Sewing, Sparkles, and Halter Tops

This week I had free time in my sewing class. Well, I knew that I would have free time due to the fact that I had finished all my projects. My shirt had come out nicely, though I’m unhappy with the hemming as my machine had been giving my trouble. I brought enough fabric to class to make a dress. My friend and I had a photo shoot planned for Sunday, so I

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the purple, lacy skirt is the one i made.

thought it would be fun to make something using the industrial machines they have in class. My mum and I got there with fifty minutes to spare, so I got some coffee to keep me awake. I spent the first half of my sewing class making the dress. I had underestimated how long it would take me to sew the skirt, so I ended up modifying the basic blouse and sewing it to the skirt I made. I added a white zipper to the front, on the left side. It wasn’t very attractive but I did it more for practice then looks. Then in my fifteen minute break I went over to Gigi café and got some more coffee. I think I have a problem. Then I spent the rest of the class playing around with the dress and making a detachable collar. For lunch I went to the pita grill for falafel. Then I picked up the signup sheet for my draping class. Once class started I pinned my style tape back onto my dress form. We were finishing up the basic bodices. My professor had us all come to the front of the class once we had finished preparing our dress forms. She went over what we did during our last class, and then showed us how to finish the bodices. It was very complicated, so she went over it twice, and let us takes our time. I finished before our break, so she showed me what we were doing next. We would be draping halter tops, but we would get to decide how they would look. She told me to arrange my style tape on the dress form then show how everything would play out. Before I finished it was time for the break so I went on a walk. When I got back I finished preparing my dress form. I decided to do something asymmetrical, so I will be draping a full front and back, instead of halves. I spent the rest of the class measuring and cutting my front piece, then marking where the style tape was. We cleaned up the classroom and I went on my merry way. I’m really looking forward to doing my halter top; I think might use it to make a pattern. I also need to remember to bring more fabric to my sewing class next week.


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!


Whimsy in Winter

Winter is a fairytale season.  Ladies, It’s time to break out the babydoll coats, fake fur hats and combat boots. While Christmas and the holiday season do have their fair share of fashion, I’ve always believed that winter fashion was the best. While my personal style is more “soft-grunge” than “fairytale”, I always let my style become more whimsical as the weather gets colder. Because there were no FIT classes this past week, I thought I would share some tips on how to work whimsy into your look, without having to completely change your wardrobe. Fair warning, though…I’m not what one could call a “style guru”. I do well enough with designing and sewing clothes, but I’m far from a stylist!  My tips are mere guidelines instead of actual how-to’s.

First up, Shoes:

Let’s face it, while shoes are a girl’s best friend, they’re expensive!  I wish I could buy a new pair of shoes whenever it strikes my fancy. I’ve noticed that shoes are a great way to harden or soften an outfit. Teen Vogue just featured a photo shoot with feminine frocks and tough combat boots. My favorite pair of shoes to pair with my dresses are my knee high leather lace up boots. Because winter is more whimsical and less “vampire hunter”, I must advise buying cutesy shoes instead of boots. I recently purchased a pair of red brogues with fringe and a slight platform. They we on sale!  (Yes, Black Friday folks, this is how I was able to afford completely random shoes.)   It’s always a good idea to wait until sales to make extra purchases- more money for extra stuff!  If you’re like me and lack fancy, girly shoes: buying a cheap pair just for winter is a good option.

Coats: Coats are a big deal in the winter. For one, they keep you from freezing to death! While having a stylish coat is fun, having a warm one is important. Fashion should be at least a little comfortable!  Coats also happen to be one of the most expensive clothing items, so buying an extra coat isn’t usually an option.  What you can do though, is spruce up your old coat!  Depending on the style of coat you have, you could add a belt.  My coat is a little big, so I added an equestrian belt that I happened to have. Whatever belt you happen to have will do. You can also replace the buttons. Your coat might not have buttons, but if it does, I bet they’re the same color as your coat, which might be black. If your coat has exciting buttons or is not black, stop reading this section and feel very lucky!  For those of us who like black coats and/or have one, adding colorful buttons is a cute way to add a little whimsy. My sister added red buttons to her black coat- pretty cool. You could also buy yourself a capelet. I think capelets are cool. We should all have capelets!

Scarves, hats, and gloves:  A fun and cheap way to look fancy is to buy them in fancy colors.  White, red, or blue are great options.  Scarves, hats, and gloves are pretty useful, so your options are endless.

So…go off and have fun channeling Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Rose Red or anything else that has to do with winter!


Pictures Hold Memories

The feelings pictures leave you with can affect you for the rest of the day. This is the first thought I had upon entering FIT last Saturday. There was a huge display right at the front of my building with tons of different student’s photos. They were all hauntingly beautiDSC05387ful, each with a different story to tell. We’ll come back to these photos later. Now I have to head over to my sewing class.

In class, all I had left to do was the neckline on my blouse. I ironed my top and fixed a few of the hems before I started. My professor had me fold over the fabric at the top so it made a sort of tunnel. Then, she helped me measure my elastic.  After that, I pulled the elastic through the tunnel using a safety pin. I was done with the class. She told me to bring in a personal project that she could help me with next week. I still had half the class to fill, so I made a little detachable collar for my friend. I found this really cool blue muslin and embroidered it with a rose trim. I aDSC05388lways feel more comfortable working from my head instead of a pattern. I know patterns are more reliable, especially for something complicated, but I love the feeling of being in control of how it will look! Every inch I change will affect the garment, and I love having that control.

After lunch, I headed back to the display of photographs. I couldn’t get enough of them. I don’t know much about photography, but having a friend who is obsessed with it has given me a new appreciation for the little details, not just a model’s pretty dress. For my draping class, I was looking forward to draping the bodice of a dress to look forward to. I started by reviewing what I had done last week, re-pinning my style tape to the dress form, and making sure all my measurements were correct. I had done my first dart last week, so some of my work was already done. We spent the class making the neckline, marking and truing the front piece and then the back.

After my draping class was finDSC05390ished, I went to go see the photographs again. They still amazed and intrigued me. I love that there can be so many talented people in the world, and that some of them get the chance to show off their amazing work. It made me feel hopeful that some day I could have my designs on display at FIT. I would love to impact on another hopeful talent, the same way those pictures had an impact on me. 


Mideouts, Hangouts, And Bodices

Because of Hurricane Sandy, class last week was cancelled. I got into my sewing class early, like first one there early. So I walked around and took some pictures.


a rocking awesome post board filled with thirties inspired fashion

Once most of my classmates and the teacher arrived, I got to finish my shorts. I had one hem and the waist band left to finish. The hem was easy. I did the elastic by lining it up to the top of the shorts, so when I flipped the elastic over the seam would be inside. I pinned the front and back together, then stretched the elastic to match up with the two other sides. While I sewed I pulled a piece of the elastic to match the shorts, but because the elastic was a smaller length than the shorts the elastic cinched the waistline. Then I over locked the seam, sealing the elastic to the fabric for life. When it was break time, I went outside for a walk and got myself a granola bar from the vending machine on the fourth floor. I still haven’t found the vending machine on my side of the building but there’s one right where my old classes used to be. I got back and waited outside the classroom with everyone else. Our break is fifteen minutes long but we usually only use ten of those minutes. I moved onto my peasant blouse, tracing and cutting out the pattern onto pattern paper, then aligning and cutting out my fabric. I sewed


the group of lockers outside my sewing classroom

and over locked the front and back pieces first, then added the sleeves. By then the class was finished. I walked over to the GiGi café, where students get ten percent off, and bought myself lunch. I like to eat it at the metal tables outside my building and watch all the artistic people pass by. I then went to pick up the packet for my draping class, being hall monitor. In my last draping class we had hung up our flared skirts to give the threads time to stretch and even out; having two weeks to hang made the skirts as stretched as they would get. My professor showed us how to measure the desired length from the floor up, and how to mark and true it. We then took the flared skirts off the dress form and cut the extra fabric off. We gave them a half inch hem- any more and it would affect the way the skirts hang. We then pinned them back to the dress forms, and wheeled the forms into the middle of the room for grading. I think then we had our break. I went for a quick


the view from the metal tables

walk around the building, checking to see if the style shop was open; it wasn’t. Then I came back. We got started on our preparation for the basic bodice. First, we cut our back and front pieces. As they are different measurements, I had to be careful to not get them confused. Then we placed our black style tape onto the shoulder blades and apex points. By then my professor had finished grading our skirts, I got an A. Once we had finished measuring the dress forms with our black style tape, we moved onto marking the fabric with the CF and CB inches, then the different lines and divisions that befall such different pieces as front and back. Once we had finished marking and everything, we got to drape the front. We found our pinch of ease and our dart. We took the fabric off the dress form, leaving the dart in place and started cleaning up. Next week we’ll be doing more with our basic bodice. I definitely like my draping class more than my sewing class, but I’m learning a lot from both of them.