Category Archives: Mockups

How I Organize My Patterns And Sewing Books

I showed you how I organized my fabric stash and now I thought I’d show you how I organize my patterns and sewing books.

Most of the patterns I make and choose to keep are for historic clothing. I choose to keep them so that I can use them as a reference for future garments or so I can reuse them as is. A lot of these are garments that I’ve made for myself, but some are also patterns I’ve made for work. Probably 85% of the patterns I keep are historic or vintage. And probably 90% of my patterns are self-made. (I really like having self-made patterns–I find it easier to see what’s going on when there is only one size on the pattern, no seam allowance included.) Some of the envelopes contain vintage and modern commercial patterns for which I’ve traced off my size for the given garment pieces, sometimes making changes to them as well. At that point, I choose to keep those pattern pieces separate from an original purchased pattern.

Given these factors, I choose to organize my patterns by historic period. I use the post-it notes so I can easily change which folder the label is on. Purchased patterns (of which I only own very few) are stored separately, because there are so few of them.

Each self-made pattern is folded and put into a manilla or recycled envelope. I label the front of each envelope with:

  • the month and year I made the pattern
  • the name of the garment
  • other pertinent information: such as the measurements the garment is made for, whether a mockup of the garment is also in the envelope, and an image or drawing of the garment if possible, etc.
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Each section is also organized chronologically.

At this point, I’ve maxed out the number of patterns I can fit in this one basket, so I’m trying to decide what categories of patterns can be stored somewhere else, and where that somewhere else is… Someday when I have a sewing room I hope to change these over to a filing cabinet.

As for my books, I keep all of my personal books at home and bring them into work only on an as-needed basis. I do this for two reasons: first, that I’m very protective of all books that I own and want them to stay in the best condition possible; and second, that I enjoy seeing these books regularly.

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The books are organized by the type of information they contain, then chronologically, if possible. The binders peeking up from the bottom shelf on the left are all full of notes and samples and other construction-related information. The books on the bottom right are other things including a binder of cooking recipes, wedding research, knitting books, and my Janet Arnold books.

How do you organize your sewing related patterns and books?

Mock-up-ing-Along

The first step in constructing my 1760s Curtain-Along jacket was to draft up the pattern from Janet Arnold (you can read more about the pattern I chose in my Initial Curtain-Along Thoughts post). In my experience, sometimes the patterns work pretty well without a lot of tweaks, but sometimes you really do need to do some serious fitting to make them work. Given that knowledge, I decided to make a mock-up of the pattern without any adjustments to see how it would fit. The measurements weren’t too far off of my own, so I didn’t think I’d run into any really awful problems.

And here are the results! I put the mock-up together matching up all of the points that were indicated in the pattern.

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Initial state. It is pinned down at center front, but I haven’t made any other adjustments. Squishy is pretty close to my shape, so you can see that there are some adjustments that need to be made for the jacket to fit me.

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First problem: the gap at the shoulders. You can see on the left that I’ve pinned out the excess fabric, and on the right side nothing has been pinned.

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Second problem: the center back waist point is halfway up the back! I extended the center back seam above the waist so that the waist would sit lower and match the side fullness.

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I don’t think anyone has a back/hip area that would easily fit into this shape…

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Third problem: sleeves that are too far off of the shoulder and twisted around in a way that is odd looking and uncomfortable. I had to try this on to make those observations, but you can see the problems in the picture.

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The solution was to take the sleeve off, adjust the armsceye, and pin the sleeve back on without it being twisty. You can see on the left side that I’ve adjusted the sleeve, and on the right I didn’t do anything.

Oh, I also lengthened the sleeve pattern a bit, because it was a little short on me, and extended center front so it would actually close… After making the adjustments to the pattern, I took to the scissors and cut out the real fabric, mineral felicite and peach linen lining. Then it was on to the hand sewing…

Project Journal: 1815-1820 Regency Ensemble Part IV: Spencer Mockup

I recently shared with you my research for a Regency Spencer! I found many inspiring images, but below is the one that I chose to reproduce, with some creative license, of course. 1819 is the specific year much of my Regency ensemble is aimed at, so this Spencer fits in perfectly! Aren’t the tassels adorable?

1819-1822 Spencer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1819-1822 Spencer Back

First of all, let me share pictures of the mock-up of this garment!

I draped the pattern and left seam allowance on the draped pieces (to eliminate the step of creating a paper pattern from my muslin) so I could move straight to the mock-up stage. In this case especially, I felt the mock-up to be essential to the fit of the spencer (especially the seams in the back) as well as to reaffirm the scale and placement of the decorative elements. Only after I had fit the Spencer and marked the necessary alterations did I rip open the seams and use the muslin to create a paper pattern.

1819 Spencer Mock-up

1819 Spencer Mockup

Back: close up

Sleeve: close up

Coming soon will be pictures of the finished garment!

Project Journal: Victorian Women’s Tailoring Part III: Mockups

I reached a point where all my patterns were complete! The next step was to make a mock-up, or toile, of each garment. My mock-ups are made out of muslin: their goal is to determine what changes I need to make to my patterns so that the garments will fit well before I cut and sew the garments out of my fashion fabrics.

By eliminating major fit issues in my mock-ups I am able to achieve a better fit in my final garments with fewer alterations. In these photos you can see the pins that mark the areas of the garments that I need to go back and change on my patterns so that the fashion fabric garments will fit better.

Look 1: 1883. In my brain this is the “bustle dress.”

1883 mockups--including the bustle!

1883 mockups.

My inspiration "cheat sheet" for this look.

Look 2: 1903. This is the pigeon breast dress.

1903 mockups.

1903 mockups.

1903 garment inspiration "cheat sheet."

Look 3: 1913. This is the tubular suit look.

1913 mockups.

1913 mockups.

1913 "cheat sheet" for garments.

Yay! My project is on its way to becoming actual garments. There’s still more work to do, but it’s inspiring to see it beginning to take shape!