Monday, March 14, 2011

Why prototypes are essential

Katy at No big Dill is hosting a month of guests showcasing clothing designs inspired by childrens books. What a great idea, I thought. I design childrens clothes, I read childrens books (I can recite "The Little Yellow Digger" from memory. Just ask David, who turned the pages for Nicholas while I recited it from across the room!).

So I started thinking about books, and suddenly thought of Heidi, my favourite book when I was a child. I remembered the illustrations, like this:

And this:
When I was about seven I got this dress as a hand me down from my cousin. I called it my Heidi dress and it was probably my favourite dress of my whole childhood.

So I decided to have a crack at a 21st century version along the lines of the designs I'm currently working on. Striped skirt, some gathers (I gathered a panel in the cf of the bodice and made puffed tulip sleeves, giving the feel of the peasant style original), flowers embroidered on the skirt (remember Heidi gathering meadow flowers?). Two recycled mens shirts (I'm sure Heidi wore recycled clothes) and here we go:
Looks ok on the hanger doesn't it?

Then I put it on Isabella. And inside my head I swore. Loud and long. I struggled to get a picture of her standing still and straight to show the problem in all it's glory, but you get the idea - the skirt collapses instead of gently flaring out (every other dress I have made along these lines, from this block, flared perfectly fine) and the SLEEVES!
This one really emphasizes the problems. Blech.
This is more like it should look. Unfortunately I don't think I can persuade Isabella to spend the day walking around with her hands in the air.
I am really annoyed - since I was using a known block and stable fabric I wasn't expecting this! I'm going to remake the sleeves (as much smaller probably un-puffed petal sleeves) and I'm thinking that some stiffening along the hem might help.

On a much less grumpy note, Beangirl has bestowed upon me the "Stylish Blogger" award. (Something to do with us unpopular girls sticking together I think) The rules state that I have to thank the person who awarded me (Cheers Beangirl!) and list seven unexpected things about me. Which is why it's taken days to respond - I couldn't think of a single interesting thing to say! I'll do my best.

1 I do not believe in any form of supernatural anything whatsoever, nor superstitions. Apart from one - if I make a bowl or glass "ting" I grab the rim to stop the noise - to stop a sailor drowning. My Mum told me this one when I was a child (her family loved to sail and were very involved with the RNLI)

2 I am totally unafraid of spiders (the joy of growing up in a country where practically nothing is poisonous!) I will cheerfully pick them up (or any bug with legs) but I cannot abide slimy things - worms, slugs, snails - they make my skin crawl and no amount of money would make me go near one. I won't step on one or run one over with the buggy wheels, not out of concern for their well being, but my own desire not to get worm on my shoe. This may have something to do with my total disinterest in gardening. I really really want to handle a tarantula. A lot.

3 My fantasy dream job would be either head of the historical costume department for the BBC or a conservator in a big museum with a huge textile collection.

4 I got my navel pierced about 8 years ago, to celebrate losing 29kg. I got asked a lot about how I lost so much weight, and how much work I did at the gym to do it. I got a huge kick out of saying none - I joined the gym after I lost the weight. And I lost the weight by watching what I ate, cutting waaaay down on snacking and being calorie aware rather than rigidly counting. I haven't stayed at that weight because it required fairly strict discipline. My set point is a few kgs above, and with fluctuations I pretty much stay there.

5 My favourite singer is David Gray. Hands down, no competition. My sister has seen him perform at Glastonbury. Twice. He performed in Christchurch a couple of years ago, but I was pregnant enough with the twins to be nervous about travelling. We thought he was going to perform there again this year, but can find no confirmation of this. If he does, we're GOING!

6 I have never had a fight with my husband. We've been together for 16 years and in all that time he's never made me angry. We disagree on plenty of stuff, but somehow we can disagree without heat. Dunno why that is, but it makes for a very contented home. I tell him that as soon as he p***es me off, I'll let him know. Possibly the fact that he notices and thanks me for every tiny little thing I ever do for him is also a factor.

7 I only learned to drive 9 years ago after having my third child. I got a speed camera ticket on a driving lesson, and failed my practical test for my full license for speeding up before getting to the sign that indicated a higher limit. I consider the $70 it cost me to resit the test a fine. (Just for the record, I passed with flying colours the second time. I went over the same route, and crawled down the hill where the sign was, with every other car whizzing by me.) I've never been done for speeding since. Because I don't speed.

Phew, anyone who got this far deserves a cup of tea and a lie down!


  1. son of a--- I've posted a comment two times now and no go. This is my last attempt and then sadly you'll just have to live without the glowing presence of my wit and charm.

    Uh. I can't even remember what I said before now. Basically, that I thought your Seven Things are totally interesting and also that I wondered if the dress wasn't just too big... except that on second look it does hang a bit strangely. I still love the idea though.

    Ok, here goes...

  2. What a clever reuse of two men's shirts - that's genius right there - with a little tweaking the pattern has great charm and potential.