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Noctu Orfei Aude Fraetor!

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Ball's Quick and Sexy Run-down on Dressmaking (for writing Rarity scenes!) (Spoiler: it's not that quick!) · 11:18pm Mar 29th, 2013

Fall 2014 edit--now even longer, and with 20% more politics!

Like a healthcare professional watching a hospital scene in a movie, and cringing at the fact that they are doing everything wrong and infact have a few things set up upside down, so do I find myself, as a fashion student, having to gloss over stuff time and time again in fics that have a scene involving Rarity sewing or fitting a garment, or some similar thing. I don't let it bother me, usually, it's just that it immediately jumps out to me!

Now, it's not like I think everyone absolutely has to make everything flawlessly accurate in their fics (I mean, Hollywood doesn't even try, half the time!)--like I don't wanna come off as preachy, or anything--but I just thought it might be fun/interesting for people to hear how that kind of thing works! And also, maybe it could smooth things along for anyone who finds themselves struggling when they're trying to think how to write a Rarity-scene like that!

(I don't expect most people to read through this whole thing--but maybe remember it's here for if you ever need some reference material? Important things are bolded for your reading convenience!)

First thing is fabric.

There's two things to a type of fabric: what it's made of, and how it's put together. What it's made of, called the fibre content, is simply whether it's wool, silk, cotton, linen, or whatever--or a blend of different ones.

Now, in terms of how it's made, nearly all fabric falls into one of two categories, : knit or woven.

Knit fabric does indeed refer to that christmas sweater your grandma made (and also the one she crocheted, even though she didn't technically knit it... but that's a whole different topic!), but more than that, it refers to any fabric that is made of any form of interlocking loops of any size. It's very common, and is what all teeshirts are made of, most sweaters, and generally underwear, too!

Knit fabrics are stretchy in all directions, even if the fibre it's made from is not, and because of that, you can't use a sewing machine to put them together--the farbric'll stretch and break the line of stitching when you try to put it on, and your clothes would fall apart. You have to use a serger (that weird machine with 3 or 4 spools of thread attached to it, and it has a knife to cut the edge of the fabric) Check the seam on the inside of your teeshirt--that's what it does. As far as structures for knit go, there aren't as many as with woven fabric, and you'll probably just hear "jersey knit" to mean the fabric teeshirts are made of, and everything else is just "knit." Painting with broad strokes here, Knits are very much pedestrian, and are really badly not allowed in formal clothes, traditionally.

(That said, hand knitting and crocheting can get very complex, and can make very formal/artsy things, and also has an entire language of it's own, which I won't touch on here--beyond saying that knitting and crocheting are in fact different, and you can't use the words interchangeably! Knitting uses two needles, crochet uses one hook, and they do make visibly different structures.)

Woven fabric is made on a loom, and is made of an interlocking grid of fibres going lengthwise up the bolt of cloth--the stuff that's set up on the loom--called the warp, and the weft, which is what's woven through the warp. Which warp threads the weft goes under or over gives the fabric it's structure, which is called the weave structure. They have names like plain weave, twill, broadcloth (technically just plain weave, just wider), poplin, pique, organza... the list goes on. Often times they're very specific and don't really mean much to most people, but, as with most things in fashion, they have a very specific hierarchy of which are pedestrian, and which are formal, and a faux pas there would be the worst. Possible. Thing!!

A quick guide for all that is that natural fibres are better than synthetic or synthetic blends (cotton is nicer than a poly/cotton blend--100% polyester or nylon is sin incarnate), and that wool and silk are nicer than linen, which is nicer than cotton. (That said, you can get really nice polyester or nylon, and it is possible to get fairly pedestrian silk or [more common] low quality wool. As well, linen can be really nice sometimes, and same with cotton.) For weave structures, anything boring-sounding probably is (broadcloth, twill, plain weave), and fancy things are fancy (organza, pique).

Typically, how you refer to a fabric is the fibre content first, and then the structure second. ie: silk organza (lovely fabric!). 50/50 poly/cotton broadcloth (sinful fabric!), cotton jersey (...very common fabric!). But with the invention of polyester (and other synthetics)--which were primarily used to mimic silk or cotton and stuff at lower costs--this system kind of went by the wayside. You wouldn't say 'polyester organza,' you would just say 'organza'--and call it 'silk organza' only to differentiate it from polyester. So since you have fibres pretending to be things they're not everywhere you go, people aren't so strict with the naming system anymore. (I went into a fabric store and had a lady who worked there tell me [very condescendingly] that 'broadcloth' was another word for a poly/cotton blend, and that 100% cotton broadcloth wasn't even a thing, much less something they had in the store, to which I said, first off, 'no it doesn't,' and secondly--'you don't have cotton broadcloth?' ...I don't go back to that fabric store often.)

In terms of the construction of a garment, one of the first and most critical steps is to decide how you are going to deal with the finish of the seams. When you sew two pieces of something together using a regular straight-stitch, you do so with the right sides together, so the seams end up on the inside of a garment. You can't just leave those seams like that, though. With woven fabric, they'll end up fraying something awful, and it'll just be an ugly mess (and look very amateurish, to boot.) There are several ways to deal with this.

1. Serge the edges - a serger is great because it puts this crazy interlocking chain of thread around the edge of the fabric, which will keep it nice and safe from fraying. The upside is that it's very quick to do, and though sergers are a bit intimidating at first (and somewhat more terrifying is facing the prospect of having to thread one), they are really easy to use. This is the most common way to finish seams in the fashion industry, and I bet you 94.6% of you're clothes have serging somewhere on them.

2. Do a different kind of seam - There are several ways to make a seam that don't leave a raw edge, such as a french seam or a flat-felled seam (this is one you often see on the side seams of jeans. It's like all folded around itself and there's two lines of stitching). The thing about these kinds of seams is that they take a bit of planning (they require different seam allowances), they take longer (and are harder) to do, and they're a lot harder to alter after the fact. As well, they generally give a specific look, so they aren't interchangeable in all places.

3. Lining a garment - If you make a liner for something, all the seams are protected, and no one will ever see them, so there's no need to finish them. The obvious con to this method is that it's a lot more work and takes a lot of lining fabric! (You basically make two of the same garment, but one inside out, and you put them together.) It can be rough, and putting a liner on a shell inevitably signs you up for at least a bit of hand sewing as well as being a general mind-bender in parts. (Wait... what flips around what? What is this strange doughnut-type thing I seemed to have created that won't flip right-side out no matter how hard I try...). Some types of garment, like jackets and coats (both formal and casual), as well as formal dresses, in a lot of cases, simply must be made with a liner, as anything else will just look lame, though. And obviously lining a shirt would be a little silly... but generally speaking, this is the most formal way to finish a garment. In formal clothes, you don't want to have any top stitching (flat-felled seam has this) and definitely no serging. (French seams are a common way to finish seams on lighter fabrics/sheer fabrics in formal garments, though).

Next are the steps that take it from design to finished garment.

1. Drawings - The idea starts with sketches, like we always see Rarity doing in the show, simple enough. The one thing they don't cover, is that a designer'll probably make two types of drawings: illustrations and flats. Illustrations are the pretty, sexy drawings made to look awsome and entice people into thinking that that garment would be awesome. The flats are a technical drawing, done flat and to scale, for planning out how it's going to be constructed. Most designers wouldn't show their flats to anyone who wasn't involved in the production, probably.

2. Pattern Development (Draping/Drafting) - Now that the designer has a rough idea of what they want, they need to develop the pattern that they'll use to cut out the final fabric.

a) Draping - This is where a designer takes muslin (plain, cheap, unbleached cotton usually, sometimes other things--just anything that approximates what your final fabric is going to be, except much cheaper, and basically disposable) and starts finagling around with it on the mannequin, pinning and cutting until it starts to look cool. There are methods to follow, found in books and stuff, to help you make certain garment types, but really their just reference. The only rules to draping are keeping the straight of grain going up and down (or diagonally if bias cut), and making sure things on the back match up to things on the front, so you don't get tugging or twisting.

b) Drafting - Drafting doesn't require a mannequin, and instead is made from a sort of connect the dots approach, inputting the measurements, and following a series of almost formulaic directions. (Point 5-6 is 1/4 chest plus 1/2", square down to 7 and 8 on the waist and seat lines). This is used almost exclusively in men's wear, or women's clothes based off of men's wear. It'd be very peculiar to drape men's wear--tailors only use mannequins for tailoring (that means adjusting the fit of the clothes.)

3. Muslin, or Muslin Shell - This is a very important part to the process, and the one that I feel people know the least about. Once the pattern has been developed to the best of the designers ability, the next step is to make a mock-up of the garment in muslin. More than just a tossed together approximation, the muslin (named because it's made from cheap, stand-in fabric--'muslin', historically, was a very fine, airy, loosely woven cotton, but the term became used for any plain-wave cotton, and then in fashion it came to be a term for just any plain mock-up fabric) is a carefully made replica of what the garment is going to be, except with no surface details, non-permanent seams (it's 'basted' together [just longer stitch-width]), no pockets, or closures (sometimes people just literally pencil on a pocket or buttons or whatever you you can get a feel for where they'll be), and unfinished hems and such. It's what is used for all the fittings except the final one, because it's easy to pick out the seams and re-sew it with changes, it can be cut into to add ease or adjust darts, and it's disposable, in case there's a problem that requires a major change. Even if the garment's just intended to be a standard size and not fitted to a specific individual, you need to see it on a biological shape--it's often dramatically different than on a dress-form. (They call people who are close to standard sized 'fit-models', and it's super handy to know people like that. [and also people who are the exact same size as you... it's really friggin hard to fit a muslin to yourself while you're the one wearing it...] Maybe pony you want to ship with Rarity happens to be a perfect size 8? [most common/standard size]) One of my instructors made custom designed wedding dresses for a number of years, and he said they would do a many as 8 or 10 fittings with muslin, before he'd make it in final fabric (that's to get a perfect individual fit.)

The muslin fitting stage is arguably the most important for custom-made garments, and really where good designer instincts shine out. It can be the longest or shortest step--short if the designer is sloppy or just amazing, long if the designer's not very good at guessing what will fix problems, or if they're just a super perfectionist (hint, hint!)

4. Final Fabric - Once everything's been tried and tested in muslin, it's time to cut in final fabric. It's really the scary/exhilarating step--and one you have to be super confidant of your muslin, or just really ballsy, to have the guts to make those first cuts into the beautiful, shiny, expensive fabric. (Like, it's not uncommon to hear stories of people crying as they cut their pattern pieces out of fabrics that they hand-made or hand-printed... I just about felt nauseous myself, as I sliced up my 4 layer screen printed and burnout printed fabric for these garments I made. All that goes through your head is the latest muslin fitting you did, stressing yourself to distraction over whether that one change was for the better, or if what you did was likely to actually fix that one problem, and that maybe you should actually go back and do one more muslin before you ruin everything...)

If it's a custom fitted garment (and not just a standard size) you would typically leave extra seam allowance in the side-seams or something, in order to let the garment be adjustable.

Often they have a team to make clothes in this way, with the designer, pattern maker, and machinist as all different people. (The designer would do the fittings and oversee all the steps, as well as doing the initial drawings, probably. Maybe this could be a reason Rarity doesn't want to expand her business--she likes doing the actual sewing as well as the designing and making of the patterns.)

And if you were designing for the industry, you would only take it as far as making a prototype garment (made in muslin, but done to the level of a finished garment) that you would send along with the paper patterns to a factory.

(How lame is that? That takes all the fun out of it!! [Note: Ball is all about sustainable fashion, and is directly and diametrically opposed to most of what the fashion industry does... did you know the fashion industry is the second greatest producer of pollution next to the oil industry? A cotton teeshirt takes about 10 liters of pesticides (the really bad kind) to produce, not to mention the gallons of water used in the process, the toxic waste from dyes that are dumped into rivers--and that's not even touching on the issues with ethical production, such as the use of sweatshops. Fashion, as it is now, is literally destroying our world like no other consumer good! We need to slow down fashion, be willing to pay more for higher quality things that last, stop throwing out old clothes and instead give away, remake, or re-purpose them, and consider buying second hand! Hemp for fibre needs to be legalized everywhere (hemp requires zero pesticides to grow, produces a fibre almost identical to linen, but has way higher yield per acre than linen, and far more than cotton, and is much stronger and more durable than cotton--and is only very distantly related to the plant that makes marijuana, so there's no actual reason anywhere for why it's not legal in places) and the textile industry in North America badly needs to be started again.])

(That was the meat of the blog, the rest is just random facts for reference!)

Details and miscellanea:
Buttons or zippers or anything like that are called 'closures.'

A pattern on a fabric (like, flowers or polka dots something) is different than the flat pattern, which are shapes of the pieces of fabric you need to cut out to make a garment... but are both usually just referred to as 'patterns'--you just need to know which one people are talking about given the context. Not confusing at all.

'Professional' sewers for fashion are super scornful of 'domestic' sewers, and typical domestic sewing techniques. You would never use anything other than a ordinary two-and-a-half straight-stitch for any ordinary sewing. 'Domestic' is like a curse-word.

Industrial sewing machines (which are used exclusively in fashion) are very different from domestic machines (the kind your grandmother has four of.) Industrial machines go freakishly and terrifyingly faster than domestic ones, and have a vat of oil in them, and idle if you turn them on and aren't hitting the pedal. You can sew through your finger if your not careful... and you are literally trapped--pinned to the machine--until someone comes to your rescue and unscrews the needle (using a screwdriver), and then you need to go to the hospital with the needle still in your finger. Happened to a couple of people I have class with. Not very much fun--they didn't recommend trying it.

You must must must go to the iron and press out every single seam after you sew it. If you don't the garment will look tubular, weird, domestically sewn, and look bad when being worn. This is a critical and crucial step, and is ingrained in the brains of all fashion students. If you have to stop and wonder whether or not you should be stopping to press something, the answer is always 'yes you should. Do it now.' (And actually, you can totally save some shoddy sewing by pressing it really well! Sometimes someone will be lamenting over something they think they wrecked, but then with some really careful pressing--bam! Looks great. And everyone's happy.)

"Straight-of-grain" is the sturdiest direction of a woven fabric, and is the lengthwise direction on a bolt of cloth. It's because these are the warp threads, and are what were set up on the loom. They were put under lots of tension, were meticulously spaced out, and because of that, give more structure. Going sideways, along the width of a bolt of cloth, is the 'cross-grain', or weft. Sometimes the weft is a bit stretchy in certain fabrics, and often in blends, a different kind of fabric is in the weft than the warp, or other times the warp'll be one colour, the weft another. (In jeans and other denim, traditionally the warp is white threads, and the weft is blue threads, [traditionally dyed in indigo!]. They are woven in a twill [a 2/1 twill], which means the blue warp threads go over two then under one, and the next warp thread over it does the same except it starts the next thread up, making a diagonal.] It a strong and and dense kind of weave, and easy to do!)

The 'bias' is 45 degrees to the straight-of-grain, and is actually kind of stretchy, even on the most stiff woven fabrics. Something is cut on the bias to have some added give in certain places, or to change the way it drapes.

'Off-grain' happens on the shoulders, or sides of a skirt--anywhere that's not a 90 or 45 degree angle to the fabric. If a straight-of-grain is sewn to a part that is off-grain, it'll push and twist in the direction of the straight of grain. This is used on purpose in dressmaking, but can happen accidentally if you're not paying attention while your draping. The shoulders on a dress shirt are reinforced so they don't break the line of stitching. Look at a dress shirt... see that extra piece of fabric at the top of the back? That's called the yoke, and it's cut at a different angle to the rest of the garment (super obvious in plaid shirts!) More than a stylistic thing, the shirt might actually fall apart if it didn't have this!

A bolt of cloth has the fabric folded in half along the width, so it's actually twice as wide as the bolt is. This is because when you cut out a pattern piece, you almost always need two--so you lay it on the folded fabric, pin it, and cut once to get two, perfectly mirrored pieces. If not, (for the back of the garment, in a lot of cases) you place half of the back piece, with the centre of the back along the fold of the fabric, to get a perfectly symmetrical piece. (That said, really nice fabrics or upholstery fabrics are often not done this way. Upholstery fabric for the obvious reason that you're rarely cutting symmetrical patters from it the same way as with fashion fabrics, and fancy fabrics to avoid any permanent damage from there being a fold in the fabric before it's rolled onto a bolt--which sometimes you get in fabrics with a fold.)

The sides of the fabric (running lengthwise) are called the 'salvage.' (The etymological root of that probably being 'south edge.') They are a necessary part of weaving the fabric, but are just annoying when trying to make something with it. They have too much tension in them, and you need put snips into them to prepare your fabric properly. They never get included in garments, and they are usually cut off when draping with fabric. (Traditionally, the salvage was of much higher quality, and wouldn't have been cut off. In hand woven fabrics, often there's no need to do anything to the salvage--it's only in machine produced fabric that the salvage sucks.)

Hand stitching is more elegant than machine stitching (for external details, not for construction stitching such as sewing up the side-seam), which is more elegant than serging.

Top-stitching is typically ugly (look at a dress shirt--notice the stitching visible on the cuffs and around the collar? Really fancy cloths wouldn't have this. They'd either under-stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch instead.)

Hand-done details on the surface of the garment, typically just aesthetic, and that have nothing to do with the construction, are called 'appliquéd.' You can appliqué a detail, and you say the details were appliquéd.

The 'seam allowance' is the space from the edge of the cut pattern. Where you actually sew is called the 'fitting line'. Typically, the seam allowance is half an inch--but more like 3/4" or even 1" on custom garments, so you can let them out a bit more if need be. (Like if the person puts on weight!)

You typically don't make the pattern pieces with seam allowance included, so you have to remember to leave seam allowance when you cut out your patterns! If you forget--the fabric you cut out is unsalvageable in any way. It will never fit the intended size, and is useless even as a muslin. Many an amateur's tear has been shed when they realize they were mindlessly cutting without added seam allowance--some near suicides occur when this is done on final fabric. A designer must be ever vigilante when cutting fabric (And, if your like me, you often go, 'Ah, I'll remember that I want 1/2" here, 3/4" here, and that I already included a 1cm seam allowance on this part when I made the pattern! [Yes. Here in Canada, we use metric and imperial interchangeably for measuring length] I don't need to write it down anywhere to remember!' ...And then sweat bullets when it's time to cut...)

The seam allowance ends up on the inside of the garment when you sew it (you kind of sew everything inside-out--correct sides together--and then flip it around, so all the seam allowances face inwards)... but that's not finished! It is absolutely forbidden to leave raw edges anywhere on a garment--either you have to do a special kind of seam (like a flat-felled seam [the side seams on jeans are this kind of seam, usually!] or a French seam), line a garment (suit jackets do this), or simply serge the edges before or after you sew the garment together ('serged apart' or 'serged together'). Serging is the easiest and quickest, but also the most pedestrian.

Dress sizes (4, 6, 8--sizes like that)... are completely arbitrary! :raritywink: They used to, decades ago, actually correspond to specific measurements--but today, this is only true for mannequins/dress forms. Because people started getting fatter, they started scaling down the sizes. What was an 8 in the fifties is more like a 4 in what you'd find at a store today. On the mannequins we use, an 8 is the standard size, and is a 35.5" bust, 26.5" waist, and 36.5" hips. (Yeah, those really aren't very standard proportions at all, though! But... a lot smaller measurements than a size 8 dress you would find in a store!) Each brand or label or manufacturer will decide what they think the measurements of specific dress sizes should be, and just go with that. There are no actual rules! (I guess you can order a custom mannequin that is made to your measurements... and they just ask you what size you like put on it! You think you should be a 6? Okay!)

Though typical dress sizes are even numbers, it's not impossible to find odd numbers, like a size 7 or something. They do exist--there's just not such a need for them when the sizes can be whatever a company wants them to be!

And final thing! Understanding Fluttershy's rant in Suited For Success!! :flutterrage:

"The armscye's tight, the middy collar doesn't go with the shawl lapel, the hems are clearly machine-stitched, the pleats are uneven, the fabric looks like toile, you used a backstitch here when it clearly called for a topstitch or maybe a traditional blanket stitch and the overdesign is reminiscent of Pret-a-Porter and not true French Haute Couture. [pauses] But, uh... you know... um, whatever you want to do is fine."

-Arm scye is fancy for the arm hole... and is an easy thing to mess up, because mannequin arm plates (or arms, on ones that have them!) do not relate very well to living things!

-A middy collar is a sailor collar. Think Japanese school-girl. Shawl lapel is a lapel without a notch or sort of corner on it (so unlike one you'd see on a suit jacket, for instance!) and instead tapers down the length of it until where it ends at the closure. Fluttershy disagrees with this stylistic choice!

-Machine stitched hems have an obvious top-stitch on them, which is a bit pedestrian looking, and not very formal.

-Uneven pleats? That's just sloppy, Rarity! :raritydespair:

-'toile' is the British or French term for what we North Americans call muslin (which I didn't know... I had to look that up!)--as I talked about before, muslin is the test fabric... cheap and disposable. Using a broadcloth weave, or cheap cotton or synthetics, will make it look more like a mock-up than a finished garment. They don't have a nice weight to them, are often starchy, and won't have a very nice drape on the body.

**here's the only actual mistake in this rant**
-'Backstitch' is actually just what you do to secure a stitch at the end of the line of stitching to secure it. Isn't at all related to a top-stitch. 'Under-stitch' would have made sense, and is probably what Fluttershy meant--if it was the other way around! Top-stitching is very pedestrian--under-stitching is trickier to do, takes longer, and usually involves some hand-stitching at the start and end, but is much classier. A blanket-stitch is a hand-sewing method of finishing a hem, and this part makes sense: it takes way longer than machine techniques (like--hours instead of minutes), and is much classier than either of the other two methods--though is a specific stylistic choice, and wouldn't look better on all garments.

-'Pret-a-Porter' is French for 'Ready-to-Wear'. ie: street fashion, consumer clothes. 'Coture' is a very fancy garment, unique, and specially fitted to a specific person. There are other things as well--like no serging, typically only hand-stitching for any visible stitching--crazy stuff, like that.

Basically, Fluttershy really does know her stuff (props to the creators! Details like that make me friggin smile!), and Rarity is really not that great of a seamstress--she is an artiste, not a technician! (And... we see how good Fluttershy is when it comes to designing, shortly after this scene...)

So that! Props if you read through the whole thing, are still here, and are still awake! :raritystarry:

Just thought I'd share what I know. :twilightsmile:

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Comments ( 32 )

Neat! One thing this brings to mind for me is Ma Ingalls picking out some nice new [pattern] muslin for dresses in the Little House books, and how all the girls were so excited! Is the stuff really that close to sackcloth, or is that just from a modern/fashion perspective?

Wanderer D

Ye gods. ***Bookmarks***

Traditional muslin (...or even some fabric that's still called muslin!) was actually just a dainty, light-weight, and very breathable cotton.

As with most things in fashion, the term kind of just evolved and morphed and somehow ended up sticking to mean test fabric.

I was looking up some stuff--in Britain and France, I guess they use the term toile the same way we say muslin... and toile was a specific kind of fabric, traditionally, too! (In both cases, it probably just fell out of style for a time, and people started using the terms disparagingly!)

The things I learn from you Acreu... xD I have to say despite not having any plans to do anything close to design or dressmaking this was a very interesting read. You should keep posting these things now and then :) And from what I just read you seem VERY interested in this subject, which is great because when you have a goal you can work towards it. Which you are... I'm just rambling now. Keep living the dream :3

Question time? Oh! I only have two! My Project Runway is working (mostly. As I will note.)

1) Some fabrics seem to be commonly referred to by their weave- is this because they're usually a certain fibre, and only need to be differentiated when they're made of something off-the-wall? Or are people just being lazy because the laypeople don't care? (For instance, organza or velvet seem to often be described just as that. (In my Project Runway watching experience.))

2) Are we spelling fibre in a way my spellcheck doesn't like because it's french? Is it different from fiber?

Muslin fitting. This is the only place my Project Runway knowledge has let me down. Obviously they skip this because they are trapped in designer-hell for the month, or else it's edited out. But I guess that also excuses Rarity in Suited for Success- she was basically having a Project Runway moment, having to do all those dresses before the show.

The fabric nomenclature isn't really used properly any more... (I remember the studio tech complaining about how at fabric stores, they tend to label things badly, unhelpfully, or just straight-up wrong. And I went to a fabric store, and had a lady working there try to tell me that 'broadcloth' meant 'poly/cotton blend' :fluttershbad:)

Typically, you only see broadcloth in a cotton or poly/cotton blend, organza is almost always silk, and lots of times you see 'linen' that is 100% cotton... and there actually a lot of exceptions, and tons of stuff with different names, depending on who you ask! (Like with anything in fashion!)

And then polyester sneaks into everything, everywhere, even when you least expect it...

Fiber... fibre... My spell check makes me change it to fibre... no idea. :trixieshiftleft: Brit/Merican conventions? (I'm in Canadian mode for my spell-check!)

I think they just skip the fitting in Project Runway cause it takes so much time! I suppose if you're good enough, you could just get it right the first time... (really good people can just know how something'll fit by looking at a paper pattern!). But, that said, I know big designers like Gautier or Karl Lagerfeld or people always do muslins first! Also people making custom suits/dresses would do many fittings in muslins.

Either way, it's definitely an inescapable step for students!

You typically don't make the pattern pieces with seam allowance included

Why not? It seems like you're just begging for disaster if you leave those out!


No, it's just that when your making the pattern, you have to make it based off the fitting lines--with seam allowance, it distorts the shape a little bit. (And often you have to cut paper patters at certain stages, trace off bits, rinse and repeat!) To include seam allowance in the pattern means going back, tracing off the thing again, and figuring out where all the seam allowances are gonna go.

Then, on top of that, When you're doing the muslins, you'll want more seam allowance than the final garment, for fitting purposes! It's almost easier to remember there's no seam allowance anywhere, than it is to be thinking 'okay, it's 1/2", so I need to add a 1/4" on this part so it's 3/4", but I'll wanna cut down this bit to 1/4" later, here... or did I already remember I'd need to do that when I did the pattern?' :rainbowhuh:

That was most informative and useful, and I shall be passing it on to as many fellow writers as possible.

I wish it was possible to Favorite blog blog entries.

What if I forget where to find this veritable gem of information? :raritydespair:


Then there is some way to "save" this somewhere?

I don't expect most people to read through this whole thing

Oh Ball, it's like you don't even know me anymore.

Holy god man, when you get going, your really get going.
Though, I'd be lying if I said i didn't find it interesting.
Remind me to return the favor by giving you a lecture on the mechanics of the different theories of Time. :pinkiecrazy:

This is brilliant. Thank you so much for writing this!

Oh, neat! I love finding 15-minute speed-lessons on completely random things!
Being able to jump into basically any conversation at parties and the like and have some basic idea of what's going on is really fun, and a lot of people seem to be surprised/impressed when you know a bit of their super-special lingo ^^'


I am sore as fuck and have more work here in 2 hours. I will read sometime in the possibly near future.

Super helpful, Acreu, yet again!

You mention that shortly after the scene of Fluttershy's rant, we see that she's actually pretty good at designing. Can you explain that a bit, since you clearly understand her abilities from the perspective of a pro?

That was a really interesting read! I will forget everything within five minutes but that's what they make bookmarks for. Thanks for putting that together. :pinkiehappy:

Ah, I was being ironic! I just meant that the re-done dress she had Rarity make her was obviously pretty ridiculous, where as the one Rarity initially designed for her--though it had all those construction issues--was a much better dress!

Glad you liked it! No problem, I love going on and on about stuff like this!

988045 Ah. It's not easy to tell the difference between serious and ironic when the entire previous wall o' text is in earnest but a single sentence is meant to be ironic.

Is true, is true!

What a goldmine. Thanks for writing this!

No problem! I'm glad people are finding it useful!

Would the sewing machines in Apple Family Reunion be industrial sewing machines, with their gas-powered engine and idling?

Edit: I've never used a serger before; typically I do a zigzag to make a seam... typical of domestic sewers. Is there some advantage to using a serger?

Ha, yeah, those would be industrial ones! (They don't actually run on gasoline though... you just plug them in!)

Yeah, sergers are really great--they're extremely fast and really easy to use. And they give that more professional stitch, as well. (There's nothing actually wrong with using a zig-zag stitch, though! It's a legitimate thing--that whole 'domestic' vs 'fashion' thing is really rather silly!) Making simple stuff out of knits can be really hard without one, and, as I mentioned, it gives you a much more secure seam.

Also, you can use them to finish the inside seams on garments, which is very important for stuff like dress shirts or dresses that you aren't going to line or stuff like that. They're just kind of a really easy basic finish for raw edges, which is important to do to avoid having fraying seam allowances on the inside of a garment.

Like most men, I don't really know anything about the details of sewing or fashion design, so this was an incredibly useful (and quite interesting!) quick lesson.

Thank you! :raritystarry:

Wow! Bookmarking this on the off chance I ever want to write about Rarity and fashion.
(Not that I dislike her, mind you, but it's far easier to have ideas related to things I know well, and your article is currently most of what I know about fashion :twilightoops: )

BTW, I can really relate with how you feel. I have an engineering degree, and... well, most technobabble makes me cringe, badly :facehoof:

I'd never have thought I'd devour a thousand or 2 words about clothiering, and yet here I am. Great little article.

That was a very informative article.

I apologize in advance. I will have totally forgotten most of that by the time I get to the part in my story where Rarity is making something. Whatever gets written probably still be all wrong. :twilightsmile:

957629 With your web browser bookmark.

I, however, am downloading it to my computer, for safe-keeping after fimfiction is gone.

Fascinating read, full of informative stuff. I had no plans to write a scenes of Rarity making dresses, but now I want to!

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