Sunday, June 23, 2013

Oops! I did it Again & Again

The copied shirts

More knockoffs that is. This time it's a simple everyday type shirt I like, and frankly, wear quite a lot. I replicated it into two almost exact copies, both in a lightweight linen like fabric I purchased at Joann Fabrics on sale -- of course. 

The original shirt
I have come to like doing these knockoffs. It's just so darn simple to copy something that already fits. The pattern pieces you create with this method are similar to creating slopers but with all the ease and fit already factored in. In fact, I almost prefer them to using commercial patterns which I usually have to alter quite a bit. These only required just a bit of tweaking. In this case, I made the copies fit me even better than the original. I needed to take up the shoulder a bit and trimmed the armscye in the back, but that was it. 

I used the same method I used for my Karen Kane shirt. First, laid down a big fluffy towel onto my worktable. Then I covered the towel with a large sheet of craft paper that I buy by the roll at IKEA for $4.00. Then I spread out a section of the shirt, pinning it to the towel (or you cab use weights) to secure it in place. I ccarefully smoothed out any wrinkles and made every effort to position it straight onto the paper, noting the grainline. 

Next, using a straight pin trace the seam lines all around the garment section poking holes into and through to the towel. Once a section has been pin traced, remove the garment. Move the traced paper to a hard surface and then take a pencil or marking pen and I traced the pin holes to create the lines that form the pattern piece. I did this for all of the various sections the garment requires. In the case of this shirt I made a pattern piece for the front and back sections, one for the collar, the collar band and the sleeve - 5 pattern pieces in all. 

While the overall process is easy, its important to pay very close attention to all the details when tracing each section. It's also best to copy something with simple lines and a minimal amount of style or fitting details.  Make sure grainlines are properly identified. Measure and fine tune any details. Check to make sure side seams line up in length and shape.  In my case, I needed to pay closer attention to the collar. I noticed after I made both copies the collar band was too long which suggested I didn't measure as precisely as I should have. A double check would have resolved this easily. 
Make sure each pattern piece is properly labeled - grainline, body part/section, notch notations, shoulder location, or any other important details. Also note that the pieces don't contain any seam allowances, so they will have to be added when the patterns for the copies are cut. 

Yes, I do indeed like doing these and plan to do many more. It is important to note that these don't come with instructions, so you have to have a solid understanding of how to construct the garment with the various pattern pieces that are created. I knew how to construct the collar with the band and how to create the notched hem treatment on the sleeves and the general assemble of the shirt itself. 

The next knockoff is a suit I plan to make for an upcoming wedding. I love the original, but it no longer fits me - so painful to admit. I will have to enlarge the copy which will take more time but I think it will be worth it. I'll let you know. 

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