Mistakes in Design and How to Fix Them

Mistakes in Design and How to Fix Them

One of my favorite things to do, is to recreate a favorite garment that I’ve purchased and worn to the point it is showing its age. I’m generally pretty good at doing it, but every now and then, I have an ‘oops’. Of course, I recently did this

Here is a dress that I purchased in Italy several years ago. It is a bit funky, and super comfortable to wear. It is a great travel dress, because it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are with your eating, it hides everything.

Inspiration Garment
This is the inspiration garment from Siena, Italy

So, several months ago, I decided it was time to recreate it, and thus I measured it, created a schematic, and then began to build the pattern in Garment Designer.

Here is the pattern.

Garment Designer Pattern. The front skirt was cut once and the back was cut X3. Note the slight difference in cut. The extra back panels straddle the side seam of the body.

Now… here is where my mistake came in.

The original dress was made out of a cotton jersey knit. I decided to use a spandex/synthetic blend for the new garment, and it was a heavier weight. It was a woven fabric, but definitely had stretch in it. 

The mistake? The amount of stretch in the new garment should match the amount of stretch in the old garment if you want it to fit the same. I KNOW this, and yet, I walked down that path.

I sewed up the bodice and decided to self-line it. So, there were lots of seams, etc., and it looked great. Then, I tried it on… OOPS… the sleeves were too tight… could barely get my arm into them.

And so, my weak spot has been identified. I don’t like fixing mistakes. It is too much like alterations. I had enough of alterations many years ago, when I took in all kinds of alterations so I could save up enough money to go to Australia and New Zealand.  I managed that for my husband and I, and even though I learned a tremendous amount about how clothing is put together, I really was ‘over’ the alteration phase.

So, I set the garment aside… for months… figuring it would come to me.  And, yes, finally, I got tired of looking at the dress sitting in a bag waiting for my attention.  The solution was really quite simple. I found a piece of stretch knit (with lots of spandex) and I inserted a wedge into the underarm area. Of course, I needed to find a way to tie that new fabric into the rest of the garment so I added a trim to the neckline.

Inserting a piece of super-stretch knit in the underarm and then adding a trim of the same fabric to the neckline to make it look like it was intentional all along. Whewww…No one need ever know.

Now my dress is done, and of course, I have not wear to wear it, given that we are still in lock-down. But I’m happy with the result.

I am a big believer that our mistakes force us down more creative paths, and so I generally embrace them. I still can’t believe I didn’t actually do a comparative stretch of the two fabrics. I should know better. But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of something that should be so basic. I’ll just call this my ‘couture touch’ to a basic dress. See the final dress below.

The final dress with its ‘couture touch’.

Garment Designer Top: African Influence

Recently, I oversaw a project at Mesa College in San Diego, which involved a partnership between our Fashion students, the Mesa African Art collection, and Visions Art Museum in San Diego Liberty Station.

There were several aspects to the project, but the final activity was a fashion show featuring African-influenced clothing. Many of the garments came from my Textile Design students in my Fall semester class. I decided that I too needed to get involved, and so embarked on two different design projects. In this blog, I’ll share the first with you.

My source of inspiration was a piece of carved wood. Sad to say, I don’t know future details, only that I took the photo while we were visiting the artifact collection.

Since the original wood piece was rounded, I had to use Photoshop to straighten it out a bit.

Photo of Inspiration: from a piece of carved wood

I wanted the garment to be relatively simple, free of internal structural lines, so that the wood imagery would be seen as it was designed.

Below is the pattern I settled on. This was taken from a top I own that I purchased in Japan.

The pattern created in Garment Designer pattern software

In Garment Designer, I set the page size to be the size of the pattern, and then saved the pattern as a PDF.

Then.. on to Photoshop.

There I opened the large pattern pieces (each on a separate page), and I brought them together into one document. The width of this document was set up to the width of the fabric I wanted to print on (which was a polyester chiffon, 58” wide).

Pattern pieces laid into Photoshop

Working between the imagery document and the Garment Designer pattern document, I used Selection tools, and copy/paste to bring the images in.  I orchestrated a border effect on the bottom and stretched the imagery to fill the space above. You can see the results below.

Garment Designer pattern in Photoshop, with the imagery engineered into place

Once I had the layout ready, I threw in some variations of the pattern off to the side of each pattern piece, so I would have fabric to trim the neckline and armholes during the sewing process.

Extra imagery is added to the file to provide trim fabric

The next step was to upload to Spoonflower in North Carolina.

The order process on Spoonflower, digital printing of fabric

And then to wait until the fabric arrived, which of course was only a few days before the fashion show… so time to sew!!

One of the beautiful things about engineered design, is that you don’t ever print a paper pattern. Instead, your fabric arrives with the garment piece all laid out and ready to cut. Here is my fabric just before cutting.

Fabric ready to be cut. Note how similar this is to a cookie cutter approach!

I used some of the trim areas to make the binding for the neckline and armholes. These were cut on the bias and applied to finish the edges. The most challenging part of the construction was sewing chiffon on a bias grain. I simply serged the edge, pressed it under and top stitched it in place, attempting to have minimal handling.

The garment was complete, and ready for the show.

See how the back cut is different from the front.
The final garment, yea!

I only have one shot from the show, a rear-view, but as you can see, it was modelled.

Garment being modeled at the Fashion Show at Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA

So, another ‘done’ project. I love to have a motivator (such as a fashion show) which gives me the reason to move ‘To Do’ items up the list of priorities.

And I course, I love Garment Designer. It is such a creative tool; I can do most anything with it and in very short order, and of course, because it knows my body measurements, I never have to alter. Can life get any better?

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

Have a Crafty Halloween!

 

Cochenille would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! We hope that you were able to use our software to create some spooktacular projects!

If you would like to share any of your Halloween projects that you made using our software, please feel free to submit them to info@cochenille.com to be featured on our Creative With Cochenille blog!

This Halloween I will be looking forward to sewing up a Harry Potter robe pattern I made using Garment Designer as I await trick-or-treaters!For our digital “treat” please feel free to download the Stitch Painter file or .pdf of Frankenstein’s monster made using the Full Color Import module!

Frankie Stitch Painter File

Frankie PDF

As for “tricks”, here is how I made the Stitch Painter file….

I took the image into photoshop and viewed the file size information so that I would know how to setup my document in Stitch Painter. My image was 9″ x 9″, so I knew when I went into Stitch Painter I could use a 100 x 100 unit sized document and the proportions wouldn’t be skewed since the ratios were the same.

I then changed some of my contrast settings and colorized the image in Photoshop:

Then it was as simple as selecting the image in Photoshop and copying it to my clipboard (Keyboard shortcut on mac: Cmd + C)

I then opened a new 100×100 Unit document in Stitch Painter and made sure my grid size was an even proportion (I chose 9 x 9)

Using the Full Color Import Module, I selected my entire document (100x100units) and pasted the image (Keyboard shortcut on Mac: Cmd + V)

Then I clicked and held over the live selection and chose how many colors I wanted to reduce it to. I tried various selections and reduction algorithms to see which one I liked best. 

The great thing about the Full Color Import module, is that I can clean up my palette to make it easier to start reducing my colors even more.

A useful Stitch Painter trick for reducing colors is to find where a color is used in a document by clicking on it in the Palette panel to select it, and then pressing and holding the ʻfʼ key on the keyboard. The chosen color will flash on the screen as long as the ʻfʼ key is held down(picture below). One can then find colors near the value of the previously flashing palette swatch by using the eyedropper tool.

To combine the two colors click on the first color, then press and hold down the Cmd Key (Mac) or Ctrl key (Windows) while you drag the first color over the second color in the palette. The First color selected will then become the second color.

Stitch Painter also allows the combination of two color selections to create a new averaged color. Simply click on the first color, press and hold down the Cmd + Opt key (Mac) or the Ctrl + Alt (Windows) as you drag the first color over the second color in the palette.

I reduced the colors in my image to a more manageable amount of colors. If I didn’t like how a combination turned out, I just undid my previous action and tried a new color combination (Cmd + Z on Mac or Edit > Undo)

Thank you for Trick or Treating with us today! We look forward to seeing your Halloween projects!

 

 

 

Have Happy 4th of July! Free Captain America Shield Gridded Design

We at Cochenille Design Studio hope that everyone is enjoying their 4th of July! Please feel free 😉 to download the Captain America Shield Cross-Stitch Pattern made using Cochenille Design Studio’s Stitch Painter software with the FCI Plug-in.

.PDF files are at the end of the post. Here is a quick overview of how I made it:

I found the logo using a google image search from http://www.logospike.com/captain-america-logo-284/

Then I opened it up in Preview and copied it into my clipboard

Opened up a new Stitch Painter Document and set my document size as 100 x 100 (file > Set Document Size).

Set my Grid Size to 10 x 10 (Layout > Grid)

Used my Marquee Tool and selected 80×80

Then pasted my image (cmd+v on mac) into Stitch Painter, Clicked and held down on the image until my Full Color Import options showed ( I chose 4 colors)

I then combined a few stray colors and cleaned up my palette.

If you want Color 1 to become Color 2, you will click on the first color, then press and hold down the Cmd Key (Mac) or Ctrl key (Windows) while you drag the first color over the second color in the palette.

Then I had the gridded design that I will be using for a Cross-Stitch pattern.

No grid view option:I saved a few .pdf versions and included them below. Have a Happy 4th of July!

Captain America Shield – Color

Captain America Shield Full Size

Captain America Shield-Symbols

Stitch Painter file:

Captain America Shield.stch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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