Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Confession


I've never made a pattern by copying a ready-to-wear garment. Although I currently have two RTW dresses that I'd love to try to copy!
So, how about you? Have you ever done it? If not, is it on your list of things to try? If so, what did you copy? Did you have directions on how to copy it, or did you make it up as you went along? How did it come out?
Photo scanned from Jean Haas article entitled "Make a Pattern from Ready-to-Wear" article in Threads magazine (Aug/Sept 2005), Tauton Press, pp. 56-61.

12 comments:

Uta said...

No, I've never copied, and I don't intend to. First, I like to make up the rules as I go, change a little about a pattern, and couldn't imagine wanting an exact copy of anything - too repetitive. Second, I find it challenging to be very exact in my sewing, and that would be a prerequisite for copying, right? But I might change my mind if I see your copies...

Joanne said...

What a nice way to bring another dimension to your sewing. Taking it even further, I wonder if you might have, or would consider, designing your own pattern?

Claire S. said...

Hmmm, the timing of this question is spot on ! I have a pair of jeans that gets me the question ‘have you lost weight’ every single time I wear them … is there any better compliment in a woman’s life? I think not - LOL !

So, yesterday when I put them on, I realized that they feel like they were made to fit me exactly. Never have I owned such a comfortable pair of jeans. Much of yesterday was spent contemplating if I could, if I was brave enough and/or skilled enough, try to figure out how to copy them (without cutting them apart) - I’m still thinking.

Sarah said...

I have to agree with Claire... It is pretty spot-on.
Only I will be doing that in a way this week while I am on spring break... I am using a RTW top and a dress to make "patterns" for dresses.
I feel pretty confident about it since I have done a skirt based on another one and drafted/graded patterns.

Vicki said...

No, I never have. But I have often thought about it!

Summerset said...

I have. Sometimes I start with a commerical pattern and alter it to look like the RTW. I have also copied formalwear using muslin, tracing the original and then going through the fitting process.

meredithp said...

I've copied patterns sucessfully, and I love this book: Patterns From Finished Clothes: Re-Creating the Clothes You Love by Tracy Doyle. She uses a method with a stiletto wheel that is just great, but straightforward. For some reason, I don't like the "rub off" methods. Maybe dangerous for me with a pencil and garments.

Alison said...

I traced a pattern of a RTW top that I really loved but was a little tight in the bust & a lot tight in the sleeves! I'm really happy with how it came out. A friend showed me how to copy from the original and we discovered it was totally off-grain.

sewducky said...

I've done it from used garments I tore apart and added markings to: a princess seamed shirt, a peasant blouse...several others I'd have to go digging through my patterns for, but they were things I liked and could not find a pattern for and generally were not things I had in my patterns to Frankenpattern one from.

I've also left the garment intact and copied it: aprons, slips, underwear, corsets, a real flapper coat, a shirt for my mom (and a few others I can't think of) and usually they were on loan to me to do that (the flapper coat), I wanted to protect the integrity of a garment and not ruin it (aprons/corsets), they fit well (slips), to modify (mom is fluffy and wanted a shirt that was slightly larger to be a big shirt) or because I liked the style and they quit making them but were still in good shape (underwear).

When I started copying some of them, I didn't know there were books, or articles, on how to do them. I did them. I either treated the deconstructed garment as a pattern, and pinned and cut or I spent the time sketching the garment and figuring the pieces and making a layout then tracing the garment and then using rulers to make the patterns sort of shape up.

I technically do a cross of tracing/drafting because I may trace some of it, then draft some of it on the same piece. I also can look at a garment and deconstruct it in my head and figure out the pieces needed and then go home and use other pieces to make the pattern (where the Frankenpattern comes in) or draft the pieces and come up with a garment that looks like what I saw. I recently did this with an apron I saw online: there was no way I was paying $60 for an apron and I deconstructed it in my head, used part of a pattern from Butterick for the ties and the back since they were the same, and drafted the rest. (I make 2 paper patterns and tape one together within the seam allowance and fit that making marks and alterations so when it is done I can transfer those to the other one and have the final pattern.) The end result, once it's embroidered (and I am not an artist, so I'm waiting on a friend to draw that for me) will be a nearly exact copy of the garment I saw a photo of. It is not exact because I didn't like the pocket and drafted my own: it's similar in style (a rounded triangle) but without the scads of lace surrounding it, I removed it entirely. I also traced in part the feedsack apron I have, and used rulers to make it more uniform then the garment itself is (the side panels were whacked, one side is considerably larger then the other)and altered it to a) fit slightly better since I am both taller and curvier then the woman that made it and b)altered the front to provide more coverage and not have the seam cut me right across the bust and the H strap to make it a better fit across my shoulders then what the original garment lent and c) fix glaring errors in the garment (pocket placement, side panels, front panel on a fold, not one piece)

When I have done it, the garments come out fine and look like what I want them to. While I can, and have, made an exact replica of a garment, usually I alter them slightly in some way to make a better fit, since my purpose was to take something I really liked and make it fit because it didn't in RTW (button down shirts are a major problem for this). You must have a working knowledge of sewing the garment you made (sewing a shirt without knowing how or having a pattern with detailed directions can be difficult at best and a failure at worst) and knowing in general the pieces required since you will have to know that some seams were cut down (facings, cuffs, collars) and some pieces will not exactly resemble the pattern piece required (collars).

Sorry for the long length here.

Becky said...

I did it once-- Threads had this article on copying a pattern using masking tape, so I used it to copy a very well-fitting shirt (technically a dress I got from the thrift store and then chopped off a bit of the skirt to make it a tunic.) I needed something fast for a tropical-themed swing dance I was going to, and had fabric on hand. I did end up altering the top a bit to make it a surplice bodice instead of a V-neck, but I was quite pleased with the results.

(Also, nominated you for the latest blog award floating around. Have fun. ;)

DELIA said...

tanks for your coments and really i like your blog sory for my english

Linda T said...

I've successfully copied a pair of slacks and a sheath dress using Jean Haas' tape method. Worked well for me!