Design Challenge Two: Rebecca Ng

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The Pattern Maker – Here is the 10″ x 10″ final pattern and close-up versions!

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Coordinate colours: Coral, Deep Purple, Warm Blue

Whew! The last month has been a little hectic to say the least. I moved from my home in Melbourne back to the hectic city of Jakarta, Indonesia. Unpacked our things into our previous apartment, only to have to move out two weeks later! Needless to say, there have been quite a few adjustments in a short period of time.

Trying to feel at home away from home can be quite challenging, so when I sat down to think about what occupation I could create into a pattern, I immediately thought I wanted something familiar in amongst all this unfamiliarity in my life at the moment. I decided that it would be a ‘pattern maker’.

My mum was a pattern maker many years ago before she had us children, and although she is no longer in the industry (now a nurse), she fondly recalls her days at the technical college studying pattern making and then working in various roles as a wardrobe assistant on local TV police drama and for various stage productions. She remembers being picked up by the production trailer (when she worked on the TV show) in the early hours of the morning to be driven to the set location and the pressure of sewing costumes correctly for stage productions. I’ve also seen (and worn) many garments she’s made, including my aunt’s wedding dress. I wish I could show you some photos, however they’re all packed away in the cupboard back in Melbourne.

With a lack of decent internet since arriving here (even uploading this post up is turning into a mammoth task!), I took out my pencil and sketch pad and just starting drawing. So what kind of tool does a pattern maker use? I don’t think I could pick just one tool of the trade when it comes to pattern making, but many; paper, pencils, tape measure, scissors, fabric, sewing machine, needle and thread… just to name a few. I’m sure a lot of it is done on the computer these days, but I decided to I draw on the bits and pieces my mum has from her pattern making days (I just love the sound of her shearers to cut fabric) and also my own experience of making my own clothes.

When I decided I wanted to make some PJ’s and a couple of jumpers, I actually used my mum’s old class notes to help create my patterns. I found it to be quite a technical and time consuming process that required accurate measuring, cutting and sewing… however after many determined days I managed to have several pieces of clothing that I actually wore.
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Some initial sketches that got me started on the pattern.

I wanted a quirky, colourful and hand drawn design, so after sketching my motifs on paper, I re-drew them in Illustrator. I usually like to choose my colour palette next, but I couldn’t settle on the colours, so I focused on the repeat. I tried to incorporate some of the feedback I got last time by making the pattern non-directional and disguising the repeat a little better. Hopefully it’s an improvement from last time. Finally, after much tweaking, I started on the colours. I generally choose a limited colour palette, but felt the design needed more than just 4-5 colours. So, I choose a wider colour palette of colours I felt complimented each other well, as I didn’t want one motif to stand out too much more than another. I also felt that each motif didn’t need to be coloured in, and by leaving some motifs still looking like a ‘sketch’ fitted in well with pattern making.

I think working on this pattern has re-kindled my interest in making and sewing and encouraged me to start using my stash of fabric to good use! Of course I’ll have to wait patiently till I’m back in Melbourne later this year to get out the sewing machine.

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One comment on “Design Challenge Two: Rebecca Ng

  1. The Printed Bolt on said:

    I want that sweater!

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