July 18, 2008

Making a flat pattern out of a plasticine 3D shape

You might have been checking the website only to find out the same old posts. That is because both my mother and my mother-in-law have had health problems and of course family comes first.

While looking after my mothers I’ve also been busy working on fall-winter hats, and one of the projects was to make fabric hats out of my own patterns. A warning is due, I have no training or experience in making patterns, and I hope you will keep that in mind when reading this post.

Here follow the results of my attempt (click on the pictures to see them enlarged):

Plasticine hand modelled shape Shaped covered in plastic and then paper tape Pattern pieces cut out

First I bought myself 2kg of play-doh and used that, over an basic wood block, to make the shape I wanted (in this case a 40’s inspired head huggig shape), wrapped it up with plastic and then taped the hell out of it with masking tape (a paper tape used when painting walls and windows and that can be found on any hardware store). The theory is to then cut that open and voila! you have a pattern, but of course things are never that easy. In order to get a flat pattern I had to give a lot of thought as to where to cut, and even after that I had to do some darts (tiny but needed) to get the pattern pieces to lie flat (the picture above is before cutting the small darts).

Pattern pieces traced onto interfacing Sides of hat sewn Sewing the hat

Next I traced the cut out pattern pieces onto some magazine paper, cut it out and then traced it onto some heavy interfacing. I then cut out the interfacing and ironed it onto old curtain fabric (I was not going to use some nice fabric for this!). Finally I cut the fabric adding the allowance, and as a result the seam allowance has no interfacing which has made the seams lighter and easier to sew.

Here is the finished hat:

Finished hatMy thoughts on the whole process are (and I welcome any comment or suggestion!):

1. The question was… is it possible? And the reply is, YES, it is… although it’s hard to get an idea of how the hat will end up looking on the head of the wearer. It might be better to use a working head such as this one.

2. I’ve ended up with a lot of seams… where the small darts really necessary? Would it help to cut the segments on the bias and stretch the lower part when ironing the interfacing so it has a slightly curved shape? Is that even possible?

3. I’m happy I did a prolongation of the pattern on the bottom edge (by flipping the pattern) so that the lower edge could fold under still conforming to the shape. It looks really neat and the lining can then be sewn to that bit.

I believe I will open the center back dart and put an elastic there, so the hat will be easier to put on and adapt to different head sizes.

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