Just for fun the other day I played around with a one piece pattern idea i saw here to see if i could make a successful zero waste version that was in keeping with the general concept of the original. I really like the original pattern and design, its simple but interesting. I had some crisp heavy cotton from a previous project laying about in my office and its 150cm wide so based my pattern interpretation within those constraints. The design would work well with a knit or softer woven also i think. I also lengthened the skirt as I prefer a slightly longer length on me.
What I did:
1: I aligned the centre back with the centre straight grain of the fabric which created a front extension/collar, akin to the kimono (which i feel is in keeping with the overall style). To accommodate the front twist it is necessary to slash into this new front extension/collar area at the waist
2: The collar follows around the back of the neck and is taken from the upper shoulder/neck area (so as the final design will reveal and frame the nape of the neck – again similar to kimono and is a lovely sensual design detail.
3: To save fabric i divided the back skirt off from the top, rotated and nested it along side the front skirt. To do this i straighten the side and centre back seams and so had to put the shaping into two darts one close to the back side seam and the other in the more usual place for a back dart. The overall placement of the skirt area allows a range of sizes to potentially fit in the basic layout by making the gather/twist or front extension larger or smaller. Also it means the length of the skirt is easily adjusted longer and shorter depending on the preference of the maker/user and potentially the width or length of the fabric you have.
4: To further allow for sizing changes i ensured the key areas of fit were placed alongside areas where exact shape/size were not as important, in this case the ‘negative space’ is the facing for the front opening, so small changes to the main garment body will not negatively impact of the function of the facing.
5: The piece generated from the back kimono sleeve/body is used to make an inseam pocket (as I hate dresses without pockets, it makes me feel too formal). This piece could also be used to extend the facing for the front if you really didn’t want pockets. Alternatively to remove the “pocket” you could make the sleeve wider and come out form the waist. This would also change the shape of the facing but as i said this isn’t a big deal and will not alter the function of it.
You can download my pattern for free here if you want to try it – Its a PDF. Be aware it is at 50% so if you’re printing it off you’ll need to scale it by 200%. Its currently about a womens size 10/12. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
If your fabric is a woven and is 140cm wide you could either narrow the twist and/or extension or (if your fabric allows it) simply rotate the pattern 90 degrees. Other fabric widths can be accommodated by changing the width of the extension and/or amount of twist. You could change the size the pattern makes doing a similar thing, by widening or narrowing the waist line by moving where the twist ‘hooks’ with the other side. And widening/narrowing the corresponding hip/side seam.
I sewed the garment up primarily using a very narrow rolled hem edge and a lap seaming process because i like the look of it, however you could use any process you like. It has a centre back zipper but if you made it in a knit you wouldn’t need it.
Things I could do to improve it further:
If I made the pattern square then altering it to suit different fabric widths is even simpler, you can simply cut a straight section of fabric from selvedge to selvedge, rotate and sew it somewhere on the straight grain (such as the selvedge) of the base fabric to make your fabric the right width. Using this approach the fabric need not even be the same – and you could exploit this approach to create some cool colour/texture blocking effects. It also make widening the pattern for different sizes of bodies easier as while fabric width is determined by the fabric you chose its length is theoretically infinite.
So how does it look?
Pretty slick I think. Here is a photo i took of me wearing the one i made last night (it was at 11:30pm so the lighting is rather poor). You can wear it a couple of ways – with the front extensions overlapping like i wore it here or more open like the original. It depends on how much leg/décolletage you’re wanting to show off.
MAKEUSE is a research project exploring user modifiable zero waste fashion garments. Developed as part of Local Wisdom, this project provides stages of intervention accessible to both Makers and Users of fashion. All too often users are merely passive consumers, purchasing and discarding the garments that build their wardrobe with little opportunity to engage with a richer understanding of the garments role in their lives. Website to come.
I had my old desert boots re-soled last week. They are made by McKinlays of Dunedin in the South Island, New Zealand. I’ve owned them since about 2009 and wore them almost daily since I got them. I got them because they are made in NZ, the design is timeless and they are easily repaired. When I bought them, the sales woman said that the gum sole would last forever, and that the upper would perish before the soles. She was wrong, but they still lasted for many cold and wet Wellington winters and the hot tarmac of quite a few summers (I don’t really do sandals… So roast my way through NZ summer in the same shoes I wear in winter…). By the end of last winter the gum sole had wore right through to the midsole on the right shoe and almost through on the left. The leather upper toe box was crushed and worn out quite a bit due to my (now remedied) behaviour of pattern cutting on the floor on my knees (which also leads to holes in the knees of my jeans). In wet weather I got wet feet, so after a few weeks enduring this I pulled out an old pair of knee high boots, cut the calves off them and voila! Ankle boots! My desert boots spent some time chilling out at the back of my wardrobe, waiting for the motivation to re sole them, and last week I found it.
I took them to the Dixon St shoe repair and key cutters and the guy assured me he could repair them, but it would cost me $120. New desert boots (the same ones) I could get for $120 on sale maybe, or $220 full price. I momentarily tossed up the choice I had and then selected a new sole, super hard wearing, black, and was told I’d get a txt from them when they were done (it seems even shoe repairers have gone hi tech! Who knew?!). On Monday I went and got them back. They are almost like new. Better in some ways, the sole is much more hard wearing, and the shoe repair guy had rebuilt the toe box, polished the leather to a proud shine, and so these new feeling shoes looked tougher, aged, they have a life scratched into the leather. I know where they’ve been. They have a patina. I wear them knowing I’ve supported a local small business, these shoes get me from A to B, with dry feet, and in style but more than that, I walk with pride. A new pair of boots would have felt good, something like this, for a few days, the shiny new leather would have gleamed and shouted, “I’m New!”. But like all new things, this fades.
The lustre of skill and a deed well done, takes much longer to fade.
When I design I don’t sketch the finished design – like what you can see on the right side of the page spread, I sketch the pattern roughly first (image on ruled paper), then I cut and sew the garment up, designing on the mannequin and body as I go, and then will sketch the pattern further as it gets more resolved and I might sketch the finished garment afterwards. I do this because otherwise I am limiting myself, shutting down ideas of form and fall before they have even formed. So, for me a pattern is a sketch.
The design in the image above was a bit of an experiment in fast 2D/3D sketching. I wanted a draped knit coat/cardigan and a pair of track-pants for mooching around the house in. The fabric I got was 169cm wide so I had an extra piece about 45cm wide on the side that i could use for something else, so I made a very simple asymmetrical tshirt – really just a rectangle with irregularly placed neck and arm holes. So out of 2m x 1.69m of end of roll, NZ made black merino knit fabric, I got three items I needed, but with the added bonus of being zero waste and much better looking than your average pair of trackies, cardy and tshirt… All for $40 and 4 hours of my time
In July I’ll be be speaking all about Zero Waste Fashion at Commune@RMIT Brunswick! Explore your creativity and celebrate the global world of fashion and textiles at RMIT University’s annual sustainability festival and conference day, It’s going to be exciting! Also speaking are :
*Kate Fletcher. Leading UK academic on sustainability in fashion – Live interactive skype session from UK
*Lyn Stephenson. President, Industrial Hemp Victoria
*Steve Wright. Senior Lecturer Fashion Design, Canberra Institute of Technology
There is a Master Class:
*Linda Jackson . Australian fashion designer, fashion retailer and artist
And stalls by:
*Student cake stalls
*Friends of the Earth
And two exhibitions:
*Textiles Design and Development TAFE students and graduates
*Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) students and graduates
Check out the events facebook page for more info and I hope to see you there
I’ve been asked to write a column for the wonderful folks at EcoSalon every 2 weeks. Next article will be available this Friday. It will going into a bit more detail regarding a number of Zero Waste fashion designers. Stay tuned!