Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Exploring Fashion Design- Design 1 with Sarah Veblen, Part 1 of 2

This was an amazing experience!! Hands down the best non-sewing sewing class that I have ever taken. I left with so many new tools in my toolbox, it will be a fun journey exploring what I can come up with using these new tools.

I will be totally honest and say that I really had no idea what to expect from this class, other than knowing that drawing would be involved, and that made me feel both excited and a little apprehensive. I really did my best to go into it with a wide open mind and just experience the class, the exercises and the kinship with other woman. This turned out to work to my advantage. By leaving myself open and as free from my own fashion biases as possible I was able to learn so much about color, shape and form, as well as to learn so much about myself.

Sarah leads you down such a wonderfully positive path of discovery that you can't help but feel good about yourself as you climb the steps of learning and tackle self-imposed barriers. Through carefully guided exercises that are tailored to each group of participants she gives you permission to play and ask 'what if?' and 'what about?'. I quickly found that these permissions allowed for me to set aside my normal self expectations of perfectionism and my need to get it right the first time so I could get on to the next thing on my list. Every successful person inevitably does these things to themself and having 6 days of putting it all aside was a lovely gift to myself.

Monkey the cat on my suitcase of supplies, our workroom, kitchen filled with goodies, gathered around the table in discussion.

The days were a bit intensive! We arrived at Sarah's at 8:30 each morning and were treated to a lovely home baked good right from the oven. Most mornings we started off in the kitchen/dining area gathered around a table. Sarah would lecture for a while and then give us exercises to do. Lunch break was usually around 12:30 and we would reconvene about an hour and fifteen mins later. plenty of time to go out and get some food and fresh air. Then back at again! Some afternoons were spent at our workstations and some were back gathered together depending on what type of exercises we were doing. Wrap-up happened between 5:30 and 6 most days.

Most evenings, after a nice relaxing dinner with Wendy, I would spend some time re-writing my notes from the day and adding in my reflections from what we have learned so far. I like to take my notes in a notebook and then re-write them in a notability app on my ipad. This lets me be neater and add in any pictures or illustrations that help me to understand that day's work.

Here is a recap of what we did for the first 3 days and of the tools and lessons I learned from each day.

Day 1:
 Morning: spent the morning in lecture about the 5 Elements of a well designed look.
- design
- fit
- fabrication
- engineering
- construction

Afternoon; Spent the first part of the afternoon working individually on drawing a croquis. We worked off of a basic croquis that was closest to our body type and then made all the necessary changes. We had full length mirrors to look into along with help from Sarah.
The second half of the afternoon was spent working on your individual croquis in a group setting. you would stand up in front of the group with Sarah next to you holding your croquis and the group would assess your drawing and suggest changes. Lather, rinse, repeat until the group decided your croquis was matched your body.
The evolution of my personalized croquis

This was a great experience!! It really allowed me to look at my body with a non-judgemental eye and it made me realize that parts that I thought were too big or less than desirable in my head really are not. I am a beautiful person.

After finalizing the croquis we had a basic lesson in sketching garments just to get our hands used to the process.

Lessons of Day 1-
1.There is a complicated mix of elements that really go into creating a well put together look or ensemble.
2. I have a beautiful body that is all my own! and now I have a personalized croquis to sketch out personalized looks on.

Day 2:
Morning: Lecture/trunk show on the Evolution of Style from Sarah's point of view and on how you can use style lines and seam lines to make the body more proportionate.  We then spent a couple hours tagging fashions that we like in magazines and books. This was my first introduction to collezioni magazines. Such a treat!

Tagging and discussing designs that we like!

Afternoon: In a group setting we each presented our tagged items and expressed what it was that drew us to these designs being as specific as possible. While we did this Sarah took many notes and sometimes would stop us to put a star on the corresponding sticky tag. When we were all done, Sarah then handed out a list of sketching exercises/challenges to each of us. Some of these corresponded directly to starred tags so that we could have a specific reference.

The idea of this was that we explore the designs we like using our individualized croquis and see if there was a way to incorporate the essence of those details that we liked into designs on our own bodies. Brilliant!

My specific exercises/challenges were:
- structured necklines
- structured hemlines
- peplums of any kind ( I specifically was given this challenge because I said i did not believe that a peplum would work on me!)
- long jacket silhouettes
- very open necklines (wide and/or deep)
- Deep V necklines. very, very deep even if only achieved if by illusion by using seam/style lines
- outrageous shoulder details and classy cold shoulder looks
- belted looks, waist defining looks
- sheer overlays
- 60's neckline and collar
a portion of my to-do list from Sarah

Lessons of Day 2:
Not to be afraid of trying out different details and designs that I may have never tried before. Using my croquis I can try them out and decide if it is something I like and if it is a design I want to further work on. No excuses to push myself out of my box.

Day 3:
Morning: spent the entire morning sketching. The idea was to work on the challenges that we were given the day before from Sarah. She spent individualized time with each of us. During this time she helped with actual mechanics of sketching as well as with helping us to develop our designs from the exercises/challenges she gave us.

Presenting our initial sketches to the group.

Afternoon: Directly after lunch we gathered as a group and each took the time to present one sketching design and how we came up with the details and what we learned from it. I found learning from each other in a group setting to be highly beneficial. Each person had different ideas and different reasons for how they made their decisions. Often times this would spark new ideas in my brain! After this group exercise we were back at our individual workstations, or anywhere in the house you wanted to be, sketching again for the rest of the day. Time flew by!

A few of my sketches

Lesson of Day 3:
Not only could I sketch designs I really, really like it!! Finally a tool for me to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper in a meaningful way.

Half way through!
Stay tuned for part 2

Friday, May 27, 2016

In the Sketchbook - May 2016

Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.

Welcome to the newest feature of my blog! I recently took an amazing Design class with Sarah Veblen at her home studio in Maryland. This was Exploring Fashion Design- Design 1, a 6 day intensive class that has opened me to so many new ways to look at design, process design and to move forward with creating beautiful and well thought out garments.

One of the many tools we learned in Design 1 was to create a personal croquis and then how to use that croquis to sketch out garments and then further develop these into working drawings. A full review of that class is forthcoming!

This new monthly blog post will come out on the last friday of each month and will feature sketches and working drawings that I have worked on during the month. Don't forget to click on over to Wendy's site, The Couture Counsellor, to see what has been happening in her sketchbook this month! If anyone else has sketches they would like to share please add them to the comments.

Please enjoy my sketches! I expect with time that these will just get better and better and more developed. For now I am just in the beginning stages of my journey. 

A summer dress that is in the muslin phase. I have 2 linens that i am contemplating. Both clear bold colors. the dress will be done in a solid color with top- stitching detail. this started as V 1404 but has several design changes.
Playing off the above dress, I wanted to design a fall/winter dress that would involve possible subtle color blocking. you can see these in the 2 different colorways on the right. the sleeve detail is just design lines in a regular sleeve.

Several warmer weather outfits! Each plays with the idea of incorporating sheer fabrics as insets, gathers or overlays.

The jacket on the left is the star of the ensemble. Incorporates interesting design lines with the thought of possibly using a 2 sided jacquard or 2 coordinating fabrics to play with the interesting design lines. On the right I show how this jacket would work with slacks, a pencil skirt and a pleated skirt.

During the Design 1 class I was challenged to play around with long jacket silhouettes over sheath dresses for possible work ensembles or evening wear. Here are 2 different ideas that I have come up with.. Still not sure how I feel about this silhouette for me...

Winter coat idea. possibly leather/wool/fur combination. Certainly would be a statement piece!

Monday, May 9, 2016

A little bit of this and a little bit of that! Getting ready for Design 1 class :)

Life has been quite busy! I am feeling mostly back to normal after all my health issues. I have found that I have had to made some permanent alterations to my diet but all have been for the good! Good for my health and diet. Harder part has been re-training my taste buds to like these changes! So much harder than I had anticipated. 

Worktravel has picked up, home life had been lovely (I just love being a grandma!) and sewing time has been efficiently used to create garments. All of this means that my blogging time has gotten squeezed a bit as well as getting photos of myself in my sewn garments! 

I have another great blog post all written and in the que... Just waiting for photos to be inserted! Photo delay partly due to time constraints and partly due to weather. It seems the couple of days when the weather was nice I was very busy and when I had the time the weather was too cold! 

This week I am in Atlanta for work until Thursday and then I am off to Design 1 class at Sarah Veblen's home studio. I am very excited about this week long class. My friend Wendy Grossman from Couturecounsellor.com and I are attending the class together. I left home this morning with 2 suitcases packed to the max. Suitcase number 1- 2 weeks of clothes and toiletries and suitcase number 2- all my supplies for Design 1 class! Almost filled to the brim with some of my favorite fabrics, trims, buttons, colored pencils, markers, other drawing supplies, patterns and design swatches and ideas. As well as several muslins. Of course I left some room in this suitcase to add a piece or two of beautiful fabric from our planned visit to Michael's fabrics (A Fabric Place)! 

We are also heading in a day early to share a day of private time with Sarah. 
I have 3 muslins sewn up and ready to work with Sarah on. Plus I have another in my suitcase to sit out if I have time! 
The muslins I have are:
- Cropped/short princess seamed short sleeved jacket with interesting sleeve detail. (See photo near end) This is a varaition of my master jacket pattern. 

- Vogue 1404 dress - love the details! Although I will not be making this of faux suede as suggested. I have a nice bright linen picked out! 

- Cynthia Guffey top T-2025. This top may be my undoing... I am onto my 4th muslin of this top. (Of course it doesn't help that I have lost 40lbs between muslin 1 and 2!) I think it may be finally close to being done and ready to be sewn up. I hope or I may literally take it into the backyard and light it on fire and move on. I love the detailing of this to and the very interesting seaming. 

- and possibly a new muslin of my master pattern princess sheath dress. Depends on whether I have time during the week to get it cut out!

I'm hoping to have at least 3 of these muslins in final fitting stages so I can proceed to the fun part! The sewing and the detail designing! 

In the meantime:

Last week during work travel I cut out a pair of linen pants and batiste underlining. I had time to hand baste the layers together and sew the darts. That was about it. A project to come home too when I return home in 2 weeks.

I was playing with my embroidery machine and stitched out these 4 embroidered postcards on old manilla envelopes. Added a magnet to the back and gave a couple out for Mother's Day :) 

Planning a new summer jacket to go with the black linen pants. Here is the yellow/black/white fabric from emmaonesock.com with vintage chezch yellow glass buttons.
The plan is to create a short sleeved, slightly cropped princess seamed jacket. I only have 2 yards of the fabric so I believe this will be collarless. In-progress muslin... Still need to make final decision on the sleeve design.

In other news my Dad has been busy making these beautiful pin boxes that he makes out of reclaimed wood and sells through me and at craft shows in lower Delaware. The boxes are unique, no two are the same and they are approximately 4inch square. 

My mom made this beautiful quilted wall hanging. Originally meant for her bedroom but looks too beautiful in their family room! I need to point out that my mom is NOT a quilter. She practiced this Bargello technique on a small square that she made into a couch pillow and then tackled this project. She pieced, quilted and bound it all herself. It truly is beautiful! Now she is getting back into garment sewing. She taught ,e so much when I started sewing and now it's fun to passing more advanced learning back to her :)

I hope that everyone had a lovely Mother's Day weekend! 
Happy Sewing!

Princess Victoria getting as close as she could to Blue. Blue is a big 75lb scaredy cat and if V got an y closer she would bolt!