As a person who's worked professionally as a stitch pattern designer, I never really considered the method used to reproduce my stitches and create the end product. My job was to simply come up with interesting knit stitch patterns. As a crafter who knits primarily on a vintage "hand knitting" machine, when I created a garment, full fashioning has been my method of choice, increasing and decreasing through the hand manipulation of stitches.
But there is another way of working with knits that's used frequently. It's called cut and sew, a name which describes the method perfectly. "Cut" because the already knitted fabric is cut into pattern shapes, and "sew" because the shapes are then sewn together into a sweater or other garment, much the way woven fabric is worked to make a garment. (Beware the erroneous definitions of "cut and sew" floating around the web.)
|My sweater on the left is from the 80s, the one on the right from last year. Fully fashioned, both are impossible to distinguish from cut and sew without close examination. Any competent sewist could make them if the fabrics were available.|
When I returned to machine knitting at the beginning of 2011, after an extended hiatus, I considered cut and sew seriously. But I did not go there. Instead I fell in with a bunch of hand knitters, some who quivered at the thought of a steek. The machine knitting groups that I joined on Ravelry and Yahoo Groups were much more open to cutting and sewing. (Imagined dialog: Cut our knits? No problem. We can each consume a pound of yarn before lunch anyway. We knit with machines, why not sew with machines too?) Though I cut and sewed many a neckline, I did not venture further.
Then, while browsing in the fashion section of a local book store a few months ago, I came across Pattern Magic: Stretch Fabrics by Tomoko Nakamichi.
A quote from the book jacket:
Pattern Magic: Stretch Fabrics is the third title in the series of cult Japanese pattern-cutting books, now available in English. Step-by-step projects show you how to create stunning sculptural clothes, using a creative approach to pattern making.I bought it. I admit that many of the designs in this book are wilder than I would ever wear. Honestly, I may never even get around to re-creating any of the designs exactly (though I'm not ruling that out). I can only say that I was inspired. The approach and concepts in the book really got me thinking, got my creative juices flowing. And even though my fabrics are a different gauge than the ones in the book, I imagined using some of the techniques while working with my own fabrics.
|I probably won't be making "Pattern Mystery".|
|I love the method of drafting "Two Peas in a Pod A" and would totally wear my version.|
My plan? I'm taking my knits, cutting them up and sewing them back together in new ways. I may break some rules out of ignorance or... just because. Don't worry about the waste fabric, 'cause I've got a plan for that too. I'm crafting fashion.
Join me. :)
by Tomoko Nakamichi