I had an idea a few months ago, which sprang from some discussions I had with people I met while on the Tour, as well as a few thoughts that had been swimming around in my head for a year or more. Actually, I had several ideas, but this one looked like the most do-able within the time I can put aside for a side project.
I’d like to tell you all about it, but this idea has a core of do-ability, and an expanding aura of ‘well, if that works and I have time then maybe I can do this as well’. I’d love to share some of the fun with you along the way, but I’m keeping some details to myself because if I set a specific goal and don’t reach it… well, embarrassing public failure is not something I relish.
That’s why I’ve called it my Sekrit Projekt. At the very least, it’ll be a fun adventure I’m sharing with readers of my blog. If it amounts to something more, then that’ll be a bonus.
So, what can I tell you about it? Well, some time before I wrote the Black Magician Trilogy I did a pattern-making course. I used what I learned, and what I knew about some traditional clothing construction, to design the top part of the magician and novice robes. I made the novice version, which I got a friend to model for the cover illustration I did for The Novice.
The first step in the Sekrit Project was to design a pants pattern, make a pair to go with the novice robes, then make a set of magician robes. I started with the pants pattern, which I based on Japanese farmer pants. I did a test version with some bargain priced fabric which, while not glamorous or fashionable, turned out well enough to be comfortable around-the-house pants:
Then I finished the novice robes by making pants and a longer sash:
I wanted the robes to look like a cross between a martial arts uniform and something more ‘wizardly’. In my 20s I used to walk past a regalia shop on my way to work, and I wanted that sense of drama and richness in the robes. And they also needed to be comfortable and uni-sex. I figured, at the time, that if I didn’t like how they turned out at least they would be good pajamas.
Well, the novice robes would. Not the full-length magician robes. The formula is supposed to work for all heights and sizes, male or female, so I used a friend’s husband as my test subject. That way I got to try out the formula on someone tall and male. Unfortunately they’re much too big for me to model:
So you’ll have to wait to see a pic of someone wearing them. I was very happy with the way they looked, last time I subjected my friend’s husband to a fitting. They look exactly like I imagined. And my friends have given me some great suggestions, like how to tie the sash (thanks Kerri).
Will I make this pattern available? I’d like to. My main concern is that it is nothing like a modern commercial sewing pattern. It’s a formula. It’s not for beginner sewers. I don’t have time to tackle emails asking for help working it out. I’ll definitely seek out test sewers before putting it online. Then perhaps someone might set up a discussion group somewhere so people can help each other work out the pattern. For the moment, however, it’s just a few sheets of drawings and notes:
Turning them into something decipherable will have to wait. Stage Two has greater priority. But that’s for another post.