Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness - Coat - Part XXXI

The Ties

I'd like to thank you all for the kind words regarding the Knipmode skirt! I hope I've inspired you to try your hand at drafting or even taking a pattern and modifiying it a little bit to make it yours.

The ties at the neck of the coat originally weren't functional ties at all, but just decorative tie ends that were attached along with the collar and facing. The ties that I wanted actually tie into a bow. While this idea seems fairly simple, bringing it to life was not. There were two major obstacles in the whole process.

First, the fabric. I could not get quite the color I wanted for the ties. Due to lack of local availability and the time frame I am working within, I could not get the exact fabric I wanted. The other problem was matching the ivory. You would not think that color matching would be an issue, but it was. In the end, I found exactly what I was looking for - right in the fabrics I already had and used. I used the ivory dupioni for the tie, and I think it was actually a good choice because the bow holds the shape of a bow better than the georgette would have.

Second, and the bigger obstacle, was attaching the bow to the collar. My ties are attached directly to the collar, not the center front of the coat. I changed the roll line of the collar just a bit so that I'd have a 2" space at the edge of the collar to attach the ties. Why go to that trouble, when the pattern was perfectly fine? Because I had a certain vision for the front of that coat and changing the pattern a bit would make that happen.
That said, it wasn't the easiest thing to make reality. Reducing a double layer of dupioni 8" wide down to 2" was the hard part.

I tried a variety of things to reduce that width so it would fit. Gathering was the worst idea. The resulting wad of fabric was way too thick. Furthermore, there are no gathers anywhere else in the ensemble, so this seemed a little odd to me. Then, I narrowed the width of the ties to 6". This is the same width as the widest part of the border, so visually it would look similar. Pleating was a bit better and a bit flatter with only the 6" width to work with, but I still could not come up with an arrangement I was happy with. After a frustrating afternoon, I was starting to run out of ideas.

What to do? When I start to run out of ideas and inspiration, I sit down with all my lovely books and start to look at pictures. The book I chose to start with was The Art of Fabric Manipulation, by Colette Wolff. I started flipping through it trying to get ideas for reducing large amounts of fabric into smaller areas. This picture, although a bit unrelated to the current problem, gave me an idea:

Why not narrow the sides of the tie closer to the actual attachment point? There are two good reasons for this, one, it solves part of the original problem. Two, there will be less width at that point in the tie resulting in a less bulky knot. That's what I did:

You can see that I narrowed the tie by 2", and then tapered both sides so that they would be narrower at the end that attaches to the collar. Once stitched and trimmed, the end looked like this:

Now, I still had too much fabric, so in order to get rid of that fabric, I used a dart. This again narrows the tie a bit more, and is consistent with the rest of the ensemble because all the shaping in this ensemble is done with darts.

After stitching a dart on either side of the tie as seen above on the left and right, I trimmed the seam allowances and pressed the dart open.

Once turned to the right side, the ties were nice and flat and fit perfectly into the space they needed to fit into. Here is the collar once it was finally constructed, there will be another post with more construction details:

Not an easy task and a very customized solution. I am very happy with how they look now that they are done. Working through the solution was the hard part. Lessons for the day: do not get too discouraged when things don't work out and keep looking for a solution, you never know where inspiration will turn up!

Parting Shot: Sock Status. I'm done with the cuff portion of the sock and have started the heel portion. It is taking a while, but I am getting there. I try to do a little knitting everyday - make a couple of pattern repetitions or 8 to 10 rows. It does add up after a while!


Valerie said...

Great creative thinking! that colar is looking mighty gorgeous...I can't wait to see it all together.

I'm working on socks right now too; my first! I also just taught myself to crochet, but needed a break. I've known how to knit for some time and thought it would provide me with a chane from crochet. It took me a while to get back into the swing of knitting, but by the second row I had it again.

Myra said...

I didn't see your skirt posts, for some reason Blogger didn't update your blog in my timeline. It came out great. Very unique. Also the collar looks beautiful. My ufo's sit forever, because I need LOTS of time to think about a solution (haha).

paco peralta said...

if it is a good solution. I understand that his goal is to make a knot in the tie, so ?.... something that is impossible with the pattern since the original ties are an adornment.

greetings, Paco

Vicki W said...

It's nice when it all comes together! That was a lot of work but it looks lovely.

Vicki said...

The collar is looking gorgeous. Good solution too.

Bunny said...

Just WOW!

KimP said...

Those are going to be some wild socks!!

Pamela Erny said...

Summerset..thanks for being a great inspiration and teacher...and for sharing your "design intellect" with us all.

~Pam those socks :)

Little Hunting Creek said...

The dress is looking beautiful! I love your idea for the ties - a very clever solution.

Heather said...

Beautiful! I can't wait to see it tied in a bow.

Tany said...

I think the ties look great! I'm glad you manageed to find the right path!