Cochenille Design Studio
ToDo/NewDo Downloadable List for Creative Projects

ToDo/NewDo Downloadable List for Creative Projects

A ToDo/NewDo list one can use to create a listing of items to complete.

Creativity vs. Corona Virus Creative Challenge
Included below are two forms which you can download to make lists of your creative projects that you plan to tackle during this time of uncertainty with the Corona Virus. We might be confined to our homes, but we are not without creative juices that need to be exercised.

There are two forms:

This first form is an editable PDF so you can fill out your ToDo and ReDo items on your computer and save them.

https://www.cochenille.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ToDoNewDo_editable.pdf

This form is a two-up printable PDF so you can print out form.

https://www.cochenille.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ToDoNewDo_2up-1.pdf

The Pinch Test: Understanding Ease in Clothing

The Pinch Test: The Key to Understanding Fit in Clothing

By Susan Lazear

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the ones we don’t easily see. I would say this is true with sewers and knitters, and crocheters when it comes to understanding how much ease they like in their clothing. When I’m teaching patternmaking or fitting, and helping people create or edit patterns for themselves, I’ll often ask individuals how much ease they want in the style. And.. I’m often met with a questioning stare. There are some simple tactic, which I term “Understanding your Fit Preferences” and one of these involves an understanding of the ease you like in your garments.

What is Ease?

There are two types of ease: wearing and style. Wearing ease is what you need in a garment to breathe, sit, and move. On average, based on a size 10/12, one needs 2 inches at the bust and hips and 1 inch at the waist. This increases/decreases slightly if your body size is larger or smaller, respectively. Of course, if there is spandex in the fabric or you are working with a knit, you don’t need as much. Style ease is the added ease that helps define the style. An oversized boxy garment could have 32 inches of ease at bust/hip, and a fitted jacket might have simply the wearing ease of 2 inches at bust/hip.

If you are going to design or edit patterns for sewing, or fit commercial patterns prior to cutting them out, you need to develop a sense of how much ease you want in the garment. If you are going to knit or crochet, you need to take the time to understand the schematic of your pattern, and if it is not provided, you should make one based on stitches/rows and your gauge.  The best way to understand your personal ease preferences to make a date with your closet and use what I lovingly call the ‘Pinch Test’.

The Pinch Test

The Pinch Test involves simply putting a garment on, and pinching out the ease at the appropriate places, typically the bust and/or hip. Pay attention to the weight and drape of the fabric as this plays a key role in the amount of ease used. Typically, garments made with soft fluid fabrics may have much more ease than garments made with stiffer fabrics. Measure the pinch and multiply it by four to calculate how much ease is in the garment. For example, if you get a two-inch pinch, you will have eight inches of ease in the garment in total (2” X4, which includes the left and right, front and back). The goal is to learn as much as you can about your favorite garments, and ease preferences is a key item.

So, grab a notebook, a measuring tape, and a handful of your favorite pieces. Begin by measuring your own body measurements to notate your bust, waist. and hip. Now, make a chart and create columns; Garment, Style, Fabric, Ease Pinch: Bust, Ease Pinch: Waist, Ease Pinch: Hip.

Suggested Chart for Documenting Ease

Put a garment on and pinch out the ease. It helps to hold the center of the garment in place, as you pinch at the side. Now, measure the depth of the pinch. Write it down. Continue through your group of garments, completing the chart as you go.

Pinching and Measuring Ease at the Bust
Pinching and Measuring Ease at the Hip

Photos:

If you multiply the pinch depth by four and add it to your body measurement, you will know the circumference of the garment at that point.

Try a couple of different garments that have different fabrics, and levels of fit. My black top is fitted at the bust, but is an A-line, so less fitted at the hips. It has a 5/8” pinch at the bust which equals 2-1/2” total ease. (5/8” X 4). At the hips I get a 3” pinch which equates to 12 total inches of ease. If I add those two measurements to my body measurements (38” bust and 40” hip), then I can see that my pattern would need a total perimeter of 40-1/2” at the bust and 52” at the hip.

My print jacket is a semi-fitted double-knit which has some ‘body’ to the fabric. Both my bust and hip pinches are the same at 1-5/8”. Thus, the total ease at both the bust and hip is 6-1/2”.

Calculating ease in my print jacket.

My orange sweater is made with a firm knit, and it is a boxy style. The bust pinch is 3 inches and the hip pinch is 2-3/4 inches equaling a total of 12 inches ease at the bust and 11 inches of ease at the hip.

Calculating ease in my orange sweater.

Not only is the information you gain from the pinch test handy; it is invaluable. Use it prior to scrutinizing a commercial pattern, prior to cutting your fabric, or to adding ease when you are drafting your own. You have just given yourself the ammunition you need to create or modify patterns so that there is no surprise or disappointment… and what about the elimination of muslin sample? Now, that is cool!

You can seem my notations in the chart I created in Excel. Eventually, this information will become ingrained, as it moves to knowledge as opposed to data.

Recording Information.

Using What You Have Learned

There are many ways to use the knowledge you have just gained:

  • If I were working with commercial sewing patterns, I would lay the pattern flat on the table and measure its width at bust/waist/hip. Then, by subtracting your bust/waist/hip, you can easily calculate how much ease is built into the style and determine if it suits your fit preferences, given the choice of fabric. If it doesn’t modify the pattern.
  • If I were going to knit or crochet a pattern, I’d look at the schematic and compare it to my body + ease measurements to see if the pattern and its ease suit my taste and the hand/drape of the knit/crochet swatch I just made. If it doesn’t modify the pattern.
  • When I design patterns (by hand or on computer), I am beginning with my body and a style, and so I simply ensure that I have the desired ease.
  • Garment Designer software users can look at the ease easily when they create patterns, and if the Sloper is turned on, it is easy to see and measure the ease in any style. So, pinch test information can slide directly over to the pattern.
Viewing the ease in Garment Designer… can it get any simpler?

Over Time….

Keep adding to your chart; in fact, make it become a morning mantra to pinch out the ease on whatever garment you are wearing for the day. Always make a mental note of the style (fitted, semi-fitted, average, over-size, etc.), and the fabric.  Soon you won’t need to refer to the chart, and you will simply ‘know’.

Perk?

The Pinch Test is a great tool to use in the dressing room when you are trying on clothing. I use it all the time to evaluate a style so I can recreate it at home. I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeing the depth of my pinch and determining how many inches it is.

Up-Cycling and Creativity with Fashion and Garment Designer

Up-Cycling: From Sweatshirts to Fashion – Getting Sustainable

As we all know, the movement for a sustainable world plays a growing importance in our day to day life. As a result, I’m becoming more aware of what I keep, and how I dispose of my used clothing. It takes a conscious decision to be an activist in sustainability, and one way to make it fun, is to challenge your creativity when it comes to designing clothing.

One of my current pet projects is to take a sweatshirt and see how I can transform it into something new and different.  There are so many approaches to this type of rework, that I know I will never run out of inspiration. My favorite go-to for ideas is Pinterest. Check out my board called Upcycled Sweatshirts and T’s.

I’d like to share a recent project with you. Generally, I like to start by pulling together my ‘ingredients’. Of course, the sweatshirt is the base, but I have fun gathering ‘ideas’ to use in conjunction with it. I like to mix my crafts; a little knitting, some stitching, and so on. Throw in a pair of denim jeans you plan to cut up, and away you go!

Ingredients

My concept for this project was to create a dress. I planned to add some knitting, stitching and sewn parts such as the skirt. My general plan was to cut the sweatshirt at the empire line and use the lower part to build a tall stand-up collar. I like to position things in place on my dress form, moving the parts around, try this, try that, and so on.

Getting an idea..

To get started I needed to establish the empire line which would become my cutting line. I used a piece of yarn to sort out the division line, and then, I cut the bottom of the sweatshirt away.

Establishing the line for cutting
Cutting

This is the point that I get Garment Designer involved. I go to the software and utilizing some of the existing measurements of the garment (e.g. the width at the underarm and shoulders), I build a pattern with a new neckline and the correct garment length. Then I added an ‘edging’ in the software to create a flared skirt and I built a tall stand up collar.

My pattern in Garment Designer

Pattern pieces were then printed, and I cut out my neckline, chopped off the bottom of the sleeves, and cut out fabric for the skirt.

Using my Garment Designer pattern to cut out the neckline
Find yarn
My yarn

I had decided to add a yarn insert to the collar, so off to my yarn stash I went.  Then, I test swatched a mohair yarn, and knit a rectangular insert that I later sewed into the polar fleece cut collar.

At the sewing machine, I added a denim eyelet tape to the center front of the garment.

Then I attached the collar, and tested the skirt by pinning it in place.

Checking out the Skirt

Back to knitting… I knit up the lower portion of sleeves and sewed them to the sweatshirt sleeve. I had decided to add a pocket to the garment and utilized the blue jean pocket for this by simply cutting it out and placing it on the garment. Ultimately, I will add buttonholes to the pocket and button it in place on the garment.

Getting ready to cut out the pocket
Almost done

Now, on to the trims. This is where experimentation became. I took little pieces of denim and stitched various patterns on them as I explored stitches on my Brother sewing machine. I let the serger tails remain, and notice how I have been using a heavier denim-like thread in my loopers. I also crocheted a flower out of yarn.

Components; a mixture of stitching, knitting, and embroidery

I created a brooch-like composite of the various parts, and will have this be removable.

And now.. the final dress.

The finished project!

I really felt my creativity flow while making this project. And the bonus is, I recycled a garment and used up other parts of my stash. I will be teaching classes on this technique in the future. The first will take place at Stitches United in Hartford, CT. Join me in being sustainable, either by taking a class, or challenge yourself at home. This garment will be in the

Check out Garment Designer on our website. It is such a capable tool for creative design.

~~~ Susan Lazear

Oh My Stars, A Free Garment Designer Pattern!

Designing a Star on Garment Designer

Cochenille has many crafters using the Garment Designer program, so I thought I’d share a quick look at my craft project. Since we have a webinar later this month about Working with the Extras Menu, I thought I could show it being used in action! I will include the Garment Designer Pattern file as well as a half-scaled .pdf at the end of this post.

Now many of you may have noticed Garment Designer does not have stars included in the Style Sets, but if you’ve seen a few of our other posts, you know that we can modify these styles quite a bit simply by moving points around. My Fourth of July craft challenge to myself was to modify a style in Garment Designer into a star.

In order to draft a star I first needed to find any style with 10 points and all straight segments. Having curved segments would work as well, but it would not be ideal since I would also have to adjust the bezier curve handles. For this endeavor, I looked towards our collars, under the extras menu. The Collar Stand: Mandarin 1 collar to be exact.

You can find this by going to your Extras Menu, then selecting Joined at Back under the collar title (which will always be greyed out because it is just a title):

In the time-lapsed video for this project I had hidden my other pieces so I only had my ‘extras’ showing. You can choose which pieces are shown, and how they are displayed (joined, adjacent, independent) by going to Display > Pieces:

Allow me give you a general overview of what I did. There were a few times I got my math wrong so I would have to go back and fix points, you’ll notice me go ‘backwards’ pretty often and recheck measurements, then cross-check again.First I just moved the points into the general shape of a star. Then after calculating what my dimensions should be, I turned on the dimensions on my pattern to assist me (Display > Show Dimensions). I also used my info bar to measure between points or to measure segment.

If you are not familiar with selecting and measuring segments, read Chapter 3 in the Manual.

No, really, go read it. Learning how to select and measure segments and points is a must when working in Garment Designer.

Windows Users can find their Manual on their Desktop or by going to their C: Drive > Garment Designer folder. Mac users can find the Garment Designer folder located in Applications.

Info Bar Tip: Just because there is not a segment between two points does not mean you cannot measure the height or width between those two points. Select the two points you want to measure (you may have to suppress symmetry temporarily if it is turned on) then look at your info bar in the lower left corner of your screen for the information:

I planned on using this star template to make patriotic bunting out of glitter foam or felt pieces next time I run to the craft store. I will use the entire semi-circle to cut out the red. Then layer the white and blue pieces on top.

After completing the star I visited my Extras Menu again to pick a shape. I chose a ‘Round Shape’ and then moved the uppermost point level with the two points at the sides to make a semicircle.

To mark the other semicircles within my shape I used the facing option. I selected the circular outer segments then went to Additions > Add Facing.

I’ve included the file below if you’d like to take a peek, but try not to change any of the styles. You can also scale the display to print out a larger size or smaller sizes.

Cochenille Star Pattern and Printout

Enjoy your day and happy crafting!

Garment Designer: Copying Pattern Dimensions from Pinterest

Garment Designer: Copying Pattern Dimensions from Pinterest

Hello All!

Today we wanted to explore how one can use dimensions to copy a pattern. For the video we used a reference photo from Pinterest, but you can use the same process from any schematic you create, such as from a paper pattern or a garment itself.

Pinterest is a great source of design inspiration and patterning tips, as undoubtedly many of our creative users already know. One of my favorite pins to come across are the pattern analysis pins. There is usually a nice photo of a finished garment as well as a pattern with dimensions listed. These pictures are a great starting point if you’d like to pattern the garment but don’t really know what the flat pattern shape is or what the measurements are.

If you’ve attended any of our Garment Designer Webinars where we show you how to copy a Garment, the process is going to be feel very familiar. Cochenille rotates through our live webinars every month, but we do have some downloadable webinar videos that can be purchased at our web store.

Please enjoy the video and if you happen to be inspired to try your own project using this method, send us your photos! We will add it to this post so other readers can see.

info@cochenille.com

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