Confessions and Draping

I would like to start this off with a confession. I don’t like bloggers. I never really have, I don’t read many fashion blogs. I believe the cult following that they acquire is indicative to our societal addiction to technology. Although the internet has furthered the reach of fashion, making it tangible to the layman, it frustrates me how so many fashion bloggers sit front row at fashion week next to men and women who have worked their way from the bottom to the top of the social and corporate ladder, men and women who have worked hundreds of hours, and have talent that has been screened through countless mentors. I do not say this to belittle anyone’s talent, work, or passion. I only say this because this is my personal opinion and disagree with me you may. That being said, here I am, writing a blog, something I said I would never do. I take this as a challenge. And enter this experience and uncharted territory with caution. And I am going to do my absolute best to stay true to myself and my own writing form as I continue to post in these coming weeks.

Moving on to something a little less controversial: draping. What does that really mean? A curious word. A homonym to that piece of fabric hanging in your window. It alludes to something more whimsical than what it actually is, which is a very fundamental art, a skill that every designer has in their back pocket. Draping is when a two dimensional piece of fabric is turned into a three dimensional masterpiece. It’s essentially patternmaking, except you make a pattern to fit a certain mannequin, person, model, or “lady” as my sweet and hysterically funny professor likes to call our dress forms.

SophiaPinney

The class that I am currently enrolled in is called Introduction to Draping for the Fashion Designer. As most beginner classes at FIT are, this really is an introduction. You need no prior knowledge on draping to take this class. My professor started us off with a simple straight skirt. And draping can be good for this, but it can also be good for extremely intricate designs. This is not a sewing class; you simply pin and cut the fabric and the projects range from skirts to bodices.

FIT is a great place to learn, if that’s what you come there to do. A lot of people take these classes with other things on their mind besides what’s going on in the classroom. They come here for social reasons, as a way to get close to the city. And that’s fine. I respect that. However I personally came to FIT for the content, not the experience. And I find myself feeling a bit strange when all the other girls are talking and I am sitting in my corner working, but I know how seriously I take myself. And what I want is to be recognized for my talent, for my work ethic, and for the beauty that I will put into the world. In one of my favorite children’s books, Miss Rumphius, a young girl’s grandfather tells her one of the things she must do in life is make the world more beautiful. And that’s all we really want to do, us artists. We just want to make the world more beautiful.

Sophia

Maybe Fashion Does Define Us

You know how people, mostly people involved in the fashion industry, always talk about how fashion defines them? How without fashion or art, they would have no purpose? I usually find this amusing, while it might be true. As much as I love designing, nothing makes me happier than when I have successfully sewed, draped, or sketched something. I feel like they have to be other things that designers enjoy. This Saturday, though, I realized that as funny as it may sound, without fashion I would spend all day napping! My father drove me into the city this week, so I didn’t have to dress for long bus waits and cold subway stations. I wore a new pair of pants, covered in tacky large red roses, and a plain black long sleeved shirt. I got the shirt second hand and I have studded the shoulders and added a few “artsy” holes near the neckline. I packed my backpack at six in the morning, so I didn’t really think out the fabrics I brought to class. I grabbed some striped black and

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How my jacket looked when I left!

white fabric and some stretchy lace. I got to class early, as usual, so I spoke with the girl who sits next to me until the professor came. I threaded my machine and started sketching. I hadn’t taken time to plan what I was going to sew, but I knew I wanted to make a dinner jacket vest-type-thing. I sketched a plain, fitted jacket, using the lace to end in an angled front. I can’t quite describe it, but it’s practically the complete opposite of what I ended up sewing, so it doesn’t matter. I cut out the front pieces, then discovered that the back would have to be pieced together, as I didn’t have enough fabric. This, once again, was not what I was planning. I don’t think I’m ready to do complicated fitting, but that’s what I did! Once I had my pieces cut out, I started the elaborate process of making it all work. This involved so many changes in design and fit that I was practically the last one out of the class. I had lunch quickly, then spent way too much time in the seventh floor bathroom, which has a large mirror, planning what I would need to fix on the jacket once I got home. You know I spent a long time because I wasn’t thirty minutes early to class! I did still get there before class started, so I wasn’t late. Last week I had started my halter top, because I finished my basic bodice drape early. My professor had us pin our basic bodices and skirts, which we had pinned together last week, to our dress forms so she could grade them. She explained how this week we would be making the cowl neckline, which looked really fun because it’s more creative. We had the choice of whether we wanted to do front or back, then deepness and thickness of folds. She showed us how to do the preparation for the draping. It was pretty simple- cut: block, press, find the thirty degree angle. By the time I finished, she had graded my drape so I got my dress form back. Then she showed us the first part of draping. I noticed that because we had already done the basic bodice, and this didn’t have any darts, it took her less time to explain. It took me a while to complete, though, as I played around with it. I chose to drape the back. I made the neckline pretty high up, considering back cowl necklines are usually deep. The bodice part was easy, pinning it and making it fit. i liked how everyone had drastically different drapes. the girl next to me had chosen to do a very low back drape, with only two or three folds, causing the drape to be small but full.  My professor then informed me that someone would be taking pictures of my dress drape, because it was one of the two best ones in the class. Only one other girl and I had our drapes photographed, so I guess mine came out alright. My professor then showed us how to mark our drapes. Once again, this step was pretty easy. Before we could true, we had our break, I spent it planning out the collar for my vest. Right after I had finished pinning the collar on, the class started again. Truing was fun. We had draped a full piece, but only marked half; we would mark the other half using

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My back cowl neckline drape, pretty nice!

tracing paper. This took me a while, as I tried not to rush truing my drape. I find that when I do rush, I make mistakes, as would be expected. By the time the class finished, I had draped, marked, trued, transferred, and cut my cowl neckline drape. It looked mighty fine, if I do say so myself. I will definitely be making it into a pattern and using it for myself. After I left my class I realized that while I was exhausted! I had just had more fun than I had had all week. I find it hard to be creative at home. I find myself sewing or drawing things I am unhappy with, but when I’m at FIT, I can make a fitted dinner jacket using stretchy lace and I like it! I can sketch in my head or in real life while eating lunch. I can drape something I would never drape at home, and get excited to use it in real life. I don’t think my ultimate dream is to be part of the high end world of fashion, I just can’t wait till all I do every day is sew, drape, sketch, and measure seam allowances!

Sissi

First Day Of School and I’m Back In Action!

My days of waiting for Precollege classes to begin again are finally over! I’m back in action. Now, I have to wait out this dreadful month of March to see if I’ve gotten accepted to FIT.

Well, as usual, the first day can be a little hectic, even as a student who has already taken 6 classes. I thought I had forgotten my schedule (I found it when I got home tucked into a magazine) and needed to get a new one printed, but then I ended up going to my afternoon class, Draping, on accident. So, I had to go back down to D130 for a late pass to awkwardly walk in to my real first one late, yikes.

Fabric Styling caught my attention, as we went over what we’d be doing. We all introduced ourselves first though and said why we had chosen to take the class. Personally, I chose fabric styling to learn more about fabrics and which ones work well together so that my designs would become more cohesive. Also, after seeing how intricately put together the boards for fabric styling are, it will help a lot for my design presentation boards. We went over so many new things about how to organize the layout of a board well, and all the new supplies we’d be using for it. The teacher, Sara Petitt, explained that we would all have to pick a celebrity and find fabrics that would work well for them. We will be making a separate board for a collection of outfits, the interior of their homes, and a photo-shoot for our celeb to go on.

After class, I went with two of my classmates to Mood Fabrics, where we’d be swatching  a lot for our class. I bought some fabric for my in-process prom dress, and some  tulle for another one of my art projects. It was good to have classmates willing to take a trip with me, since we all have a lot in common and can bond over the experience.

I hurried back to my second class and got there just in time. Since this was my actual draping class, we went over all the safety rooms for the classroom, which is full of sewing machines and mannequins. Then we went over the exciting part, all the patterns we’d be making! By the end of the class we’ll have patterns for several different skirts and a bodice that we’ll learn how to make variations for. I’m really psyched for this because I love making clothes for myself but can never find the time because of all the art projects I have piling up.

After class, I finally had the chance to go to the cafeteria. In 2 and a half years of taking classes at FIT, I had never been to the cafeteria before. It was actually really nice. As someone who’s an extremely picky eater, there were several options that I liked, and tasted good! It was also reasonably priced, which tends to be a problem for other college cafeterias.

So, my first day of class went really good and I can’t wait to get started on my projects!

Karlie

Today I went to the Katonah Museum of Art where my dress was featured, and by request, here are some close-ups!

And another project from school I found photos of

Friendships at FIT

Hi Again, FIT!

For my past two FIT classes, Intro to the Fashion Industry and Fashion Design Industry (the class I’m taking now), my good friend Grace and I have been taking these classes together. These classes have allowed us to grow closer and get to know one another better. It also makes the experience even more fun because you always have someone to hang out with after class; it’s fun to shop, go to lunch, or just to chill at Starbucks. Going to class with a friend also makes the 1st day of class much less awkward because you have someone to talk to. Of course I like to introduce myself but it’s also nice to have someone familiar there.

I can say that making friends is not my priority at FIT. I don’t mean this in a snobbish way; I’m there to learn. I love to socialize and talk but it’s not like I’m going to talk, talk, talk to the point that I don’t know what’s going on in class and class goes by in a whirl. I have made some friends though. In my last class there was only like 8 people, making it my favorite class. We were like a little family. I loved how small the class was. In this class I made friends with Erin. She’s really nice and helpful with draping.

On a whole other note, class was definitely easier for me this week. I finally figured out how to pin those darts! I was making everything sooooooooo much more complicated than it was! I got much better at pinning. I see myself improving. I figured out how to use these funny tools that I’ve never even heard of before this class such as a french curve, hip curve, and style tape. I finished making the half of the muslin skirt (I’m not sure why we’re only doing one half.) and we started the waistband. Next week we will begin the bodice. That is sure to be an experience. I’m not sure if I’m excited, nervous, or a combination of the two. More updates next week! :o)

Yours in Fashion,

Emily


A Day at FIT With Me


Hello Again!

My favorite day of the week is Saturday because of [insert drum roll here]: FIT!!! After a long week of boring, pointless classes, I enjoy waking up early to come to the city. The only class I really like this year is AP Art History. Last week was really hard for me though. We inserted darts into the “muslin skirt.” This was hard because the darts had to be equally big and equally spaced out and look the same from the front and back which proved to be a challenge, but it’s a comfort that some people weren’t as far ahead of me.

After class I love going to Buffalo Exchange. That’s my favorite store. I also like going to 34th Street to shop at H&M and Forever 21. But what I like about Buffalo Exchange is that I can find unique pieces that are usually both cheaper and that I like more. If I need any supplies I go to the Fashion Design Bookstore across the street from the C Building — In my opinion that’s the best place to buy supplies. An awesome restaurant is in the area called Cafeteria. They have greattttttttt food (although there was a 45 minute wait last week when I went there – bummer). Another fun place to go is Billy’s Bakery. It’s this cute (tiny) 1950s-style bakery on 9th Avenue. You should check it out. So where do you all like to go after class?

Yours Truly,

Emily