Pattern Puzzle: Kate Rawlinson & stupid stripey pt.2

Following up on Tuesday’s entry, we had two great entries to Kate’s pattern puzzle challenge. First was Carol followed quickly by Danielle. Carol analyzed it like so:


The pattern she came up with looked like this:


I like the way Carol analyzed the style. She drew lines over the photo, aligning pieces along the grain (obvious, it was a woven stripe). Her exercise is actually a great example of why I won’t sign confidentiality agreements.  Designers, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you release photos of your product to the market place, anyone can copy them without your pattern maker or contractor’s help just like Carol did -no sample needed. If you like, you can see more of Carol’s process in detail in her Flickr album.

Danielle’s analytical process was similar judging from her result (below):


The final word on the judging of the puzzle is Kate’s technical sketch (below):

Based on Kate’s sketch, you can see our contestants did very well indeed. And Kate, she just thinks she’s crazy. I didn’t want to annoy her by asking what the yield on this was. Good show everyone!

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  1. Actually, I didn’t trace Kate’s photos (the angles are different), but I did copy and lighten them in Photoshop, the better to use them for reference for the freehand drawings. Though Kate gave her permission, at least implicitly via Kathleen’s discussion, it felt strange to be working them and publishing the results. I commented on this in the first post.

    As Kathleen points out, anything put on the net (or otherwise published) is essentially in the public domain, control over it relinquished. Ethically, I wouldn’t do it with someone else’s stuff unless it was a situation structured like this one.

  2. Kate Rawlinson says:

    Carol, I was just flattered that you were interested enough to give it a go – my only worry was that someone would come up with an infinitely better way to get the same result. Unfortunately I don’t have anything else in the portfolio that would even remotely tax your brain, but thanks for asking (on the other post, I think)!

    As for the yield (forgive me, I’m shaky on the technical terms, but I’m assuming you mean how much fabric I used?), I think I bought 5m of fabric, and had about half a metre of usable length left. (Plus lots of scraps!). (The fabric, incidentally, is a pure wool Super 100s blazer fabric from Scabal on Savile Row. Those blazer fabrics are kind of archaic – as seen on Oxford students when boating in the 1930s! – so it was fun to do something so NOT blazer-ish with it.) Obviously the asymmetric stripe didn’t help with the yield… ah well, it was a showpiece! But no, not in any way economical. And it’s fully lined, in silk charmeuse, because I’m like that.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Carol: I regret you interpreted my comments as you did. We do these in good fun, not malice. I was delighted you chose to participate and guide the process.

    If anyone were to proceed beyond the challenge of the exercise, well, I wouldn’t do pattern puzzles anymore. Generally, it’s not possible to cause damage because I’m not displaying anything proprietary. It’s already out there. If one were inclined to copy it, I sincerely this site would be the instigating influence. They’d do it on their own. Moreover, items I select are difficult; it’s not so easy to duplicate these things and even were they to, execution is everything, which effectively minimizes any untoward effects.

    I did not intend to imply your integrity was questionable or represented a danger to any designer’s intellectual property. My point was, if designers think they can protect themselves by muzzling their service providers, their priorities are misplaced and ineffective.

  4. No, no, I didn’t take offense. I wasn’t clear. This was a magnificent exercise, and came while Denver was experiencing two feet + of snow so I was granted the space and time to devote to it.

    On one hand, as Kathleen points out, you can’t protect yourself by building a fence around your ideas. All you do is waste time and money, and demonstrate your ignorance to those with experience.

    On the other hand, although using someone else’s net photos is so common that most would be surprised to hear it called piracy, I had to reconcile myself to working with Kate’s graphics. I encourage tracing when teaching fashion sketching, so that comment was a correction of detail, like Kate noting that the pocket flap was cut on the side piece rather than separately.

    Much of my custom work is helping people develop lines, or pattern-to-finished one-of-a-kind couture garments. Oddly, the skills needed for both are similar to those for deciphering Kate’s dress. In motion, how should the garment drape and flow? What should the pattern pieces be? Where’s the grainline on each? What will be an efficient layout (important both for production and for expensive couture-level fabric)? Clients’ “challenges” are often no more than correcting the (non-)tilt of the armscye, and so on. I can’t begin to convey my delight figuring this out. I could have posted five pages of excited blather. In cutting back, I sounded too curt.

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