Blynken is nearly 12 years old and she has a special interest in sewing and making her own clothing.
Long past the time when other girls have lost interest in playing "dress up" because they are too "grown up", Blynken relishes the chance to put on a fancy cape and direct her younger cousins in this week's fashion parade.
For several years now any spare scrap of fabric she could find has gone to make patchwork clothing: dresses, skirts, handbags, and shawls hand stitched together by none other than she. Blynken also insisted on wearing her creations around the house, but we drew the line for Mass.
Well all that is changed. She got several yards of fabric for Christmas and has been taking lessons with the sewing machine with Grandma Nod and with our neighbor who is a seamstress. They tell me she has some talent because she is deliberate and takes her time when making her stitches. Mrs. H tells me that Blynken "gets it" when the techniques are explained to her and she is able to say why the technique is used.
She has already made one dress that she was able to wear to Church and is working on another pleated skirt. The best part is that she naturally chooses modest designs, so there is nothing fight about. We looked up some designs online and her first question was, "Why are those dresses so short?" Nevertheless, Blynken is determined to design her own clothes.
Now I'm a guy, so I know very little about sewing and even less about fashion. Things like A-lines, hemming, basting, gathering, double seaming and back-stitching mean nothing to me. But if my daughter wants to design her own modest clothing, then -- by gum! -- I'm going to help her do it. As a computer guy my first thought was: there's gotta be an app for that.
Turns out there is. I found this software called Marvelous Designer which is like AutoCAD meets Fashion Design. As a geek, I found this really impressive. Check out this video.
See the way the cloth drapes naturally using real physics and gravity? See how easy it is to adjust the hemline up or down, take in the sides, or add a ruffle? Looks like those 3D modeling engines are good for more than just Quake, World of Warcraft, or Skyrim. She could be designing and sewing her own prom dress in a few years' time.
Now we could get this software for only a few $$$ (cough cough - you've got to be kidding me). Ah, never mind, we used paper and a few colored pencils instead.