I’ve been meaning to write a post about the 2020 TR Masters’ Challenge for quite a few weeks, and now the post is finally here! For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, this is a pattern making challenge Shingo Sato organizes for TR Masters each year, usually around August.
And to become a TR Master you need to first pass TR Masterclass, Shingo Sato’s signature online course. I wrote about the it here. But just to explain briefly, TR cutting is a creative pattern making technique that combines flat pattern making with draping in a unique way. You can create all kinds of cool sculptural shapes and origami designs with this technique and it has influenced my pattern making style quite a lot.
Anyways, I’ve participated in this challenge every year since 2016 and this is the third year I’m writing a blog post about it.
The contents of this challenge have varied during the years. There used to be over 20 designs, but lately the amount has been diminishing. In 2018 the challenge was divided into two parts, five designs in August and five in January. Last year we had just 5 tasks in August and this year it was 6 main tasks and a warm-up task.
2020 TR Masters’ Challenge
The challenge started with a Zoom-meeting around mid-August where Shingo Sato showed us the tasks we were going to be making.
This year, the theme was jackets based on the classic trompe l’oeil technique Shingo Sato teaches in his basic course. But obviously much more complex! You might’ve seen pictures of the outcomes on social media already. I’ve posted some pictures, too, in early September.
The previous years we got just pictures of the final design and then had to figure out the pattern ourselves. But this year, we even had a video, showing really quickly how the pattern was constructed. No explanations though. Despite having a video clip, there were a few tasks that were quite tricky to make! I needed to watch the video several times, and in many cases, I first made a test version, corrected some details, and then made the final version. It took hours.
In fact, the most trickiest part of the challenge turned out to be the schedule! We had only 3 days per task. Those who weren’t able to submit the pictures of the correct outcome in time, were out. I found it quite stressful, as I had other things going on at the same time, other deadlines. At some point I was even pondering on giving up, but in the end kept going. It paid out, as I finished the challenge. 🙂
But let’s see the tasks we had.
This was the task we needed to make in order to participate. And the only one we made only half a bodice of.
I prepared some pictures for you on how this piece was made. Obviously, this was the most easiest one!
The collar point is created with the help of the dart volume. You can either drape the front and back pieces directly on the dressform, or if you’re sneaky, you can start from the basic bodice block and rotate the waist and bust darts towards the neckline:
This way you already have most of the bodice shape ready. Leave some extra fabric around the front neckline, and also about 2-3cm overlap at the c-front if you want to make a button stand.
1. Sew the back dart, side seam and the shoulder seam, and place the bodice on the dressform. You’ll find the front dart volume at the neckline.
2. Drape the collar point shape using the dart volume. Cut off extra fabric.
3. Add a collar stand. It’s basically just a rectangular piece of paper. Tape it along the back neckline.
4. Cut a collar shape in paper, insert it inside the collar point you created earlier.
5. Tape the paper collar to the collar stand along the upper edge, and to the (fabric) collar point.
Now you can take the creation off the dressform.
Next, you need to dismantle it so that it becomes a flat shape: cut the shoulder seam and back dart open. Separate the collar stand along the back neckline and the upper edge of the collar.
Add a facing. You get the neckline shape from your original bodice pattern.
Mirror the collar so that you can fold it in half (along the dashed line). This “undercollar” is united to the front shoulder line. However, in order to create the collar point fold, you need to leave a hole: add a notch at the end of the shoulder line and another one to the point that reaches the opposite edge when folded.
Add notches where the collar point and the facing will be folded.
If you want to make the c-back in one piece, separate the front and back pieces also at the side seam.
Now you have the pattern, but how will it be sewn? Well, begin by folding the collar in the middle, where the dashed line was. You need 2 collar stand pieces: Sandwich the folded collar between the 2 collar stand pieces and stitch. Remember to leave out part of the “undercollar” as shown in the picture.
Stitch the collar point fold in place at the front neckline. Close the back dart and the shoulder seam. Now you should see the hole under the collar.
Finally, fold the facing on top of the neckline and stitch right sides together.
After the warm-up task, we started the actual challenge. This was the very first piece.
I had some trouble with my dressform having such wide shoulders and couldn’t drape all the folds in one go. I ended up adding the folds in separate pieces, taping them to the bodice. Here you can see the “pattern” on the dressform and what it looked like dismantled. This piece needed more seams in order to lay flat.
I think this was the second most difficult task! It might not look like it, but it was…
The collar has a pleat all around it, making it look like there are two layers. I made my life more difficult by choosing a silk fabric. After this I swore I’d use cotton muslin for the following tasks! 😀
Here’s the pattern. The collar is a separate piece. It creates the top layer of the collar. The second layer is formed with the bodice dart volume.
Here you can see my favorite piece: neck tie and collar integrated to a bodice. And yes, I made these in half-scale (I’m not a giant).
The neck tie integrated to a bodice is probably one of the most famous TR Cutting designs, so it was nice to see a new version of it. The collar is also integrated to the bodice although it seems like a separate piece due to shadows.
The neck tie was the easiest part of the pattern. It’s created using the dart volume, as you learn in the basic TR Masterclass. The collar then required some paper folding and taping.
After the previous task, this one was a walk in the park! The collar has an origami bamboo layer.
As you can see here, there’s a narrow facing around the collar shape, and a separate piece for the origami motif. The dart gets absorbed in the collar seam.
And here it is, the most difficult piece of them all! I struggled so much with this one and it took me something like 6 hours. First to figure out the pattern, and then how to put the pieces together.
It’s a jacket and a shirt all-in-one, with lapels and collar integrated. The shirt and jacket collar are integrated with each other and the jacket and shirt are also integrated. So basically a real mess!
The basic technique behind the jacket lapels was taught in the basic TR Masterclass, but that offered only the starting point. After the previous piece it was kind of possible to figure out the shirt collar construction. I started from the top layer and went from there.
Unfortunately I don’t have any more pattern pictures, as I was in such a hurry towards the end of the challenge.
The final task was quite easy. Or maybe the previous task was so difficult that Anything would’ve seemed easy in comparison! It’s also very pretty and my second most favorite piece.
As was the case with the other origami design, also this origami is located on a separate layer, surrounded by a narrow facing. Instead of origami bamboo, we now did origami vortex. It was quite difficult in half scale, as some of the folds ended up being rather tiny.
But this would certainly make a very cool jacket!
TR Masters’ challenge for everyone
I know I only showed you how to make the warm-up task, but that’s because all this actually exists as a course!
If you’ve been following Shingo Sato, you know that he’s been organizing various webinars and online workshops via Zoom this year. So the designs of this year’s TR Masters’ Challenge are actually part of an online course called Creative Moulage Experts. So you have a chance to learn how to make each of these designs taught by the Master himself!
I’m not sure how often this course is organized, but if you’re interested, keep an eye on the FB page and Instagram of TR Cutting School. That’s were the courses and workshops are announced.
I hope you found the designs inspiring! Check out the previous editions, too, if you haven’t already.