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!


FIT Draping – Dress 5 a/k/a We Can’t All Be Winners

Poor little Dress 5.  So close and yet so far.

We proceeded with our training to a Princess Seam Dress.  I based my design on my Term Garment (next project) for which I’d submitted and gotten approved a flat sketch weeks ago. Here is a photo of the Term Garment sketch:


We were allowed to use our term garment as a basis for Dress 5, but Dress 5 also had to include a collar and flares/godets/pleats (at least one type) in our design.  My term garment design absolutely does not want a collar so I decided to do the whole ‘go big or go home’ and it was, indeed big.

IMG_0416 IMG_0417This is a Bias Curled collar (which one student labeled Cinnabon because that’s what it looks like before you cut it – a giant snail shape)  which… maybe works? but I personally HATE IT.  Since the neckline of the term garment is so cool and I’d draped it well, it killed me to hide it under this monstrosity.  I told friends that it reminded me of a scene early on in True Lies where Jamie Lee Curtis is shown in a very fuddy dress with a huge collar and ruffle at the bottom which she ends up ripping off and ending up in a great dress.  That’s me here.  Rip that Cinnabon collar off and you have a great neckline.  With the collar – meh, oh well.

The whole thing is compounded by my totally failed bell sleeve.  Points off for that one.  It was too late to fix – so ugly.

I kind of like the collar in the back but still meh.  Works better without a collar.


Overall, collar and sleeve aside, I had a horrible time fitting with this dress.  She actually didn’t reduce me for that which I was amazed b/c the fit is so dumpy and I couldn’t figure out where I went wrong with it. Should I have added additional side darts?  But my approved drawing didn’t HAVE darts and the professor is an Eagle Eye for stuff like that.  If something’s missing, she will immediately notice it.  And fitting for a close but breathable (enough ease) fit is still not something I can see easily  In any event, she said I merely needed to adjust the side seam, taking it in from waistline up to armpit and then letting it out from waistline down to hipline and I tried that and the fit was instantly almost perfect.  Amazing.

Shot of the back:



Yes, this design gets merely a participation award.  Also, I’ve fitted this thing so many times, it’s stretched out beyond usability, so I’m having to redrape the term garment from scratch starting tonight.  Still, doing something a second time takes about 1/3 of the time and it’ll be really nice to have a cleaner garment.  Wish me luck.


Don Carlos Quilt!

When my friend Ranta told me she was going to have a baby, I was very excited to make her a handmade baby quilt. One of the reasons I like making baby quilts, aside from (a) the size (not too tough) and (b) a personalized special gift, is it is really fun to pick out baby fabric–there is so much good stuff available these days. I located the perfect fabric for her in Riley Blake’s Little Flyer collection. I went with the Gray color way and ordered a fat quarter set of all 7. Coupling that with solids and a few other prints I already had on hand, over the summer I pieced together the quilt front and back while down the Shore (using the Airflyte). IMG_0210

Here’s the front. Ah summer!

Just when I was about to start quilting this quilt in August, my Brother decided to break. You all know that saga, but the upshot is that by the time I got my machine back from repair the second time, I had started taking draping class at FIT and had literally no time or energy to finish it. Last weekend, with Ranta two weeks overdue, I realized it was now or never if I were to deliver it to her when I first met the little guy. So I buckled down and did a sweet simple quilting and got it done. I’m really happy with how it turned out.



Back.  Leftovers plus this great big piece of dog fabric.  Ranta and Ross may have a cat but I know they have a soft spot for dogs. Might as well indoctrinate little Don Carlos to dogs early on.



Some close ups of the main Little Flyers squares:




Darling, right?  For the quilting, as you can see, I did a simple ¼” (ish) straight stitch along each seam in a coordinating cream/yellow. I used Kona ‘Royal’ for a non-bias binding (didn’t have enough to bias) and made a simple label for her baby whose name had not yet been selected by his parents and thus I went with the name all their friends had been calling him during gestation, “Don Carlos.” So he can remember his roots, of course.


In any event, Welcome Don Carlos! To Earth. He was finally born on 11/4/15 and I got to see him a few days later. He is cute as a button. Very fun to have him finally out here in the world with us.  Congrats to Ranta and Ross on your new family!


FIT Draping – Dress 4

I’ve been remiss in posting.  Here are some shots of Dress 4 – the Shift/Sheath dress, with bias collar and puff sleeve (I made what’s called a trumpet sleeve – puff on bottom):


With a lower neckline in front and back, I didn’t need a full on dart so I spread the extra fabric in front into two little dart tucks.  When this dress is pressed (which I did do before I turned it in), the dart tucks look really cute. A fun element to try later.  (Back neckline was low enough I didn’t need an above-shoulder line dart at all.)


In the end, the collar would not end at CF but extend around across the left side of the dress (right side to you) to join the other tie end to create one piece.  It ends in the back with a knot tie that goes halfway down the back.  If I were making this again, I’d make the tie extend to about 6″ before the hem. This was lazyness – I cut too short and didn’t feel like fixing.  Too burnt out from dress 3.  :-)


Above you can see the tie part of the collar.  She asked that our Sheath dresses be not too fitted – they should be comfortable. She liked this fit but for me, if I were making this FOR me, I’d likely make it a little closer fitting and use a stretch cotton but I tend to like things more fitted.  The hem length here is mid-thigh for a kind of mod mini-dress look.


Sleeves are designed on paper and not draped – at least set in sleeves that we’ve done aren’t.  So sleeves feel very experimental to me – I followed instructions and this is what I got.  I’ll have to do a bunch more to really figure out how to translate my mind into the sleeve.  My real intention was a fitted to just below elbow more bell-like sleeve but instead I ended up with trumpet.  I actually like it the trumpet lot but if/when I make again, I’m going to do a bell sleeve as a draft and see how it looks.


A more front view of the sleeve.

I modeled this dress on two drawings I submitted to be considered for my term garment project (coming up).  She rejected them as too ‘ready to wear’ but I thought the ideas worked well in the Sheath and thus, I went with it.  I ultimately got an A (as opposed to an A+) due to the simpleness but I like it which is kind of all that matters, so okay.

Mod-Mini Princess Line with 1″ collar.  You can see the sleeve is a bit different here.


The back of another princess line showing the tie idea.  I like the length of my drawn tie better.


Thanks for reading.  Dress 5 coming up, plus a QUILT!


FIT Draping I – Dress 3


For this one, we had to design the neckline, shoulder yoke and midriff yoke, we had to use pleats or gathers in our design in both the front AND back bodice portion, design a cap sleeve and incorporate a flare skirt.  I’m really pleased with how this came out, but wow, this dress was a pain in the ass.


I got the idea for this design from a 40s style dress on the web so the genesis shape of front shoulder yoke and midriff yoke was styled from that.  The pleats on the web dress went straight across; I LOVE/prefer the way mine went, with the split around the ‘apex’.  The collar was not required for this project and is a little hard to discern from this photo due to the way it’s pinned on but it basically is a stand collar behind the neck curving around to flat against the sternum and fading to zero at the join with the midriff yoke.

IMG_0362You can see the back of collar here.  The back is entirely my own creation and in a perfect world I would not have pleats in it at all or something a little cleaner looking.  Still, I was pretty burnt out by the front at this point – It was tricky to get it to lay flat and not poof around the breast AND ugh, there just ended up to be myriad problems with this dress.

To wit – due to the ease in the back and yet the fitted front, I could NOT get the side seam to line up.   Hours lost there. I have no photos but there are probably 6 versions of a bodice side seam guidelines under the arm.  I finally pinned it by eye as it was the only way to make it balance.  Even with that, I still feel the fit in the is not optimal.  Yes, I want some room so you can move but it looks bunchy to me especially under the arm

I did the sleeve quickly and I’m not mad about the shape.  This was our first designed sleeve so I just made ‘something’ but in a future garment, I’d make either a short cap sleeve or do something non-cap that goes down the arm. But it fulfilled the assignment so bygones.


Having an empire waist (my choice) made the hem a bit tricky and annoyingly, my flare skirt which looked fine when I draped it got wonked out when I pressed it. You can see it doesn’t quite hang right here.  Thankfully for grading (these photos were taken on a prior day), I took her advice and steamed (shrank) the fabric again and it suddenly hung beautifully.  Should have gotten a photo.  Total save.

I was pretty shocked I got an A+ on this one, mainly due to the side seam wonk.  But ultimately she loved the front as much as I did.  I think it’s really stellar.  I’m not sure this style would look good on me as I already have a large chest but I could definitely see taking the front of this design, redrafting the back a bit, and making a nice empire waist top for myself.  Also making a flare skirt to wear independently  I really got a lot out of this dress but wow, it was tough.  She said herself, that aside from the princess dress, this was our hardest assignment.  Other students made AMAZING things but some aren’t even done yet.  It’s that tricky.

Next up – a Shift Dress that we’re turning into a Sheath dress.  I’m doing the Shift this weekend, I’ll try to remember to take pre-sheath photos.  This dress will end up with a bias collar (which she demoed last night and was hella cool) and a puffed sleeve – mine is a long bell sleeve.  Can’t wait.


Draping at FIT: Dress 2

For this one, we did another traditional bodice, this time with a bust dart instead of shoulder dart and, on the back, a neckline dart instead of a shoulder dart.  We made a non-roll collar (although honestly it seems almost the same), used a hip yoke, made facings for each of those as well as neckline facings and draped a gathered dirndl skirt.  (Collar below was the revised collar – I thought it suited the dress better.)

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Line drawing:


I had planned to blog this class more but wow, it is a total time and energy suck.  Not complaining but on top of my full time job and the 6 hours of class, I’m spending at least 10 hours (often closer to 18) each week on draping so by the time I get home, I’m pretty much good for nada.   I am learning a ton, though, which is cool.  But wow, so tiring.

More soon.  Onto dress 3!  Yikes – have to figure that out!


FIT Draping – Dress 1 complete

I’m pretty happy with it, mostly with the fit.  The color is me-designed and is pretty boring but at 12:30a last night I was in love with it.  So I may go down to school on Saturday and drape a new, less-nun-like collar.  But this one does the job enough.  Love the way the skirt fits.


Collar close up.  Wow, it looks really big. I may make this smaller:


Back of collar:


Side-ish view:


I fixed the front fit issues by taking in the side seam at the waist, grading to the line I was at at the under arm side seam.  It fits much better now.  I also adjusted the sleeve pins after I looked at the textbook and realized mine were incorrect.  Pinning seems to be very important to these teachers and thus… it was worth fixing.

At this point though, I’m not completely done.  I hadn’t realized that we were required to produce a technical drawing (I think, as opposed to a fashion illustration) and the swatch we’d make it in so I’m back to FIT today, this time to the library to get a book on how to do that.  My dreams of a light weekend are dashed – I’ll be working on drawing this thing.  But it’s exciting to see how much we’ve learned in only 4 classes.  Next week we start draping dress #2.  Onward.