Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lace Cape: Design and Construction Notes

Hello Everyone 
Today I will briefly talk about the processes that went in behind making the Lace Cape. This is defiently not one of my bigger projects so there is less to talk about the inspiration and the work that went into the final product but I hope that this is still interesting and helps provide a perspective to what anyone can do to practice techniques and get better at designing/sewing. :)

As this was more of a personal project, I did not do as much design development as I would normally do before having a finalized design. But for any design one wants to make, the best thing to do is to write down your ideas. Even if you are completely sure of what you want to do, things can change once it is put onto paper, and it is mostly for the better. Plus, forgetting your idea is the worst thing you can do, and if you don't write it down that will happen. Sadly I know it from experience.

Here are my brief notes and ideas written down before the design was finalized. It is very rough as all design development should be, because it is about expressing your ideas instead of having to worry about the overall presentation.

It's probably a bit hard to read, but my main idea was to make a cape that linked to my Spring Cardigan garment with the materials used but to have a more bold shape (silhouette) to it.

Relating to what I said before about writing down your ideas; I originally intended to have a geometric design on the back, but when looking at it in a sketch, I realized that this design would clash with the flow of the circular cut of the cape. Instead, I chose on vertical panelling, which is when you put different types fabric next to each other, like stripes.

Below is the final design. Just a quick watercolour and pen sketch to help get a better idea on what I am going to make.

When the time came to make the garment, I did not make or use a pattern! This pretty much means that this is a one-of-a-kind piece which I cannot make just like the original. It also means that I working practically blind, so i'm making it up as I go along! If you're new to sewing or want to have something perfectly made, I do not recommend doing this. I already know the techniques that were needed to make the cape so I was confident in how it would turn out. I only work without patterns when i'm doing small projects so it isn't the norm for me.

I started with cutting a 1/4 of a circle for the back of the cape, measuring out from the neckline. With the leftovers (as this was a scrap of material from an earlier project - recycling, yay!), I cut two scalene triangles which match the sides of the circle. The front was intended to be longer than the front but should match up together at the seam. The lace overlay was cut to watch the triangles and then stitched (basted) together.

The lining was also cut at the same time in a white satin.

'Baste' Definition: Temporarily joining fabric together by sewing. It is used to hold the fabric in place.

A panel of lace was cut to fit the back and then basted to place. On top of the stitching and the, reflective tape was pinned and stitched on top.
(Do you like my pin cushion buy the way? Cupcakes~)

This is when I attached the circle to the funny-looking triangles and did the same to the lining. This brings both the front and the back together so the armholes can be fitted. The armholes are halfway down the seam so I just left a gap in both the lining and outer piece and attached the spaces together. It sounds a little weird, but hear me out, it worked just fine xD

Then sequins were attached on the shoulders and back cape in-between the lining (so it cannot be seen). Afterwards the welt pockets were pinned and sewn into place.

To match the white satin of the pockets, I used white trimming for the neckband. On top of it the button and fastener was sewn on. Then the lining was sewn into the top layer of fabric and voilà! It is done~
You can also see the reflective tape in action. So shiny~ :)

So, I hope that this shows what went into making this garment. It's pretty casual in construction and there is more that can be done to make the piece work better to intentions, but doing smaller projects really helps to practice sewing and desgning. There is also a feeling of fulfillment when your own original design can actually be touched and worn in real life. Don't sit there wondering how your design will look, just make it. Even if you don't know how, just experiment! It's the only way 

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