Episode 18: Making It Work

I saw an episode of Project Runway once. Actually, that’s a gigantic lie. I saw about 400 episodes of Project Runway once, all in a magnificent trance-inducing marathon, because that’s how Bravo’s programming works. Has anyone ever just watched one episode of one of those shows? No, never.

Anyway, aside from Tim Gunn inspiring in me the kind of shrieking anxiety that happens anytime I’m confronted with someone who purports to know things about style*, what I gleaned from the TV is that clothing construction is really, really hard and also pretty easy for qualified people to screw up. Instead of taking that lesson to heart, I chose to focus on the other thing I learned: You have to draw stuff first. I almost always liked the conceptual sketches more than the finished garments; the lines were so romantic and soft that it was easy to ignore that the underwear was on over the pants.

Now that I’m playing Amateur Fashion Designer, I decided to try my hand at this noble exercise. What I’m trying to do with the construction is to start with the piece that will constitute the train / back of the skirt from the butt down. From long, squinty analysis of the small picture of the back of that Coral’s Bridal dress I’m using as a template, I discerned that it seemed to have been made by sewing a panel into the skirt. As you can clearly see, I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.

Yeesh. Help me, Tim Gunn!

*The jeweler who made my engagement ring had this long-winded pitch about diagonal lines. He explained why my ring should be diagonal instead of straight across in terms of slimming my fat sausage fingers. “I promise you don’t have anything in your closet with horizontal stripes,” he assumed offhandedly. I summoned courage and interrupted to declare that actually yes, I did own a horizontally striped shirt, and it was one of my favorites (because it’s super comfy and I bought it for about $3 from Old Navy). Without missing a beat, he looked me in the eyes and told me to burn it. The point is: Am I really qualified to be designing clothing, even for myself? Although maybe the point is also that people can be pretty rude sometimes and you still give them lots of money to make you shiny things.

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2 responses

  1. You can do it! I don’t know how you would do the train without some kind of short row shaping to make one side of the knitted tube (a.k.a. dress) longer than the other. Doing short row shaping in the middle of a lace pattern kind of sounds like a nightmare though… Or you could switch from working in the round to back and forth for the train.

    • My plan was to make flat pieces and then sew them together, as if I was working with pre-fabricated lace. I figured it would be easier to force a shape to happen that way; with the first dress attempt, even though the pattern made a lot of fuss over decreasing both with needle size and stitch count, it was still as sheathy as a sheath could be. I’m pretty sure the shape I’m going for would be completely impossible to do in the round, or at the very least put me in that whimpery traumatized state that happens after the fourth or fifth unraveling.

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