When I first began to design my senior collection almost a year ago today, I never would have dreamed that it would have turned out the way it did. Before I even began to put pencil to the paper I thought about what I like to design. I love designing and sewing swim wear as well as weekend wear outfits. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to design resort wear. I researched trend reports for the next year and envisioned my collection to be very girly and almost whimsical. With general ideas in my head, I headed to New York City’s garment district to find the fabric to match my vision. My fiancé and I had spent two whole days searching for something that would inspire my designs. At this little hole in the wall store, there it was, hanging in the window. This gorgeous piece of dusty pink tulle with embroidery and hand sewn black and copper feathers on it. It came in a five-yard panel and it started as the base of my entire collection. Immediately I pictured it as skirt on a cocktail dress. After that we visited Mood Fabrics and I was lucky enough to find a crock embossed leather skin that was the exact shade of dusty pink and copper finish to match the tulle and feather piece.
That was my jumping off point. That night I started sketching many possibilities that could come from this combo. As part of our class assignment, we were to sketch many many designs for each garment you were to create. The professor then eliminates the sketches til you have just a five for each garment. Then those are fully rendered in a fashion illustration and matching flats. The critic chose this sketch below for me to create. In just a short seven weeks everything was patterned and fitted in muslin.
This garment was one of my last to pattern. I made all of my muslins out of tulle and pleather vinyl. For this garment I had a total of six fittings. I had first patterned this design with bust and waist darts but changed it to princess seams soon after the second fitting. It fit the bust much better this way and eliminated some of the bulk in the leather. My model Katie was great. She came in so many times so that I could fit her and make quick changes on the muslin and pattern.
When it came to sewing the leather, it was definitely a challenge. I had never worked with real leather before and it handles differently then pleather. After making this garment and other pieces with leather I learned what tools, techniques, and finishing worked best. I will talk about these tools and show you the techniques and finishings I used in an upcoming vodcast. This pic above is Katie on the runway at our Stephens College annual student fashion show…….she looked fabulous!