Behind the Seams at Ratavosi | Post 1

Hello Beautiful People,

Welcome to Post one of my Behind the Seams at Ratavosi Series !

The weekend is coming to an end – but I am so glad that I have accomplished a lot more than last week.

For the past month or so I have been Patternmaking and making my toiles for each and every look/garment. I cannot explain how big a challenge this has been for me and I only wish that I could film/ have my own reality show so people can see how hard I work, and realise just how hard it is to do what I do ! My biggest Challenge until this day, since starting to work on my collection, has been the patternmaking. I’m not sure if it is because I have been exhausted or because I am lacking the tricky skill behind certain couture techniques, but trying to translate my illustrations to patterns and then to toiles has been a rather daunting task. I have never had such a problem with it, as I’ve never had such a tight and stressful deadline to work on. Sure, I have tight deadlines every day but to work full time an d also try to pump this out, It’s becoming very hard. The more you practice a skill the more you create complex garments. The more you create complex garments the better the skill has to be and I think that’s where I am lacking because this opportunity caught me off guard and a little unprepared. I guess the whole lesson in this is that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and that nothing is impossible, strive to do your best and it will be the best – regardless of what anyone thinks. I can already see my self growing as a designer as I take these challenges head on – the funny part is, once I find the solution ( and it’s usually after a long night or two of WTF am i doing ) I always have a giggle, I think “ oh you nearly had me stuck there – and I was.. but not anymore”

Once I get majority of the patterns done and run them past my machinist I think I will be a little more relaxed. she is a saint of a lady and is helping me meet my deadlines.

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I have also been busy searching for different kinds of lace fabrics and trims that I can use in my collection. I am going to introduce lace applique, which I will be hand sewing onto my garments. I am very excited for this rather intricate and time consuming task because I’ve found so many quality designs, from applique trims to lace fabrics. For me, quality is everything. Even in a basic piece, it’s still about the quality. These gorgeous lace appliques and fabrics may have cost me a fortune and may have come from different parts of the world, but each and every one of them is high in quality, just the way I like it.

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As I mentioned earlier, I’ve decided to run everything past my machinist, both toiles and patterns. This way, as exhausted as I am, I know that someone else with a fresh and knowledgeable mind is looking over them and ensuring I do it all correctly. My first appointment with her was two weeks ago I checked a solid 5 patterns with her, and hopefully she will have them sewn and ready for me by the end of next week. I know I have a lot to do but as long as I keep organised and on top of everything I know I will be okay.

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Here I am, very seriously into my work, checking the quality of my lace and patternmaking for the weekend to come.

I have already shared this picture on instagram – follow me @ratavosi. I’m experimenting with a lot of different things here, just quickly pinning my lace onto the mannequin to visualise where to have it on the body and what it will look like. When I was completing the patterns for this dress and also trying to work out where everything should go and how it should sit, I found a very easy way to make myself visually understand. My tips for patternmaking are below, I hope they help you too !

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Patternmaking Tips:

1 –Mark it out on the Manni :

This step can happen either before or after illustration phase.

Your illustration can be a scribble or if you’re the more artistic type, it can be a very well sketched, well painted Drawing. If you are doing Step 1 after illustration phase, it can help to develop the garment as well as ensuring it will work. By this I mean that sometimes when we design garments we often forget about the practical and functional things like How you’ll actually get in and out of the garment haha !

If you do this step before having an illustration it is usually because you prefer to work off the mannequin and you are trying to create a look that is already in your mind and develop it that way before drawing your final sketch.

What I like to do is use 3mm wide ribbon or tape to mark out my design. In this case I have used 5 mm wide beige chord, which is what I had lying around the house. My mannequin is already marked with 3 mm wide ribbon so I have to use something a little different to avoid any confusion.

2 – Sketch it out step by step.

Once the design lines are marked out – the armhole, neckline for example or any other panel lines, I then usually sketch what I marked out and continue to do so as I work off the mannequin.

This way you can just erase or redraw quick sketches.

3- How to work your applique

After the design lines come everything that is supposed to sit within them. I figured the easiest way to visualise where my applique will sit, was to play around and pin the lace on my mannequin. As I already created the basic block in Tip 1, I already have a rough idea of how low the neckline will be etc and where the lace should go.

4-Find substitutes to fill the gaps.

Because I use very fine fabrics I usually buy cheap versions of them to drape on my mannequin. This is so you don’t end up ruining that very expensive fabric but at the same time can also get a feel of what it would look like if it was the real thing. You can then also use the same imitation fabric to make your toile, it will be the closest thing to the true garment in terms of drape and fit, rather than using Calico.

I’ll have more for you next week, where I’ll share my Sew room Essentials as well as my new fabric discovery.

Take care and I hope by next week I have some more good news in regards to my looks being completed.

xxxx Much Love,

Yours Truly

Rhaya

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