Sunday, September 13, 2009

the hoodie - an attempt to explain

I feel very humbled by and grateful for having been featured on three prominent blogs over the last few days. Kathleen Fasanella from Fashion Incubator (you need her book!) posted the hoodie as a Pattern Puzzle, Danielle Meder from Final Fashion posted her very good go at it, and Outi of Outsapop wrote a post on zero-waste fashion. Thank you, and more importantly, thank you each for your blogs!

I realise that the pattern diagram for the hoodie isn't particularly helpful - even when you see the photo. Had I included a couple of crucial notches in the diagram (they are on the actual pattern, obviously), it would be much easier to 'read'. For example, the CB seam isn't joined all the way through to the top of the 'triangle'; the hood triangle gets inserted into the 'split' that results:

There is a partially stitched inverted pleat at the CF edge of the hood. I had a set length measurement available for the facing that faces the entire CF and hood edge (see the diagram), and I used the pleat to make the edge match the facing. Although cut perfectly to match, I fumbled the stripes whilst sewing; they are out by about 2mm. If any of my students are reading this, this is where you stop, unpick and resew. At the time I was probably too buggered to even notice:

The hood triangle, perhaps counter-intuitively, goes around the triangle point where the CF and CB of the body meet rather than match to it. The hood keeper controls the area and creates a look that's more hat- than hood-like when the hood is on the head:

About the sleeves and 'armholes'. The slash at the top back (the one that does have a notch marked) is the armhole; the sleeve is inserted from the notch to the end of the slash. I am realising quickly that I am not very good at explaining this verbally or with photographs, but in the photo below you can see the CB and parts of the sleeves inserted into the slashes:
The sleeves are cut on the straight grain but hang on bias, with the one seam spiraling around the arm, Vionnet-style. The mismatched grains at CF and CB were the intention from the word go, creating all sorts of havoc throughout the fittings. I think I made three toiles (or muslins) and even now, the final garment doesn't fit quite as well as I'd like it to.

The back waist has an internal elastic casing inserted into the lower slash. The hems are quite deep (4" or 10cm). I mitred the corners by simply folding and hiding the folds inside the hem:

Although there are lots of large eyelets available now, thanks to Givenchy (I predicted it here), I decided to get mine made by a very capable jewellery designer, George Plionis. In fine silver, these are thus far the most expensive eyelets I've ever worked with.
There are a number of things that would need addressing before this could be taken to manufacture, primarily to do with the hood and the facing. As for (hypothetical) sales (this garment, and all others, was made purely for research and exhibition), most guys I spoke with liked the front but not the heavily gathered back waist. I also debated whether to put tucks into the shoulder area which would have prevented the garment falling off the shoulders so much. The tucks were marked on the original pattern but in the end I left them out. Back in 1982, Vivienne Westwood said about the Buffalo collection: "There's more to clothes than just comfort. Even if they're not quite comfortable and slip and have to be readjusted now and again, I don't mind, because that's some sort of display and gesture that belongs with the clothes." Reflecting on that at whatever hour I might have been sewing the hoodie, I decided to leave the tucks out.

Any questions about the hoodie, don't hesitate to ask. I do find it quite difficult to explain the cut, and it's not a particularly complex garment.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for more info about the hoodie. A couple of thoughts--I like the way this looks and think I would like to wear it. However I have very square shoulders. And then there are folks that have very sloping shoulders--as made this would probably fit the sloping shoulder folks better--without the shoulder tucks. I think Westwood's comment is interesting--and I wonder if it come out of knowing about wearing draped garments like shawls and saris and (trying to think of a draped male gendered garment..)sarongs etc. where one does have to adjust while wearing--however one difference I see is that these aren't as constructed as your garment--and the draped garments can be adjusted for weight gain or loss, somewhat. That said some garments drive me crazy when they move around on me--others it's no big deal--the cut makes a difference, I think. So I still want to mock this up when I have time to look at some of the things you mentioned--I hope I don't come off as trying to do a heavy critique of your work as I understand you are trying to work with a concept--not necessarily make a sample for production. And I realize how challenging what you are doing is. I just want to see what I would change if I were doing it myself--mainly for my own body. (I hope to be able to crave out some time soon). Anyway if you like I can report back what I found worked for me.

Timo Rissanen said...

I think adapting something to suit you is very much within ideas about sustainability and I'm all for it. I certainly don't believe in the notion of designer-as-artist dictating to consumers. I think us designers merely propose and show possibilities but what matters much more (I think) is wearing things that suit you, both physically and psychologically. Adapting or altering something to suit oneself is a form of engagement with fashion that simply doesn't happen enough. So please do go ahead, alter as needed and enjoy! And yes, I'd love to hear back.

Danielle said...

Hi Timo, thanks for posting this; of course it would be far nicer to see this item explained in person if it weren't for this planet earth between us. I know that my guess probably wouldn't sew together properly at all, I did it far too quickly, its quite the challenge to work backward from a pattern to sketch even with a conventional pattern.

Thanks for following me on Twitter - that's how I noticed your site - I appreciate your silent readership at FF but its such a pleasure to know who is reading eh? Don't be a stranger ;)

Timo Rissanen said...

Danielle, from January it won't be quite the same distance so let's see what we can arrange :) I actually want to come to Toronto to visit the Royal Ontario Museum at some point after the move; it was where Dorothy Burnham did much/all? of her work so will keep you posted.

Lauren Mendoza said...

i love this pattern so much!!! I printed out the diagram and managed to put all the pieces together to make a very cute (barbie-sized) paper hoodie.
Now i'm making one out of real fabric. would it be okay with you if I were to sew these up for my friends? Or would that be politically incorrect as it is your copy-written design, and I gather that you do plan on selling it as a finished product.
Also, not that I would do this, but are you worried about some unscrupulous people taking your concept to market without your permission, as you've made your pattern public?
I want to thank you, as this is very educational! I'm a fashion student and I will be showing this to my pattern drafting teacher next week, it's so awesome!

Timo Rissanen said...

Thanks Thee,
I'd love it if you made your versions of it. What I would love even more is if you tried to adapt it to your fabric, which is more than likely a different width to the one I used, specifically to make it as close to no-waste as possible.

If I was worried about someone going to market with these, I wouldn't post them. The thing is, in my experience, the people that operate like that wouldn't bother about the waste aspect nor even the pattern; they need clear front and back photographs which they'll translate as quickly as possible, without much thought. While someone might 'copy' the general look of the hoodie, that's fine - it's just a hoodie at the end of the day. I don't feel like I reinvented the wheel with the way it looked :) (nor was I trying to)

I'd also love it if you let me know in this comments section how you go with it, and I'm happy to answer any questions here, too. Thank you, I feel very flattered that someone likes it enough to give it a go!

Sandra B said...

Hi Timo, have you published your thesis yet? I'm still keen to read it, believe it or not. I've just been at the Perth Royal Show where I met an alpaca breeder who weaves her own fabric. We talked about doing some work together, using the zero waste concept. Of course, she has a very personal reason for utilising every fibre - not only is it her own labour, but she spins and weaves each fabric from a single animal's fleece. Economically speaking, she has supplied all the resources used to produce the fleece, and holistically speaking, she has a relationship with the animal it came from. She spoke of how each fleece has its' own distinct characteristics.
We'll hopefully start the project early next year as I am fully booked with organising a SwapORamaRama clothing restyle event in December. However, as my reuse practice is mainly about reusing discarded metrage, I can try out some ideas now on lairy 80's polyester. (They'd better look good, someone's great-great grandchildren will inherit them!) I'd love to adapt this pattern, do you mind?

I also saw some of the wine dregs fabric done at Symbiotica. I am dying to get my hands on some of it to try out. It's essentially a flexible cellulose film, and yes, it smells vaguely of cab sav. A no-waste model for using that would be lots of fun, as the original area wouldn't necessarily be square. However, it was hard to get a sense of this fabric being other than a novelty, as the designs on display were more banal art-to-wear than fashion.

Timo Rissanen said...

Hi Sandra,
Good to hear from you! Still finishing up the thesis, work commitments are leaving very little time for it. Anyway, when it's done, a pdf will head your way. It is still some months away, though. I really wanted it completed before the move to NYC but it's not looking likely now with the workload I have. But certainly in the first few months of 2010, if nothing unexpected happens.

I absolutely don't mind anyone adapting the pattern, quite the contrary! I would love to see images of the adapted versions, though, and with permission, post them here. Not a requirement, of course, but I am a big believer in sharing.

No-waste on odd-shaped fabrics can be fun; I've only had one go at it, making a shirt out of a vintage circular tablecloth (I'll post it here eventually), and I'd love to have a go at leather, too, were I not torn on a number of issues relating to leather.

I love your story about the alpaca breeder and her relationship with fabric. It's so easy for us to forget that the fibre in fabric comes from something somewhere, and that a lot of resources are required to turn the fibre into yarn and then fabric. When all of the processes are visible and tangible, as they are in the case of the breeder/weaver, the appreciation for fabric is quite different, isn't it? I look forward to hearing what you do together.

Thanks for popping in!

dorie said...

Hi Timo,
I have been reading your blog for more than 2 hours, since i'am very interested in the idea of zero-waste-clothes for many reasons. One of them is that I'am a felter. My stock of flat peices of handmade/plantprinted felt and fabric is growing, don't want to waste any of it. I tried recently something to make of two rectangles, one knitted and one felted. For the moment nothing more than a prototype, which need more investigation. Nevertheless it was worth to try. Your blog will help getting me new ideas and maybe I shall makes some of yours with my felted fabrics. THanks for sharing your expierence so generously.

Timo Rissanen said...

Thanks Dorie. Glad to hear this humble blog gets people thinking.