My Day At F.I.T.

On this particular Saturday I woke up early in order to get my stuff together. I missed last

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my classroom

week, so I was super nervous that I would be behind. I triple checked my bags and made sure to bring my camera. My dad drove me so I had enough time to settle in before my first class started. I had missed the week when we worked on the apron but I was ahead so I only had the embellishments to do. My teacher is very good with giving each of us personal attention, considering how huge the class is, so she took the time to explain to me what to do. After I had finished my apron I thought it looked pretty good. I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, though, because I wanted to move onto the shorts. I had gotten a really

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my cray-cray shorts

cute fabric for the shorts and I couldn’t wait to give myself a headache cutting out the pattern. The pattern she gave us to copy was really interesting. I’ve made pants before, but I made my own pattern, so seeing a proper pants pattern was slightly confusing. It looked very similar to the pattern I made, just slightly more polished, and the pocket was a new idea for me. After cutting what I was starting to think was the worst fabric ever, I got to sewing. By then my

eyes had calmed down and I liked my fabric again. I started by sewing the strange pockets to the front pieces. I made sure to take this part slowly because I wanted to remember it for future use. After I ironed everything down I started  assembling the shorts. Pretty quickly they started looking less like blobs of fabric and more like shorts. By the time class had finished I was ninety percent done. All I have left is hemming and adding the elastic waist. I had my hour long lunch break which I used to go shopping at H&M, which is super close. Then it was time for my second class. In my draping class I had to be graded on my pencil skirt, so I got there early to get a head start.

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my draping classroom

After pinning my pencil skirt to my dress form, my teacher graded it and it was time to start class. Because I was slightly behind, the teacher had me watch the demonstration and then she came over to help me with what we had to do. We were making the flared skirt, so I had fun dropping the hipline to create the flow. She showed me how to collect just enough fabric to make an even flair. After I had marked everything I took it off the dress form and trued it all. I always have trouble with truing because I never seem to find the angle that hits the most dots. My teacher is always willing to help though, so I never mess it up too badly. It took me the entire class to do the front and back and waistline. My teacher explained that a flared skirt should hang for at least two days so the

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my flared skirt half done

threads can even out; otherwise your skirt will go all lopsided. Our skirts are going to have a week to hang in the closet, so I think we’re good. Overall I think it was a success. I’m no longer behind and my sewing class teacher let me bring home my apron before she grades it. I plan on making it very pretty and finishing up anything I did wrong in my haste to move onto the shorts. Next week I’ll be graded on two things, and finish two things. I’m really just looking forward to starting the bodice in draping class.

Sissi

 

 

Fashion Changes You

I’ve noticed something. Whenever I’m at FIT I change slightly. Not drastic things, but I can tell it’s there. I’m more outgoing, I know what I want to do, and I feel at home. Like most people, FIT feels like home to me. Maybe it’s the people and how weird they all are. While at FIT you can wear whatever you want and it’s fine. There’s no pressure to dress like everyone else. I can wear what I feel comfortable in, and it doesn’t matter that I’m not wearing heels. However, it

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a photo of a dress i designed and sewed before FIT.

might be the actual surroundings. I love the city. I go there all the time and practically know some parts of it better then my neighborhood. The fact that FIT is in a familiar surrounding makes me feel more comfortable. Maybe it’s all of these things that contribute to me changing. When I’m at home, I’m comfortable with my work but I don’t like talking about it until it is perfectly done. At FIT you’re encouraged to talk about your projects during class. At my draping class we spend the entire time just talking about what we do, and sharing pictures of our half finished projects. I like this; it’s nice to get input on what I’m doing from people who share my interests and know what they are talking about. FIT has drastically changed the way I do my work. Obviously, as I learn more I change my methods to be more efficient but it’s not just what I learn from FIT that I’m changing. I took the fashion cycle last spring. It was only four weekends, and a middle school class, but that class completely changed the way I design. For one thing, the teacher helped me discover my design aesthetic. Before that class I was trying to design things that my friend might wear, because I was sewing things for both of us. My class

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An old shirt, skirt combo i was working on last month, after my first FIT class.

showed me, however, that I don’t design like that, and when I design how I want to, I like what I make more. Because of this I started to fully explore more complicated forms of sewing. Before FIT I knew how to sew, and I knew what designing was but I hadn’t immersed myself into it yet. Now everything I am is my art. I’ll spend hours of my free time just thinking about stories and feelings I want to portray. Or I’ll spend hours thinking about tiny things that I would love to do one day. When I’m on the train I drape, and when I’m eating I sew. FIT changed how I approach designing. I used to just find some inspirational images, and start drawing. Now I take my time to choose a story, color scheme, and theme. I make my mood board with more images and I envision how I want the entire line to look when it’s done.

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my old teachers favorite piece from me. i designed five outfits.

I choose the fabrics I want to sew and I take my time to think about how they will work. Then I start sketching. FIT has changed how I talk about my work. I used to keep my designing and artistic side under wraps but now I have no problems talking about my work. FIT showed me that it’s OK to be passionate about fashion. I could literally talk for hours about what I do and what I want to be, as well as different fabrics, textures, and colors. Now I feel free to talk about my work whenever people ask. In my sewing class i am learning new methods and ways to do things I already know how to. I used to just sew, FIT is showing me how to make a clean, finished garment that I will feel comfortable showing off and wearing. Before FIT I was interest in fashion, Now it’s the only thing I dream of doing. FIT has changed the way I view the fashion industry, myself, and fashion as a whole. What new things has FIT shown you about fashion?
Sissi

How Inspiration Works

I have always felt that Inspiration is the key to any good design. Obviously, you need good design and practicality and colors and fabrics, but without a good source of inspiration a design couldn’t tell a story. Design can come from any source: Nature, architecture, other people’s designs, photographs, or memories. Big things can inspire one to do big things.

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A seemingly normal stairway that can inspire you for shapes and color blocking.

Little things can inspire one to do little things. But then little and big get mixed and suddenly you don’t really know where this idea came from, but you like it and know how to achieve it. That’s what Inspiration is.

My particular method of collecting Inspiration is extensive. I start with written stories.

Obviously I want to tell my own story but reading a little fairy tale can give me an idea for a particular aesthetic. After I decide what I want to portray, I go on extensive searches using various corners of the internet. I love using the primary colors in a photograph to inspire me for the fabrics I’ll be using. If I find a picture that has gold lighting I will want to use a warm, shiny fabric.

Once I have chosen my color scheme and found picture of fabrics I would like to use, I start collecting silhouettes and details. I will use magazines, old runway shows, new runway shows, and Tumblr to collect a wide variety of silhouettes and detail. Then, once I have a basic sketch based off my collection of images, I will make a yard count. Then I’ll finally get to go fabric shopping.

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A skirt-shirt combination I’m currently draping

Once I come home, I will start to look for more detailed images of higher fashion and then I’ll start draping. I like to buy the fabric before I finish the sketch, that way I have more freedom to experiment with the fabrics I bought. Because I don’t exactly have a high budget – I buy what I can get, and because of this sometimes a sketch will look nothing like itself on the dress form. Then I’ll sew and finish it.

The one thing that stays the same throughout all these steps is the aesthetic.

My aesthetic could be described as fairytale Avant Garde. I love weird silhouettes and shapes, with a more soft and romantic feel. My Inspiration usually comes from a mixture of the greats, like Alexander McQueen, and old styles from the 90s and the 50s. I love the silhouettes and textures from these two decades. So whenever I’m searching for some basic Inspiration, not just for a specific line or design, I’ll go through old designs from then.

My favorite part about Inspiration is that it doesn’t need to make sense. A random collection of completely unrelated photographs from the seventies can be the key to a fashion designer’s career. As artists, it’s our job to use Inspiration, not just let it use us. It’s so easy to get caught in a wave of perfect pictures, even if those perfect pictures have nothing to do with what you want to make. Inspiration is literally an artist’s best friend. Because no matter how talented you are in your field, Inspiration shows you what you want to do. What’s your favorite stage when you create something?

Sissi

Beginnings At FIT

Beginnings are always exciting. At FIT, beginnings are creative as well. The opportunity to learn with real professors and talk with talented students that are as old as you are is simply brilliant.

FIT is a place where you can get inspiration from literally everything. It’s a nice way to explore your interests and get more involved with your chosen profession. Because of this I chose to wear my new spiky boots. I live very close to FIT, only about 45 minutes away by car, so we accidentally arrived an hour early. Even so, I was far from the first student there.

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three of the four things we will be making.

The classroom was filled with industrial sewing machines and irons. Pretty soon the professor started the class. We talked about ourselves, and she talked about safety rules. Most of the students already went to an artistic high school and those who went to normal school took art classes. It was interesting hearing them talk about their personal reasons for learning how to sew and how it worked with their specified interests.The professor showed us how to work the machines and told us to sew some

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the view from my first class

straight lines on a piece of paper. We didn’t use thread so we all ended up with little holes in the paper. This let us get the hang of working with such a fast machine. I’m pretty good with basic straight stitches, but these machines were huge. After we all got the hang of the machines she taught us how to thread them. This was particularly hard as there were so many loops and holes your thread had to go through. Next she taught us how to block small pieces of muslin, which she then made us sew straight stitches on. Once you had filled your entire pieces of muslin with straight stitches you could move on the triangles. She showed us how to do these and it was pretty easy. I finished my triangles early so I moved onto tucks. I love using this technique on clothes so I finished them pretty fast. Then she called for clean up.

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display of Halloween looks.

I had an hour for lunch and then my draping class. Quite of few of the students in my sewing class were also in my draping class, so the introductions at the beginning of class were easier. The professor talked about the basics of draping and safety, then told us how

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my draping classroom

to choose a dress from. After we all had dress forms she showed us how to measure them accurately. We then blocked and ironed large pieces of muslin. We will be using these pieces to drape a skirt. we then did extensive measuring and quit a lot of math. this involved adding 3/8ths to everything and a six inch extra to the overall measurements.  we then drew all of our measurements onto our fabrics, checked to make sure it was right, and cleaned up.

But that took us quite some time so we will be draping next week. I’m very excited to be learning new things about construction. I am always pleased with my designs, it’s just making them real that has given me trouble. So I am hoping that come next fall, my design and construction skills will both be even.

Overall, FIT has once again taught me stuff I didn’t think I’d be learning, inspired me for things I didn’t think I had an interest in, and made me feel at home. I’m excited to learn more, especially about things I didn’t know I wanted to learn. What would you like to learn that you’ve never really spent time on?

Sissi

Introducing New Precollege Blogger: Sissi

Hello, I’m Hannah, but I prefer to call myself Sissi. I’m from Brooklyn and have lived here my whole life. A lot of my style and design aesthetic has come from the wonderful and fashionable people who walk the streets where I live.

I have taken a FIT class previously, JSX 50: The Fashion Cycle, and I really think that’s what hit off my love of fashion. I’m super excited to be taking, HAP025: Sewing for Fashion Designers and HAP017: Fashion Design Techniques. I have always had an interest in fashion, reading magazines and loving all types of blogs, but my FIT class really showed me that fashion is so much more, and that I had the capability to do it.

I spent my summer working on the fashion magazine that my friend and I run. It’s called Spirit Fashion and our main inspiration is Rookie magazine. We write about a wide variety of things, but we also feature photo shoots. She arranges, styles, and takes the pictures for these shoots. She wishes to be a fashion photographer and I want to be a designer, so it worked out perfectly that I would design a line and she would shoot it. We only have our first issue out so far, but we’re working on the second. I spend most of my spare time writing, designing, or sewing for Spirit Fashion. It has given me a structure for my designing. Each issue betters my sewing and fabric skills.

I’m not that advanced at sewing yet but I’m teaching myself how to work with leather and more advanced designs. I’m taking my designing slowly so that I can make everything I sketch. For this spring line I designed some leather pants as well as collared shirts in a hard fabric to tailor, and I will be studding. This is less advanced than what I would usually design, but it’s advanced enough for my sewing skills.

I’m homeschooled so I have a lot of free time on my hands. I have the choice to do school in the afternoon instead of morning, so I usually go with that. My days usually consist of school, reading blogs, writing my blog, sewing, writing other stuff, and designing. If I’m in between designing lines I’ll make myself something. Some days I don’t get dressed till 12:00 because I spent all morning sewing my outfit.

My biggest passion could be generally described as fashion. My main goal in designing clothes is to get what I see out there. I see fantastical things in my head and my one goal in life is to make then reality. I don’t know if this will lead to my showing at New York Fashion Week, as I have other things to worry about. I like to focus on making my art as high quality as possible, as I do in everything. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist but that comes in handy.

I have always loved reading blogs. I think it’s a great place to document your life, plus your inspiration. I have had a blog for around a year and when I look back to my early posts I remember who I was then. I feel like I want my work, which is a mixture of grunge and fairytale, to hold the line between modern and nostalgia for a childhood. Blogging has allowed me to explore myself and my personal style. Even though I spend some days in a t-shirt and sweatpants for sewing purposes, I still like styling when I can, and I can pretty often.   

I have so many goals in my life that I don’t really know where I should start. I have short term goals, such as finishing this issue of Spirit Fashion, doing well in school, and designing the fall line. Then I also have some longer term goals such as getting a job, going abroad for a bit, and maybe starting up an online store. I want to go to FIT for college and even though I work on my portfolio daily, I still work hard to better myself so I can get in. I guess my ultimate goal is to have a successful store where I make enough money to donate some to charity. I want to make people happy when they wear or see my work. So I guess my all time goal is to make people smile. I work to wow.

Sissi