"Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones that look best are always a bit wilder." – Miuccia Prada
Every sewing project brings about new challenges and new lessons to be learned. During the Spring 2014 semester, I worked on curved lines, properly lining each garment, and working with inserts and overlays.
I was tasked with making a dress from one of the collections I designed. The illustration and technical flat below indicate how this dress would look in its three-dimensional form. The dress called for a fabric insert at the neckline and an overlay at the waist.
The neckline insert was an interesting endeavor - I worked with a fabric that would drape easily and would not hold the shape intended. Thus, I reinforced it by interfacing it (ironing an interfacing on the back). I sewed the insert and then attached it to the fabric used in the remainder of the dress.
On the other hand, the drapiness of the same fabric was lovely in the overlay at the waist. There I was going for an easy drape that would not add bulk to the side of the dress. No interfacing was needed here.
The dress turned out well - I am happy with the silhouette and how the insert and overlay add visual interest to a simple dress.
No plans for a weekend? Consider taking a mini road trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's Kentuck Knob, a Pennsylvania residence built in 1953-56. It is a quick pleasant drive (about a 3-hour drive) and it is well worth it.
I visited the location in 2012. It is only about 7 miles from Falling Water, another Wright masterpiece, so it made sense to stop there. You can tour this Usonian house (meaning affordable for the common people) and while it is simple and airy, you will come across many an architectural detail. When you walk outside on the premises, the house looks almost like a boat. When you are inside, you feel like it does not end. Wright combined different media, stone, wood, metal, all of which have their own beauty and purpose.
While I love architecture, I am often more drawn to its surroundings and Kentuck Knob's gardens are just so important to see. The gardens hold the house in its hands - the house is surrounded and feels very private and intimate. A few steps away, however, you reach the forest's end and can admire the Pennsylvania rolling hills. The property now also serves as an open air art gallery - take your time and walk around. You will stumble upon modern abstract sculptures, realistic stone representation of a wolf, or a fantastically preserved panel from the Berlin Wall!
So, jump into the car and soak up this architectural and natural treasure.
In tandem with my Fashion Design class, I take a 3D Design class. This class focuses on sewing skills and the ability to interpret an idea and execute it into an actual garment. Here is an example of a dress design I came up with. I made the paper pattern and ensured the measurements would work well on the dress form. Two things that I enjoyed exploring the most in this project were sewing of curved lined and combining fabrics of different weights.
Curves require precision and patience. It is important to connect the fabrics properly and at the right angle in order for the curve to be smooth and not have any gathers or imperfections. This dress has many a curved line as I decided to insert piping around the larger curved areas (in grey).
I used two different fabrics to ensure this dress would drape properly and keep shape at the same time. The top (grey) and the piping (light beige) are cotton. I also interfaced the piping to reinforce its shape. The rest of the dress (brown) is polyester and is more fluid in order to allow for movement.
Et voila, here is the finished dress!
Relationships between artists and their work are always fascinating to me. A lot has been written about the collaboration between Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin or Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. I find these interactions interesting from both the historical and personal point of view.
One of such collaborations is explored at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. at "Degas/Cassatt." On display until October 2014, this exhibition expands several rooms and provides a nice overview of Edgar Degas' and Mary Cassatt's work as independent artists but highlights how these two painters influenced each other. The exhibition has a lot of works I have never seen and the accompanying booklet and work descriptions focus on the lesser known aspects of this fruitful relationship.
For instance, I quite enjoyed Degas' affinity for fan designs and his respect for Cassatt's works of which he collected over a hundred pieces. Cassatt was drawn to Degas demeanor and insight into the craft.
Their printmaking cooperation is well-documented and the prints are an intimate insights into what both artists enjoyed: the leisurely portrayal of life and the techniques in which this portrayal could be achieved.
"Degas/Cassatt" is a lovely overview and if you are in the area, check it out.
I completed the final Fashion Design collection of this semester at the Academy of Arts University. This collection posed an interesting challenge to me as I decided to use a two-fold inspiration.
I enjoy interior design and Charlotte Perriand, one of the most influential designers, seemed like a good starting point. I reviewed her work: chairs, stools, bookcases. She worked in the 1940s with Le Corbusier and her designs are an interesting mixture of natural textures, fluid lines, and geometric shapes. This component of my research materialized itself in the more 'menswear-style' components of the collection: structured/straight pants, piping, and collars.
Outside of work, Perriand seems to have been a fun-loving woman with energy in her eyes and a real drive for exploring the world. Sweet and free, Perriand herself became my muse. Her personality and attitude, the second portion of my inspiration, prompted me to include looser jackets, dresses, and blouses.
Ultimately, the collection explores the intersection of menswear vs women's wear, the natural vs the man-made (e.g., in combining leathers with polyester), and the form-fitting vs flowy. Perriand's career and personality influenced me and I truly enjoyed researching the topic and designing this collection.
The collection presentation includes a moodboard, a fabric board, boards with a total of 12 looks, and two sewing samples. Check out the slideshow for details.
Amsterdam is known for fabulous canal houses and when I visited the city in August 2013, I stopped by the 17th-century Willet-Holthuysen Museum. If you like history, you will enjoy the story of the family who lived there and how the house came to be open to public. What interested me the most were, however, the gardens and the aesthetics of the interiors.
The front of the house faces the Herengracht canal; the back has a beautiful garden. Bushes, flowers, and stones are arranged in an early 18th-century French fashion. As the visit to this house is self-guided, it is great to sit in the garden for a bit and enjoy the ambiance and quiet of the space. One would almost want to dress up the way the former owners would to really appreciate the opportunity to experience their life.
Once I breathed in the beauty of the garden, I wandered through the interiors. The rooms, furnished in rich textures and colors, were both intense and relaxed. A fun surprise awaited in the dining room where an exhibition of art pieces by a contemporary artist was arranged thus bridging the past and the present.
Do you have a historic site you visited and still like to remember?
Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters. We share a birthday (March 30) and I am interested in his work and life. There are many a book discussing his life choices and passion for art. I have read many but ultimately, I think the most important thing is to see the works in person and experience the intensity of the subject and colors Van Gogh portrays.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. has several of his works so if you are nearby, stop there and take a look. I often find that the backgrounds to his subjects are as substantial as the subjects themselves. The brush strokes, the colors, the shading, the intensity ... They would make for wonderful fabric patterns to use in my design work.
Paintings: Roses (1890), La Mousme (1888), Farmhouse in Provence (1888)
The link between art and fashion is tight. I already designed a dress based on Mark Rothko's pantings and often reference paintings for inspiration on color, texture, and color combinations.
For their Spring 2012 ready-to-wear collection, Rodarte showed designs directly linked to Van Gogh's work. His paintings were turned into fabric prints, finishes, and color scheme. Aren't these lovely?
As I am moving through the fashion design program at the Academy of Arts University, I get to test out my design ideas. Researching and exploring a design idea is one thing; having to sew the garment is another. There are many designers who focus on the new ideas while they may not be able to execute the innovation. I am working to leverage my ideas with my technical skills.
The photos below demonstrate the process. The sketch is for a collection inspired by futuristic architecture and the idea of a woman of the future. The look includes a cropped vest, a tank top, and a skirt. Once the illustration is complete and the design idea solidified, I create a technical drawing called a flat. The purpose of this flat is to inform the sewer about how the garment is constructed and where the seams and darts go.
I made a pattern based on my flats and sewed a sample. And this is where the fun starts – ideas turn out to be not that interesting or where I find a fabric treatment on paper may not actually be constructed in real life. There is a lot of back-and-forth – the pattern is corrected, flats are updated, sample is sewn again …
But, in the end, there is just fun and joy of being able to create something that did not exist, of being able to turn an idea into a garment.
Welcome! My textile/fashion design brand RADOST™ (Czech) is all about JOY (English).
In the blogs, I bring you thoughts on textile and fashion design, art, and travel.
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