Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Ideas

Sorry for the long delay in posting but I have been working furiously behind the scenes to get stuff done. Most work on patterns is not glamorous. It can be a bit tedious and time consuming as I wrote about in an earlier post regarding grading. I actually love it though but I wish it went a bit quicker. I am still not ready to debut anything new but I thought I would talk about where my ideas come from. So this is a little sneak peak into my mind. Don't be scared.

I draw inspiration from just about everything I see. Sometimes I see a photo of a house and get an idea for a dress that would look great in the space. Or, most often, I see a particular aspect of a garment and want to put it into another piece. For example, pleats and bustles. For the Irene blouse I have pleats in the back creating a not-so-big bustle effect. Steampunk is all the rage now and although I like the style it is not something that most people can wear around everyday without feeling self-conscious. But pull an element or two from steampunk/victorian clothing and put it into a more 'normal' blouse and you have an interesting and fun new garments.
Here is a photo of a bustle from Delly Bean (http://dellybean.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/) which is great for getting dressed up but probably won't fly at work.

And this is the back of my Irene blouse. You get that bustle vibe without it being too much. Work appropriate but stylish.

That is where I get my inspiration in a nutshell. Of course I have loads of pin on my pinterest board and you can go to see it here http://pinterest.com/selbygunter/my-style/. Tell me which ones you like the best. I already know what I like but I want to hear what you think.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Style Manifesto

Who are these patterns for, you might ask. And I would respond, anyone who likes them. But then I would also have to admit that I do have a certain person in mind when I design these patterns. Mainly that person is me or people like me. I am in my (early) 30's now and not fit enough to walk around in yoga pants. I cringe because crop tops and super skinny jeans are in style when I look much better in a 1950's silhouette. But I am not quite ready to put on "mom" jeans and give up on style completely. My goal is to create simple and stylish patterns that are contemporary enough to be fashionable but not to go out of style next season. I also want them to be as easy to sew as possible. I can't tell you how many times I picked up a super cool pattern (specifically those from Vogue) and was overwhelmed with all the pieces and complicated instructions.

The Ellie patterns is a good example of my philosophy. It is very easy to sew, contemporary with the 3/4 length sleeves and can be easily accessorized. The keyhole back is just a little bit flirty without showing off too much. And best of all, it is designed to be made with simple cotton print fabric which is readily available at all fabric stores. Sure, sometimes I drool over the super fancy patterns with yards of swishy fabric but once I add up the cost of that fabulous $25 a yard silk whatever fabric I would be better off buying one already made. Plus, wear am I honestly going to wear that ballgown?

Occasionally I go a little fancier. Still no ballgowns but a little more upscale. The Irene blouse incorporates a 40's curved waistband and side opening as well as a Victorian use of buttons and pleats. I wore this blouse to a Sunday brunch with my family. Worn with dress pants, a statement necklace and clutch this can be a very sophisticated blouse. On the other hand, with jeans and flats I could wear this to work or shopping. More grown up than a crop top it is definitely not something you would find in Chico's.

So those are the basics of my style philosophy. Make it stylish but not trendy, sew with readily available fabrics, and make them as simple to sew as possible. Oh yes, and every pattern has an on-line video tutorial so you can watch how it is done and not just read about it. This is really the feature that makes Wavoki Patterns different than the rest. Be sure to take advantage of it!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sweet tooth Fabrics is now Wavoki Patterns

    We are making some changes here at Sweet Tooth Fabrics. As you may have noticed over the last year we have been focusing more and more on patterns. So hopefully it comes as no surprise that we are changing our focus and becoming Wavoki patterns. This revamp does not change our core values of sustainability and unique products but moves our focus slightly.
    As Wavoki Patterns we will still offer the best in organic and sustainably made fabric but will also be able to give you more ideas for what to do with it. And we strive to make our patterns as environmentally friendly as possible. We are still working out some kinks but we hope to print on recycled paper and use biodegradable corn plastic packaging.
    Soon we will be moving to a new Wavoki Patterns blog and website where you can purchase directly from us. And in the coming year we hope to expand to men's clothing and home accessory patterns.

What does Wavoki mean?
    Wavoki is a Fijian word meaning to wander around the village and see what is happening. As a Peace Corps volunteer in environmental education in Fiji I did a lot of wavoki. It was a way to meet people and get to know what was going on in the community.
    When I got home I continued to wavoki. Even making my way to Edinburgh, Scotland and getting a Master's degree in archaeology. Eventually I made my way back to my home of the Pacific Northwest and my first passions- fabric and sewing. Now settled in a quaint house in south Seattle with my husband, dog and cat, I have stopped wandering so much. But that does not mean I can not wavoki through the village of sustainable textiles and sew at home patterns. I continue to wander artistically and gather ideas from all eras of time and cultures around the world. So I encourage you to wavoki as well. Wander through our pattern and fabric collection and see what is going on in our village.

Have a sweet day!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome Ellie

Ellie is a gathered neckline blouse. You can make it with or without sleeves. Either way, throw it on with a cute belt and some jeans and you are ready for your day.
This pattern is now available at our Etsy shop Sweet Tooth Fabric.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nora with video tutorials

Wavoki Patterns is proud to present Nora! Nora is a simple and fun summer dress. Super easy to sew and flattering to many body types. This pattern is so fast and fun to make you can start in the morning and by the afternoon be wearing it to a BBQ. Nora can be made as a short dress (shown in the photo) or as a blouse or long flowing maxi dress. Maybe go a little crazy and make it out of sheer fabric as a beach cover up. Either way, you are sure to end up with a new staple for your wardrobe. And to make sewing even easier we are now offering video tutorials of our patterns. As they are finished and edited we will be posting the video tutorials on our youtube channel. I am awful at following written direction so I hope these videos are helpful to people like me. I will post all the information and links as soon as they get going.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pattern Envelope

Just wanted to share pictures of the new Phoebe packaging. We have named the pattern company Wavoki patterns and will be rolling out some new summer patterns soon. Here is the front of the Phoebe packaging. The back is not as interesting but equally important. Distribution will begin soon to fabric stores in the Seattle area and of course all patterns will be available on-line.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slow Going

There are many steps that go into making a pattern. The beginning is the really fun part. Come up with a design. I usually sketch out designs in my notebook first but occasionally inspiration takes hold and I go for it. My favorite way to create a new pattern is to drape it. Draping is when you take a dress form and pin fabric to it until you get the shape you want. This can be a long (but fun) process, especially for intricate designs. I will post picture of this process later. For right now I want to talk about grading. Grading is making a pattern smaller or larger so it fits different size people. Every single pattern piece has to be graded. I have to do it by hand because I do not have a fancy machine/computer program like the big design houses do. Therefore, this is probably the most labor intensive part of my process.
These are not the best photos but they give you an idea of what is going on. In this shot you see the pattern piece for the front waistband of my Irene blouse pattern. The lines on it are the grading lines. That is where the piece will shrink or get bigger depending on which way I am grading it.
There are different ways to do this step but I like the "slash and spread" method or more accurately, "cut and tape back together" method.
This photo demonstrated the taping back together part. Each change is usually 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch but could be more or less depending on how different you want the sizes to be. I do two inches between my sizes.
Once the pieces have been taped back together you need to trace it out onto a fresh piece of paper. You can see the tacks I use to keep the pieces from moving around when tracing. After that you cut it out and you have a pattern piece that is one size smaller than or larger than the one you started with.
Here you can see the three steps. The tan piece is the original size and the solid white one is the new size, smaller in this case. And that is just one piece. Every piece for every size has to be done. And there are currently nine pieces in the Irene blouse pattern. And I grade my patterns for sized 6 to 20 (8 sizes in all). So you can see, it takes awhile just to grade the patterns. It really is a labor intense process but I do love it. And I hope you all love the patterns and the clothes you make from them.