pattern
I will intersperse these with posts on some sewing projects I am working on.
Thanks for reading.
A Sewist Creates Menswear Designs with Elements from Fashion History