Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cool apparel stuff around the web.

I love it when I find great articles about clothes, or sewing, or anything relating to the apparel industry. And hey, a few of these are kind of science-y, too, for all you folks who like that kind of thing :) Hope you find these as interesting as I do!

This article about bio-textiles is amazing; this woman is trying to figure out how to create fabric that's grown from tea solutions! And her creations are beautiful, in my opinion.

Adorable/inspiring article about an 8-year-old who wears a different historical costume every day. I wish I had been this cool as an 8-year-old!

My personal favorite; textiles that dissolve in water. Apparel design students at this university in London collaborated with engineering students to develop a water-soluble fabric, and they created a stunning wedding dress out of it. The cool part's that the dress can break down into 5 different looks, finally leaving a corset-like piece that will never dissolve. It's beautiful.

Hope everyone's having a great week! If you have any awesome apparel/sewing/clothes links I'd love to see them!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You Know You're a Design Student When.....

Whenever I talk to someone who doesn't know anything about my school's Apparel Design program, they sometimes get the impression that us design students don't really do anything; that we spend our time slacking off and drawing pretty pictures while the engineering/science students do the real work (aka complex math problems and the like). 

Not true at all. Okay, a little true: I do sometimes draw pretty pictures. But seriously, us Apparel Design majors (and most other artistic majors) have a unique set of problems that most math-y students will never have: we have to produce stuff. Like, real garments, on machines. That's a whole lot different than working out problems with pencil and paper.

You know you're an Apparel Design student when: 
  • You run out of pins on your sewing table, so you check the ground.
  • Your pain tolerance towards pin/needle stabs is so high, you can make yourself bleed without even noticing.
  • You have almost burnt down your dorm room by leaving your iron plugged in for hours at a time.
  • Your floor is so littered with muslin yarns that no vacuum could possibly clean it all.
  • Your textbooks have more illustrations than real text.
  • You have a specific pair of scissors for any given material (fabric, paper, threads, plastic) and if someone tries to cut the wrong thing with the wrong scissors, you will give them a lecture on the importance of scissor sharpness.
  • You spend more hours in the sewing lab than you'd care to admit, and when it closes, you go back to your room and keep sewing.
  • You've been in danger of burns, stabs, or sewn-over fingers at least 10 times over the course of any given project.
  • You have to bring approximately a hundred different sewing tools to class, and you need about three square feet of space to spread it all out in. Or else you just. Can't. Work.
  • Your professors are utterly eccentric, and several have thick foreign accents.
  • While everyone else is studying in the library, you're still slaving away at the sewing machine; you have no idea what traditional studying's like.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Fashionary Arrived!

I don't know if you've heard of Fashionary before, but if not, get yourself over to their site and check it out. Because I just got mine in the mail, and as a design student, I'm pretty sure it's the best thing I've ever spent money on (outside of my sewing machine, I mean!).

Some of the technical drawing reference pages. Handy dandy.

It's basically just a sketchbook, but instead of having perfectly blank pages, it has three croquis (women's figures) per page. They're ultra-faint, so you could just draw right over them if you wanted to- but if, like me, you're awful at drawing proportionate bodies, you have a guide to work from!

Experimenting with Sharpie. I'm gonna sew up the dress on the far left for a denim design competition next semester.

So naturally, since my Fashionary arrived, I've been wasting too much time drawing clothes. I'm justifying it to myself since I am currently working on my first-ever self designed project (!!!!!!) and I needed inspiration, but still. 

P.s..... One of these drawings will appear on the blog soon, in completed garment form :) I'm keeping the chosen design to myself right now, though. You know, gotta have that element of surprise. 

Even if design's not really your thing, this is still a fun sketchbook to have around. I'm seriously in love with mine- I can hardly wait to fill it up with all my dream clothes! Thanks for looking at all these sketches!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cynthia Rowley Ain't Got Nothin' on Me.

Our first major project in draping was to choose a designer garment, then recreate it. I chose this awesome asymmetrical dress from Cynthia Rowley's Spring/Summer 2013 line; isn't it cute? 

I think it's funny how often I'm talking about her on this blog; she's not my favorite designer by a long shot, but I love her pattern collaboration with Simplicity, and I love how easy and wearable her pieces are. That's what I normal go for in my designs as well, I suppose. 

Anyway, my flare didn't turn out in the exact same placement as the original (which I'll probably be counted off for). And this isn't the mannequin the dress is fitted to; my professional mannequin is smaller, which changes the fit. I'm still happy with this project, though. I'd really like to re-drape it in my size and sew it up in a fashion fabric, maybe with the flare cut from chiffon and the shift from cotton sateen. When will I have time to do this? Who knows!

But watch out, designers. I know how to replicate your works now. Draping is the absolute best. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Homecoming '12

Here it is! The homecoming dress on a real, live person! My stylish little sis :)

Everything turned out fitting well. I added a slit to the underskirt at the last second, and I'm glad I did; I wanted the dress to be as comfy as possible.

How cute is this kid?!
Oh, look at how great she is at accessorizing.

I was also going to the dance (I know I'm a college student, but what can I say, these high school kids love me!). I wore a dress I made three years ago; I actually wore it to homecoming then, too! I'm so glad this dress still fits; it makes me feel like maybe I haven't gained tooo much college weight. Also, the fabric I used for it is so lovely; if I could go back in time, I would buy twenty more yards of this stuff for future projects.

Both of us in me-made dresses.

My date made the goofiest faces.

I definitely had the sweetest date ever; no close-ups of my corsage, but it was so pretty! And he was good at making goofy faces, which makes all the photos even better. 
Fun fact: I don't know the man in the background. Seriously... I'm kind of creeped out!
There you have it. Becky loved her dress, so this whole project was a success! Plus the dance was really fun (we had a party bus.....). So that's everything for now; onto the next project. Thanks for looking at this pic-heavy post :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

I make Girl Scout Projects.

I love my major, you guys. Because a few days in textile lab, we got to weave on our own little personal looms. I know, I know, a ton of you did this when you were 8 and in Girl Scouts. But I didn't! And weaving is awesome!

(This is a twill weave, for anyone who's interested. Stronger than a basic weave; your jeans are made out of twill-woven denim.)
So after that class I promptly went back to my dorm and wove a couple of potholders, like the cool kid I am. I'm not ashamed to admit that I like my dinky little plastic loom.

Yep- that's about it. I'm a nerd for random apparel design stuff. What else is new?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Homecoming Dress.

As hard as I try, I just can't get away from high school dances. Last year I went to prom with my boyfriend (even though we were both in college... don't tell!), and this year I'm going to homecoming. Not only that, though, but I'm making a dress for my little sister to wear to the dance. She asked me if I'd make it for her about two weeks ago.

So let's just say it's been a crazy two weeks. I was really torn about wether or not to agree, since homecoming is next weekend. The rational part of me was saying "this is the last thing you need to add to your already-long list of responsibilities." But the side of me that really, really loves making formal dresses told me to go for it; plus, I could hardly disappoint my little sister.

Becky wanted a floor length dress, so I knew I needed to go with a simple pattern if I had any hope of getting it done on time. We chose Simplicity 2178, a Cynthia Rowley pattern, which I then made a ton of alterations to.

Unfortunately, this is the first Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity pattern I've used that hasn't worked out too well for me. I can almost never go wrong with Cynthia Rowley; I've sewn up 6 or 7 of her patterns and they've all turned out pretty great. Hey, I'm even wearing a sweatshirt I made from this pattern right now. But 2178 gave me a ton of problems; for some reason, several pieces just didn't fit together. The waistband was far too large for the bodice, even though I triple-checked that the correct sizes were cut out. And the facings also ended up being over an inch too large. I would normally attribute this to some mistake that I made during cutting, but just to double check, I pinned the actual pattern pieces together and they still didn't match. Hmmm. 

To solve the problem I just gathered the bodice into the waistband (which looks fine, it's just not what the instructions call for) and I tried my best to ease the top of the bodice into the facings. That's the part that doesn't look ideal, but I honestly didn't have a great alternative, especially with my time crunch.

The alterations I made to the pattern were to create my own braided straps, instead of using the pattern's way-too-thick ones; to draft my own skirt pieces (a shorter underskirt with a long chiffon overskirt, gathered a bunch); and to shorten the bodice a bit, making it slightly more empire-waisted. I also added decorative braided trim around the waistband, which took a ton of effort to create, but which really ties the dress together (at least in my eyes). 

Cutting the dress was my biggest challenge to overcome, since the main pieces are chiffon; but after that, construction was fairly simple. So far this semester I've been having to work on speeding up my sewing (if I wanna get my homework done on time, that is...), so knocking this dress out was a great exercise in fast-paced sewing. I sewed about 75% of this dress in one manic 6-hour stretch, fueled by copious amounts of iced coffee.

I'll post real pictures of my model in the dress after next weekend, but for now I'm really happy with how it's looking. I'm going to wear an old dress that I made to homecoming as well; maybe I can convince someone to do a sisters-in-handmade-formals photo shoot :) 

Thanks for reading this huge post! Have a great day, you guys :)