My Day At F.I.T.

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


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


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.


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


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.





I don’t think my first day of high school could even compare to my first day at FIT’s Precollege Programs. Everybody looked so exited to learn, and trust me, that’s not the case in my high school at all. I loved the energy, the laughs and the positive energy. Most of all I adored the fact that I’d be talking about fashion all day… what a dream come true.

Prior to entering FIT’s Great Hall, my great excitement mixed with sudden anxiousness. I was constantly wondering “What if they don’t like my outfit?” or, “What if I fail at all my classes?” Every negative thought hit me right at those barbie plastered doors of 27th and 7th. Little did I know I had nothing to worry about.

Barbie Exhibit D Lobby

But that wasn’t the case at all, once I stepped in those doors, (and was told to get out and enter through 28th and 7th) I couldn’t believe how good the air felt… not only was there air conditioning, — which is a major plus since the weather is beyond tolerable — but I could just feel the creative aura emanating from every showcased piece of art. From outside of the FIT building, all that I  saw was what I thought were barbie ads, but little did I know that there was a whole clothing line of “Barbie” created by various students at FIT. And they were created with recycled materials, uh, can you say talented!

For my first class (HAD 149: Advertising and Graphics Design Portfolio) we started out with drawing what we “saw,” the picture was turned upside down and upside up. It was supposed to train our mind to recognize different shapes and lines.  We had to draw a picture illustrated by the famous Pablo Picasso. I wouldn’t say that I am a bad illustrator, but I had to reconsider that after I analyzed my final product. I nearly doubled over after I saw my Pablo Picasso reproduction. But as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

My version compared to the Original Picasso illustration.

For my last and final class of the day (unfortunately), HPM 067: Manual Patternmaking and Sewing, we got to learn the basics on how to produce a basic shirt out of Muslin. It included lining the fabric up on the mannequin and using the pins to tack the right proportions. Ultimately it was a fun learning experience, given the fact that it was my first time using fabrics to make anything! According to our Professor, our final project consists of us creating a whole dress, wish me luck! Here is my current first day project in the making:

All I can say is, I really love FIT so far, and I hope to meet some more really great amazing people as I gain a lot more knowledge for my designing years to come! 

During the orientation, I just couldn't stop smiling! I knew the next day was going to be fun.

P.S I’ll have outfit segments on every post, but since it was my first day… I sort of forgot! 


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My Journey to FIT

I vividly remember having my hundreds of Crayola crayons and markers layed out on my carpet- in color order – and designing my dream house room by room when I was about 7 years old. Each room was a different color, and I had a spiral staircase with a custom-made fish tank built into the hand rails. I definitely had a wild imagination, fueled by any products sold by A.C. Moore and my mother’s willingness to buy them, despite the fact that all of the craft projects would be done within the next hour. I began drawing my dream tree house, dollhouses, and clothing. I made up every aspect of my life and drew it onto paper. I was a girl who had always known what she wanted.Eyes 2

I began drawing clothing, my halloween costumes, and first-day-of-school outfits. I began imagining shoes, and dresses, and being utterly disappointed with all the stores that didn’t have them. Hadn’t someone thought of those things yet? I sketched them all, in dozens of notebooks given to me by family members. I showed my mom outfits that I drew, and she noticed that months later some of the things would show up in stores. I had a knack for predicting trends. I would cut up my jeans and make them into skirts. I’d cut shirts apart and imagine how they were put together. My mom was not so happy about that.

My mom attended SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz where she had gotten her Masters degree. She told me that she had heard of a SUNY school that was centered around fashion. She wanted to take me to visit. We went down with a couple of my friends, to visit this school, The Fashion Institute of Technology. It was 7th grade and I was on my first and last college visit. I knew where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do with my life by the time I walked out of the Katie Murphy Ampitheatre.Eyes 1

My grandmother bought me a sewing machine the following Christmas, and lessons with a friend of hers, a seamstress. Both her and my mom said if I was going to design clothing I had to understand how they were made. I had no idea that it would be some of the best advice I would ever get. The seamstress who taught me is incredibly talented, generous, and kind. She became like another grandmother to me and was a huge part of me being accepted into FIT.

I loved reading, I was great at simple math, and I thought history was interesting. My mom’s friends and coworkers said they wish they had students as interested in learning, but for some reason, I hated school. The school I went to was not exactly the highest ranked, and had very little funding for the arts. I began absolutely dreading school. Every day was a battle with myself to go. I knew I had to keep my grades up to make sure I got into FIT, but school was extremely discouraging. I asked my mom if she would homeschool me, but she told me to visit the school that she had taught at instead.

I was amazed with the school, Fox Lane. They took art very seriously, and had great teachers who were motivating and helpful. The academics however, were another story. The standards were higher than I had imagined, and I wasn’t sure if I could keep up. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could in art, and I knew I would have to keep up in my other classes to. The competitive edge in the school would push me to do better in all of my classes. I decided to switch schools after one quarter, and go to Fox Lane, in an affluent area, a culture I had never seen before, with kids who had grown up together and were complete strangers to me.Fabric Rendering

There weren’t any classes related to fashion or sewing, but there were dozens of clubs. I decided to start a sewing club. I was craving the company of people who loved to do the same things as I did. We raised money to buy several sewing machines, cutting boards, irons, and fund several trips to the city.We went to Mood Fabrics and received free tours, we went to fashion shows at the Waldorf-Astoria, we ran workshops to give blankets to kids in the emergency shelters, and what hit closest to home was visiting the Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met. I had heard of Alexander McQueen, but I didn’t know much about him. By the end of the tour I was obsessed. I had been battling depression just as he had, and found the same love for design as he did. The rooms evoked emotion, and the passion and detail in every garment was incredible. I used to shy away from my edgy side, unsure of how people would feel about it or stereotype me. His work inspired me to not be afraid of who I really was, or putting my feelings into my work however bizarre they were.

So my eagerness to get into the fashion world grew, until it engulfed my life. I had a 45 minute commute to school, and had to stay after to run clubs and so my mom could do after-school help. I was working in the art room during every free moment I had, and I went to FIT on Saturdays. I left at 6:30 in the morning, and got home at 7:30 pm. It was exhausting, but I loved every minute. My skills were getting better with every class I took.

Mondays, I would get into school and talk nonstop about my classes. One of my friends had been working at Panera Bread when a costumer came in and started talking to her about her daughter. She said she wanted her daughter to take photography classes at FIT, and my friend told her about me and how much I loved it there. The woman handed my friend her card and told her to give it to me.

Spilt TeaIt turned out that she was the Senior Buyer at a department store, and she wanted to see my portfolio. I got together all of my work from my FIT classes and brought them to her house, where we talked about possible internships. It was as if a miracle happened. Somehow, another amazingly generous person with endless knowledge became a part of my life and had wanted to help me reach my dream.

She had given me a phone number to call, a small design company called NCO2. Everything on was a dream. I had interviewed with them, the two owners and two designers, and they were incredibly kind. They taught me so much in the short Summer I had spent there, and I was on Cloud 9. I honestly couldn’t have had a better first experience in the business of Fashion, getting to experience the life of a designer. On the train ride in every week, I would read biographies on fashion designers. It seemed as though it had been my calling in life. Excerpts from close friends of designers would describe their personalities, as if they were describing me.

Every time I went to FIT it got harder to not actually be in school there yet. I wanted it to be my every day life, I wanted my classes to never end. I wanted to learn everything the professors could possibly teach me. I daydreamed of my life there, exploring the city for inspiration, my dorm room, and the new people I would meet. I loved the competition. It drove me further into love with Fashion.

I spent my last year of high school taking the Fashion Portfolio class, perfecting every detail of what would determine my future. At school, I took an advanced placement art class where I decided to make artistic garments for my portfolio. There were many, many late nights as I also had a part time job to start saving for college and buy the ridiculous amounts of art supplies I used. I waited for my letter to come, getting a little more frustrated every time someone asked if I had heard back yet. I had thought about what might happen if I didn’t get in, but the thoughts hadn’t been very deep. I couldn’t really imagine not getting in. I had to. I had no idea what I would do if I didn’t.

When the day did come, it was a huge wave of relief in some ways. In other ways, I still had the same stresses. I just wanted to be there already. I had been waiting for so long.


My friends at high school modeling my designs

Instructor Spotlight: Sarah Gilbert

Sarah Gilbert is an patternmaking, sewing and draping Instructor in the Technical Design department in the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Ms. Gilbert has taught at FIT since 2004  and received her  BS in Consumer and Family Studies from SUNY Buffalo. In addition, she holds two AAS degrees from FIT in Fashion Buying and Merchandising and Patternmaking. In addition, she is a Freelance pattern-maker and samplemaker of doll clothes and stuffed animals for a McCalls Pattern Company.

Ms. Gilbert teaches HPM 067: Manual Patternmaking and Sewing for Precollege Programs on Sundays at FIT.


Ms. Gilbert’s  Teaching Philosophy:

Everyone has creative potential. I love sharing my passion for sewing and patternmaking with my students. 

On Precollege Programs: 

Meeting wonderful people who want to learn about patternmaking and sewing is what I enjoy most about Precollege Programs.  I like to see the expression on my students faces as they put on a garment they actually made themselves.  It is a very powerful feeling.

I find Pre-college students to be very motivated and energetic.  They radiate that energy to me and it inspires me to be my very best.

Industry Experience:

  • Freelance pattern-maker and samplemaker of doll clothes and stuffed animals for a McCalls Pattern Company
  • Computer and manual pattern-maker for outerwear, children’s wear and sleepwear
  • I create custom handmade dolls, doll clothes and stuffed animals on an individual basis
  • I teach and tutor at FIT in the subjects of manual and computer patternmaking, draping and sewing



We are family~

Just when I thought I couldn’t think of a “funny” title bam! That one Sister Sledge song pops into my head, I hope you sang it while reading the title, heh.

I wouldn’t be anything without my family, seriously. They are always there for me and still love me even though I’m a big weirdo. They’re my biggest fans and actually my biggest clients (you would not believe how many times I hear the phrase “Hey, can you fix this for me?”).

Fortunately, my parents support my choice in the career field I’m going into instead of forcing me to become a doctor or lawyer or engineer or whatever. This is what my mom says, “If you decide you want to be a circus clown one day, great, we support you! Just be the best circus clown there ever was!” I for one, am not a big fan of the circus (smells like elephant poop in there, yuck) but I get where she’s coming from.

Since day one, there was no hesitation from my parents. I’ll always remember the day I went to Wal-Mart and me and my mom were passing buy the (now obsolete) sewing section, and I looked over and thought “Wow, that’d be cool, making my own clothes.” I turned to my mom and asked for a sewing machine. Since it was early fall, I was going to finish the sentence with “for Christmas” but I didn’t even get that far because she had already answered “Sure, let’s get you one now!”

When I first found out about the Precollege Programs here at FIT again, no hesitation, no arguement, only pure excitement about me finally being able to go somewhere to expand on my craft.

Now with college appilaction deadlines drawing near, once again my family is offering to help with anything I might need. Without their support and love, I wouldn’t be where I am today so shout out to the Lopez, Torres, and Ali family, I love you guys!

Love, Talya