Tuesday, March 24, 2009

a tutorial in the design process

There's an image most people have of fashion designers. Sitting hunched over a draft table sketching skinny models in outrageous designs all day. Most of the time I don't even bother to draw my designs out before I execute them. Once in a while, though, I know there will be a bit of lag time between concept and execution so I have to jot something down quickly to remind myself of what I was thinking about later on. A lot of those ideas don't get made, I'm afraid. And I'm even more sorry to say that, while I used to sit down and do a detailed sketch of the garment in mind and make sure it looked really fabulous in the end, now I just sort of throw it down on the paper well enough that I get the idea when I am looking back on it.
Here is a good example of a design I actually sketched. As you can see, I didn't spend much time making it a lovely drawing! Off to the side I wrote suggestions for fabrics (wool flannel and peacock blue"china silk" brand lining) and when I found a fabric I was particularly enamoured of I added that to the page to remind myself.
To the right you see the actual garment, which is closer to the drawing than many of my designs end up. In the end I didn't use wool flannel because it would have been prohibitively expensive (I used wool crepe instead and underlined it with cotton/poly poplin for weight) and switched from a solid satin lining to a striped cotton lining (I saw it in the shop and it just seemed so perfect to me!). But otherwise it's pretty true to the concept.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I think I love making my customers happy more than anything. I especially love photographic evidence of them working it in my designs! This week my Roberta bloomers were blogged about here and the post just fills me with joy. many thanks to Kandace and to all the lovely people who commented as well!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

thinking outside the box

Often, the design process involves more than a little thinking outside the proverbial box. Here's an exercise in creative thinking for you.
I found these interesting sequined appliques at the local fabric shop the other day (okay, month. I have had them on hold since then. Anyway.) Above you see what the applique looks like in the manufacturer's packaging, right way up. Hmm. Interesting. Maybe a little Egyptian. Okay, yes. Fine. But what do you DO with something like that? Here was my solution:

Wings! Anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty crazy for anything wing-related. Angel wings and fairy wings and what have you. Just look at the name of my shop! I have several shirts with wings on the shoulders. I have often considered getting a wing tattoo but I'm too chicken. So, anyhow, with a few careful snips with my embroidery scissors and a quick flip-over this interesting if not terribly useful applique became something I could actually USE. The back of a jacket, maybe? Or the sides of something? How about attached to hair pins for a smashing nineteen twenties look? I haven't actually decided yet.
What other fabulous ways could you recreate the world around you from the pieces you are given?