Getting in gear

December 22, 2014 - 7:08 pm

I want pants. Not just any pants, but glorious linen pants with personal flare and fabulous fit. I want to be able to walk around in clothes I made that look awesome, so I can better advocate for the Hack Your Clothes project.

I also want a few pairs and different styles; some of them like bloomers to wear under long tunics and dresses and skirts, and some of them loose but shapely. I found a style referred to as “Lagenlook” that gets kind of close. I’ve been posting all sorts of ideas to my sewing board on Pinterest, if you want some eye candy. Think these trousers from


Another Pair from Oska:


and these bloomers from Bohemian Angels on Etsy: 


I drew up a concept for the waistline I want in Paper: 

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In order for the pants to wear well under layers as well as with a cropped or tucked in shirt I want a tailored waist with a lot of flare between my waist and my hips. I have a much smaller waist than hip size, and so like to accentuate that. 

This concept is a front placket with two hooks on each side that can be hooked into different loops depending on my desired style and wearing ease from moment to moment. There’s a front pocket on each side that takes up the slack. I had a skirt designed this way when I was in college that I adored, and have seen a similar concept in tux pants for men. 

I took all my measurements this morning, then set about drafting a pattern. But I want a bunch of these, and I want to be able to manipulate details easily and might like to be able to grade the patterns and sell them, so I decided to spend the afternoon investigating pattern drafting software.

Most of the packages out there are absurdly expensive, made only for PC’s, or both. I downloaded a demo from the only one I could find with Mac support and got nowhere with it. There is no documentation, no introduction, demo, quick start guide, user forums, or anything. I opened it and tried poking at things and gave up. 

But I did find a nifty site called that has a reasonable subscription model, and their tutorial/demo seemed quite straightforward for anyone used to working with vector graphics. Certainly FAR better than trying to draft by hand in Adobe Illustrator. This site is CAD-like enough for the software to understand things like “insert seam allowance” and “add a dart.” Look at this groovy instructive video:

I like that there’s a reasonably priced membership system, and they don’t bury the pricing plan behind a “sign up for more info!!” system, but rather put it right up front. $5 a month for an individual/basic membership, $15 for a designer, and $29 for a version that includes an iPad and Mac downloadable program.

The top membership tier for Patternade is about what the bottom rung of the drafting packages cost, and my first impression is that it will be a much better system than those for my needs.

So, frankly, I’m writing this shill in the hopes that I will get a free basic subscription for posting about it, because their website also suggests that option and has a form to submit to request the freebie. 🙂 Either way I will be setting up the free two week trial and start drafting pants patterns tonight.  Hopefully I’ll have something to share tomorrow! 

I haven’t looked for the feature yet, but it might be possible for me to save a design in some way that is shareable, and would allow someone else to insert their measurements to re-grade. If they don’t have that feature they should. 

Studio Time

December 19, 2014 - 11:35 am

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That right there? It’s a panorama of my studio taken with my iPhone. That means it’s all warped, but you can at least see everything except the door and tool racks behind me. It’s still very much in process of becoming, but I’m starting to use it.

Today I made a pressing board! I started with an Ikea hollow-core table top, some batting, some fabric (which was also an Ikea deal) a staple gun, tack hammer and scissors. Quick montage below— there are lots of tutorials on the web for doing this sort of thing:








I then promptly covered it in fabric: 


That right there? Is my winter wardrobe. Or will be, soon. Hopefully at least a substantial fraction will be used before we leave for Texas. In a week. Nothing like a deadline for motivation!

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