Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sample and Illustrations

Yesterday, Marianne left a comment with some valid points about illustrations for instructions for making samples. "I find that these days a great addition to the books or boxes of samples is a photographic recording of all the steps."

I think she is right. with digital cameras nowadays, it is easy to take step by step photos which you can look back on. Perhaps just the completed sample and the instructions can still be a bit lacking if you come back to it some years on.

I use photographs of steps for constructing the garments I design. It means more to me than to try to write the correct words which someone else might hopefully understand.
Below is a photo I did when doing the construction sequence for the blouse I did in C+G Part 1. As I made the toile...a sample garment where you work out the problems before making it in the final fabric...I took photos. This photo shows how to do what is sometimes called reverse tucks. The tucks are made (I also have photos of how I worked out how to do those.) and then you sew back along the centre, making sure to turn the centre of the tuck back on itself. On a larger piece, you can let it happen naturally, but on a narrow piece like I was doing, I wanted it to be more uniform, so pulled each tuck back so the foot could then hold it in place until the stitches catch it down.
Another point Marianne made is that "With time a lot of samples deteriorate considerably (I started C&G 17 years ago) especially if dyes are involved ..."
It is good to consider this. Often, when you develop the ideas for design, you are using experimental techniques which may not have been proven to be lasting. And as Marianne points out, if you make a photographic record of the samples - and especially step by step, you can still see what it was you did.
Some of the ladies whose blogs I read will post photos of samples of techniques they try...particularly those who did embroidery. Celia, whose blog is called Cheshire Cheese. Often posts photos of inspirations which she then samples. I enjoy seeing some of the samples she made when she did C+G embroidery. Lynda Monk, whose blog is Purple Missus also does samples as she works through books. She co-authored the book Stitching the Textured Surface with Carol McFee.

I think I will use this idea of using photographic evidence for recording to help my students. As tutors, we have to do this type of thing in order for the college and any Ofsted inspectors to see as evidence that the students are achieving. You can't always hold onto the student's work and produce it when they want to look. It is called RARPA (the education world's love of acronyms!) which means Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement. I think it would be a good idea to pass the photographic evidence back to the student, so they can benefit from it as well.

Any other thoughts about the topic?


Celia said...

Amazed to see my name on your blog - thnak you! I will try to live up to your words!

Seriously - I think recording the steps you go through, whether they work or not, is good practice. And if you put them on your blog you don't lose them when your computer eats all your pictures ...

Sandy said...

Good point Celia! I don't know what I would do if my computer ate my photos!

Thanks for the comment.