Emily Nieland’s Patchwork for Kids

Fashion Design student Emily Nieland was contemplating her specialization. Would it be childrenswear or knitwear? In the two weeks prior to declaring her specialization, the fifth-semester student was fully emerged in her Childrenswear Niche Market class. A patchwork design she was developing appeared to be ideal for a toddler’s first foray into denimwear.

Fashion design student Emily Nieland

While Nieland’s talent might be applied to either specialization, it is with Professor Barbara Seggio that she is able to explore advanced methods of childrenswear patternmaking and construction while she makes her decision.

For the first time fashion design students have the option of taking major-area electives, such as FD467 as selectives. “We’re providing choices for students in our new curriculum that was launched in Fall 2016,” says Fashion Design Chair Eileen Karp. “Students can craft their educational journey and take classes that augment their interests.”

The patchwork shorts Nieland is designing draws on her summer internship experience in trend forecasting.

Matching up a patchwork design to children’s form

“I worked for The Doneger Group and saw a lot of mixed-matched and two-toned denim and mixed-matched flannels online and in windows around the city. I have a skirt that’s lighter denim on the inside and darker on the outside along the sides. I liked the contrast. Denim is such a classic.”

Nieland collected denim swatches from different fabric stories and arranged them into a patchwork pattern. Most of her samples came from Elegant Fabric on West 40 Street.

A close-up of Emily Nieland’s patchwork denim

“I sewed the seams the opposite way than they would normally go and fringed them, then put the piece in the wash. Next I’m going to finish making my pattern for the shorts. I’ve worn jeans my whole life.  It defies the trends,” she says.

Says Professor Seggio, “I love how she used the swatched patchwork. It’s strong now and there’s a trend with frayed edges. She combined the two ideas to come up with an interesting concept, and at the same time saved a lot of money! It’s a twist on sustainability of reusing.”

Emily Nieland with Prof. Barbara Seggio

Nieland first became attuned to the versatility of jeans from her own wardrobe. “Dressing them with belts, rolling up the hems can change the look, and makes them fancier. Small details can make a big difference. That’s something I think about a lot in my design process,” she says.

“I always wanted to work with manipulating fabrics. I thought childrenswear was a good place to start because it’s on a smaller scale.”

Photos by Rachel Ellner


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