Aitor Throup, 2007.
Designer Aitor Throup has a sense of presentation for his garments which seems to mimic the way that a pattern makers mind visualises patterns. His work, which uses a series of complex panels to create forms, is often presented alongside the panels that make up the same garment.
So at times a garment will be surrounded by flying panel pieces (as above) or otherwise we will see glimpses of his drape and pattern making process, as the panels are also shown flat (as below).
Aitor Throup, Ganesh Altravat, 2007.
When the pieces are presented in this way, you can almost see the garments splintering out into panels, and then sucking back together like a jigsaw puzzle. This process of picturing panels as both a 2D and a 3D form is invaluable for pattern making as it will help you to picture what a pattern piece should look like, before it is cut and tested in fabric. Through looking at the work of other designers and picturing different garment panels as they would be in their cardboard pattern form, you will begin to get a better idea of whether or not a pattern piece looks correct when you are doing them yourself.
For example, we can look at these complex trouser panel shapes below, and try to picture what the darts and tucks will look like without stitching. The best way to get a clue of how the fabric is curving around the body, is by watching where the grainlines curve. Finding the cross section of the straight grain and cross grain will give you your bearings to help unfold the rest of your garment. It’s a bit like draping in reverse… using only your mind.
Even if you are not a pattern maker yourself, understanding these more complex manipulations of the fabric will give you a better understanding of how garments are made to fit perfectly. Sometimes we can be tricked into thinking that a garment needs only to be taken in or out, lengthened or shortened, when actually a panel may need to be slightly curved or tilted, and the alteration could only be done to the pattern, not to the finished garment.
Trousers from Aitor Throup, Prelude Collection, 2010.
Trouser patterns can often be neglected when it comes to complex pattern making in menswear. While designers are more likely to experiment with daring cuts and colours on tops and outerwear, trousers and jeans can provide the more classic element which helps to ground the look and keep the outfit from becoming too over the top. This is part of what makes the above trousers from Aitor Throup, such interesting experiments.