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The Anatomy of a Flat pattern to 3D

Saori fabric topCreating beautiful clothing patterns are a significant feature of the Saori inspired weaving movement. Handwoven cloth for clothes and accessories is where the Japanese developers have created outstanding  new ideas amongst ‘ordinary’ people. Although the best of the Saori designers, such as Masako, use the body directly to develop the pattern, being the best starting point, my dressmaking and patternmaking accreditation was fixed in the use and adaptation of the flat pattern. This was mainly because I was trained to appeal to industry where economical pattern lays were a priority for any design.  So naturally my love of lines and design on flat paper conjures the 3D outcome in my mind.  To my surprise many younger Saori sewers and weavers tell me they feel more comfortable designing directly on the body which I always think is a higher and more intuitive skill.

So I look at all of the Saori design clothing books with the approach of an industry mind!  Exploring the patterns … from Shitate no Hon, I gleaned the ingenuity of the designer for these types of patterns.  Normally in patternmaking you always have to concern yourself with how to put the garment on. We don’t want to be locked out. In Saori garments we avoid the need for closures in our patterns by using ‘tricks’. For example, a garment with long sleeves  will generally need an opening at the front or back to gain access, but then it becomes a coat or cardigan.  How do we design a top with no front or back openings but no closures?

A garment in the Shitate no Hon book has a great, yet simple, idea to overcome this.  Separate the sleeves from the base garment. We tend to think of a garment as a united single construction but what if it was multiples. Other patterns in the Saori books use this approach but I really love the flexibility of separating the sleeves as a secondary garment piece. It is an elegant solution for construction but also a practical wearing style.

Top construction

You can see the first piece of the pattern in its rudimentary form here. It is essentially a vest with a high neck cut directly on the pattern. This garment is good to go by itself…but bring along the sleeves to layer up!

The second piece of the garment forms the sleeves and top bodice. The generous slit neckline slips over the high neck of the base garment creating the illusion of a united single top.

Design and function really work together in this great garment. It is design 12 in Shitate no Hon, page 37.

Sleeve pattern



2 Comments Post a comment
  1. LOVE this Kaz – might be just the thing for my Black saori cloth. Looks great on you that Green!!!! (Not purple??? :))

    August 17, 2015
  2. Barb Johnson #

    Wow! So clever and looks great!

    August 23, 2015

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