I have been super busy these days, between back to school, teaching workshops, making patterns and video editing my online courses, I have barely had time to share what I’ve been up to.
I started teaching 3-day workshops at my studio in Florida. They have been wonderful, but so information packed, that it is exhausting. I have two more workshops planned for the remainder of this year and I am thinking that might be all I do. While it has been fun to get back into teaching, I think I would rather utilize my energy to make content that everyone can enjoy, not just the few that can train with me on an individual basis. Next year I may offer one on one training by the day for those who want to pick my brain, but not sure if there will be any takers. Only time will tell. If you are interested in any of the spaces left for this year, my workshops are listed under the books & classes section of my website.
My online course is now live. It covers the basic draft for the band and cup, plus how to create the sloper and manipulate it. I have broken the videos into steps, so some videos are only 30 second long and some are a few minutes. I did it this way so you don’t skip a step. Watch the video, do the step, rinse and repeat. Here is the link to the online course.
I finally did a video announcing the third edition, only 2 months late.
Update on the rest of my life
Summer was a challenge this year. We did not do any camps for Emily, so she was needing our attention nearly full time. Although even when she had camps, I still felt like we were giving her our attention 24/7.
Emily started school a month ago and the direction her class was taking was not agreeable to us, so after about 2 weeks, we pulled her from school and enrolled her in a charter school. I am so glad we did. I have been feeling completely exhausted for months, possibly up to a year and I can now attribute it to Emily’s school. She was clearly unhappy and acted out at home, making us completely drained of all our energy. In the 2 weeks since she has been in this new school, everything has changed. I am no longer exhausted and feel like I can join the productivity train again. I even made it to the gym that I’ve been supporting forever but never go to.
Needless to say, my exhaustion was linked to Emily. Damn me and my empathy. I am back on the band wagon again. I finished my bra drafting online course and made it live a few days ago, but haven’t officially announced it until now.
The Spanish edition of Bare Essentials is almost done. Its just back with the translator to make sure everything looks good. My new pattern set is rounding up testing which I hope to release in about a month. I think that’s all?? But probably not.
My next big projects are to get back to my other unfinished books – one is a sloper drafting book for the Pattern Design series and one is the athletic wear book for the Bare Essentials series. Both books are already partially written, but far from finished. I’ll probably toss a coin to choose which is next, but likely it will be the Pattern Design book since that is fresher in my memory.
Now that a big portion of my projects are completed, I expect to start posting a little more regularly. I also think I have a few guest posts coming up soon. Stay tuned.
I consider myself a pattern maker first and a designer second. I have always been fascinated with how things work. As a teenager I started making clothes by how I thought they were made. I would lay my clothes on top of fabric and cut around the outside edges and sew them together.
I never fully understood how or why garments were put together. After several failed attempts at various garments, I decided to save up all my money and buy myself a dressform. We had a Cloth World and I would go in once a week and look at the dress form I wanted. Over the course of probably a year, I was finally able to save all my money for my first big purchase. For a teenager in the early 90s, $100 was a lot of money.
The first thing I made for myself was a dress for my friend’s birthday celebration. The dress was so tight I could not sit down at her party, but I really don’t think anyone noticed. That was the first time I ever started to understand fit. It was another 6 years before I’d take my first pattern making class. During that time, I resorted to working with knits so the fit wasn’t as important.
The first day of pattern making was the best day of my life (at that period of my life). I finally understood how all the parts went together and why. I thrived in my draping classes because I learned how to make physical changes to a pattern with visual observations.
My school only scratched the surface of the knowledge I desired. School gave me a head start, but it was my drive to understand fit that I supplemented my education with experimentation. I started collecting all the books I could on pattern making and design. I loved it all, but I really struggled to understand the industry taught directions.
I questioned the why of things, but I never received answers except the parental “because I said so.” Most of what we learn as students is just accepted as fact, but I always struggled with that. I needed to understand why something was 1/4″ or 3/4″. What was the reasoning behind these “facts.”
As someone who never fit the mold of ready to wear, drafting for myself using these industry standard methods never worked either. Why didn’t they? And why do all the books teach the same thing? Why don’t any of them answer why?
When I started teaching, I enjoyed the challenge of my students coming up with an impossible design and helping them make it a possible design. I asked colleagues why we did something a certain way and the response was usually something around the fact “because the book teaches it that way.”
This was when I made it my personal goal to help not only me, but others understand why we do things. There are reasons for everything and just trusting what was done for 100 years does not mean it is correct.
I wrote my first book on running a small design business. It was a great project as it helped me unearth the problems those other books did not teach.
I had kind of forgotten that I loved writing as much as I loved designing. Visiting teachers years later, they were all surprised I didn’t become a writer and went the route of design.
The second book I wrote was on drafting undies. I worked on this book for months, experimented with everything. There were a handful of books already out on the subject, but most taught drafting for the industry standard model. I struggled to make it relate to myself. I pulled inspiration from everything, but I wrote everything based on my own experimentation.
A year or two later I began my journey on writing about bra drafting. This was even more elusive than panty drafting. There was some information out there, but none of it relevant to my body shape or size. Everything was shrouded in secrecy. I hated that. I concluded that drafting info was only provided to show the industry standard base size. But what about those of us who aren’t millionaires and want to design for ourselves.
I looked at bra design as a pattern maker. I needed to understand every aspect of it. I developed my own methods and within a year, my methods were being copied and published as other’s work. I get it, I do. Once the information is out there, its up for interpretation. I did a second edition that included a more unique grading method, but I still felt that the book was missing most shape specific drafting data.
I decided to make it my mission to find a better and more accurate way to get drafting measurements. I wanted to create a calculator to help. I introduced drafting with this calculator in the third edition as well as a new way to manipulate the drafts more like a traditional sloper for ready-to-wear.
In the months since the book release, I have encountered “silent” issues related to fit that I was previously unaware of. While I do not plan on writing another edition, I do plan to cover the issues on my blog. I have a few pending items to take care of, but I will be covering that secondary.
There will always an exceptions to the norm, what I hope you get out of my books and articles is the understanding to know how do make things for your own unique self. Just remember that because I don’t cover it, it does not mean the issue does not exist.
Until then, enjoy drafting.