Today I saw the cutest top on Instagram made by a gifted designer and I was immediately smitten. It was made using a technique that many sewists have employed - patchwork. You take all your scraps and sew them together and make a unique design. Over the years I've seen jackets, tops and dresses using this particular technique...always thought that my Ikat scraps would make a cool garment. And it's Sunday and I have nothing else better to do.
So in my haste to let inspiration run away with me, I asked if I might "copy" it - the designer (thinking that I was smarter than I am) said yes. And so off I ran. However, somewhere in the midst of posting a picture of what I intended to do, we both realized that my drawing looked very similar to the design I saw. I was never intending to copy the exact piece, but it was a little too close for comfort for both of us.
Dang. Lesson learned. Read the IG background profile, Laurel. If I had done this FIRST, I would have realized that the sewist was actually a designer and sold the garments under their own label...thus, I probably never would have even asked, or at least made it clear I had no intention to copy it exactly. The "yes" was a qualified yes - be inspired by all means but please don't actually copy. As sewists, we imitate other designs and ready-to-wear all the time. We buy the same patterns, the same fabrics and try to make them uniquely "ours". A case in point, Chanel is very protective of their jacket stylings, but we all copy them, and call them "Little French Jackets".
It's a lot different for fledgling businesses, as I am well aware. The designer was very kind in the "schooling" process, but I felt horrible. (At least I DID ask, so I thought I was cool.) I used to make one-of-a-kind jewelry, and when Charming Charlie came to town, they were making "my stuff" as far as I was concerned, albeit cheaper, and my little cottage industry closed shop. They were not copying my designs, as they didn't know me from a hole in the ground, but I was pretty sure my customers would think I was copying them.
Hence, to complete my Sunday project, I was sent back to the drawing table post haste, confident that my garment would not resemble the designer's...just perhaps capture the spirit of the patchwork/piecing idea. I chose a pattern that I have used twice before - The Sointu Kimono Tee by Named Clothing.
Oh, and yes, sewists do pattern hacks all the time...I changed the neckline to a "boat neck".
When I say "hack", I mean it. I chopped my pattern into little squares and strips.
I picked fabrics out of my scrap stash. I even used a fabric that was already cut out in a skirt pattern. The polka dots were never going to be cute as a skirt - what was I thinking?
So even after the pattern hacking, my design changed several times (more hacking my own design)
as I switched around the fabrics.
By the time I finished, my sewing studio looked like a cyclone touched down. Did I mention that I still love my new wood floors - perfect for cutting.
In the end, it was a great project for the holiday today. I think it says me. It actually reminds me of a dress that I made back in the 80's using this piecing technique. I wish I had a photo of it, as I loved wearing it.
Put a turtleneck under this puppy and some leggings and call it a day.
Now all that remains is to clean up the mess.
Laurel. Considering myself Schooled.