Friday, April 20, 2018

Exploring Fashion Design II- a workshop with Sarah Veblen: Part Two

This is Part 2 of 2 on Exploring Fashion Design II, a workshop with Sarah Veblen
To read Part one go HERE.

Day 3 continued. 
Playing with the flowers sort of acted like a palette cleanser for my brain and got me ready to push on with more work!
In the afternoon we started out with an exercise with our croquis to deliberately play with hem lengths and figure out what we could wear for different types of skirts/dresses and then take that into asymmetrical work. When I took design I, I was initially skeptical about how the sketching on the croquis would translate into my designs. For instance, were the lengths or designs that I liked on the croquis going to work on my actual body. I spent several months after Design I playing with this and for the most part it is quite true. Things that I like on my croquis match to what works on me. Having almost 2 years to play with this between design I and design II have been very good for me to process many of the ideas.  What does that all boil down to? It means that I now trust the relationship of what I sketch on my croquis and how that translates directly to my garments and my body.

Everyone hard at work in the workroom! We each had a 4 foot table space to our own and boy did we need it... being creative really makes a big mess :)

The rest of the day was spent doing individual work and working with Sarah to discuss fabrics and trims that we may have brought with us. I brought a couple lengths of fabrics that I really like but was not sure what to do with. Sometimes it helps to get others opinions just to shake some ideas loose in your brain.
I had several good discussions with Sarah that afternoon. One was how to recreate this deconstructed Chanel look that has always captured my interest. We discussed and before I knew it she had a scrap of boucle in my hands for me to play with and test my idea out!
Top photos are of my Chanel inspiration
Bottom photos are of my test piece of fabric. I learned it is doable and I will just need to teat on different swatches of boucle before making a decision on the garment. It will certainly be a slow, slow, slow sewing project!

The other discussion was around one of the fabrics that I brought with me. It is a panel fabric of silk taffeta plaid and an area along each panel that has yarn woven across the grain. I decided to purchase the silver/grey cotton and purple wool crepe.

Sarah playing with the fabric to see what it would look like in the cross grain versus lengthwise grain. On the right are swatches of the companion fabrics that I purchased at A Fabric Place to go with it. A silver/grey cotton and a purple wool crepe.

Day 4: Trip to: A Fabric Place!!
A Fabric Place has become one of my favorite places to shop for fabrics!

Before we headed out to A Fabric Place Sarah gave each of us our assignments. We would spend the morning working on our exercises, have a well needed lunch break and discussion and then head back to A Fabric Place for additional assignments and of course fabric shopping.

The fabric exercises are comprised solely of gathering swatches. Sarah walks around armed with scissors to cut fabric swatches. There are also the employees at the shop who also will cut fabric swatches for you as needed. At the end of the day I ended up with something around 50 or more swatches.

Each attendee is given different assignments based on what you have been working on during the week and on what Sarah believes will help you to grow and discover.

My assignments were:
  1. Develop a traditional palette of Navy and make sure to have some companion fabrics to spice it up. As you can see in the photo I ended up takin gmy navy palette and pushing it inot the realm of purples. Very nice exercise and one that I would not normally do. 
  2.  Develop 2 palettes of Teal and Orange, one for work and one for non-work life! in the photo below the top portion is the work collection (i'm not mad about the print on the left but I left it in anyway...) The bottom half of the photo is a collection for non-work life, It was nice to see that there are a couple of overlaps between the two.

  3.  Using a princess sheath dress that I sketched and called ‘Mix Princess Dress’ find the following combinations:
    1. menswear and chiffon... this was super fun!! So much fun that I bought the left side swatches.
    2. hard and edgy- picked a couple swatches but didn't get a photo
    3. sweet and girly- this never even happened
I also had several of my own fabrics that I wanted to find companions for! So much to do and so much amazing fabric to choose from!
Had to grab a photo of Jonathan from A Fabric Place
Here I am with 2 of my fabrics that I shared with the group.

We wrapped up the day back at Sarah’s showing each other the fabrics that we purchased. Good thing I left lots of room in my suitcase! My suitcase ended up clocking in at 49 pounds! Whew!!

Wendy purchases a beautiful beaded navy fabric for sleeves, Mary is all smiles with her purchases, 3 of us all purchased the same brocade fabric! so beautiful!! Liz purchased a lovely silk chiffon.

Day 5 and our last day of the workshop
Hard to believe how quickly the days pass when you are so engrossed with learning and exploring! We started the morning off with sharing the results of our fabric exercises with each other. Always fun to show what you thought does and does not work and always someone else will whip out a swatch from their pile and go ohhh, what about this one? This process is fun and you learn so much about color and texture and how and why things work together and all of this is done in such a natural way. This is a great learning style for me and it exposes me to color pallets and combinations that I just don’t normally work with because they are not what I like for me.

We also had some very good discussion on how to take a sketch and move it into a pattern. This of course, can be quite subjective and you really need a very good master/base/block pattern to start with.
It also includes making muslins or making several or just a muslin of an area. For example, if you are just changing up a collar design or a sleeve design you can construct the body of the garment and then just make a muslin of the collar or sleeve and work with that.
I know many people don’t like to make muslins or may find them to be time consuming. However, I think they are an invaluable tool in finalizing a design and they give your hands time to play with the design before cutting into expensive fashion fabric.

Sarah showing us different was to manipulate patterns and how to move from sketch and design into pattern work.

The afternoon was spent doing whatever work that you wanted, along with some individual time with Sarah. I used this time to discuss several of my designs and to get some ideas on the trickier aspects of construction and pattern work. It is also very good to bounce ideas off of her, she has so much experience and I find that as my own experiences become stronger and stronger that sometimes I am just checking myself to see if my thought process is going in the right direction or if there are things that I never even thought of!

At the end of the day we took a few minutes to gather as a group and have a wrap up discussion before we packed up all our belongings.Sarah wanted to hear from each of us on one or two things that we learned or that we felt was an important part of the workshop.

I highly recommend this course to anyone who has gone to the Design I workshop and wants to take their design skills to the next level.

Happy Sewing!!


  1. Another excellent post which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm not there yet (ready for this type of course) not sure I actually want to go there, but inspirational nevertheless

  2. awesome...
    have a great day.


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