This week I completed outfit #4 in muslin for class on Thursday. I did not have the challenges I had with outfit #3 – no remakes and do-overs but I did not start outfit #4 earlier as planned so had to complete it in a week. I started Friday night by making the pattern for the shirt and shorts – this was pretty straightforward because I had already made a pattern and muslin for the pants and shirt in outfit#2 so I really just needed to make adjustments to the patterns I had already drafted. For the shorts this only required a change in the front pockets and a decision on the length of the shorts. For the shirt I took the small pleat at the back yoke out and added a yoke in the front with pockets set in the seam.
On Saturday I cut out all the pieces for the shirt and spent most of the rest of the day laying out and sewing the applique on the back of the shirt. On Sunday I finished constructing the shirt (except for buttonholes and buttons) and cut out the shorts – with breaks for raking all the leaves that had fallen on our property. On Monday evening I made the shorts almost completely except for fasteners and hem. On Tuesday morning before my work day started I brought the pieces to the lab to fit on the jimmy. The shirt looked good to me and the shorts were a bit too big. I marked where I would need to take in the back seam and marked the length of the shorts and went to the office. Tuesday night I took the shorts in, hemmed them, and marked and made all the buttonholes on both pieces and marked the button placement. I had work commitments on Wednesday night and did not get home until about 10 pm. and the garments had to be completed by noon on Thursday. So I must admit that I sewed all the buttons on at my desk while reading e-mail, talking to staff and returning phone calls on Thursday morning. I sewed the last button in place just in time to head to the lab to meet with the instructor. While I had no major challenges with this outfit I really did use every waking minute outside of my day to day work to get it done on time and I went to bed later every night this week than I normally would.
I am happy with the result and the feedback from the instructor was good. She suggested a small adjustment to the construction of the welt pockets on the back of the shorts which was a good idea and I will incorporate this change into the final fabric construction for this outfit and the pockets in outfit #2. I will also let the shirt out a bit at the hip and lower the back neckline a bit. I have included here a picture of the placket and pocket detail on the front of the shirt, and a picture of part of the applique on the back of the muslin shirt.
I spent some time, last week in particular, walking around the class and looking at the various muslins that students had completed and were displayed on the judys and jimmys for critique. An amazing variety of styles, aesthetics, and target customers – men’s wear, children’s wear, plus size women’s wear, bridal, etc. There was also a very distinct variety of skill level related to construction. It made clear to me how important the quality of construction can be in communicating the design ideas and ensuring a good fit. I had not really thought about this before but I guess if you compare fashion design to writing, the construction skills are the spelling, grammar, sentence structure and overall technical organization for the designer. As in writing, if these things are done well or properly you don’t really notice them, instead, as the reader you can focus on the use of language, the ideas expressed and the overall skill of the writer in communicating information, thoughts and ideas – but if these are done poorly, they are really the only thing that you can focus on. The students are allowed in this capstone design project to contract out the sewing of the final garments if they choose, like sending your paper to a really good editor. The intention is to ensure that any construction flaws are corrected so that the focus becomes the elements of the design itself – line, shape, colour, use of material and special details. I am still determined to make all my garments myself – I am feeling pretty confident in my sentence structure and spelling after this muslin making process.
It is now Friday afternoon and tonight I will start the pattern for outfit #5, the last in the collection. I will again have one week – it is due Thursday next week. I am really tired as, I’m sure, are the 4th year design students. I suspect that they all feel a little relief that we are in the home stretch now, at least for this semester. I met with the Chair of the School of Fashion this week and he said that I needed to be prepared for the fact that the time commitment to fully finish these garments in final fabric was significantly greater than for the muslins. I am going to try and learn a lesson from Hamish, who I profiled this week, and get started as early as possible particularly over the holiday closure. But I think I will take a week or two off from sewing after next Thursday…just because.