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Archive for the ‘Fashion School’ Category

Sew You Know :: Terms Talk

There are so many terms that are helpful to know as you sew. To give you some insight to some of the more “obscure” sewing terms we thought we would start a once-a-week “Sew You Know” post.

One of our favorite terms (and tools), especially helpful with all the elastic we use in our knit garments:


Bodkin (bod-kin)


Definition: a blunt, thick needle with a large eye used especially for drawing tape or cord through a hem. Or, an instrument that is used to move elastic and cords thru a casing.
Here’s a pic of our favorite style–with “jaws” that open to grab and hold onto the elastic or cord. Once you use a bodkin you will never go back to using a safety pin for this purpose!
Notice the little slide ring at the base. This ring slides up the bodkin to close the “jaws” and grip onto whatever you are trying to thread through. It’s much longer and stronger than most safety pins, and is easy to slip thru casings. This is an inexpensive little gadget that is worth it’s weight in gold for any sewing studio.

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Allyce in Pageantland-To Market We Will Go!

So many people have asked what I have been up to since designing for DIYStyle and McCall Pattern Company. There is a long answer and a short answer.

Short answer–I started Allyce King Swim, a swimwear line designed especially for pageant competitors (think Miss USA, Miss America, etc.) and have been busy promoting, selling, producing in the USA (yay!!) and everything that goes with starting a new fashion line.

Long answer–in starting my line right after graduating from Stephens College with a degree in Fashion Design and Product Development, I have traveled a long, hard, fun and interesting road to get where I am right now as a fashion designer. And I have met some of the most talented and successful people along the way. With that said, I am going to tell my story………..the road to Allyce King Swim or Allyce in Pageantland as this post and others will be titled!

Atlanta Apparel Mart view from inside Glass Elevator

I am going to jump in at the middle of the story, but with Atlanta Market just wrapping up I could not resist to let you in on one of my MAJOR leaps of faith and one every designer dreams of–taking their line to market. Atlanta Apparel Mart is the location for a huge Prom and Pageant market that takes place each year in August, and I was so excited to present the Allyce King Swim line to prospective boutique owners in attendance that carry pageant competition gowns, swimsuits, cocktail dresses and more. I design swimsuits that make a pageant competitor look their very best–with strategic cuts, interesting fabrics and just the right touch of glitz. Actually my debut line is called “Sparkle”.

Me with my Allyce King Swim Girls-Sydnee and Lacie!


There is a ton of prep work that goes into being ready for market with a line, and mine was no exception. Fortunately I have had several girls wear my Allyce King Swim suits on stage and girls were already winning in my suits! On both the local, state and national levels, showing them off all really nicely. Pretty much like a movie star wearing a red carpet gown at the Oscars. It promotes the gown designer….same here….winning pageant competitors showcase my brand and make Allyce King Swim look fantastic. So the rest was a lot of organization, line sheets, order forms, sales, pre-sales, promotion, emails and more emails, and getting a showroom set up for the very first time.

Allyce King Swim is on the Floor!


Outside the Allyce King Swim Showroom with Lacie!

We arrived at the Atlanta Apparel Mart and were in complete awe. Actually I cried as I was handed the keys to my showroom and opened it for the very first time (yes, I was overwhelmed-joy? terror? how did I get here?!). Fast forward to three days later, with several new stores interested in carrying the line, as well as a few of my current stores there too, market was over as quickly as it had started! It was a complete whirlwind, including my first ever market runway fashion show. All in all it made for a really exciting and rewarding experience. The perfect mix of brand exposure and selling opportunity. Yes, Atlanta Prom and Pageant Market was a success for Allyce King Swim. Whew!! :)

Sydnee and Lacie my Allyce King Swim Girls, The view from the Top, and Sydnee in the AKS Official Model Robe!


Backstage at the Atlanta Apparel Mart Fashion Show


Allyce at Apparel Mart Fashion Show

My words to young designers: Do not go to market to sell your line until you are really ready. Buyers are in a super time crunch at market and you have to be able to command their attention and then follow through. SO much needs to be in place. Thank goodness for all my training at Stephens as well as everything I have learned along the way (I will be sharing some of that in additional Allyce in Pageantland posts).

Yes, I have been VERY busy as a designer, but here’s the BEST part! I am coming full circle back to DIYStyle! With all of our experience in sewing knit fabrics, active and swimwear, as well as designing, now it’s time for me to share some of this on DIYStyle with the help of Cindy Cummins (my Mom and my biggest supporter-usually behind the scenes at DIYStyle, you will get to see more of her!). What a fun way for us to work together to show YOU how to create and design with REAL pro’s (we have some Industry Icon surprise guests)-with REAL info and REAL instruction. We can’t wait to dig in and reboot DIYStyle. So follow my posts and watch as we expand DIYStyle. Stay tuned to hear the rest of the story. It’s going to be a blast filling you all in!

Allyce in Pageantland  xoxo

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THE Fashion Competition and Fashion Business Weekend

Competition Flyer Front Cover

We love fashion! And we love independent fashion designers, especially their talent and tenacity–working hard to make it it the fashion business. So, when the opportunity arose to produce an event that supports young designers, we jumped at the chance. Mark your calendars for April 7-9, 2011. THE Fashion Competition and Fashion Business Weekend will come to St. Louis, courtesy of our event sponsor, Lumiere Place, a premier venue in downtown St. Louis.

Lumiere Place

THE Fashion Competition and Fashion Business Weekend is a 3-day event, focusing on independent fashion designers, helping them to succeed. It includes THE Fashion Competition open to Junior and Senior fashion design students at colleges and universities all over the US, as well as independent fashion business seminars, a fashion industry mixer for students, designers, educators, and media, and 3 fashion shows. The fashion shows include THE Fashion Competition finals show on Friday, April 8th, LAUNCH showcasing 6 emerging designers, and the St. Louis Independent Fashion Designers to take place on Saturday, April 9th.

Fashion Business seminars are focused on helping independent fashion designers develop and grow their business. Topics include How to Start a Fashion Business, Copyright and Trademark, Costing, Branding, and  more.

Attention college professors: Drop us a note and we will add your school to our weekly email blast, updating you and your students on our growing prize list, the fashion business seminars and presenters, etc. Contact for more information on how your school and students can be represented.

Watch our new website THE Fashion Competition. This is event is a benefit for the Fashion Collective-St. Louis, independent fashion designers living, working, designing and selling in the metro area, and (coming soon) the St. Louis Fashion Incubator. We look forward to seeing you “under the Arch” in St. Louis! 

Some of our generous Sponsors:


PGM Pro logo 

Downtown Partnership logo

Coats and Clark logo



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Susan G. Komen St. Louis :: Survivor Event

Balcony at MAC


A sea of pink! That was the view, as we stood up on the balcony overlooking the ballroom at the Missouri Athletic Club. DIYStyle was honored to produce a fashion show for the St. Louis Susan G. Komen affiliate, at their annual Survivor luncheon. As the designs to be modeled filtered into the dressing rooms, and the over 600 women arrived downstairs came into the Art Deco Room, it was evident….Pink was the power color and theme for the day.

DIYStyle created the “Dreams to Design” fashion show to showcase Rejectamenta fashions that were inspired by breast cancer survivors and their stories, with student and alumni designers from Stephens College. These designs, collectively called  ”Breaking the Pattern” are made from recycled materials and are very PINK. In addition, DIYStyle created a special collection of T-Shirt Surgery designs from Race for the Cure Tees. Together, these unique collections had quite an impact on our “pink ladies” at their dessert reception Sunday!

Heidi Glaus News Channel 5

We were definitely excited to have Heidi Glaus, from News Channel 5 as the emcee. Heidi had visited the DIYStyle studio and Workshop a few months ago, so our introduction was quite entertaining as she relayed the story of making panties and then trying them on (on live TV!). And so we started… the song “Halo”…………..and this model walked out on the runway:

Poker Cards Dress

And then these:

Mop Dress  Hanger Dress

Shells Dress  Bullets Dress

Starburst Wrappers Dress  Breaking the Pattern Model Parade

Matt our DIYStyle video producer did a wonderful segment with survivor interviews we did at the local Komen office, coupled with pics from last years STL Race for the Cure (did you know St. Louis now has the largest race in the country with over 65K participants!?). Yes Matt, you did bring tears to everyones eyes (he told me he would do that). This was actually our time for models to do a quick change for the next set.

And then the DIYStyle Race for the Cure, T-Shirt Surgery Collection walked (rocked) the runway….to the songs “I Will Survive” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”:

T-Shirt Surgery 1  T-Shirt Surgery 2

T-Shirt Surgery 3  T-Shirt Surgery 4

T-Shirt Surgery 5  DIYStyle T-Shirt Surgery Model Parade

Talk about audience participation! Clapping, laughing, and rocking out to the music….everyone was having a fantastic time. And our models definitely nailed this show for all (thanks girls–you’re awesome!). And a special thanks to our A/V guy who mixed all the music, timed everything precisely (slides, video, lights)…our own Jon Cummins (yes nepotism here–he did a GREAT job).

Group shot 1

Group Shot 2

Group Shot 3

And kudos to our talented designers!

Designers for the show

Such a wonderful cause….we were SO pumped to do this show. The women inspired all of us, and I think we inspired them as well. “Dreams to Design” is hoping to be on tour in a city near you. Let us know if you have a Susan G. Komen related event where the collection can be included! And, watch for the video of of the show to be posted very soon.

Think Pink….and support your local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! We’re walking……how about you?


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DIYStyle Launches 4 Designers!

Launch Show Opening


What a whirlwind at St. Louis Fashion Week! DIYStyle was so honored to present one of 6 shows for the fashion and style packed week. Our show was called LAUNCH–showcasing the DIYStyle Collection and the collections of 4 new designers, Connie Bourgeois, Allyce King, Maggie Laskowitz and Courtney Stiles. Each of the designers had not shown their fashion collections on the runway (besides fashion design school), so this was an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us! And it was at a super cool venue, Lumiere Place Hotel, attached to a premiere upscale downtown casino. STL Fashion Week staked out their big theater for all the shows………..we could not have asked for a better place in St. Louis to “Launch” these talented designers.

After months of preparation, designing, fitting, sewing, and organizing it all came down to the day of the show. Since the fashion show was scheduled for 1pm, our call time was SUPER early, at 6am……….not easy since most of us were still sewing away at 2:30am the day of!!! But all the models arrived (50 plus) in all, and all the volunteers (about 40), then the production team (director, lighting, sound) and all the make-up and hair artists. What a huge production, and it was so much fun to see it all come together. Now we completely understand (and appreciate) how much work and dedication goes into a professional runway show like this…….and we could not have done it without all of our teams both from DIYStyle, the volunteers and St. Louis Fashion Week! When the models started walking down the runway the adreneline was pumping, the music was playing and all flowed just beautifully!

Here’s a bunch of the pics from backstage.

Backstage 1

Backstage 14

Backstage 28

We opened the show with a tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness. Each of the designers created these art to wear fashions, and DIYStyle did T-shirt surgery with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Tees. These definitely had an impact with the audience (with the models walking to Beyonce’s Halo song).

Poker Dress

Angel Dress

Noodles Dress

Telephone Cords Dress

Next up was the DIYStyle Collection, showing styles from the pattern line with McCall’s, our vodcasts.

Kristen Loungewear

Katie Fleece Jacket

Then the collections of each of the featured designers were ready to go. First was Conjetta by Connie Bourgeois. Beauty meets the Biker!

Conjetta 3

Conjetta 5

Next up was ML by Maggie Laskowitz. Cute, bouncy, yet elegant dresses.

ML 2

ML 10

Stiles by Courtney Stiles was next. Beautiful cocktail, evening wear and bridal.

Stiles 4

Stiles 10

Allyce King Designs by Allyce King closed our LAUNCH show, with Hamptons style resort and swimwear.

Victoria Swim

Draped Swimsuit

For more pics from the show, check out our Facebook page. There are pics of most all of the models, and even more behind the scenes takes. Thanks to all of the STL Fashion Week crew for all the neat photos! And, check out vodcast episode #66…it’s a quick look at the runway show! Now, we’re ready for next season………….what 4 designers will be “Launched” in the Spring show?!

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Project Runway 6::Behind the Sewing Machines::11.05.09

Almost empty PR sewing room

So who’s going to Bryant Park? That was the question to be answered with the results of this weeks final challenge. It’s hard to believe that this season of PR is coming close to the end….seems like it just started. Tons of sewing behind us, and lots more to come as the three designers who win this challenge start on their collections. Both Althea and Carol Hanna created pretty intricate designs that required what seems like lots of extra hours spent in the sewing lab. But, it really seems empty in there as compared to the last few weeks.

Carol Hanna at Brother machine

Carol Hanna sewing

Althea sewing

The five designers left had a neat challenge this time. Create a look inspired by a piece at the Getty Museum. As the creating began, some of the designers took an odd stance on what they thought would help them pull a win from this. Especially “interesting” was Christopher’s take on the fountain and rocks that were outside the museum.

Christopher’s grey dress

Gordana drew inspiration from a Monet painting, and I think her choice of colors were unusual, but very pretty for this design.

Gordana’s Monet inspired dress

But in the end, only three designers get to go to Bryant Park for their big debut. I agreed with the judges at this point, as to who had the most consistent great designs, and whose collections I would want to see walk down that ever important runway.

Irina is in:

Irina’s winning dress design

Althea is in:

Althea’s gold dress

And Carol Hanna is in:

Carol Hanna’s draped dress

So what will conspire next week when we see a bit closer up as to where the 3 remaining designers live and how they design? I think our inside birdie at Brother knows……..but can’t tell until next week! Stay tuned.

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Project Runway Season 6: Get Your Sew On!!!

It’s FINALLY here! That much anticipated season of Project Runway that almost wasn’t. Unless you have been under a rock, and don’t follow fashion, Project Runway has moved from Bravo to Lifetime after several months of duking it out between the networks. But as they say, good things come to those who wait……….and tonight the Season 6 premieres!!!

 I am a long time Project Runway fan, as are most of the Creative Chicks here at DIYStyle. And now we have even one more reason to anticipate and watch each episode as the challenge unfolds. We will be rooting for one of the contestants, a former St. Louisan AND a Stephens College fashion design alum (that’s Allyce’s alma mater too)! Qristyl Frazier is THE designer we will be on the edge of our seats cheering for…………….you go girl!

I had the pleasure of meeting Qristyl yesterday when she was here in STL, and she is a savvy, super likeable and uber talented designer. It’s so fun for us to have one of the designers on the show we can directly relate to, and follow through all of the (sometimes unreasonable) design challenges that are dolled out to them. I know what you’re thinking, NO she could not divuldge any secrets! You’ll just have to watch the show each week to see what happens. You can be sure we will. We’ll also plan to meet up with Qrystal on her next trip in, and interview her for DIYStyle. Stay posted.

Brother USA is one of our sponsors for DIYStyle, and you can be sure the designers will all be watching that clock in the workroom that bears their logo as well as using all of their sewing machines that outfit their space. We are so thrilled to have them as part of what we do at DIYStyle and their connection to Project Runway. One of my very favorite models we use on the vodcasts is the Project Runway LB6770, a sewing and embroidery machine that comes with it’s own rolling case branded with the Project Runway logo (It’s really cool……….we take them everywhere for our DIYStyle events and parties!)

So, it’s definitely time to “get your sew on”, whether spurred on by the inspiration of Project Runway, or one of the affordable and fantastic Project Runway sewing machines from Brother USA.  Let us know what you are creating. We love to see!

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Allyce King Designs: Feathers and Leather

Pink Feather Dress

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.

Feather Mood Board

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!

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Avant Cirque

Allyce Market Day

“Market Day at Stephens”

Boy has this been a long semester!! Graduation is finally over (YEAH!!!!), and it’s been so crazy busy I have not had a moment to slow down at all. Just to give you a quick update of my last semester at Stephens College, from January to March I was working on five ensembles of my senior collection. It consisted of 11 garments total! I worked with a lot of fabrics and trims that I had never worked with before, including LOTS of feathers. Senior collection is all about getting the most experience you can out if it, so crazy me choose a ton of different fabrics. All together I worked with swim lycra, bamboo knit, stretch linen, embroidered tulle, leather, stretch charmeuse, silk charmeuse, china silk, and silk chiffon. We worked on fitting a lot of our garments last semester in muslin but it’s not always exactly the same result when you get into the final fabric, so I also worked on fitting these garments so they looked perfect. Our entire senior collection was turned in seven weeks after we started, and immediately after we began our portfolio’s and a computer aided manufacturing class. I have learned quite a bit in computer patternmaking, and hope to be able to continue this after my training here at school. We began to learn this program sophomore year but this was a more intense seven weeks of it.

April 4th was Jury of Selection, where all of my garments were judged by industry professionals from companies like Abercrombie & Fitch and BCBG. This day decided what got into the Stephens fashion show. Then (finally!) on April 18th we had our Annual Stephens College Designer Fashion Show “Avant Cirque”. The show had a high fashion circus theme, and opened with a choreographed high wire type act—it really was very cool. I was juried in to show three ensembles from my senior collection (you’ll get to see which ones soon), my wool tailored coat and dress, and my rejectamenta (the poker card dress).

 Avant Cirque Opening Act 1   Avant Cirque Opening Act 2

Avant Cirque Opening Act

 Rejectamenta Group   Poker “Breast Cancer Awareness” Dress   Poker Dress Back 

Rejectamenta “Poker Card Dress” for Breast Cancer Awareness

Allyce Coat     Allyce Coat & Dress    Allyce Dress for Coat

Tailored Coat and Dress

And……April 18th will always be the best day ever because not only did I get to display all of a years hard work to 1,200 people but……… my boyfriend PROPOSED to me that morning before the fashion show! I was so surprised, and I did say YES!

Even with all this going on somehow I have managed to keep up with work at McCalls. There are more cool, fun patterns on the way. I look back at this year in awe and do not have a clue how it got all done! In my next post I will show you the garments I had in the show one at a time with my sketches, so keep a look out for them coming soon!


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Senior Collection: Country Lust!

Country Lust Mood Board

While I was working on completing my tailored coat and dress, I was also designing my senior collection, sourcing fabrics, writing my brand business plan, creating my mood board, and customer board. In addition to actually designing the collection we work on the business angle too. We had to completely map out our new fashion design company & brand. This included writing a 50 page business plan detailing market research, designing our brand logos and hang tags, as well as our plans for the company. We also had establish a theme for our collection and do a lot of trend research. My company name is “A King Designs” (a play on my name) and the theme for my collection is ”Country Lust”. Here’s the introduction to my collection: For Spring 2009 season “A King Designs” is presenting a collection of Country Lust garments that is inspired by elements of nature including feathers, butterflies, natural wooden buttons, and leather accents. The collection will include several knit garments as well as woven garments including silks and sheers. Country Lust color palette consists of rose pinks, vivid violets, copper, gold, baby blue, chocolate browns, and white. “A King Designs” will be producing garments that are free flowing and comfortable. These garments are fit for a vacation free from constraints.

A King Design Logo

I found a lot of my fabrics for my senior collection in NYC when I was there visiting McCalls, so I was lucky enough to be able to focus on my sketches and boards in this initial process. When I started designing I had to focus on what market I was designing for. “A King Designs” is a young designer, resort wear company. We design for a woman 20-30 years old who has upper class income. Our products are designed for the customer who is looking for trendy clothing to wear in resort destinations such as the Hamptons and Nantucket. Our customer is a woman who wants to be noticed and her style to shine through her clothing. “A King Designs” clothing is rich in texture as well as constructed from quality fabrics, for the customer who is concerned with detail.

For my senior collection I decided that I wanted to make two swimsuits with cover ups, two dresses, and two weekend wear outfits. We created our portfolio of designs and an amazing critic came in and choose what we were going to make for our collection sketches. Now I’m in full swing, completing all the patterns for the designs, and next semester all of these will come to life (after TONS of sewing!). Stay tuned for my next blog to see what my designs are!

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Wool Coming Out of My Ears!!!

Allyce’s Tailored Coat w/ Wool Roving

This semester has been quite the challenge. Anyone who has done hand tailoring knows that hair canvas, silk organza, and twill tape is tons of fun (LOL) to sew with, especially in a coat. This semester we had seven weeks to hand tailor a wool coat and coordinating dress to create a full ensemble. Last semester we designed our coats and dresses and presented them to a critic. After the critic chose which one we would make, we draped and patterned our garments and had all of our fittings.

It seemed to take forever to find the right fabrics for the garments. The wool coating was the real challenge. I found an awesome chocolate brown wool coating from the East Coast online for $50/ yard. I thought that was a little bit pricy for my budget, so I waited and decided to look in NYC’s fashion district. I ended up finding my wool coating for $6/ yard in a “hole in the wall” in the garment district and……..BONUS….the fabric was on sale because the store was going out of business. I was so excited to nab this find! I originally wanted to make my dress out of a solid color but the critic wanted a stripe or print with chocolate brown and blue in it to match the wool coating. It was really difficult to find a silk charmeuse print with these specific colors. After lots of poking around the internet, I finally found a great print through Thai Silks.

Matching Dress

So, after a lot of hand sewing and countless late nights I got it done! My boyfriend (patiently) watched me needle punch all the wool roving in the seam allowances, hand sew hair canvas in, and press (more like beat to death) my coat with lots of steam and my wooden tailor’s clapper. It definitely wasn’t the easiest project that I’ve worked on, but I’m especially pleased with the dress, it turned out even better than I pictured. And, in order to tie in all the colors, I decided to color blocked the inside lining of the coat. I think the colors will really help this outfit pop on the runway.

Lining Pic

Now I’m working up all the designs and production patterns for my Senior Collection. I’ll check in with more on that later.


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New York Minute: Allyce

Fashion District

I traveled to so many places this summer…it has been exciting and inspiring, getting ideas for my Senior Collection. My favorite place of them all would have to be New York City. The last week of my summer break I took a nine day trip to visit the big city. I had a few goals in mind for the trip. Here is my list”

1.) Shop for senior collection fabric in the garment district.

2.) Have a great meeting with McCalls.

3.) Use what I have learned in my Pre-20th Century Costume class to identify garments on display at the MET museum.

4.) Learn the subway system enough so I will ride it on my own.

5.) Add to my collection of 500 inspiration pictures that was assigned for my senior year (that has not been a huge challenge especially being in so many different places).

Boy was I in for a wild ride. First of all, I stayed with some amazing girlfriends (love ya Julie & Danielle!) who love the fashion industry and were so great about teaching me about the city. My adventure began at the MET museum. It had been recommended by Kathy (at McCall’s) to be sure to see the Super Heros exhibit. It was a very interesting presentation of garments that were inspired by the super hero movies. These were the actual costumes used in the movies. The experience didn’t stop there. I ended up walking around the MET for six hours pointing out to my friend the name of every garment from the Egyptian period through the 19th century that they had on display. I had just finished taking a summer class in the history of costume, and it was really incredible to see in person what we had been studying in books. A few of my favorites: seeing a sheath dress from the Egyptian period completely constructed out of beads, a Greek Ionic Chiton (modern day tunic) and himations (a large cloth used as a wrap) carved out of stone into amazing statues. You may think I’m crazy but I had fun hunting down 3000 B.C. fibulas (the world’s first ever safety pin–before people even sewed clothing together). I also got to view a few of my favorite painter’s works. I love Andy Warhol and Roy Linchenstein, and seeing their work in person was really cool. One down, four more goals to go.



Next I spent two whole days shopping for fabric in the garment district. The first day was discouraging at first because I didn’t have good direction except that I was looking for knit prints. We went to a ton of stores on 37th and 38th street between 7th and 8th avenue. They were small “hole in the wall” type stores. It was great to get a lot of good swatches so that I could go back for what I wanted if I needed it for my collection. Towards the end of the day I fell in love with this one piece. Picture this: dusty rose pink tulle with embroidery that totally covered it in sage green, lavender, and dusty rose. Then the piece is covered in black and brown feathers with a natural color bead at the top of each feather. It was an exquisite piece! Feathers are so hot this season and I plan to design a cocktail dress…….this would be perfect. I thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere in these small independent stores but I did, and I bargained with the guy to get a great price. One main collection piece, more to go! After that I went to Mood Fabrics. There I found some notions that could be used on my garments as well as my mood boards for school. I bought a piece of leather that was a pink embossed alligator with a pearlized finish. I plan on using it for the cocktail dress bodice piece or small accent pieces. The next day that I spent in the garment district was with great success. I went to B&J Fabrics and found a great but pricey silk charmeuse print that made my day. It was the perfect color palette and the look I was going for. On this shopping trip I also was able to find my chocolate brown wool coating fabric for my tailored coat.

B&J Fabrics

Fabric Rolls

My next goal was not too hard to achieve. For my senior collection we were assigned to take pictures that would inspire us for our garments. It could be anything from architecture to nature to garments. Walking the streets of New York gave me lots of photo opps. The window displays were incredible. My favorite was Dior’s window! It had a carriage in the window with suits and dresses on display. Being a visual merchandiser would be fun but hard work! I also always get inspiration from Betsey Johnson, so I had to go to her store off of Madison Ave.  I almost camped out on their doorstep for the rest of the trip once I found out that she just lives right around the corner from her store! That would have been too cool to meet her.

Betsy J

Designers Way

I was super excited for our McCalls meeting. I felt like I had been preparing for the meeting for weeks. I prepared boards, sketched, and bought some supportive sample garments. I was so excited how my boards turned out and the great samples I found, I even found some great swatches of the fabric that I thought would be perfect for the garments we were proposing. Everyone seemed pleased with McCall’s decisions, so look forward to more great DIYStyle designs for 2009! Thanks to McCall’s hard work to making our dreams come to life! Only one more goal to achieve!

Julie & Danielle had explained the subway the first day that I arrived, so I was able to take the subway the whole trip. The girls live in the East Village so it was good practice taking the subway all over the city instead of taking cabs. I feel like being in New York for that amount of time helped me to prepare to be a better designer. Through inspiration, great fabrics, seeing in person a history of garments, and working in the offices of McCalls for a day really has helped my creativity and motivation as a design major. I will definitely be back in NYC soon!


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Fashion is in the Cards

RejectamentaWow. I have been just engulfed by design projects from the moment I stepped back in the door at Stephens. This is my senior year, and boy do they have us off and running! I just completed this Rejectamenta project, and thought you would like to take a peek. The challenge is to make a garment from all recycled materials, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Our garments will be judged by a jury and some will go on display at the Komen Foundation annual conference.

My theme is “Don’t gamble with your life….get regular mammograms”. Unfortunately the pic does not do it justice, it looks way cooler on a model with the headpiece, necklace and train that makes it all come together. When we get some professional model pics done I’ll be sure to post one.

For now I’m onto finishing a tailored and lined wool coat, and matching dress that is due shortly, sketching hundreds of illustrations for my upcoming Senior Collection, and sewing my heart out at every turn. I’ll try to come up for air once in a while to give everyone a quick up date, but for now just send me lots of positive energy………it’s going to be one challenging and exciting year in fashion design school!


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Vegas Fashion

Fashion Show Mall

I have been lucky enough to be able to travel to some popular fashion spots this summer. It was exciting to be able to go to different parts of the US to get a good view of trends for my senior collection. I have been to Portland, Las Vegas, Chicago, and will be going to New York here soon.

Just a few weeks ago I was in Las Vegas for 10 whole days! This meant I could go shopping, sketch, get color ideas, and note the interesting way the designers manipulate the fabric. I went window shopping pretty much everyday. My favorite spot for this kind of “research” shopping is The Fashion Show Mall. With a fashion show that rises out of the floor (everything is a show in Las Vegas!), this place is a mecca of shops. I feel it has the most variety featuring high end to low end stores. When doing research you can’t just relay on the high end stores like Neiman Marcus or designer boutiques to get a complete picture. You have to understand where the trends are going. Whether they are widespread enough to have hit the discount stores like Target, or if they are still in designer stores. A mall like this one has it all, making my research a bit easier.

The Wynn is another fashion sleuthing haven. I found some great inspiration visiting the Chanel store there. They had done some amazing fabric detailing. Some of the sweaters on display had small chain that was woven into the knit fabric so it made the sweater completely two toned. I also tend to get a lot of inspiration from shoes! I don’t know if it’s when I look at shoes I design as if I am making an outfit to match, or if they just set a look. There were SO many garments that used large overwhelming prints combining odd florals and geometric shapes. I was really intrigued by the combination of prints in a really cool dress that had a leopard and floral combination. And animal prints have stuck around and seem to be getting larger! There was this amazing Dior belt that was really inspiring… it was made in a zebra fur print with a huge grommet with a bar and chain to hold the belt closed. Another trend that is sticking around and I feel keeps getting more and more exaggerated are garments constructed in a origami pattern. It seems to be in all the high end clothing, from pockets that look like middle school fortune tellers to interesting design lines with lots of pleats and gathering.

Las Vegas shopping has definitely inspired me to sketch a lot of garments for my senior collection and give me a good view on what trends are hot! If you get to Las Vegas, be sure to fit in some’s some of the very best around!


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A Moment to Breathe!

fashion show

Last week was the Face Off 3: School Daze fashion show that I was a part of, and I am very relieved to take a short break from sewing! The show was so entertaining and full of energy from start to finish! Since the theme was “School Daze” each designer got to choose a category that went along with the theme, and my category was ‘class flirt’. It was fun to design with a particular theme and concept in mind! I’m looking for more shows to be a part of in the next year, so keep your eyes open for Christy Ryan! You can contact me or check out more of my stuff on MySpace.

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Working All Summer Long!

School Daze Fashion Show


Hey everyone! My name is Christy Ryan, I’m working with DIYStyle for the summer! I just graduated from Lindenwood University in St.Charles, MO, where I studied Fashion Design. It feels so great to be out! So far this summer I have been working for DIYStyle, in addition to my part time job, and busily preparing for another fashion show. Somehow I find time to relax and hang out with friends, but it’s not always easy!

 The fashion show is called School Daze- The Definition of Fresh: Fashion 101.  It is on July 19th at St.Louis University, and is a charity event for the Ronald McDonald House. I love being a part of fashion shows, especially this one where my garments are being showcased! But first up is the DIYStyle Party in Chicago on July 10th, so I have that to look forward to. I cannot wait to see the designs from Project Design, and I am really looking forward to the Fashion Forecast. Well I’ve got to get sewing, I’m sure you’ll hear from me again this summer! See you at the DIYStyle Party!


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