Feb 24, 2014

The Zlata skirt - the pattern in making

Have you ever wondered how the pattern is made? How does the pattern designer decide to make a commercial pattern for a certain model? To be honest, I didn't bother much about that before I started selling my own patterns. I did make some patterns before that, off course, I even made some of them in PDF format and put them here on the blog for download. However, I did all of that without a plan, depending on my liking and the time I had.

Stepalica Patterns: The Zlata skirt - the pattern in making

When I drafted the Nougat dress pattern, I didn't have a clear image of how much time I would need to complete the pattern, nor of the amount of work it would require. I learnt a lot from my own mistakes about organization, planning, marketing, promotion, and some technical details like drawing the pattern and making it digital. Also, this gave me an insight of the work phases that were critical to me. This time, I tried to use all the experience to organize my time better and make an optimal working schedule.

How do I decide which pattern to draft?

An answer to this question can be rather complicated. I have a bunch of new ideas on my mind, I always look for an inspiration and think of the details I'd like to incorporate into a pattern. Sometimes I have a clear image of the final garment, but frequently I only have a draft concept without a vision of how the finished garment should look like.

Besides the design, there are a lot of other technical things I need to think of and plan in advance: the season the garment is for, the right timing for publishing the pattern, the time I need to draft the pattern, make test models, convert the pattern to PDF, write the instructions for it, make all the illustrations, sew all the variations, organize the photo shoot, correct all the potential issues... These are all the phases that take a lot of time, and which I need to include into the planning. And don't forget I still have a day job, and only a limited time to work on the pattern.

The Zlata skirt pattern was drafted last year. Initially I didn't plan to put the pattern on sale. However, my reader Mira from Belgrade, Serbia thought I was wrong. You see, Mira was the first to try out the pattern, as she won it in a giveaway I organized. I was stunned when she sent me pics of the finished skirt only few days after. Look at it, isn't is gorgeous?
What a coincidence, she even used the fabric I thought of buying at the time (actually, I used a fabric in the same print but different color scheme when I drafted the pattern).

She said the model was lovely, feminine and figure flattering and suggested making a commercial pattern for it. Well thank you Mira, you have persuaded me!

Stepalica Patterns: The Zlata skirt - testing the pattern

Stepalica Patterns: The Zlata skirt - testing the pattern  Stepalica Patterns: The Zlata skirt - testing the pattern

How is a pattern made?

Once I choose the model I'd make the pattern for, I need to convert it to a digital format, scale it, write the sewing instructions, draw the illustrations and prepare the pattern for print. Most of the job I do myself, but I hire help for some of the stages.

First I draft the paper pattern, mark and label all the pattern pieces and make sure all of them fit perfectly. Then I grade it, again - on a paper. I know some of the pattern designers perform this step on a computer, but I didn't dare to do that as I don't have a good sense of the actual measure when working on a computer. So, I opt to grade manually.

Then I scan the pattern, transfer it to the computer and redraw the shape using the Adobe Illustrator. Off course, there are great pattern drafting software on the market, but I can't afford any of those at the moment. Perhaps, some day...

After all the pieces are re-drawn, I make a pattern sheet that needs to be cut into smaller sheets appropriate for printing on a home printer, on either A4 or Letter paper format. This part of the work is rather simple, but quite boring and time consuming.

I use the contours of the pattern pieces when drawing illustrations for the sewing instructions. This part of the job I partially do myself, but for some of the more complicated illustrations I hire professional graphic designers from the Muffin Studio. They also design the front and back covers of the pattern and prepare the sewing instructions for the print. I like working with these guys - they are very young, creative and have a great imagination. They are also willing to exchange ideas with me, give me some great suggestions and they inspire me in general.

Along with this part of the job, I write the sewing instructions. I write them in English, and let Jelena do the proof reading. I think I have found the best person for the job - Jelena is an English teacher and a translator, but she is also a great seamstress. I wanted to hire someone who had an idea of what the pattern and the sewing instructions looked like, someone who would not only check my grammar and spelling, but also verify if the sewing instructions were meaningful and clear, and Jelena was that person.

Stepalica Patterns: The Zlata skirt - the pattern in making

And do you know which part of the process I find the hardest to do? Writing pattern description and drawing illustrations! I spend most of the time working on those, all the rest goes smoothly and rather quickly.

The pattern variations and sewing all the models

I usually design the pattern variations after the original version is made. I can envision the variations by looking at the initial model. I try to offer variations that are either quite different from the original, or that give additional styling options when it comes to fabrics, colors and prints.

This time, I sewed the pattern variations along with the pattern testers who tried it out. When sewing the variations I try to use various fabrics in order to demonstrate the final effect each of them provides. This time I used denim, linen and a wool blend, therefore the fabrics that are used for different seasons and occasions (business or casual).

The pattern testing

The Zlata skirt pattern was tested by 27 testers from around the world. Their help, suggestions and comments helped me correcting the pattern and sewing instructions. All the sizes were tested on various body figures by seamstresses who had different sewing skills - from the beginner to expert. This gave me an insight of whether the pattern was drafted and graded well, and if the instructions were clear and detailed enough. The testers helped me match the labels I used in the text with the ones I used on the pattern panels. They also helped me convert the measurements from metric to inches and yards. They also pointed out to some of the process descriptions that weren't clear enough or were missing from the instructions document. I am really pleased with their feedback and the help they provided.

Zlata skirt sewalong

Finally, I would like to announce I have scheduled the Zlata skirt sewalong for the beginning of March, starting on Monday, the 3rd. The picture below displays the calendar of the sewalong with the topics I'll cover, so save the dates!

How to buy the pattern

Haven't bought your copy of the Zlata skirt pattern? Buy it now!
Stepalica: Zlata skirt pattern
Zlata skirt pattern costs $11.98,and it can be bought via my Etsy shop
I use 2Checkout as a payment collector - it is an equivalent to PayPal - which accepts the following payment methods:

* PayPal via 2checkout (www.2co.com)
* Credit / Debit cards via 2checkout : Visa, Dina Card, Master Card, American Express, Discover

PayPal doesn't support selling option for my country yet, so I use 2Checkout payment collector instead.

When making a purchase order, select "Other" in the payment options. I have to manually issue an invoice for you, via 2Checkout system. The invoice contains a link where you can complete the purchase - it's a page on 2Checkout's website. Once you fill in your billing information, you can chose to pay either by using PayPal account or your credit card. You don't have to register to 2checkout and you won't be charged any additional fees. It's simple, fast and secure. Once the payment is completed, I will enable the pattern download on my Etsy store. I monitor the state of my Etsy store several times a day, and I get instant emails whenever any change is made, so the purchase is usually completed within the same day. Sometimes, due to my daily duties and a time zone differences, it takes more than a day to complete the purchase.

For any additional information about the pattern or the purchase, feel free to email me at: anajan.stepalica [at] gmail [dot] com

Related posts

The upcoming posts

  • Zlata skirt - testing the pattern, part 1
  • Zlata skirt - testing the pattern, part 2
  • Zlata skirt - testing the pattern, part 3

Zlata suknja - kroj u nastajanju

Da li ste se ikada zapitali kako nastaje kroj? Kako modelar odluči da baš za taj-i-taj model napravi kroj i pusti ga u prodaju? Iskreno, ja nisam mnogo lupala glavu oko toga dok nisam došla u poziciju da sama prodajem krojeve. Pravila sam krojeve i pre toga, naravno, neke sam čak i digitalizovala i ponudila ih za download ovde, na blogu. Međutim, to sam radila stihijski, bez plana, i zavisno od raspoloženja i vremena.

Stepalica Patterns: Zlata suknja - kroj u nastajanju

Kada sam modelovala kroj za Nugat haljinu, nisam imala potpunu predstavu o tome koliko vremena će mi trebati da kompletiram kroj, niti koliki je obim posla u pitanju. Usput sam naučila mnogo, i iz sopstvenih grešaka izvukla bitne lekcije o organizaciji, planiranju, marketingu, promociji, ali i o tehničim detaljima, poput crtanja i digitalizovanja kroja. Takođe, stekla sam uvid u to koje faze pravljenja kroja su za mene najkritičnije. Ovaj put, trudila sam se da svo iskustvo stečeno tada iskoristim na najbolji mogući način i bolje organizujem vreme i plan rada.

Za koji model ću napraviti kroj za prodaju?

Odgovor na ovo pitanje je nekad jako komplikovan. U glavi imam mnoštvo ideja, stalno tražim inspiraciju i smišljam detalje koje želim negde da ubacim. Nekad imam jasnu sliku o tome kakav komad odeće želim, ali često imam samo nabacane ideje, bez konkretnog obličja kako bi finalna garderoba trebalo da izgleda. 

Osim izgleda garderobe, moram da vodim računa i o mnogim drugim tehnikalijama: za koje godišnje doba je model, kada je najpovoljnije vreme da se kroj objavi, koliko vremena mi treba da izmodelujem kroj, napravim test modele, digitalizujem ga, ispišem instrukcije, napravim ilustracije, pustim kroj na testiranje, sašijem sve varijacije, uslikam ga, korigujem probleme....To su sve faze koje oduzimaju dosta vremena, a koje moram da uzmem u obzir. Pri tom, ne zaboravite da još uvek imam dnevni posao, te da imam samo ograničeno vreme za rad na kroju.

Zlata suknja je nastala još prošle godine, i prvobitno nisam imala plan da za ovu suknju napravim komercijalni kroj. Međutim, moja čitateljka Mira iz Beograda je smatrala da grešim. Naime, Mira je bila prva koja je isprobala suknju, kroj je osvojila u nagradnoj igri koju sam organizovala, i prilično me iznenadila kada mi je samo par dana kasnije poslala fotografije gotove suknje. Zar nije divna?
Kakva koincidencija, čak je koristila materijal koji sam i sama merkala u prodavnici s namerom da šijem baš ovu suknju (zapravo, isti materijal ali u drugim tonovima sam upotrebila kada sam modelovala kroj).

Napomenula mi je da je model odličan, ženstven i da divno stoji, i da treba da razmislim o tome da ga pustim u prodaju. Hvala Miro, ubedila si me! :)

Stepalica Patterns: Zlata suknja - testiranje kroja

Stepalica Patterns: Zlata suknja - testiranje kroja  Stepalica Patterns: Zlata suknja - testiranje kroja

Kako nastaje kroj?

Kada utvrdim za koji model ću da napravim kroj, sledi obiman proces digitalizacije, skaliranja kroja po veličinama, pisanje instrukcija, crtanje ilustracija, priprema kroja za štampu. Veći deo posla radim sama, ali za neke faze posla angažujem i pomoć.

Najpre kroj iscrtam na papiru, obeležim sve potrebne krojne delove i uverim se da se svi dobro uklapaju. Potom skaliram kroj po veličinama, opet na papiru. Videh da drugi modelari ovaj korak obavljaju na računaru, ali ja se nisam do sada usudila da na taj način radim, jer još uvek nemam dobar osećaj o dimenzijama kada radim kompjuterski. Zato, skaliram ručno. 

Potom kroj skeniram, prenosim na računar, i u Ilustratoru precrtavam konture. Dakle, radim pešaka. Inače, u tekstilnoj industriji je danas sve automatizovano, i postoje odlični programi za modelovanje i skaliranje krojeva po veličinama, ali su isti veoma skupi i meni za sada nedostupni. Možda, jednog dana, uspem da priušim sebi jedan ovakav alat.

Potom od krojnih delova pravim krojni list koji sečem na delove, pogodne za štampu na kućnim štampačima, na A4 ili Letter formatu papira. Ovaj deo posla je jednostavan, ali prlično monoton i spor.

Iscrtane krojne delove koristim i za ilustracije koje koristim u instrukcijama za šivenje. Deo ovog posla radim sama, a za komplikovanije crteže angažujem profesionalce iz grafičkog i web dizajn studia Muffin Studio. Takođe, oni osmišljavaju dizajn korica kroja, baner i pripremaju instrukcije za štampu. Volim da radim sa timom iz Muffin Studia - mladi su, veoma kreativni i maštoviti. Pri tom, voljni su da razmene ideje, daju odlične savete i predloge, i baš me inspirišu.

Paralelno sa ovim delom posla, pišem i instrukcije za šivenje. Pišem direktno na engleskom jeziku, ali mi Jelena radi lekturu svih tekstova. Mislim da sam našla najbolju moguću osobu za ovaj posao - Jelena je profesor engleskog i prevodilac, ali i fenomenalno šije. Bilo mi je bitno da osoba koja radi lekturu ima osećaj o tome kako kroj i instrukcije izgledaju, i da proveri ne samo gramatiku i pismenost teksta, nego i njegovu smislenost i razumljivost, a Jelena je upravo osoba koja sve to ume i može.

Stepalica Patterns: Zlata suknja - kroj u nastajanju

A znate li koji mi je najteži deo posla od svega opisanog? Pisanje opisa kroja, i crtanje ilustracija! Na to najviše utrošim vremena i najviše se oko toga mučim. Sve ostalo mi ide lako i nekako samo od sebe.

Varijacije kroja i šivenje svih modela

Varijacije kroja obično osmislim nakon što napravim originalnu verziju. Dovoljno mi je da vidim kako inicijalni model izgleda pa da zamislim sve moguće varijante koje mogu da dođu u obzir. Trudim se da ponudim varijante koje se ili vidno razlikuju od originala, ili daju još mogućnosti za stilizovanje, uklapanje materijala i dezena i slično.

Varijacije sam ovaj put šila paralelno sa testerima koji su isprobavali kroj. Kada šijem varijacije, pokušavam da iskoristim više različitih tipova tkanina, kako bih demonstrirala krajnji efekat koji svaka od njih ima. Ovaj put koristila sam teksas, lan i mešavinu vune, dakle materijale koji se mogu koristiti za različita godišnja doba, kao i za različite prilike (poslovne ili neobavezne).

Testiranje kroja

Zlata kroj za suknju je testiralo 27 testera iz svih krajeva sveta. Njihova pomoć, sugestije i komentari su mi mnogo pomogli da korigujem kroj i instrukcije za šivenje. Isprobane su sve veličine na različitim figurama tela, i učestvovali su ljudi sa različitim krojačkim iskustvom - od početnog do ekspertskog. To mi je dalo dobar uvid u to da li je kroj dobro izmodelovan i gradiran, kao i da li su instrukcije dovoljno detaljne i jasne svima. Testeri su mi pomogli oko usaglašavanja oznaka koje sam koristila u tekstu i na ilustracijama, oko konverzija mera iz santimetara u inče i metara u jarde. Takođe, ukazali su mi na par opisa u instrukcijama koji nisu bili dovoljno jasni, ili su prosto nedostajali. Zaista sam zadovoljna interakcijom i odgovorima koje sam dobila od svih koji su učestvovali.

Najava postova o šivenju Zlata suknje

I na kraju, želim da najavim serijal postova u kojima ću pisati detaljno o samom procesu šivenja Zlata suknje, a koje ću početi da objavljujem 3. Marta. Na slici ispod možete videti raspored postova i teme koje ću obrađivati, pa vam savetujem da zabeležite datume ili sačuvate kalendar kako biste bili u toku. 

Kupovina kroja

I naravno, ako već niste, kupite kroj za Zlata suknju!

Zlata kroj za suknju košta $11.98, ali kupci iz Srbije ovaj šnit mogu kupiti za upola manje novca, tj. za 500 RSD.

Kroj se može kupiti u dolarskoj valuti preko moje onlajn prodavnice na Etsy sajtu, ili uplatom novca u dinarskoj valuti na moj žiro račun.

Napominjem da dinarske cene ne važe ukoliko kupujete preko Etsy prodavnice.

Za sve dodatne informacije o kupovini, molim vas šaljite mi email na adresu: anajan.stepalica [at] gmail [dot] com.

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