Yes, it’s true.

Watch for my new design blog project called BAG’nTELLE.

It is about expert ideas and tutorials about fashion accessory design, bag design, construction techniques, do-it-yourself approaches, and more from designer and educator Don Morin (aka Weekend Designer).

I am hoping that you’ll come back and check it out.

patterns

Today is the 100th post of the Weekend Designer and the last one for this blog. It seems like a good place to stop as I believe I have made my point that everyone is a designer and that making your own pattern “isn’t rocket science”. Weekend Designer has been a fun project as I have discovered the world of blogging and explored desktop publishing. My aim with the subject matter is to show how to execute those creative ideas for your wardrobe and home through pattern drafting. Some of the drafting techniques used were traditional flat pattern methods, drafting by height, transfer grids, simple block designs, and sometimes no pattern at all. While the examples cited are not complex, I have been able to show that making your own patterns is not a talent that you are born with nor a blessed gift, but simply a learned skill. It is like learning a new language. The more you practice it, the more fluent you become. Pattern drafting will allow you to make your creative ideas into reality.

 

Fabrics, trims, buttons, and embellishments are among our favourite resources for expressing our creativity in fashion design.  There is something particularly special and rewarding about designing and wearing your own creations or decorating your home interiors.  Garments speak a language; they are an extension of yourself, expressing personality, aspirations, moods, and style.  When you know you look great, it’s only natural to feel positive and confident about yourself. The same can be said of  our home decor.

 

You do not have to be an expert to be your own designer.  With simple pattern modifications and some common sense ( sometimes a bit of trial and error too), you can create your own  design details. When combined with the ideal fabrications you can realize your own creative visions.

 

You’ve probably discovered many sources of inspiration from the Weekend Designer.  Here are some design tips and advice to help you turn that inspiration into creativity.

 

  • Be Disciplined – Pattern-making can be hard work and takes concentration. A defined work-space and a preplanned time frame are often helpful. Try to plan creative time every day, or whatever time is available to your lifestyle. Planning a time frame in a space where you can concentrate will help slow down your ideas so you can actually be productive with them.  If you’re in a hurry or if the ideas come too fast, it’s difficult to convert them into a design.

 

  • Be Prepared – Pattern-making is a skill. However to make that skill work to its best advantage, you need the proper tools and supplies. Take precise and accurate measurements. It does not matter whether amounts are in imperial or metric but be consistent with whichever you choose. The applied math is basic but if you cannot convert fractions then use a calculator as an aid. Get a long straight ruler (yardstick) to draw lines, a set square to make 90° and 45° angles, a French curve to draw curved lines and a tracing wheel. You are only as good as your tools you use. Get a good sewing reference book. The more you know about sewing construction, the more you can expand on your pattern-making.

 

  • Set Goals – Channel your creativity by setting goals. Let your goals grow as you grow in your knowledge of pattern drafting. Perhaps your goal is to resolve a particular design challenge or to redesign a fashion detail and integrate it into your next design. Know that pattern drafting will eventually free you of “cookie-cutter” fashion and develop a personal made-to-measure style. One technique that I always use is to begin each project with a list of “what do I see”. This will set up your thinking as to how to proceed with your pattern-making.

 

  • Value Mistakes – Believe it or not, mistakes can be beneficial.  They cause us to search for a different and often better way.  They facilitate experimentation with new materials, techniques, or styles.  Mistakes or challenges are an important part of the design process because they provide unique opportunities for creativity. Always make a toile or muslin fitting to test your pattern before cutting into your fashion fabric. Don’t be disappointed if it does not ‘turn out ‘ on the first attempt as planned; that is what toiles are for. These mock-ups allow you to modify the end result, correct the pattern, and work out the sewing/assembly process.

 

  • Temporarily Let Go – When you have a creative block or cannot find a resolution to a design problem, there comes a time when it may be more productive to stop working on the pattern drafting. Let it go; do something else. While you have consciously stopped thinking about the problem, your mind is still working on it. Sometime we get too close to see the answer; however when we step back there is room for clarity.

 

  • Enjoy the Process – don’t forget the reason why you’re doing this.  Is this your hobby, your career, your creative release, your personal time for indulgence? Even if your concentration is on the end product, don’t forget to have fun with the process of pattern drafting.

 

Lastly, I would like to thank all the readers of Weekend Designer for their interest, comments, compliments, and encouragement. Many of you have set up links to this blog and made referrals to it in your sewing groups. Thank you for your support. Imagine my surprise and delight when I made the Top 100 Blogs on WordPress; it was all your doing.

Thank you again.

 

Wishing you many a creative weekend.

 

Don

 

arlene interiorsPhoto Credit: Arlene’s Interiors

Swags are elegant treatments for tall, narrow windows yet easy-to-make. This window covering is pleated at the sides to create rounded folds and is used most often in formal home décor. Use them in tandem with cascades or jabots.

You will need:

  • Drapery fabric, 54” [137 cm] wide. *
  • Drapery lining, 54” [137 cm] wide. *
  • Twill tape, 1” [25 mm] wide.
  • Decorative trim (optional).
  • Pelmet mounting board**
  • Coordinating thread.
  • Staple gun.
  • Kraft paper.

* for yardage required, see Cutting Instructions below times the number of windows.

** Pelmet should be slightly wider than window frame.

abcMEASUREMENTS

Swag Width = the horizontal dimension of the mounting board or pole hardware. (A)

Swag Depth = the vertical drop of the swag, measured from the center of the board or pole line to the bottom of the swag. (B)

Swag Sweep = the bottom curve length of the swag from the board line, down to the longest point and up to the board line. (C)

Cascade Length = the vertical drop of the cascade from the board line down to the desired finished length. (D) Traditional proportions are equal to 3X the swag depth.

Cascade Width = 1/3 of swag width + mounting board width. (E)

Design Tip: To obtain the sweep measure, mount the pelmet board or pole hardware over the window. Drape a length of weighted cord from one end of the finished treatment to the other. Hold the cord on top of the hardware at each end at the point where the fabric will end. This will give you a finished curve length which includes the pelmet board allowance. Measure the length of the cord and that will be your sweep length.

PATTERN

swag draft

Swag Section

Draw a straight line on center of paper. Plot point A on line.

A-B = 2 X swag depth + 5″ [12.7 cm] (the featured sample swag depth is 18″ [45.7 cm] long.)

Square across from A and B.

A-C = ¼ of the finished swag width.

A-D = A-C.

B-E = ½ of the swag sweep

B-F = B-E.

Square up from E and F.

E-G = ½ of swag depth.  (Note: the angle of C-G will be greater than illustrated)

F-H = E-G.

I is located midway A and B.

Draw a square box with one of its sides touching on the centerline (A-B). Draw a diagonal line through the opposite corners of the box. This is the grainline.

Cascade Section

J-K = finished cascade length + 1” [25mm].

J-L = C-D.

Square down from L

L-M = A-I.

Join M to K.

Square across from K.

J-N = width of mounting board

Square down from N.

O is located at intersection of K and N.

The grainline is parallel to J-K.

Add seam allowances to pattern pieces.

Marking the Pleats:

The length of the pattern and the pleated sides combine to give the swag its character. The length of the pattern determines the fullness of the swag. The sides are pleated into folds which distribute the fullness and give the swag visual interest.

swag1_illus5Mark the center of the top and bottom edges of the swag pattern (A-B).

 

Fold the pattern along the center and mark the pleats as follows:

5″ from the top for first pleat. This will determine your “picture” size. (see design tip below)

4″ up from the bottom.

Divide the space between the first and last pleat into equal pleats of 4-6″.

 

All of the pleats between the first and last must be equal in size. Mirror  pleatsmarkings on opposite side and open pattern flat.

 

On the top edge of the cascade pattern, mark the first pleat as follows:

5” from inner edge of cascade tail (L).

Divide the space between the first pleat and the corner (J) into equal pleats of 4-6″.

lay

CUTTING (per window)

Swag – cut 1X self

Swag lining – cut 1X lining

Cascade – cut 4X self

Cover pelmet board* with self fabric.

Design Tip: The center of a finished swag is the “picture”. It showcases the motif of the fabric. The first fold on the swag acts as the picture frame. The top of the swag pattern should be aligned on the fabric surface to maximize the motif size in the swag.

For the cascades, you may wish to create a contrast edge by using a solid coloured lining, as the back side of the cascade will be visible.

 

ASSEMBLY

1. Turn under seam allowance on top edge of swag and press flat. Repeat step on swag lining.

 

2. With right sides facing together, align and match outer edges of swag and lining.

Baste decorative trim between self fabric and lining along bottom edge, if using.

Pin/baste and sew, leaving top edge open. Turn RIGHT SIDE OUT and press flat.

Edge-stitch the opening closed.

 

3. Turn under seam allowance on top edge of cascade pieces and press flat.

 

4. With right sides facing together, align and match 2 pairs of cascade tails. Pin/baste and sew, leaving top edge open. Turn RIGHT SIDE OUT and press flat. Edge-stitch the opening closed.

 

5. Transfer pleating markings to cloth of swag and pair of cascade tails.

 

MOUNTING

 

6. Use a pelmet board, preferably one that is covered in self fabric.  Mark the center of the board. Mark the center of the top edge of the swag. Set aside.

 

7. Staple the top edge of the cascade 1″ [25 mm] up on the top of the board, draping the long side of the cascade across the end of the pelmet board. Fold around the corner of the mounting board and pleat at the first fold. Staple point of the pleat along the edge on topside of the pelmet.

 

8. Continue pleating all of cascade tail to the end. Mirror the pleats on the left side exactly the same as the right, with the other cascade.

 

9. Staple the top edge of the swag 2″ [50 mm] up on the top of the board, aligning the center marks.

 

10. Pleat the first fold, right side and left side. Align point of the pleat along the edge of the top of the pattern. (This first fold sets the ‘picture’ on your swag). Staple top edge in place.

 

11. Continue pleating all but the last fold.

 

The distances between the pleats and the angle at which they fall off the board should be equal for all pleats. Pleat the left side exactly the same as the right. The ends of the swag will overlap the cascades.

 

12. Pleat the last fold. You will also have to take the end of it and pull it up onto the board to secure. This will cause the bottom edge of the swag to tuck neatly up.

 

13. Neaten the top edge of the treatment by covering the staples with twill tape.

 

 

Design Tip: Embellish the swag with decorative fringe, trims, banding, or tassels.

 

CMB1Featured: Messenger Bag by Ecolution

Originally created for hard-working couriers, the classic Messenger Bag has been in circulation for several decades. Known for its long-lasting rugged durability and distinctive “envelope” styling, the classic Messenger has been adopted around the world as the everyday all-purpose carryall. Make a simplified version for yourself in hemp, similar to the featured tote from eco-friendly, Ecolution.

You will need:

  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.2 m] of hemp or organic cotton canvas, 54″ [137 cm] wide.
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of cotton sateen lining, 54” [137 cm] wide
  • 1 ½ yds. [1.4 m] of fusible interfacing, 45″ [114 cm] wide.
  • 1 closed zipper, 12” long *
  • 1 buckle slider, 2” inner dia. *
  • 1 belt tip hardware, 2” wide *
  • matching cotton thread
  • grid paper

* Match zipper to colour/metal of hardware.

BAG DIMENSIONS:             approximately 4″ x 11.5″ x 14″.

[10 cm x 29.5 cm x 35.5 cm]

PATTERN

Scale: 1 square = 1 inch (25mm)

bag draft

Add seam allowances to all pattern pieces.

CUTTING

bag layBag Body – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Shoulder Strap – cut 1X self

Strap Tab – cut 1X self

Flap – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Flap Facing – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Zipper Facing – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Bag Lining – cut 2X lining

Patch Pocket – cut 1X lining

Pocket Bag – cut 2X lining

ASSEMBLY

1. Iron fusible interfacing to back (wrong side) of bag pieces following manufacturer’s directions, except for strap pieces.

2. Make up bag straps. With right sides together (RST), fold strap pieces in half lengthwise and sew along long edge. Press seam open. Align the short ends so that the seam is centered in the middle of the strap width. Stitch across one end only. Trim corners. Turn straps RIGHT SIDE OUT. Press flat with long seam at center. Topstitch around perimeter of straps if desired. On open end, attach a metal belt tip on long strap and a buckle/slider on the short strap. Set aside.

3. Prepare bag lining. On the patch pocket, turn under the top edge ¼” [6mm] and press. Turn top edge once more: ¾” [20mm] and stitch down. Turn and press seam allowance on remaining three sides.

With one of the bag lining pieces FACE UP, center the patch pocket and edge-stitch along pocket sides and bottom.

With RST, center-align and match flap facing to top of body lining piece.

With RST, align and match remaining bag lining piece to this lining section. Stitch side seams and press open.

Stitch 2” [50mm] on each end of the bottom seam; then align the side seam to the bottom seam and sew across the seams to create a miter. Set aside.

stay4. Prepare flap pocket. Begin by aligning the zipper facing with the top of the flap, right sides together.  Stitch an outline of the pocket opening equal to the length of the zipper teeth X half the zipper’s width.

(eg. 12 inches X ⅜” + seam allowance)

Carefully clip diagonally at the corners of the stitching and turn the zipper facing FACE UP. Press seam flat.

zipperWith the flap piece FACE UP, align and center the zipper FACE UP in the indentation. Edge-stitch around pocket opening to secure the zipper.

With RST, sew one pocket bag piece to the bottom edge of the zipper facing.

Flip the lining downward and topstitch along the seam.

With flap piece FACE DOWN, align and match remaining pocket bag piece to top of zipper. Stitch zipper to lining; then stitch sides of pocket bag.

Trim the excess from the lining on the bottom of the pocket bag and sew bottom seam. Set aside.

miter5. Construct the body of the bag. With RST, fold the bag body together and match up the side seams. Sew side seam and press open.

Miter the bottom corners by aligning the side seam in the center of the bottom edge and stitch across the seam.  Turn bag RIGHT SIDE OUT.

With RST, align and match top of body to flap. Stitch across top edge, ensuring the catch the zipper tape in the seaming. Grade seam allowance and press seam away from zipper. On the FACE SIDE, topside along the zippered seam.

6. Assemble the bag. With RST, insert bag body into bag lining. Align and match up outer edges of flap and flap facing. Line up the raw edges of the bag x stitchopening. Stitch around the opening and the flap. Grade and trim seam allowances. Turn bag RIGHT SIDE OUT through opening in bottom of lining. Press the perimeter of the flap and the opening edge flat. Top-stitch around flap and opening.

Slipstitch opening in lining closed.

7. Complete the bag. Align the square end of the straps to each side of the messenger bag. Place each approximately 4” [10 cm] from the top edge of the bag opening and sew an X-stitch through all layers. Hook the shoulder strap into the buckle slider and adjust the desired length.

 

UPDATE: Though this blog is closed now, I have been getting inquiries about this simple zipper application. Here are the steps:

lifewithbirdbag_notcotFeatured: Turtle Tote by LIFEwithBIRD

An exercise in stylish functionality by Aussie line LIFEwithBIRD. A roomy, oversized canvas carryall, it can seamlessly go from work to after-hours party to weekend getaway, all without missing a beat. Here is a similar carpetbag version easy to draft and make up for your daytripping.

You will need:

  • 1 ¾ yds. [1.5m] canvas or upholstery fabric, 54” [137 cm] wide
  • 1 heavy-duty zipper, 18” [46 cm] long
  • 1 ½ yds. [1.4 m] heavy webbing, 2” [50 mm] wide
  • All-purpose thread
  • Cardboard
  • Kraft paper

DESIGN TIP: Match zipper colour with webbing strap colour.

DIMENISONS: approx. 20” X 10” X 15”   (51 cm X 25.5 cm X 38 cm)

PATTERN DRAFT

bag draft

Add ½” [12mm] seam allowances to all pattern pieces.

CUTTING

layCut 2 of each piece in fabric.

Cut 2 straps from webbing – 26” long

Cut a rectangle 20” X 10” in cardboard

ASSEMBLY

1. Prepare the base. With right sides together, stitch around the perimeter of the base layers, leaving one short end opening. Turn base right side out and press. Insert cardboard into base piece and slipstitch opening closed. Set aside.

 

2. Prepare patch pockets. Turn under 2” [50 mm] of top edge of pocket pieces and press. Hem turned edge. Turn under pocket side seam allowances and press flat. Set aside.

 

NOTE: A dome snap, Velcro® tab or zipper may be added to the patch pocket opening if desired. Do so at this time following manufacturer’s directions.

 

3. With right sides together (RST), align and match raw edges of bag at A and B. Stitch a 1” [25 mm] seam at A and B. Press seam allowance open.

 

4. zipperCenter zipper FACE down along opening in seam. Stitch zipper tape to seam allowances.

Turn bag FACE UP and topstitch on either side of seam and zipper.

 

5. With RST, align and match seams between A-C and B-D. Sew seam and press. Turn bag right side out and topstitch along both sides of the seam on the FACE side.

 

 

6. On FACE side, center a patch pocket over the  seam between the ● and edge-stitch along the pocket sides.

 

7. Attach ends of webbing strap at X at A and at B (on either side of zipper opening).

miterOpen zipper and turn out bag through opening. With RST, join A to A and sew across seam, ensuring the straps are caught in the seam. (Be careful not to twist the straps.)

Repeat on opposite side for B to B.

 

8. Join C-D together (RST) and press seam open. On FACE side, topstitch on either side of the seam.

 

9. Align and match C to C and D to D. Sew seams, ensuring you catch the bottom of the patch pocket in the stitching.

10. Turn bag right side out through zipper opening. Place self-lined cardboard base into bottom of bag for support.

008_01 foley & cox homeFeatured: Mitered Pillows by Foley & Cox HOME

Clever use of the stripe from Foley & Cox HOME creates the illusion of mitered corners. With careful cutting and matching, a smart striped home décor fabric takes on a novel contemporary style when stitched into a mitered designer pillow. Select a favourite striped fabric and coordinate the colours with your home décor for this easy DIY project.

You will need: (for each pillow)

  • 54″ [137 cm]wide balanced stripe home decor fabric*
  • 1 loose fiber-filled knife-edge pillow form
  • matching all-purpose thread
  • kraft paper

* calculate required yardage by reviewing Cutting Instructions times the number of pillows desired.

PATTERN

draft

Measure the pillow form from seam to seam (length & width). Using a ruler and right-angled square, draw a SQUARE template following these dimensions. Divide the paper pattern into 4 equal sized triangles by drawing two straight lines from opposite corners, intersecting in the center.  Cut paper into 4 pieces along lines.  TRACE off onto additional paper, add a 1/2″ [12mm] seam allowance to all edges of each of the four triangles.

CUTTING

layThe paper triangle patterns have two sides of equal length.  Label the pattern with the letter X, at the center point, between these two equal sides. Label the corners on the unequal side with the letter O. With the points and corners of each triangle facing in the same direction, position the triangles on the striped fabric so each O-O line is parallel to and measures the same distance from a stripe. Mark and cut 8 identical triangles from fabric; four for pillow front and four for pillow back.008_03 foley&cox home

Design Note: To create the “cross” motif, align X facing in the same direction and position the triangles on the striped fabric so each O-O line is perpendicular to and centered on a stripe.

ASSEMBLY

1. With right sides of fabric facing, and raw edges even, pin and stitch together one short edge of two triangles, matching stripes.  Press seam open. Repeat for remaining 3 pair of triangles.

 

2. With right sides facing, and raw edges even, pin and stitch together two triangle assemblies matching stripes and center seams. The Xs of the individual triangles will now be in the center and the Os will make up the corners of the pillow.  Press seam open. Repeat for remaining pair creating a mitered pillow FRONT and mitered pillow BACK.

 

mitered3. With right sides of fabric facing, pin pillow front to pillow back along all edges.  Sew front to back using ½” [12mm] seam allowance and leaving a wide opening at the center of one edge. Clip corners and press seams open.  Turn mitered pillow cover to the right side through opening and press flat.

 

4. Insert pillow form into cover through opening.  Pin opening closed around form and using a hand needle and thread, slip-stitch opening closed.

Design Tip: Embellish the pillow edges with corded piping or a brushed fringe to change the pillow style  from contemporary to traditional if desired.

22w369-LARGEFeatured: Imperial Dog Palace from Victoria Trading Co.

Creature comforts for the one who leaves no doubt who rules the roost.

You will need:

  • Approx. 1 yd. [0.9 m] of upholstery fabric, 54”[138 cm] wide
  • Approx. 1 yd [0.9 m] of ticking, 54” [138 cm] wide
  • 1 closed-end zipper, 26”[66cm] long
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1 ½ yds. [1.2m] to 2 yds. [1.8 m] upholstery felt (kapok), 24” [61cm] wide
  • Kraft paper

DIMENSIONS: Approximately 26” X 22” X 4″ [66 cm X 56cm X 10 cm]

PATTERN

bed draft

Seam allowance is included

CUTTING

Cut  1X in upholstery fabric and ticking.

ASSEMBLY

Note: Construction of the pet bed is the same for both the exterior cover and the padded cushion with the exception that the ticking will receive the kapok stuffing and the upholstery fabric with have an inserted zipper.

  1. On both short ends between X and O, turn under ½” [12mm] and press flat.
  2. zipperFor the exterior cover, center the zipper between X and O and align the foldline along the zipper teeth. Pin/baste zipper in place and topstitch fabric to zipper tape.
  3. Fold fabric with right sides together (RST), and repeat to other side of zipper. Note: If the zipper is shorter than folded edge, center zipper placement and stitch up seam at both ends of zipper.
  4. For kapok cushion, fold ticking with right sides together (RST). Stitch 1 ½” [40 mm] seam at X and repeat at O. Topstitch folded edges between X and O.
  5. With ticking RST, align and match side seams. Pin/baste and sew side seams using ½” [12mm] seam allowances. Press seam open.
  6. miterFold each notched corner and align and match the raw edges to form a miter. Pin/baste and sew seam at each corner.
  7. Turn the ticking right side out.
  8. Layer the upholstery felt in a high loft slightly larger in dimension to the ticking. Stuff the layers inside the cushion and slipstitch the opening closed.
  9. Repeat Steps 5 to 7 for the exterior cover. (Remember to open the zipper so you can turn the cover right side out.)
  10. Insert the kapok cushion into the exterior cover.