If you have been following me for a while, you probably know Shingo Sato and his TR Cutting School, right? If not, I’ve written several blog posts on this subject, so you can check out this tag if you’re interested.
But in a nutshell, Shingo Sato organizes online Masterclasses to teach his patternmaking technique called TR Cutting and those who complete it can participate every summer to TR Masters’ Challenge.
During the challenge you have to complete patternmaking tasks. This is a good way to refresh your skills. Naturally you need to figure out the pattern by yourself without instructions. There are only pictures of the outcome as a reference.
The number of tasks used to be twenty-something, but now it’s dropped down to 5. With less time to complete them, too.
TR Masters’ Challenge 2019 took place in August. A total of 22 people from around the world managed to complete all the tasks and I was among them.
So now I thought I’d introduce the tasks and show you the one technique that is going to help you figure out all of them.
Origami seamed bamboo
That’s the official name of the technique that allows you to create a bamboo bodice with curved lines. And with the same idea you can also do the origami vortex.
The difference between this and the traditional origami bamboo is that instead of folds there are seams. But you still manage to keep the pattern in one piece. Of course, at this point you could also separate the different pieces completely, but in the case of the TR Masters’ Challenge, the pattern had to be kept in one piece.
Earlier I posted a picture of a bamboo bodice back on Instagram and that is going to serve as an example here.
1. Copy the basic bodice back piece. And draft the first two curved bamboo lines as in the illustration. They finish at the dart points.
2. Slash the first one open and close the dart. (Remember to leave a tack where the following line starts before slashing.)
3. Add a small seam allowance, like 0,7cm / 0,28in. Draft the third bamboo line before slashing the second one so that you get the tack.
4. Slash the second bamboo line and close the dart.
5. Add seam allowance. Draft the rest of the bamboo lines now that both darts are closed. Add some extra tacks because you’ll need them when sewing curved lines.
6. Slash the third line being careful not to completely separate the pattern piece. Open as much as you want – I’d say at least 6cm / 2,4in – and add seam allowance.
7. Slash the fourth line and add seam allowance. Etc.. until you finish the whole bodice.
Here’s the final pattern.
To sew the bodice, work backwards starting from the last bamboo line you slashed open. I added a bias strip between each seamline to highlight it. You can also topstitch. The more curved the lines are, the more difficult it will be to sew them. You’ll find the tacks useful.
TR Masters’ Challenge 2019
So now that you know the basic technique, let’s have a look at the tasks.
The origami bamboo -tasks
The Challenge started with a basic bodice and in the second task there was a sleeve, too. Both of them were all about the origami seamed bamboo. Here are some pictures.
For the pattern you first make a normal bodice, either in fabric or paper. I had to go with fabric, because I was working in half scale and the paper wouldn’t shape nicely around the small dressform. You can even see tape on it, as I wanted a really fitted bodice.
And then you draw the bamboo-lines on top of it.
There was a rule that you had to include at least 30 lines. I had some trouble finding space, but with a bit of trial and error I managed to fit all 30 lines on the tiny bodice.
The lines pass through the dart-points and seamlines absorbing them into the new bamboo lines.
Once cut, the pattern looked like this:
After having sewed the bodice, there was some topstitching to do. I used a contrasting color.
With the sleeve it was a bit more difficult to find a way to flatten the pattern without any parts overlapping. Not everything ended up being completely flat so you had to shape the fabric with iron and steam after cutting. Mainly around the area where the sleeve was originally attached.
Here it dawned on me that maybe it was a good idea to add some tacks!
All the patterns had this beautiful wing-shape. You can see the sleeve here at the top.
How about task number 3? Does this seem familiar?
Yes, it was the same pattern as with the previous task. But this time there was an extra layer of fabric on top, to create that draped effect.
Some people chose to simply use the same pattern for both layers, cutting the top layer larger. While others, me included, chose to separate each section and cut a piece of fabric on bias to be attached on top. This created a nicer drape because of the bias.
The task took a rather long time to finish as you first had to attach the two layers together and then sew all the various pieces together being careful not to mix the order…
The origami vortex -tasks
The last two tasks were about the origami vortex. With the normal origami vortex you would draw straight lines, but in this case all the lines were curved.
The fourth task was the easier one based on a simple pencil skirt. To be absorbed were the darts and the side seam. This time I managed to use paper on the dressform.
The pattern ended up being pretty long. I can only imagine working in full scale; that pattern would’ve been several meters!
All was well until I got to the sewing part. Then I was no longer glad having chosen the half scale.. Now I only had small curves to sew! That was quite a battle but I did finish. Not too happy about the result, because the skirt refused to lay flat and the seams were pulling at various parts.
But on the other hand it created a tessellated effect which was quite cool.
So I decided to be more careful with the final task, which was based on a jacket with trombe l’oeil lapel and collar. That is something you learn to make at the basic TR Masterclass.
As usual, I first put together the jacket and drew the vortex lines on top of it, passing through the dart points and seamlines.
Then I cut the pattern, adding seam allowance while proceeding, one cut at a time. This was the pattern I got.
I thought this time I did a better job than with the skirt, although I wasn’t 100% happy. But at least there was some improvement. And most importantly, finishing this task meant completing the TR Masters’ Challenge 2019!