Saturday, October 23, 2010

Matching Prints

This post was inspired by Mondo Guerra, Project Runway Season 8 designer. So, in the semi-finale judges continue to praise his skills and his feeling for mixing prints, and so do I. I really love what he comes up with - his clothes are so memorable.

How does he do it?

Is it really so difficult to mix patterns?

Well, no, not that difficult if you follow few rules of thumb. (Yes, there are some rules for mixing prints).

Follow these time-tested combinations Claire Schaeffer shares in her great 'Fabric Sewing Guide'

- foulard and paisley
- foulard and plaid
- plaid and paisley
- stripes and dots
- two jacquard patterns in the same color
- one jacquard pattern in different colors
- plaids and stripes in the same colors with similar scales
- two plaids in different scales
- plaids and checks
- a positive and negative print
- two geometrics with the same colors

In this book, Claire Schaeffer also notes that the scale of the print is related to the size of the garment. Generally, you would want to have a larger print on larger garment. A polka dot top and large flower print skirt would work well, for example.

The next thing to consider is that the larger or dominant print draws the eye. Bold prints add inches, so use it with caution, and use this property to your advantage.

PRACTICE SUGGESTION: Start collecting images of garments with prints from fashion magazines and paste each onto a page in an inspiration sketch book. Analyze the garment, make notes. You will see that after a while you will feel very confident in matching prints, whether for your sewing or just for everyday clothes selection.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My fabric stash: Where do I begin?

I don't know how it is for others, but for me, I do need an organized approach and planning to be able to bring a project to an end. So far, I have been distracted by a full-time job, kids and many other important things I have to take care of on a daily basis.

I have been travelling a lot and every time I come to a new place I try to find a fabric store. I had great projectsin mind but usually I haven't found time to even start them. So in these 15 (?) years since I was uprooted from my native Georgia (as in Caucasus) I have accumulated quite a stash of mostly beautiful fabrics. I don't even want to think about the cost...

Now, after I have started with my class in September I went to the Garment District to buy some tools and of course I could not resist buying some more fabric just to find out that I did have something very identical in my stash already.

I had to take care of this right away. So the first thing I did was downloading a Fabric Stash app for my iPhone. I diligently took a picture of my first fabric, typed in all the info about it and then realized that I coiudl make a garment in the time I woudl need to make this cumbersome inventory. So instead, I decided to divide the fabric by weight. So I got a stash of light-weigh, a stash of medium-weight and a stash of heavy-weight fabrics. An additional stash was for specialty fabrics like lace.

I also made sure that all taffetas and lames andleather skins are neatly rolled instead of folded.

The next thing was to look at yardage. I was thinking that after such a long non-sewing break I would never be able to kick off my sewing bonanze with a complex project. So the best thing to start would be a skirt, or two or even three skirts. So, I selected all the fabrics with a small yardage ( which were initially bought for skirts) to be able to start on the first project.

Finding time for sewing

The last two weeks have been crazy, non-stop colds and kids would wake up every two hours. Have I mentioned that I do not work in the fashion industry. Well, my profile is media and communications. Fashion has always been on-hold because of the family, kids and many other circumstances. And now, finding time for sewing or designing has been even more difficult. For the last two years, I have been sleeping maximum five hours a day, and in the evening I feel I could just fall asleep standing.

Nevertheless, for some reason, I am even more determined to plunge into fashion design and dressmaking than ever before. I am taking refresher classes at Parson's, participating in online expert chats, reading loads of new (for me) books on textiles, fashion design, patternmakign, garment construction... you name it.

So, as long as this enthusiasm and, even more importantly, my energy last I will be blogging Frabjous Fashion. So wish me good luck.
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