Vintage pattern design contest

Sometimes I cruise the online homesewing world; they tend to be an optimistic cheery lot who manage to share projects and compete in contests. I enjoy their camaraderie. So I thought we could do something fun, albeit from a different perspective. Homesewers have contests sewing up the same pattern so I thought we could each design the same pattern from a sketch. Then we’d walk through sewing it up and photograph it for giggles. Game?


This is the scenario. your boss (the designer) has just handed you a sketch of style #24001. To keep things as real-world (and easy) as possible, “their” design is -obviously- photocopied from a book. This is the illustration you’re given.

style24001

Now -because I like you and because I have the book- I’ll include the drafting instruction for this which comes from pg 290 of Hillhouse & Manfield’s _Dress Design_. Of course you’d start with your own block or a style close enough to one. You’d start by tracing it off and making the amendments to your duplicate as shown here:

style24001draft

We’ll use the same fabrics -a basic pre-washed rayon- and we’ll use the same color (white). The reason is that other than sizing, if the design has been well-rendered -according to the designer’s ‘vision’- each completed prototype should look more or less the same.

About the sleeve of the blouse, since the designer wasn’t clear about what the sleeve looks like, and nobody is around to ask -but you’re supposed to finish this thing by 5pm- you get to design your own. Similarly, you really can’t tell if this design is a dress or a blouse so rather than twiddle your thumbs, -unlike in real life- you get to do what you like there too, have fun! But other than sleeves or with or without a skirt (attached or not), all tops should look the same. If it matters to you what I would do, I’d worry about getting the blouse portion done just so and then decide by visual inspection (or online jury poll) if the thing needs a skirt. But you do as you like. I’ll be showing my sample in various stages which may be helpful because you all may not know the best way to construct it, the neckline being the biggest finishing issue, no? If not, what strikes you as most difficult to sew about this style?

If anyone should enter the vintage pattern design contest other than yours truly (doubtful), I’ll put up photos of each. Oh wait…we need some kind of a pathetic, useless, and trivial prize to award the winner (the one person who enters other than me)….any suggestions? I know, we’ll call it the Golden Nippers Prize (TM). Nippers are something no factory sewing person can do without. It’d be like going to school without pens, pencils and paper. Btw, if you need nippers or any other needle-trade tools, paper or supplies, I heartily recommend SouthStar Supply.

Regarding industrial criteria; if we took this contest to another level -you could use this as a training exercise if you really wanted to get into the business- we’d do this again but intended for silk. Obviously one would start with the rayon-based pattern and cut a silk one to see what was going on, wash it etc and check this silk sample against the original rayon one. Then, if you needed to, you’d have to make alterations to the rayon pattern which would mean keeping the rayon style intact and tracing off another and making alterations to the duplicate. Then, you’ll need to issue the silk blouse a different style number (24002) because it is it’s own pattern. It doesn’t matter if the rayon and silk blouses look the same, it needs a different style number. The folks in the back of the house are going to grab the pattern of the style number you specify so be careful. They won’t know to look for a style 24001-rayon and 24001-silk. They’ll just cut the first version of 24001 that they find, out of whatever fabric they’re supposed to be cutting (and it isn’t their fault) so prevent a nightmare in the making. And if you ignore this advice thinking I’m too picky or anal retentive -while admittedly true- get out now! Save yourself while you still can. Trust me.

Related entries:
Vintage pattern design contest
Vintage pattern design update
Re-inventing Vionnet & 24001 draft
Vintage pattern post #4
Vintage pattern post #5

There are 8 comments Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *