FIT – Fashion Art & Design I

Since late January, my ‘making’ hours have been mostly focused on learning to draw and design on paper.  This semester I am taking Fashion Art & Design I at FIT in order to better articulate my ideas by hand and to learn how to create a portfolio should I decide to apply to the school (an outside chance but you never know!).  My art background is limited to 2 2-hour drawing sessions in the ’90s and elementary school so I’m pretty much starting from scratch.  Still, two months in and I’ve learned a lot.

We have drawn many fashion poses (called ‘croquis’) and after merely 2 weeks were already rendering designs (using colored pencils, markers and paints to express fabrics)! The whole experience has been super intimidating (especially as there are folks who majored in art in college in this class) but the professor has encouraged us to just work on improving and not comparing – always a good reminder.  Here is where I started out – some early figures and faces.

One month in, faces slowly getting better.  This exercise was about showing we understood how to draw a collar and put clothing on the form with the correct (cylindrical perspective).


Last Thursday we turned in our first presentation.  We were to make a mini-collection of resortwear at a low price point – think, Target, JC Penney, etc.  The collection needed a unified color ‘story’ and we were also to base it on inspiration images we collected initially.


I found it hard to put together (only three designs?!) but I ultimately got it done.  First I drew many small drawings of ideas and then narrowed it down to three.  I drew many swatches of my print and eyelet fabric.  My fabrics were tough to me but were much easier than some others’ (prints!).  The Prof. was really great at showing us how to render our different fabrics, using various techniques/tricks of the trade.  For instance, so my floral was not oversaturated, the marker is on the back of the paper which is thin enough to bleed through and then I redrew the flower outlines on the outside.  My eyelet is using marker as well as several colored and graphite pencils.  We were required only to do front view flats but despite doing many for Draping, they took forever.  That said, she took one look at them and said they look great.  A plus!

The fabrics are – upper left a white swim suit spandex and then a made up swim suit fabric using the same white as the base and the print from that cotton on top.  To the right is a cotton eyelet; lower left is a blue silk knit and to the right a khaki cotton twill.

Overall, my designs are simple but I stuck to the assignment.  That said, many others complete blew off the price point (which bugged me off b/c the prof didn’t seem to mind that people were turning in $200 dresses for Target – really?) but those students’ stuff looked much more intricate and cooler.  I am hopeful I don’t get marked down for simplicity when I was keeping the market in mind (if I do, I will actually address this with her).  Some other students did jaw-droppingly gorgeous work.  Like wow!  I am definitely in the lower quality work-product student group but for two months, I am really pleased with my improvement (other than swimsuit girl’s tanorexia – think I will skip that marker next time LOL).

Some close ups:




Next up:  A Chanel collection (our final project) – daytime dress, evening dress, suit (of course!) and outdoor coat.  Chanel opens the door to luxury details and fabrics.  Fun!

ETA:  I got an A!


Fabric Giveaway

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning over the past few months (winter) and have some larger cuts of fabric I won’t be needing.  Any NYers want some free fabric?  Here’s what I have:

1.5 plus yds (60″W) Blue and White cotton, medium weight (summer skirt weight but not wimpy), no stretch or very little:

4 yds (60″W) Purple-blue/Green/White cotton/poly medium weight (for a summer dress or lined summer suit), no stretch.  Has a really nice weave, see close up.  Overall colors are more deep than photos show.  And the green is more of a true kelly than shown here.

1 yd plus (62″W)  Donna Karan medium-heavy weight camel color khaki cotton fabric. Has a really really nice feel.  The fabric is so wide you could easily make a shorter skirt with this.  And despite these photos it is darker – more like camel color.

1 yd (60″W) heavy weight hunter green cotton ‘duck’ fabric.  My stepmom had bought this to make an LL Bean type gardening tool bag similar to this.  It’s very nice material for this project if you are making something like that.

IMG_0532Get in touch if you want something and we’ll figure out to meet up.  Happy sewing, all!


Darn it!

Before I embark on my next dress, I thought I’d start off 2016 fixing a few items that are in bad shape that I wear all the time.

First up, these mittens!

IMG_0459Not so bad on the outside but wait!

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Ouch. No bueno in the thumb area.

So, why fix them?  Well, you’d think I could find rockin’ Thinsulate mittens here in NYC, but apparently it’s only THESE 22-year old gifted Canadian mittens that actually keep me toasty.  After buying many replacement pairs  that turned out to really not cut it, I realized I needed to make these bad boys last, especially given the intensely cold winters we’ve been having the past few years (much less the 12F we had today). That said, the thumb area in particular is deteriorating.  I have resewn them many times already but they just kept getting worse.  Having seen this tutorial about darning on Colette Blog a month or so ago, I thought it was time to give actual darning a shot.

I didn’t have a direct match of embroidery thread, so I went with a coordinating lavender Perle cotton I had on hand, got out my grandmother’s darning ‘thing’, shoved it in the thumb and started sewing.  They don’t look good – at all – darning is rather tricky it turns out, but the thumb areas feel solid again.  (If this doesn’t work, I’ll likely make a little patch for each thumb.)

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So there you go.  Ready (enough) for winter!

Have any of you darned anything?  I’m especially curious about woven fabrics.  I have a much beloved shirt with a tear in it – I’m wondering if I matched the thread if it would end up being invisible enough to wear again.  Thoughts?


THE DRESS – FIT Draping 1 Final Project

For our final project we were to drape a princess seam dress with a collar or interesting neckline and sleeve and then transfer the design to paper and then sew it up and present it at our last class (tonight!).   We were told a color story (white/black/grey/red) and then got to collectively choose a theme “Alice in Wonderland.”  My dress is the Knave of Hearts – a black and white princess line with a back cut out that suggests a heart.  Behold!


I love this neckline!  It was a bear to execute and line up the facings for it though.  I did multiple versions of the facings and they are two color to match when folded under – really can’t express what a pain in the ass they were.  Tons of clipping, pressing, more pressing, even more pressing was the only way to get them to lie flat.  Close ups!


The back has a hand-picked zipper and honestly I can’t imagine why you would ever do any other kind.  So easy.  I hate putting in zippers – I haven’t quite mastered the spacing around the tab area and even messed it up with the handpicked.  The difference with handpicked is it was super easy to fix and get it to a level I liked it.

The black fabric as you can see above was a lint magnet.  This is AFTER I went over it several times with a lint roller.  Oh well.  I love the white fabric.  It feels completely luscious to the touch but is a bit on the thick side and was only with the FIT ironing set up that I could get things to iron down at all.


The sleeve turned out to be a bit complex to pull off.  It is set in but only across the upper half of the shoulder and then moves off to the main garment.  I finished the open part with a bias facing.  The white one is a little squirrelly (dropped my ‘execution’ grade to an A – bah!) but you can see what’s going on a little better here.

I learned a ridiculous amount in this class.  I can’t believe I designed this dress and then I can’t believe I sewed it up.  I’ve never made anything this complex and learned a lot from ‘what not to do’ and ripping things out.  Still, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Here are a few bonus action shots – the drape and the pattern I traced off, and the like.

So much work. We spent a month of this and I spent probably – no kidding – 80 hours on this project. I really didn’t think I had it in me. Apparently I did! So fun.

The ‘Term Garment’ Sketches

My friend John pointed out I never posted all of my sketches.  So here they are.

There are two sets  of sketches.  The first set was deemed too ‘ready to wear’.  Here are those.  I actually LOVE these dresses and want to wear them.  Maybe I”ll make these for me.


She gave me a day to redo them (yikes, not a lot of time).  Also, she also made us (as a class) pick a theme and colors and we went with Alice in Wonderland with a color ‘story’ of Red/Black/White/Grey.   Here are my more thematic drawings.

This above is the one I’m making. It’s 1/3 white and the rest is black. I’m also going to add a double box pleat at the back as a kick pleat. Very cool.  Here are a few others.

Hope you enjoyed!