Wednesday, March 05, 2008

circles and waste

Any investigation into cutting without waste would eventually need to consider circles. Take circle skirts. The question, generally, one finds oneself asking over and over in a no-waste approach is, 'What can this shape become?' 'This shape' mostly refers to the edge left behind by a pattern shape one has just created; I absolutely believe that here the main limiting factor is one's creativity.

With circles there are many possibilities. Here's a dodgy quick sketch to (hopefully) illustrate three:

The first and second are the same really; the third is something I did at work yesterday. We had some digitally printed blocks of fabric with a blank border about an inch wide between each, which the designer definitely didn't want in the skirt. (Why the textile people couldn't have the solid background colour continue through the 15 metres is beyond me. No, we didn't need it in repeat but all up we paid for at least 20 inches of blank bits through the fabric.) It was to be a full circle, so I made the skirt with six pieces: a quarter circle at front and back and eighths at sides, with side seams (and the zip!) on the straight grain and the bias seams at side front and back. The waistbands came out of the shaded bits. For a no-waste skirt, the third option would probably be the easiest though I see lots of design potential in the first two, too. And not just applique, which has become the running joke in my project - as in "can't think of anything to do with this so it'll become applique". There will be some applique, for sure, but hopefully it won't look like a poor man's version of those amazing fishermen's coats from Awaji Island.

I would love to one day do an experiment with leaving the corners in (rather than cutting out a circle) and darting the hem to bring it back to the circle and having it on the outside. But maybe you'll do it first. Whilst my collection of menswear may well have some skirts in it (why should a windy male groin be the reserve of the Scots?) I'm not sure about circle skirts. Nor capes; whether on men or women, I always expect the cape wearer to take off and save the world flying.

The waist doesn't have to be a circle, of course. It could be a simple straight slash (on any angle, as long as you know what it'll do), or a rectangle, like this:
To cut a long, painful story short, a lovely friend is having a commitment ceremony (she doesn't believe in marriage) and was going to get a dress made from a reissued 1950s Vogue pattern. Her dressmaker bailed and I said I could get someone else but that person wouldn't go anywhere near a Vogue pattern with a sewing machine because why would one; life's too short for those nightmares. So, I offered to 'fix' the pattern prior. From the picture I expected to find pleats but it was cut like the doodle above; the corners create flares from the waist.

(As a side note, why do they print a cute little zip on the pattern piece? A notch would do quite nicely, thanks very much. As for the rest... Thankfully it's a good friend, otherwise all that tissue paper - how I HATE tissue paper - would be eaten and digested in anger by now.)

I had a point but now it eludes me. Think outside the circle, maybe?

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