Archives for category: research


Small display on Swedish fashion designers in the entrance of NK department store





IMG_1463 - Copy

Didn’t make it to this exhibition, but like the idea!


Samples/sketches inspired by a couple of interesting techniques/garment features seen in the Levi’s Store.


IMGP1178Slashed to depth of radius

Slashed to slightly less than depth of radius

Well, a semi circle for this one

Looking around my own clothes I noticed the ruffles on this sandal are made from circles of leather folded and stiched down in bunches to create a striking, structural detail.

I really like this blouse and thought it must be quite simple to construct. After a bit of messing about with bit’s of paper, I think I’ve got it.

Sleeveless drape front blouse, Topshop

Cue dodgy drawing…

I’ve just realised my drawing is the reverse of the Topshop blouse, but the effect would be the same. The back of the blouse is the same but longer, with a button at the back of the neck. It would be simple to construct the main parts of this blouse (just shoulder and side seams), but trickier to get a good finish on the edges that are visible on both pieces. 

While I often look to RTW garments for inspiration for clothes I make, this one got me thinking. I have worked out how it’s made (therefore there is nothing to learn with regards to construction and pattern making through actually copying it); the edges would be difficult to finish, and may look quite messy. Sometimes I feel like there is not much point making things when there is already a perfectly good version that already exists, although this obviously depends very much on the price bracket.

So, while I like the effect of this top, and congratulate Topshop on a rather Pattern Magic-esque piece, I think I’ll bank this construction idea for potential development at a later date. Topshop do the blouse in various colours, and some of the reviews are particularly encouraging “gives an odd silhouette” – I’m pretty into weird shapes in clothing at the moment!

Related posts:

See by Chloe linen jersey combination jacket – how is it made?

Interesting sleeves…

Kind of a follow up to this disappointment, I was excited to see this blog post by fashion/pattern cutting student Naomi. I was particularly interested in the sleeve she drafted which she refers to as a “partially set, partially cut on sleeve”.

Image credit The Forgotten Doll

I think it kind of resembles my drawing of the See by Chloe jacket in the way it is constructed, particularly the top of the shoulder, although more interesting as  the sleeve is also cut as part of the jacket front (I think). I think Naomi’s jacket toile looks great and it’s made me consider visiting the half raglan, half set in idea again.

my drawing of what I thought the See by Chloe jacket pattern pieces would look like

On dissecting a RTW shirt here’s what I learned, and what I tried in practice…

  • the “flat felled seams” are not true ones – the pieces on the shirt I took apart had been folded, pressed, and both lines of stitching topstitched rather constructed in the usual way, this would be too fiddly for me. I also observed that they are constructed with the outer fold toward the front of the garment. I found the flat felled seam turned out quite lumpy in places. In future I might reverse it (the inside of this seam was much neater), or use a simpler enclosed seam

  • the button placket is not applied, rather it is an extension of the shirt front, folded and stitched to look like an applied placket. I tried this and will definitely use this technique again if it’s appropriate to the style. It really speeds up the construction of this part of the garment. It looks dead neat too!

  • the faux placket lines up with the inside edge of the button stand
  • the RTW sleeve is completely symmetrical, a made-to-measure sleeve (at least from the book I have) is slightly higher at the back – I have thought for a while that commercially made clothing has less ease and that the pattern pieces are in general more ‘flat’, this makes me think I might be right in some cases at least. It must  make construction quicker and simpler
  • a line of machine stitching keeps seam allowance of collar stand in place (in my sewing manual it says to tack this and remove later). This is on the inside of the collar stand, is visible when the collar is unbuttoned, but creates a double line of stitching with the stitching that holds the stand to the body. This made the construction of the collar quicker and less fiddly. However, it is tricky to get the tram lines running parallel

While some of these points only make sewing a shirt fractionally faster, I can see why they are incorporated into the RTW construction process as every little trick helps speed things up