Friday, January 28, 2011

stumbling around principles of design here

Thank you for the thought-provoking comments on my previous post about body proportions.

Irene asked, "where does the rule of fifths fit into this?"  If you break down the four quadrants of the body into eight equal parts, each part is a head length. There are three heads lengths above the waist, and five head lengths below.  Uneven ratios like 2:3 and 3:5 are considered to be useful for clothing design.

AllisonC and JillofAllTrades pointed out that this only addresses vertical relationships - what about all the other variations?
This forces me to ask myself, why does any of this matter?  It matters because commercial patterns are drafted to standardized sizes.  The measurements for bust, waist, height, etc are listed right on the pattern.   But that just wasn't enough information for me.  I didn't solve my own fitting requirements until I realized that my height measurements vary from standard height measurements.   I imagine that most people don't vary as much, and therefore it's not an issue.  

Learning about proportions is helpful with fitting, and so much more.  SO.MUCH.MORE.

Design elements (line, shape, color and texture) are manipulated to create balance, proportion, scale, rhythm & emphasis.

I started out wanting my sleeves to fit and now I am drawn into learning about design.
Again why does any of this matter?

Beauty.  Beauty matters.  That's my interest - I like beautifulness.

There was also a suggestion that I might model some of these frumpy designs and prove (or disprove) these concepts.  You do not know how close I came to doing that for you!  We lost power in the house, due to a snowstorm.  The roads are in good shape, though, so I seriously considered a trip to the mall to try on clothes and shoot photos in the dressing rooms.  I just wanted to escape the whole mess.  But alas, I did the responsible thing and took care of business at home.
Sorry, no funny pictures for you.  Not this time, anyway.

Thanks for stopping by and reading & commenting about clothes and sewing and stuff.
If you have electricity, enjoy it :)


  1. I love your new header!! Thankfully, my power never went out. And, I did go shopping. At a Fabric Place with my Christmas gift card :) I have a lot of fusing to do a in a couple of weeks.

  2. I like the posts you have been putting up lately. I have been paying more attention to style and proportion lately as well. It was heartbreaking for me to put a lot of time into sewing something and have it look beautiful on my dress form and meh on me. Thanks for turning me on to Imogen's blog. I have learned quite a bit from her posts. And I'm starting to actually like the things I sew lately.

  3. It is helpful to try and separate things. Vertical proportions are one thing, then you can go on to volumes, texture, color, what have you. I agree that if you're going to be doing something, it's good to be able to inject some beauty into it. Some people just go on a rampage where they interline summer dresses :-) or such technical overkill. But it never hurts to think about general harmony.
    Personally, I've learned the most from 'the triumph of individual style' by Mathis and Connor. Expensive, but food for a lifetime's worth of thought.

  4. Thank-you for addressing this topic. Makes me stop and think. Doesn't matter how beautifully a garment is made, how skilled a seamstress you are, if the finished garment doesn't look "right" on the body it's intended for - it's all for naught.

  5. Ooh, the new header is in place! I love it! Will you be doing labels too?


Thanks for visiting my blog and Happy Sewing, xo

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.