Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pattern Prototype Weekend with Gwen Spencer

Gwen Spencer drove down from Corvallis for a studio weekend.  Gwen works with me in making the sample prototypes for the garments that go on the Vogue pattern envelope.
To prepare for our immersion weekend, we each have sewn our own renditions of this pattern so it is fun to compare notes.  The pattern maker sends the pattern in 'our' size (14/16) and grades it to the size 10 that goes to Vogue.  We spent the weekend making the size 10 samples.
Hint:  can't show you the design, but it is a dress and cardi...my Vogue dress patterns are selling so well that Vogue wants more.
This pattern is set for release in Spring '15.

Gwen at the cutting table in the studio.

We head out to the ArtBarn and audition fabrics.  
We auditioned this grouping of mixed pattern silks silks to use together.
Pattern combining is a trend I saw all over Paris, and we ended up using another grouping of prints, but this trio works so well together.
Top to bottom:  Adelaide Silk, Flower Show Silk, and Darwin's Garden Silk 
We make samples. This is one of the truly fantastic habits I've picked up from Gwen.  She makes small samples with the scraps to test out techniques, proportions and design.
It works!
We discuss the order of construction, finishes etc.
I write as we sew, then read the instructions aloud to Gwen for her feedback and to listen to see if things make sense.
We take breaks for great meals....we both love to cook.
At the end of the weekend we had 2 nearly complete dresses and cardis.
I'm saving the hand sewing because Diane Ericson is coming out today for a visit and we've got plans to play in the studio and sit on the deck with hand sewing.  
Diane is a hand sewing fanatic!

Gwen's stash of fabrics from the ArtBarn for her upcoming summer sewing....she said, 'I want all new clothes!"

Inspired by Diane Ericson, who is an advocate of making 'elements' to use in garments, Gwen is knitting an element with some Habu yarn that might be a collar or part of a collar or....
And it is a perfect match with this knit.

With this big project nearly done, I'm heading into the studio to sew some hot weather clothes for myself just for fun.  Stay tuned......

Happy Summer!


  1. "my Vogue dress patterns are selling so well that Vogue wants more."

    THERE IS A GOD!!!!!!!!!

    real;ly that's all i have to say :) also, Gwen's 'element' looks intriguing and i want to steal Diane's palette - those textures and soft, mysterious colors are so feminine without being at all saccharine or weak. Yum! Have fun hand sewing - i'm hand sewing on a dress of your design right now and it's great! steph

  2. I've always been curious about the process of bringing a pattern to market. This post gives a glimpse into a couple of aspects of it, so thanks!
    So cool you have Gwen and Diane to sew with. Spending time sewing with like minded women would be wonderful!

  3. Have fun ladies! And do we ever need more hot-weather clothes! Thanks for the great patterns Marcy - keep them coming.

  4. Sounds like fun. Gwen's Fabrics are in my colors or lack there of and I love them. I like the knit 'element' as well.
    Congratulations on your success at Vogue!

  5. Oh...you and Gwen...killer combo! I'm panting for some new Marcy and Katherine patterns! When will the next ones be out?

  6. A new dress pattern, and a cardi...wonderful news. Thanks for the peek into your studio and your work.

  7. Please show your fun clothes as you get going. It's so motivational seeing what you're designing. It gets everyone's creativity flowing. It's so wonderful how sewing is having such a revival. I know many that have been quilters that are now doing fashion sewing. I'll be glad to see quality back in wardrobes.

  8. I can only imagine the creative energy zipping around in your studio. What fun.