Some years ago now, I came across an article in Threads Magazine about Zero-Waste patterns. There was a Viking dress in there, and it kind of stuck with me. As Tolkien was largely inspired by Scandinavian culture/myths and legends, and would likely have been a proponent of sustainability, I thought I’d have a go at using this concept.
The initial design is very different to the final one.
It looks wildly different on different sizes. This is actually a couple of sizes too big for me. It looks miles better with a belt. 🙂 The sleeves were too narrow for anyone bigger.
Trying it on the right size mannequin. With potential embellishment. I like it better on me. Moving on…
The Final Dress
Completely different silhouette. And I love it! 😀 Note the dart in the back hem that just curves the silhouette. 🙂
I tried it on one of my taller friends and we established that for a model to wear it, it would have to be longer. So I added a few inches. Also enlarged the neckline.
It’s a versatile pattern because you can remove the sleeves and wear it as a pinafore or a sleeveless, so it’s a good transitional piece, or you can switch up the sleeve and pleat fabric. I’d like to make it in a lighter colour. I have some grey jersey, but that might be a bit sweatshirtish, in a bad way.
This dress is somewhat less modern than the other pieces, and slightly ’70s. I wanted to show that I can actually cut garments to fit the figure, not just drape over it.
The first go was a funny fit. Somehow I lost about 4cm on the chest and it only just closed. I also needed to enlarge the armholes.
Take 2 was much better. I also flared the skirt and embroidered on of the waist panels. Note the mis-matched buttons. I kept that. 🙂
The embroidery looks somewhat Scandinavian, which is good because Scandinavia was part of the inspiration for #TheShire. It’s not perfectly symmetrical, but Tolkein’s illustrations were very clearly hand-done, which is part of their charm. 🙂
The dress is made from stretch-needlecord and has a bagged lining done entirely by machine! I’m so pleased with myself for figuring out how to do it! 😀
I can pass this off as not being too big on me, partly because it’s a fitted style, and partly because the fabric is stiff so kind of holds itself up.
You can’t have missed the dungaree trend lately. Well, I’m not fond of having to get undressed every time nature calls, so I’ve done a dungaree dress. In leather.
I wanted to have leather in #TheShire from the beginning. I’m sure a lot of hobbits’ things would have been leather, and more likely pigskin because cows are bigger than pigs. This dress is pigskin, and the hides are from GH Leathers so it’s from the meat industry.
I had to reverse engineer the dungaree button flies at work. And please forgive my imperfect stitching. It was nearing hand-in day and I was NOT going to go full-on perfectionist. Plus, this is real leather, so you can’t unpick.
The parts of the dress are in slightly different colours, which happens, evidently, when you use a few hides.
By coincidence there are three tees in #TheShire (like three rings). There are two circle tops too, but I’ll cover them separately because they’re so different.
The first one has a kimono sleeve at the front, but Dolman sleeve at the back (so that I could get the lace to look as I wanted). I blogged about the toile of this top here, so check that out for details!
The second tee is a bit more normal. The key things here are the embroidery and the lace sections. The embroidery (free-motion) says “The Shire” in Dwarven runes. 🙂 The jersey is sort of like a Broiderie Anglaise kind of jersey. It’s covered in tiny flower-shaped hole patterns.
The third tee is intentionally devoid of embellishment because it was always intended to go under a dress. But I wanted to give it the versatility to be worn over jeans too, so I gave it the lace asymmetric hem section. It’s a bit big on me, but only by a size or two.
And yes, I will be wearing any of my collection that I can when I get them back. 🙂
For the same reasons that the Hoodie is round, these tops are too. That doesn’t meant they all look the same. Every single circle garment I’ve made looks totally different to the others, even though the draft is pretty much the same shape. Fabric and size make a huge difference. Viz.
I made a calico toile first. Not the best choice given the final garments are in jersey, but at least we knew it fitted on a person, and looked pretty cool too, if I do say so myself.
This is a page from my first Shire sketchbook. I drew over the others too, I think.
Trying it with and without sleeves, with different armholes, with possible style lines.
One thing I like about a lot of the garments in The Shire is that they’re unusual, but simple enough to offer a lot of design variations that are really wearable.
I forgot the dimensions of the first toile when I was cutting the second one, so I guesstimated and missed about 4″ off the radius, which is fine because now it’s a proper top-length.
When I was doing this I leaned how to band jersey. It’s so quick and easy to make t-shirts! So satisfying to just whip something up!
There are two circle tops. One turned out a bit big, so it can be worn as a remarkably comfy dress too.
Yes, the hem is dipped. 🙂
Looks better tucked in. 🙂
Also: lesson learned: test ribbing ratios on EVERY INDIVIDUAL jersey you use. Even if they look similar, they probably aren’t. -_-
This is the key piece of the collection #TheShire. It is, in essence, a huge circle with sleeves and a hood.
The One Ring, “There and Back Again”, “A perfectly round door, like a porthole,”… Tolkein’s works, and especially The Hobbit and LOTR are absolutely stuffed with circularity. It’s only fitting that a huge part of #TheShire is circles.
The draft for this hoodie was pretty simple (except for the hood, which has 5 pieces plus lining and facing). It’s just a huge circle with sleeves (flat-cut so no bother with easing), a whole for your legs, and a hood. Well, apart from the piecing. It’s a Celtic Knot (I’m part Irish so I wanted to put some of that in).
This is a page from my second sketchbook. The toile had “a few” changes to be made.
(Also, I got a Wacom Intuos Art and I’ve started illustrating on Photoshop).
Getting a model to fit the clothes was a huge bother, so I modelled some myself and got a mannequin to for the ones that are too big for me. 🙂
The fabrics are a paisley embossed scuba, a gold velvet, and a golden-khaki lining fabric. The zip pull is The One Ring on a piece of leather!
Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything here. I handed in on the 28th April, and we’ve had the photoshoots and finished our lookbooks, so now there’s graduation in September!
I’ve realised I’ve told you practically nothing about the concept. The geekier among you (hello! :D) may have suspected correctly that it is inspired by The Hobbit and LOTR. More The Hobbit because I’m still reading LOTR.
Originally I was going to advance the concept from my previous FMP at Bishop Burton College: Cut21, and include more natural inspiration. That developed visually towards woodlands and fantasy, which naturally falls towards The Hobbit and LOTR.
In the beginning, the initial designs were fairly literal and somewhat costumey and I had to make them more ‘fashiony’ (we use a lot of non-standard English in our class).
I experimented with so many techniques that could have made such beautiful garments. If I’d had time I could have made a hundred different things and I’ve have loved every one of them!
Following a piece of advice I received from a friend and mentor (ask “What can I do well, in the time I have?”) I kept my number of garments to a minimum. We had do to 6 outfits, so I made 12 garments. I wanted to include some jeans and jeans-type garments to tailor my portfolio towards Levi’s (where I work as stylist and tailor), so I made a few different cuts.
Another of my learning goals was to learn how to work with stretch fabrics. So I bought an overlocker (used) and learned to use it, and the other industrial equipment at college. Domestic overlockers do not compare to industrials, but they do the job and I can take mine with me when I move.
Another was to use the Assyst-Bullmer system, but technical issues prevented it when I needed it. I have been told I can go back and have a go with it though. (The tutors at York College are awesome.)
I wanted to work with leather too, so I made a dress out of it. 🙂
Well, yesterday was horribly stressful (so much so that I was too tired to go to the Tolkien Society at UOY), but today was very good, so “swings and roundabouts” I suppose. 🙂
I toiled the “skinny” jeans for The Shire, but I hadn’t thoroughly checked the pattern before printing it, so it was a bit of a disaster (although it sewed what was possibly the neatest fly front zip I’ve ever sewn!).
These are the pages from my sketchbook:
These jeans are going to be made from stretch denim, with stretch needle cord knees (if I have enough fabric, otherwise, it may be the other way around).
Following on from the Viking Dress toile, I made some changes to the pattern and commenced toile 4 (of the collection):
widened sleeves a bit (though evidently not enough)
took it in at the body
shortened to make it tee-length
added lace inserts
Looking at my illustrations, I can see that I forgot to add the asymmetrical hem. -_- Never mind; I needed practice with the coverstitch machine anyway (still do).
Also, I accidentally made it a size too small. This is because the size chart in Metric Pattern Cutting (which I Googled for quickness) does not agree with the dress forms at college. A size 10 dress form fits size 12 in the book, so when I made a size 10 according to the book, it was a size 8 according to the dress forms. Confusing? It can be. -_- So now it’s a nice fit on me, and a close fit on the dress form.
Seeing this now, I notice I forgot the top inner bar of the Celtic Knot. It could be neater and I regret marking the circle with a Sharpie (lol), but everyone seems to be impressed with it (and I’m my own worst critic).
I was looking at my store-bought t-shirts (I acquire them via uniforms) and the back necklines are faced or bound (not sure what to call it) to cover up the overlocking. I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this. So far, I cut a shape like this, press up 0.5cm on the lower edge and short ends, sew it on after the ribbing, and then edgestitch it down. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting there.
This was my first lay plan (not exactly zero-waste, but I cut the fabric too short, and this is a work in progress. I’m sure there’s a better way.
Realised I could cut the ribbing on the fold, so I could rearrange things to waste less fabric. I’m beginning to think kimono sleeves are not very economical.
The Whole Tee
The neckline ribbing actually sits nice and flat when I don’t have my shoulders raised. 🙂
(The colours in the first photo are truer to life). I like it. But, of course…
Changes to make
lower sleeves underseam by about 2-3cm
make the correct size
widen shoulder lace by 1-2cm
widen front lace to match shoulder lace
move back sleeve seam closer to CB
make asymmetrical hem
I’ll make these changes and toile again. The next top is slightly different. The lace is differently placed and there is different embroidery. It will have the wrong hem on the toile, but the actual one for the next tee is very simple so I don’t need to practise it. 🙂
I’m quite pleased with myself. I’d never made a t-shirt till this term, and almost never used an overlocker, but I think the quality on this is pretty good!
This is how the new pattern is looking so far:
I have a to-do list that is a spreadsheet. I might miss college.
As the Hobbit and LOTR are largely inspired by Nordic legends, I thought I’d put a Viking dress into my final collection. It’s pretty much zero-waste too.
I recently got an overlocker on eBay (Toyota SLR4D) and finally have it working properly! And learning to work with jersey is one of my goals for my FMP, so I’m making this dress from either jersey or ponte knit (which I have to test sew because I haven’t used it before and it’s different).
This dress took me about 4 hours to make including cutting. I’m reasonably pleased with it and I will be wearing it, even though it’s a size 10 and I’m a 6.
Viking dress on correct size mannequin
Viking dress on me (two sizes too big)
Viking dress on a 14 stand that’s two sizes too big
Now, you may have noticed that the sleeves are a little snug in comparison to the dress form. This is one of the reasons we toile. 🙂 I have made them bigger on the pattern.
The pockets were going to be sleeve segments, but I thought pockets would be better (because who doesn’t love pockets?!)
New skills used in this dress: ribbing, overlock seams, overstitching, using clear elastic as a stabiliser on knits, and marking jersey (use a marker pen). I haven’t perfected the neckline though (and it bothers me).
I got the fabric yesterday at The Shuttle in Leeds. I went on a fabric sourcing trip with the class, which was fruitful, though I still have a few more things to get, like sweatshirting and gold-coloured denim. I estimated my final collection will cost up to £300 in supplies. Not bad really, considering in London it’s not unusual to pay £7,000 (but that includes paying people to make it for you, which we don’t because we learn technical skills 😛 ).
I have updated the pattern to work with the changes in the sleeves, and will try it next in a t-shirt, perhaps with the lace at the shoulders too. 🙂
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