Just back from my annual summer school at Edinburgh College of Art. Costumer design this year with the wonderful David Wilcox. Only eight of us in class concentrating deeply on our own work so it was a very calm and quiet atmosphere all week. Now that I'm back I realise what a gift it is to be able to concentrate on one thing for days on end to the exclusion of all else.
We began with something called dot and cross paper designed for pattern drafting and a book of basic pattern blocks all written in numbers. Arghhhhh! Maths!!!!! We transferred the numerical information into lines and angles on the dot and cross paper and a pattern appeared as if by magic. I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did.
All the other people were serious students of historical costume who went on to make period toilles in calico but I just wanted to make a jacket, which the tutor knew and was up for. David is an excellent tutor who susses his students strengths and weaknesses very quickly and knows I'm a ram stam, let it hang as it grows kind of gal, not big on accuracy.
I wanted to take a pattern from an existing jacket and had absolutely no idea how to go about it. The way David showed me was very simple and suited my nature. Taking a panel at a time and working systematically I pinned calico onto my jacket, sketched round the pin marks in pencil, unpinned it and cut it out. Then to correct any stretches or mishappings I did the dot and cross measuring thing, straightening up what I knew should be straight, matching angles etc. When I had my pattern I cut it out in calico and make a toille. This is where the fun begins and you can start playing at Project Catwalk.
I took a trip to Harvey Nicks and checked out all the lovely wool coats and jackets around this year with wonderful broad lapels and integral scarf collars. With a few stolen ideas under my belt it was back to the studio to play with my toille until I has something I thought might work. Finally I cut it out for real from the lovely Loch Carron fabrics I found the the scrapstore a few months ago and a jacket was born.....and a camera died. Typical. Promise to post pics soon,