BLACK AND WHITE Fashion

Jeeeeeze! It’s been a while huh? I know you’ve probably missed me and wondered where the heck I have been. Worry not. I have not gone far. I’ve just been stuck behind my sewing machine working on a few projects.  While most are still in the “muslin” stage, I would love to show you one of my newer finished pieces.   Check it out!

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This dress, being my most recent creation, is definitely one of my favorites.  I designed, and sewed this garment for a draping class at The School of Fashion Design.  Given my first go at proper draping, I think I did a pretty alright job.  Of course, I did not do it all alone.  I had great instruction from my teacher Daniel Faucher, who is a Boston based couturier.  Specializing in bridal, evening and special occasion, Daniel lives in a world of glamour, opulence, and fanciful beauty.  His garments exude class, sophistication, and a certain je ne sais pas that I think only lives in fairy tales.   This man is truly a wealth of information.  He willingly shares his tricks of the trade, perhaps knowing full well it will take us years and years to even come close to nipping at his heels.  Fancy laces, applique techniques, hand sewing, elaborate finishes, beading , and gorgeous hem treatments are just some examples of things I have learned about while in this master’s presence.  But the most important thing I have learned, I discovered on my own: The devil is in the details!  But alas, I must remember not to get too overwhelmed, discouraged, or intimidated, after all, “A perfect garment is just one  muslin away!”

While you may enjoy following my progress as I develop in to a fashion designer, check out Mr. Faucher’s work….pretty impressive stuff I must say!

http://www.danielfauchercouture.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-Faucher-Couture/176163739075242

Aaaaaanyways.  Back to me!

Let me take you through a few of the steps it takes to actually make a garment.

First:  You have to start with an idea.  Got one?  Great!  Now sketch it.  I alway do a couple versions of the same thing.  You know, Like variations on a theme.  You’d be surprised how much of a difference the smallest changes can make.

See what you’ve got, and pick your favorite!

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“Sketchy sketch”

Next:  Come back down to earth.  A quick visit to “designers la la land” will definitely get the sketches done, but now you have to figure out if this design is even possible.  At this stage you have to work out something called a “Plot sheet.”  This is basically where you figure out the shape of your pattern pieces, how they fit together and to see if your dream garment can actually become a reality.    Remember, anything is possible in “la la land” but not so much in the real world with real people with real bodies try to wear your clothes.  Clearly this stage can be a real buzz kill, but once you’ve got a rough idea of your design components, you can actually start putting the puzzle pieces together.

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Chosen design and Rough Plot Sheet

From there: Start draping!!!!  Throw some muslin on a dress form and play!  With the right skills and a little bit of know-how, you can manipulate a sheet of material in to something truly spectacular.

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“Rough draft”
draping stage in the work room

Now that the design is starting to take shape, and you have somewhat of an idea of the supplies you will need to complete your vision, its time to go SHOPPING!  Woowho!

Fabric Place Basement is my fabric store of choice around the Boston Area.  (Going to New York every time I need material is just a bit much….even for me!) In any case, Fabric Place has such a great range of fabrics, trims, notions, and supplies that I don’t need to go anywhere else. so much so that I hardly ever have to order from NYC or visit other stores.  With a wide array of fabrics  ranging from luxury silks and leather skins, to athletic knits to outdoor upholstery fabrics, this place has got everything that you are looking for!  20130806-181342.jpg

Sometimes I get to go out back and scope the shipments before the hit the floor!  I have found some amazing remnants, exclusive designer silks, and other novelty goods I’ve seen nowhere else.

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*Fun Fact: one time I even skateboarded around the back warehouse with the owner’s kids….so Fun! 
So.  For this dress I chose to work with some beautiful white silk chiffon and ivory silk crepe I picked up at Fabric Place Basement.  I LOVE working with chiffon.  Some may think I am crazy, but I enjoy the challenge of working with the slippery, light, uncontrollable materials.  The end result is always much greater than the struggle and strive encountered on the way there.  🙂  I also decided to add some soft black lamb skin leather to my design for contrast.  I think the etherial white chiffon paired with solid black leather achieves a paradoxical match.  Though inate opposites, I really enjoy the textural and chromatically juxtaposition.  It kind of works…. Like Yin and Yang…..It’s not like I invented this idea or anything! DUH!
YinYang
Anyways….I guess what I’m getting at is, the fact that the pairing of Chiffon and leather is somewhat unexpected but it totally works.  I think that makes it badass.  It’s kinda like a bondage ballerina, or a punk at the country club.  Its a strange dichotomy that really works!
But blah blah blah…on with the process.
"Hanging Out"

Fabric details:
Gathered chiffon (for bodice)
Black lamb skin trapunto/ topstitching detail (back of bodice)

Here’s a picture of my chiffon hanging out on a dress form.  When working with chiffon it is important to let it hang for at least 24 hours.  The delicate fabric needs time to stretch out and settle into it’s final shape.  Cutting unrested fabrics can result in a bounce-back effect that is most undesirable leaving your hems uneven and your bodices lopsided.  YIKES/YUCK!  So to avoid that problem, I let my chiffon hang for a couple of days to ensure avoidance of this catastrophe.

In my case, it was especially important to allow my fabrics to hang for a substantial amount of time because of the type of skirt I was creating for the dress.  I designed the dress with 4 gathered quarter circle skirts.  This means the skirt hangs through all of the grain lines of the material: Straight grain, Bias, and Cross Grain.  Each reacting differently to gravity.  Straight grain stretching the least and bias the most.  Sounds pretty complicated….and IT IS!    I’d explain it further….but this blog is already wordy enough as it is.

Look!  More shots from the work room!

(At the House of Hinds Lines and Designs)

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A back view and front view of the bodice mid production.

The skirt and Bodice coming together….

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To make the final product! WHO-RAY!

Pretty snazzy eh?

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What’s even cooler, is that shortly after finishing this labor of love it was put on display at The School of Fashion design where it was completed.  So very exciting!

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New dress displayed with another one of my works at The School of Fashion Design

Now, What could be cooler than your very own window display on Newbury St?

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I know…..your very own window display on Newbury st. on Halloween!

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“Trick or Treat!”

Or even COOLER yet!  Your very own window display on Newbury st. with your mannequins suited and booted in Red Sox regalia after winning the WORLD SERIES! ……oh ya…..and having this all done on the day of the Big Parade!  Not bad exposure if I do say so myself!

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“Home Run Fashion”

I should add some pictures of a person actually wearing this dress shouldn’t I?

Action Shots coming soon!

Thanks for reading!

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